I have been recently trying to unplug a little more from all things that seem superfluous. I have even let go of some old friendships that no longer seem to be a fit for me. I say,”I let them go,” but the truth is the feeling was somewhat mutual but it made me reflect in my solitude recently about what friendship means, why I wanted it, and why do I need it.

I am not a lone wolf necessarily but I do spend a tremendous amount of time alone and I absolutely love it. I always have since I was child. I felt safe and I could retreat into my personal universe and there I had the world the way I wanted it. I imagine this is a symptom of many things and even when I see people driving and texting, or walking with their headphones on into traffic, or riding their bicycles with cellphones in hand. I look at them as if they are crazy, but truthfully I somewhat understand the desire to shut it all out.

I don’t think the answer is to retreat into the safety of aloneness but so many us have and do. The reasons are obvious. Friendships and all familial relationships have always forced me to feel and do things I did not want.

But why do things like that?

Why not retreat?

Partly because I secretly always knew that I was here to learn something and life was orchestrated in such a way for me to learn these things that I would eventually deem valuable and meaningful in my life. Lately I see an intelligence communicating in all peoples lives that is delivering a wisdom if we are willing and open to it that makes us grow to our fullest capabilities and some people listen and others insist on their habituated modes of being.

Friendships are a great lesson for someone like myself that totally wants to isolate all the time from the world at large. I have always forced myself to keep in touch with people that were in the periphery of my life. I thought it was my duty and to a certain degree I still believe it to be true. Just because I do not need constant companionship does not mean that some people should be abandoned or ignored or seen as inconsequential. I recently discovered how important my almost 20 year friendship with my best friend is. It is much better and sweeter than I ever realized.

In the most recent episode of Completely Ordinary towards the end of the show a light came on for me that illuminated further the concept of friendship. Joey and I are were talking about our responsibilities on the show I have always complained of having to do too much, but the truth is it is the way I want it. As we talked about this a light went off as Joey said that many of the things I value he did not.

I have always put more value on my relationships with people than was necessary, and added many superfluous feelings to my friendships because it made me feel good about myself and what I was doing with them. And I disregarded many people’s feelings because it served my fearful and protective narrative of myself.

In that instant in the end of our conversation (Episode 69 to be exact) I saw Joey for a second as a total stranger. For a few seconds it felt that I saw him for a second as the way he feels about himself. I saw all the meaning I had put on him for so many episodes. In a way I had shrouded him in my values and I was unable to see him for who he really was trying to convey. It was sad and liberating all at once. I had done this to so many people. In that instant realization I was delivered an enormous download and it took me almost a week to take it in and it is still being slowly understood.

It was awkward and uncomfortable like realizing you had spend the whole day with your fly down while running errands confidently, which I did last week by the way. These gifts of humility come with tremendous vulnerability that I constantly rant about. It is a gift for in that moment I take myself off the pedestal and find myself as I am, just like seeing Joey in that instant as himself. Joey was not this amazing person that changed my life and yet he did. Relationships are like a strange dance where we realize that all the meaning we apply to things serves a purpose and some of it is of great benefit and others times it is of great detriment and delusion for a self fulfilling purpose. It was beautiful to feel the truth of life staring at me as it is- not like I am special or omniscient but completely ordinary. It was nice to lose this sense of specialness and still feel the magic and mystery in all that is happening and possible.

To know oneself has to be the most sincere bliss one can have in my experience. We finally rest as we are and we see what we want from life, and we get to investigate if it is even possible to be such things. Life to me is an opportunity to further delve into the horrors and bliss we experience. It is all part of this desire in us to keep editing it or making it better or more special. It is humiliating in many ways because I thought so highly of myself because I was so afraid that I was worthless. I don’t think either one is true, it’s just like life always subtle, nuanced, more powerful, mysterious and vulnerable than I thought.

I gave all these ordinary people special powers because I needed to be special and I ignored their magic so I could be the ONE with it all in a sense. What a surprise that allowing people as they are into my life would allow me to see myself that much more clearer.

The concept of knowing myself is constantly expanding beyond what I thought was possible but it is more humbling than aggrandizing. It is paradoxical. The reality gets bigger while I get smaller and almost unnoticed even when I want to be seen.

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Beth - January 23, 2018

Oh, how your post resonated with me! I do the same thing, loving to be alone in my self-made cocoon. Growing up, the only place I felt relatively safe was in my room and I hid there often. Now I have my whole house, but I hide there also. I’m kind of an extrovert in some ways, but nothing feels better than being alone in my own place. There is no place I would rather be, and no one I would rather be with. All I have to do is be myself, me as I am, and that’s easier with just myself.

    Luis Campos - January 23, 2018

    yeah for me there isn’t much “room” to grow there…

    being myself has to be exercised in the world, if not what is the value other than pleasure seeking?

    do we get much benefit from the monk up on the mountain ?

Sam - January 23, 2018

Very true, I have come to see in my own life I have a lot of relationships that maintain a sense of self I am unhappy with. I see that reality, very often, and yet I lack the courage to make that change. Some ‘friends’ I often consider cutting out of my life.

Even standing up for myself or speaking my truth in those moments seems impossible. Perhaps because if I stepped outside of my character of being a victim, the entire predictable dynamic I have lived inside for so many years will challenge me in a way I have no skills to deal with.

I too am alone a lot of the time and convince myself I prefer that. But we come alive in conversation. I think the reality is I have bought into the ‘no-self’ game too much. It’s not helpful. In fact I am coming to believe it is just nihilistic and self destructive. For example the belief that there is ‘no self and there is nothing to be done’ . Actually there is a lot that could potentially be changed in my life, that could be challenged such as certain behaviours, fundamental beliefs and patterns of thought. This character is all I have to work with

    Luis Campos - January 24, 2018

    I agree Sam very well said! We have all grown up together I think in realizing “no self” is a dead end street in many ways. It almost cost me my life and that is something they don’t talk about enough in radical non duality.

    Øyvind - January 24, 2018

    That maps onto what I think of me perfectly. And I agree too.

Peter - January 24, 2018

Thanks Luis, came at a great time just moving out of (my safety) zone-with much reticence and yet I resonate with protection isn’t what is yearned for……..

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