Feeling Alone in a Crowd

I am probably not alone in spending the majority of my life believing myself ordinary and unexceptional and as such with nothing of interest to say to people on how they may live their lives. Retrospectively I have always had this feeling of never really belonging in groups and a feeling of being the odd one out in most group situations. A good example would be on the odd occasion I would go to a soccer match with my friends (mates). They would comfortably exhibit the herd behaviour seen as normal in that situation I would just feel silly and not understand the behaviour at all, finding it, for want of a better word, senseless. Thus I would end the experience feeling that there was something wrong with me in that I could not enjoy the bonding as the others so obviously was. In fact, I think the herd had the opposite effect on me and rather than provide a place to hide away or to be comfortable and avoid personal responsibilities, the experience actually made me feel more separate and I felt that all others could see I did not belong and were aware of my discomfort. Rather than hide in the crowd I felt exposed and vulnerable in the crowd.

The crowd illuminated my invisible difference. I do now wonder just how many of them were authentically in the moment and how many were being inauthentic and just playing their expected roles as football supporters things. Struggling just as I was at that time with the need to belong to something even if it means masking who we really are in our hearts for fear of rejection.

However, over time and more comfortable as my fake self I have learned how to adapt rather than become comfortable and can “fit in” with the required herd mentality when needed albeit begrudgingly at times, even more so in recent times.

More recently, within the last decade or so, my attitude has changed from one of a kind of apologetic inability to tailor myself to each and every group situation, to an attitude of understanding that it is okay to be just how I am. My freedom is to be found in that, and other choices that previously I had felt separated me from society in a negative way. I think the best way to explain myself is that up to the point that I consider my awakening moment – my life lived by me.

I was sleepwalking through a life that was based on others, norms and society’s expectations. I had little awareness of the situation and believed myself to be freely living my own life. However, the nagging doubts and anxieties were ever present and I forever tried to find peace of mind in more is better. More stuff, more fun, just more distractions in general but those “something missing” moments never really left me. Material gains and hedonistic pleasure were my unfulfilling answers and the short-term solutions to my problems. I see now that that is the case for many “normal” members of our society and they are lost in the more is better philosophy in the search for that promised happiness that they believe they deserve and is possible because it has been promised, and is falsely promised every day in many different ways through the gadgets we can no longer live without.

They are the wrong answers. They will never be the right answers. That next new car, holiday, gadget, relationship or night out will do very little but postpone the search for that deeper meaning that we all crave in reality but are far too distracted to ever give any real thought or effort to obtain.

I now live my life as opposed to being carried along by norms and opinions. I dare to be myself and aim for authenticity as much as I can. I am also aware that 100% authenticity may or may not be attainable as we are conditioned from birth to behave inauthentically. The egoic mind will always be involved either a little or a lot.

For the first time in my life, I feel I am seeing life and particularly life for an individual in society clearly, or more clearly. The challenge and meaning that brings to my life are invigorating and inspire me to enjoy every moment with renewed vigour. This renewed vigour or passion is not to be seen and exhibited by external actions but by a deeper internal feeling, a passion for life and a life full of eureka moments that make you smile inwardly. For the first time in my life a comfortable sense of having an understanding of what I can and can’t expect from my life. I know that the meaning of my life is entirely down to my choices. A feeling of understanding that man will never have all of the answers that he so desires and that that desire for clarity is often misplaced, so misplaced that he would rather invent answers and lies than accept that life is absurd and the clarity pursued by man is unattainable. And lastly, a realisation that there are no absolute systems, not science, religion or rational thought that will ever provide the answers for each and every individual on this planet despite their rather extravagant claims of having all of the answers we will ever need.

If they do not have the answer, then the problem does not exist. It is up to each individual to create meaning in their life and to take responsibility. You have more choices than you realise and there are never any guarantees that you will make the right choice or that when a choice doesn’t work out that the other choice would have worked out any better. Choose and move on. The way forward is through awareness of what is and was is not and can never be. And an awareness that you as an individual are pure possibilities and you are constantly becoming, constantly renewing yourself till the day you eventually become a fixed entity, the day you expire. At that moment you will enter the transition we call death, one of the biggest mysteries and you will be able to discover first-hand if your personal answer to that big question is accurate. That is providing you have thought for yourself enough to have a personal view as opposed to the wholesale opinions that are available off the peg from our myriad of religions. Maybe you could explore all of them and find your own comfort zone amongst the confused dogma. My books and blogs are intended to help the reader progress by breaking free of at least some of the social conditioning and automaton thoughts that pervade any culture. Thoughts that are aimed at social control, security and profit for the ruling classes rather than for the good of the individual. I am thinking and attempting to live this philosophy oftentimes against society’s grain each and every day. Your whole life may change and the people in it also as you no longer play your old roles to fit in. Sometimes I manage to live free and authentically and at other times I get dragged back into the comfort of herd mentality and inauthenticity. The project never ends and the aim is to live a truly free individual life in a society that will assimilate you totally back into the collective with its considered normal and expected beliefs and behaviours if you choose to surrender your freedom. That is the fate that awaits if I relax even for one second. What a buzz that passion creates inside, what a challenge, every day a life to be lived by me or given away to relative comfort and conformity (enslavement).

In every encounter with reality, man is already beyond this encounter. He knows about it, he compares it, he is tempted by other possibilities, he anticipates the future as he remembers the past. This is this freedom, the power of his life consists. It is the source of his vitality, of his life power.

Paul Tillich

I am getting better and that is the best I can expect, maybe that is the best we can all expect. Having said that I have never found life more interesting than I do now and having the life purpose of transcending myself every day is certainly a purpose worthy of my life. A life with meaning and a purpose that anybody can adopt. There are ups and downs but an acceptance of the downs as all part of the process does make them an interesting proposition and often the best lessons are contained in the downs.

I write about awareness, progress, getting better and how that might work for us all in the real world. My writing by necessity is probably more rebellious than Zen due to the numerous discoveries by other authors of what might be happening behind our backs. I attempt to map personal progress despite all of our obstacles. I consider myself a messenger for many fine writers and an interpreter of complicated ideas into an understandable and practical language.

With my books and blogs, I write to motivate, inspire and teach optimism in a very difficult world. I cover all aspects of life from health and fitness, work, relationships and everything in between to the best of my ability at the stage I am at in that precise moment in my life. Getting better in the real world – whatever that might mean!

We would all like to be perfectly Zen-calm in the turbulent world and that was my initial intention with my writing. 100% constructive, positive and optimistic throughout it all but it soon became blatantly clear that there is much going on behind our backs and that approach would be unrealistic and quite frankly unworkable in a world that has many demons and not enough heroes and angels. If we wish to get better, we can’t begin by ignoring anything that may make us uncomfortable. There is much in human society that will make us very uncomfortable indeed. I will signpost books to read for you to understand more fully to what I may be referring to. But you will need a very open mind and to understand that much of what you think you know now is programming. Your learning and worldview will be unique to you and will be a process of constant change and discovery.

What do we do with all of this awareness, how can we help?

We simply work to get better ourselves, we don’t waste energy on resisting the rest of the world that we are unhappy about. We raise ourselves above it all.

The all-important thing is to live our lives at the highest possible energy level that we can attain and the more of us that are able to do this the better the world will be. It really is that simple.

There is a battle on this planet between higher and lower energy and much of what we see on the news would indicate that lower energy has control of this planet. That is our task, to change the energy of the planet, to take it so high that the lower energy just fades out of awareness completely. You have heard the saying “ignore them and they will go away”. By ignoring them we are not using our energy to boost them. We must not get dragged down to their level, we created this by letting them drag us down, and we can end it by taking their powers away. Their power comes from our fear and anxiety, our anger and stress is their energy source. We are being held back.

Ironically we are us and them – the egoic mind contains the entire spectrum of human possibilities both good and bad and ego management is the name of the game.

As The Beach Boys stated – GOOD VIBRATIONS –

We start with ourselves and support our friends and loved ones if they are on the same journey and that is how we save this planet and evolve the human race. We do it by recognising that our hearts and minds create our worlds and everything else is just a distraction and an effort to stop humanity from reaching its full potential. Or as many would say the dark side of the human mind prevails over the light.

Probably the best thing we can do is to approach it all with a sense of humour and not take it all so seriously and that way our state of mind will be perfect and ever so slightly annoying to those that want us to live in fear.

Many Thanks – Gary