Alone in a Crowd - Is Alienation a Common Feeling for You?
The Union Path Podcast
"Alone in a Crowd - Is Alienation a Common Feeling for You?"
Is alienation common feeling for you? Is it normal to feel alone? Is it normal to feel other? Is it normal to feel alone? Is it normal to feel alone? Do you have a problem when you're in a crowd, or maybe especially when you're in a crowd? Do you get the distinct feeling of being different?
Do you listen to conversations around you and not really fully understand them? Of course you get their meaning. Of course you get what's being said. Do you have trouble understanding why what's said is being said, why what is cared about is being cared about? Do you look at the values and the priorities and the ways other people do things and just kind of shake your head and just kind of find yourself a bit mystified and say to yourself I don't really understand why people do what they do. I don't really understand why people care about what they care about. Is this reflected in your work? Is this reflected in what you do? Do you find other people don't really latch on or accept or approve of what you do as easily as you witness from others?
You feel like you're kind of fighting an uphill creative battle of you. Try and try and try, but things don't really ever work out or don't ever really work out fully. If you do experience some sort of success, is that success always seem fleeting, always seem like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're just waiting for it to go away. You end up feeling like success is so rare and so fleeting that when you do achieve it, it just seems so temporary that it seems like you spend the majority of your time trying to do something, trying to get something done, trying to achieve something, but then the actual lived experience in that outcome is so short, if it indeed ever does even happen.
I think this is an interesting phenomenon. I think there's deeper meaning to it than just the feeling of being other, than just the feeling of being different. I think those feelings are an aspect or a whisper of a deeper knowledge, of a deeper meaning, of a deeper need, of a deeper hunger, because obviously human beings are social animals. We need connection, we crave it, we hunger for it, we thirst for it. So much of what we do, if we really break it down, is about creating and maintaining and building connection. And this feeling of being different, this feeling of being other, this feeling of being alien, this feeling of alienation I would assume it's my opinion is far more common than we would guess, in fact.
I would assume, it's far more normal to feel alien than to not, because so many of us are raised and inculcated with the idea that we find our identity, we find our acceptance through external, through social acceptance, through external and social validation, through having the group, through having the they, whoever they are, tell us we're good, tell us we're right, tell us we're doing the right thing, tell us we're on the right path. But, of course, if we put all of our guidance into other people, if we assume that others know our way better than we know our way, then this is a very easy and reliable formula to get off track, to get confused, to find ourselves living a life that doesn't really feel like ours. That I'd make the argument that if we're constantly or commonly feeling alien, feeling other and it's a good idea to ask ourselves well, do I feel alien or other to my own life? Do I look at my life and see something that doesn't really reflect me, isn't really right, is a very faint copy, is a very poor facsimile, or how I actually feel on the inside for who I actually am? Am I living a false life? Am I living a lie? Am I doing things merely to gain the acceptance of others while at the same time compromising and ignoring my own truth? What comes from the inside? Am I living a life trying to be defined and validated and reinforced purely through the opinions and the expressions and the communication of others? Even worse, am I doing things because I assume it's what other people want?
I assume it's what other people like? That may have been validated at one point, but I just keep doing it over and over and over again. And I keep doing it even if the evidence points to this isn't really that effective. This doesn't really work. I'm chasing that original high of acceptance, of connection through doing the same thing over and over and over again but not really ever achieving the same results. Am I scared to be alone? Am I scared to just be, just be who I am, just be an individual, to have the idea, the belief lodge to my being that that isn't enough, that I'm not enough, that somehow I'm in deficit, that somehow there's something wrong with me. There's something that needs to be fixed, that needs to be overcome, that needs to be cancelled out, that needs to be overrun and overruled through my own behavior, through my own seeking of validation and approval from others Because, as painful as it may be, I believe these feelings of alienation are actually really valuable.
This is really good information, this is a really good thing to be aware of and, like a lot of things that ultimately or eventually lead to spiritual growth, they're not a lot of fun to go through in the moment that a lot of times, the way that we are ultimately shaped and formed is through a lot of sanding off, through a lot of bending, through a lot of struggle and strain, strife and suffering, but ultimately we are led to where we need to be. We are in the right path, even if we feel way off our path, because there's only one path of life for us With our current circumstances, with what has happened, is happening and will happen, there's actually only one path through it and that's the path we walk. All other paths are just potential paths, our ideas, our possibilities, but there's only one real. There's only one path we actually take. We can spend a lot of time thinking about the paths we didn't take, about the things we didn't do, about all the things that were not, all the things that haven't happened, all the negative in our life, but these are just ideas. The only thing that's actually real in our life is the positive, is what we actually do, is the action, are the choices, are the behaviors, are the thoughts, is the life we actually live.
You know, when I say this feeling of alienation is valuable, I believe it speaks to a deeper need to, a deeper calling to something within us, beckoning, asking, calling to us for attention, knocking on the door of our consciousness, wanting to be let in, wanting to be invited in, and that's the greater part of ourselves, that's who and what we really are on the inside. Because a lot of times when we feel alienated, I think we can all see that in those times of feeling the most alien are the times where we're most focused on other people, we're most focused on the external, when we're most focused on the feedback that we're getting from the external world, and in those times that focus is crowded out our attention, our awareness of our own internal of who and what we really are. We've lost sight, we've lost track of ourselves because we're spending so much energy on the outside. We're spending so much energy trying to make things happen, trying to influence our life through external means, but at the same time losing touch of the internal, losing touch with what's actually real, that I make the argument anyway that that sense, that feeling of alienation, isn't that we've lost touch or lost contact with the outside world. It's really more about losing contact with ourselves, losing contact with the expression and the awareness of who and what we really are, that, that lack of acceptance, that lack of validation, that lack of feeling. That lack of feeling, that lack of acceptance, that lack of validation, that lack of connection we feel is actually a reflection of our lack of awareness and a lack of connection, a lack of validation with ourselves. We're trying to do on the outside what can only be done on the inside. We're trying to live a life of outside in. We're trying to live a life where we define ourselves, where we fill ourselves through the external, through other people's opinions of us, through our own comparisons with other people. When I make the argument at least it's been my experience that the life we actually want to live, what we're actually looking for, is to live a life from the inside out. That that's the way growth happens, that's the way life happens.
Look at a really simple example. Look at how a plant grows. It starts from a seed, it starts from a possibility, it starts from a germinal idea and it grows both up and down at the same time. But it grows from the inside out. Nothing can grow from the outside in If that growth, that life, is expression, that journey from that seed to that full-grown plant is life, is the progression of a possibility, of an identity expressed outward Inherently. The plant is what it is. The plant isn't what others think of it. And the same with us that our life is the expression of our insides out. And one of the big freedoms about being a human being, having this human consciousness, is that we can direct this growth. We can choose what we harbor on the inside, we can choose what we prioritize, we can choose what we preference. But if those things, if those priorities and those preferences are entirely external, then we'll find ourselves growing and expressing in very peculiar ways.
It's almost like we go through life backwards, of we're trying to live from the future to the present. We're trying to go back in time, we're starting from an outcome and we're attempting to live to the origin. And, of course, life doesn't actually work that way. That's backwards. Life flows from origin to outcome. Life flows forward, life is growth, life is expansion, life is expression.
And if we feel alien to our life, if we feel alien to our surroundings, we feel alien in circumstances. Oftentimes, this alienation is alienation between ourselves, between the dual selves we have within us. To put it in a really simplistic way, this is a break in the connection between our mind and our soul, between our thinking and our being, between who and what we really are and the decisions that we make about what to do, about how to be. We're not in alignment with ourselves, we're not cooperating with ourselves. A lot of times we can adopt a bit of a competitive nature of where it seems like our mind is trying to win, that our mind has an agenda, something it's trying to prove, and it'll use any means necessary in order to prove its assertion. But the thing about the truth, especially when we know it is, it doesn't actually require proof. The truth is self-evident, especially when it comes to our being and who and what we really are. That truth is much more imbued, much more invested, much more seated in our feelings, even though truth is a very clear logical idea, where the truth really gets defined, as in our feeling, in our knowing, is deeper than mind, deeper than thought. The truth has a resonance to it, the truth has a ring to it, the truth has a feeling to it and we know when we hit it. That's why, when we encounter really profound truths in our life, a lot of times these things are kind of ineffable. We can't actually really explain it why something is true and why something isn't. It just is, we just know it. It's kind of like being in love. We can't really explain why. We can't even really do that good of a job explaining what it is, at least in words and ideas and imagery. It's really much more of a feeling, it's much more of a knowing. We either are or we aren't, and no amount of thinking, no amount of rationalizing, no amount of logic can really truly deeply convince us otherwise. And so this feeling of alienation oftentimes is the alienation of our soul and our mind Not really being the same, being being separate, being different.
Because a lot of times our minds are set to seek connection on the external, because that uses our senses, it uses our perception of the sensory input that comes to us what we see, what we hear and, more importantly, what we think about what we see and what we hear, the beliefs, the conclusions that we come to based on sensory information and for our main five senses. Of course, all that information is on the outside. But we're missing something. We're not really being our full selves if we're not also integrating the sensation of internal feeling. Then a lot of ways, once we come into contact and really fully feel our internal feeling, these sensations actually feel stronger than our main five senses and what we sense on the outside. Or at the very least, this one feeling of inner sensation feels as strong as all of our other senses put together and there seems to be a bit of a balance there Seems that we're supposed to use all of it, that this is all available to us for our own guidance, for our own knowing, for our own learning, for our own growing.
But it's so easy, especially in our modern culture, to prioritize the mind, to prioritize thinking and live life from the neck up, live life based on what we think about rather than what we feel. And, of course, since we're only using parts of ourselves, this can lead us astray, because we're not really using our full suite of navigation equipment, we're not really utilizing all of the guidance, all of the wayfinding tools that we were born with, that we were imbued with. We're cutting off our fundamental sense of direction because we're not listening to and integrating and honoring our own feelings, our own internal feelings, and that alienation we feel is alienation from ourselves. And that desire reconcile that alienation, that desire to heal that alienation, ultimately, is coming from within us Is asking us, is beckoning us to reconnect with ourselves, to start to listen again, to start to feel again, to start to be whole, not going through life with this reference towards mind, towards senses, towards self-gratification, towards the superficial, towards the material, all things that are perceived and experienced on the outside, and instead of living a whole life, living a whole experience, living inside and outside, and letting the progress of our life be the progress inside out, the expression, the fulfillment of whom, what we really are Going out into the world, connected with ourselves, so we're not so desperate to see connection with anyone and everything else, not wandering the world as these orphans desperate for parentage, as these lost travelers just aching for home, for a sense of home. Our home, our ultimate parentage, is within us. We're imbued with it and if we've lost connection with it, we can reconnect with it whenever we wish.
We can heal our alienation wound by not alienating ourselves, by not alienating the fundamental part of ourselves, by descending into our own unique individuality, of dropping the need to play the fool's game of constant comparison Because, in kind of an ironic or paradoxical way, we find our way to union, we find our way to unity through our individuality. We don't find our way to union on the outside, we don't find our way to unity through comparison. We find our way to unity with the whole through the expression of whom and what we really are, realizing that once we've made contact on a fundamental level with whom and what we really are, with our ultimate being, with what really animates us, we find that animating force to be the same in everyone and everything else around us. That, yes, we are all unique individuals because of our expression of the fundamental common element within all of us. We are all imbued with the same fundamental energy of which we, as an individual, express in infinite different ways, and that it's both. We are both a unique individual and we are both part of a universal community. We are all individual aspects and expression of the same fundamental thing.
To use a very simple analogy, if we think about water, think about all the myriad ways that water can express itself, everything from rain to snow, to rivers, to lakes, to oceans, to clouds, to water vapor in the air, to an individual droplet of water to the vast ocean. It's all water and every bit of water is connected to every other bit of water. No bit of water is ever isolated from the rest of water because ultimately, eventually, no matter how small and isolated a small bit of water is, eventually it will regain union with the rest of water. And, of course, no analogy is perfect, but this is an interesting, this is a nice thought experiment to think about ourselves in a similar way, about how we have a dual opportunity for both unique expression as well as inclusion in an overall commonality, in an overall community.
At our core, that at the base, the most fundamental level, in who and what we really are, we share something in common with the rest of life because we are alive At our core, we are life, we are living, and every other living thing that is most fundamental is the same. Yet every living thing is a unique expression of that sameness. From the most pristine and amazing human specimen to the toadstool Are all expressions of life, are all unique expressions of life. The only thing that makes one better or greater and more important than the other is our own thinking, is our own thinking about an individual expression, but as far as the expression is concerned, they are the same. At a fundamental level. They are both unique expressions, individual expressions of life, of life energy, the same life energy that flows through everything that is alive in its myriad manifest forms. On some level, it is all life and apparently no life is any greater or more important than any other life.
These ideas of greater or more important or better are created by the mind. These are just our own ideas. These are just things that we have decided to believe. And again, if we are feeling alienation, that is another thing we have decided to believe. We have decided to hold up comparison between our own unique expression of life and some other unique expression of life. And if we find ourselves in a crowd of perfect human specimens and we feel like a toadstool.
I think one very basic question to ask is when is the last time you really looked at a toadstool? When is the last time you looked at a toadstool and actually tried to appreciate it or, at the very least, tried to see it in its wholeness and its totality, the intricateness of its form, the way it is suited to its function? Because a toadstool is amazing, because a toadstool is the absolute best at being a toadstool and we can choose whether we appreciate that or acknowledge it, or even aware of it or not. Same with ourselves, we can choose to be aware of and appreciate our own unique, individual expression of life, energy or not. We can choose to appreciate ourselves. We can choose to love ourselves or we can choose to let comparison talk us out of it, convince us otherwise. It's optional, it's up to us. We get to decide, we get to choose. That's a big part of our own freedom.
The only thing that I would advise, the only thing that I would ask, is the next time you feel alienated, the next time you feel other, the next time you feel different and you feel bad about that, ask yourself am I feeling bad about this because I actually feel bad about myself deep on the inside or am I making some sort of Comparison with what I witness on the outside? Am I trying to live my life from the outside in? Am I trying to make myself different, based on my perceptions and assumptions and ideas About what I sense on the outside Versus what I sense on the inside, versus what I know on the inside versus what I feel on the inside? Am I missing the truth, the real truth, the whole truth that's available to me on the inside? Because I'm listening to and prioritizing the false truth, the illusion, the assumption on the outside Is the connection I most hunger for, the connection, the reunification with myself, with my whole self, with who and what I really am. And if so and it's a useful exercise to reconnect with our own being, to spend some time with our own being I Spend some time and get a little bit curious who am I really?
What am I really deep on the inside, below all superficial or material or physical observations or comparisons of myself? Who am I really? What's actually animating this physicality? What's actually driving this external? Who am I at the source, at the base of my own being? And we can ask ourselves further questions to. We can ponder other ideas, ideas like why am I actually here? What is my life actually for? What do I care about really? What's meaningful to me really?
If my soul, in my mind and my action were all in perfect union, what would I be doing? What my life be like? What would the expression of my wholeness actually be? What would a whole life look like, feel like, what would involve? What would I do? What would I not do? We can heal our alienation by healing our own internal fractures, healing our own loss of contact with ourselves, with ourselves that are most fundamental, that are most real. We can find our way to heal the feeling of alienation but becoming aware of ourselves, acknowledging ourselves, by accepting ourselves, by making ourselves whole, by being whole through living, through our whole selves Do living a whole and complete life inside out, contributing to the progress and the progression and the evolution of life itself, through expressing Fully who and what we really are.