Loneliness provides space for Love.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Oct 2, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

A Buddhist view of Love.

The key to falling in love is openness. Openness can feel like the cool breeze of loneliness:

Chögyam Trungpa: You can’t fall in love unless you’re lonely.


I don’t think anybody can fall in love unless they feel lonely.

People can’t fall in love unless they know they are lonely and are separate individuals: if by some strange misunderstanding, you thought you were the other person already, then there would be no one for you to fall in love with. The whole idea of union is that of two being together. One and one together makes union. In love it is the desolateness that inspires the warmth. The more you feel a sense of desolation, the more warmth you feel at the same time. You can’t feel the warmth of a house unless it’s cold outside. From “Loneliness” pages 139-140 of THE PATH IS THE GOAL. Pema Chodron, on uncertainty: Lodro Rinzler: ~ For more:

The Buddhist Notion of Love.

Lonely? Don’t fill the space. Breathe the cold, sweet air in deeply.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


17 Responses to “Loneliness provides space for Love.”

  1. Fiona Robyn says:

    Love this, Waylon. Thanks.

  2. Isabelle says:

    HA! i just read this one yesterday 🙂 thanks

  3. "You can’t feel the warmth of a house unless it’s cold outside." Simple, perfect, and true. "Baby, it's cold….out…side…"

  4. elephantjournal says:

    Yah, I love it to. It speaks to something many of us are confused about…we think we have to be cool, popular, together…then we'll get what we want. Instead, realizing we're all lonely—which many of us think of as a problem—we see we have the ground for open heart, in which love can take root. ~ W.

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Misa Derhy wrote: I feel exactly the opposite: we are really in love when we are not needy…how do you feel you?

    Sangye Choga Martin The tender spot of ultimate loneliness is what inspires love, both romantic and universal.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    joni yung you fall into a dependent relationship because you're lonely. but is it love? it could be, but then again, maybe not.
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
    Charlotte Blackburn Yes, I do not agree either…we have to be whole and happy before we can be whole and happy with another person
    9 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    elephantjournal.com Read the post, friends…lonely does not mean needy. ~ W.
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 peopleLoading…
    Amanda Bond ‎@charlotte…yes! But that's not common scenario with people falling in love!
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    elephantjournal.com Lonely does not mean needy, and true, we should make clear first what everybody understand under "love" and "needy". The article is little part of whole book, so probably the context is missing, however personally I prefer the love coming from wholeness then from desolation. It is based on experience of each of us…and please keep sharing such intersting conversation! ~ Misa
    8 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading…
    elephantjournal.com Amen, Misa! I think he's using loneliness more in the sense of openness. It's a Buddhist thing…we think loneliness is healthy, not something to avoid. ~ W.
    8 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Mark Dalton Loneliness sucks. Being alone can be beneficial. Let's get our terms straight.
    7 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    elephantjournal.com But loneliness doesn't suck, from a Buddhist pov. From a Buddhist pov, that very hurt or wound, that raw heart, is itself bodhicitta. ~ W.

    Misa: Subject: Re: This is how we are coming from different perspectives…

    …and I believe that it is the great example how our deep core belief, or our belief system influence our perception. This we should keep in mind when there is discussion on EJ (and others medias…)

    For me, Loneliness is negative, aloneness is positive, according to OSHO:) http://imielvisser.com/2010/09/27/osho-loneliness

    Well, some of that's just semantics…how Osho and Trungpa Rinpoche used the words. That said, the raw open hurt feeling of loneliness, in Buddhism, is something to give air and light to, not to reject or, for that matter, act out on (what you called neediness). So I think we're on the same page. That said, Osho and Trungpa Rinpoche/Buddhism, I think it can safely be said, didn't see eye to eye.



  6. I think most of the "needy" comments are from people who either didn't read the post or are still in that," I need to get my sh*t together before I am worthy of love" paradigm.

    If you are so solid and self-sufficient that you don't still have a broken open heart, how can there be space in you for love to grow? You need that raw, ripped openness to get to a deep enough place to truly plant love. Like CTR mentions above…you need to feel the cold to really feel the warmth. The reason we can hear the beauty of a melody is as much about the rests in the music as the notes. This has been a major theme that keeps resurfacing in my life this year…good stuff.

  7. gary says:

    as a lonely one of late, this is encouraging!
    my self-warning is to not grab to fulfill.
    what this post says to me is that to the extent of my knowing the cold, I'll embrace the warmth.

  8. […] Make sure you fill every minute of every day. If at all possible, don’t spend a single second alone, and definitely don’t get too quiet. Turn on the television, music, something. If it gets too […]

  9. lisa lindenlaub says:

    Such wisdom! Seperation is not some curse cast apon us (although it certainly can feel this way). It is a gift. With out duality there is no knowing of love there is no experience of loving.

    Kate Bartolott,
    Wow! Beautifuly said.

  10. […] For loneliness is a perpetual state of ultimate freedom, of barren naked love. […]

  11. […] 3.) Loneliness isn’t a weakness, loneliness is you eager to fill a void. […]

  12. […] “You can’t feel the warmth of a house unless it’s cold outside” […]

  13. […] elephantjournal.com via elephant on […]

  14. wowzers….never thought about it that way. thanks waylon:)

  15. Christine says:

    I love this post but it leaves me torn. His post states a fundamental truth — that one needs to want companionship in order to find it — and yet it runs counter to the accepted thought that one needs to be whole, embrace oneself in our “alone” state in order to have a healthy relationship with another.

    I struggle with this a lot…

  16. Iona Eubanks says:

    Did he say this before or after he married his sixteen year old student?

    Q [student]: What if you feel the necessity for a violent act in order ultimately to do good for a person?

    A [Trungpa]: You just do it (Trungpa, 1973).