Lately I’ve enjoyed listening to “Alone,” sung by Nana Mouskouri. When I listen quietly to a song like this one, one sung with a tremulous but powerful voice, melancholy and loneliness surface from deep within my heart.
It reminds me that everyone is born alone and dies alone. Even twins don’t come into the world hand-in-hand, side by side.
Humans have always been lonely beings. What matters is what we do with our loneliness. Some people cannot endure the loneliness and fall into depression and give up on life. Others attain enlightenment through deep observation of and realization about the true nature of loneliness and human life. Through enlightenment we can overcome loneliness and arrive at “a new birth of the soul.”
For example, before an egg hatches, the growing chick’s life is lonely. However, if it overcomes 21 days of adversity and growth and breaks out of the egg into the light, a new world begins.
We also experienced this process when we were born. Although the 9 months we spent inside our mother’s belly was a lonely time when we couldn’t see anything, after we endured that time and came out into the world, we were able to meet our parents and a new life stretched out before us. However, then another journey with loneliness began. When I listen to “Alone,” I picture this journey—a person with fated loneliness wandering with earnest yearning in search of another lonely soul like itself. It occurs to me that life is ultimately a long voyage in search of a freedom and truth that transcends loneliness.
The protagonist’s desire to reach the island in the song reflects this intense and desperate yearning—the innate human longing for enlightenment. Enlightenment is really an opening to the clarity and vastness of the universe, at which point our imposed solitude transforms from heartache and separation, to a radiant connection to everything. By listening to the inner voice of your soul, loneliness becomes glorious solitude.
In the same way, the moon hanging in the sky is solitary. But even though the moon is in the sky by itself, its light shines brightly in the darkness. The loneliness we feel when we have not recognized our radiant connection to everything is also darkness. Tonight, as I look outside the window alone, the moonlight is unusually bright. It seems like it’s talking to me, reaching out through the darkness with its light.