The question of how to be happy alone seems to raise an insight: that to be alone means to be unhappy, or that it is more difficult to be happy when alone — or, if you’d prefer, that it’s easier to be happy when we are not alone.
No matter how it’s expressed it points to being alone as something negative, and not being alone as something positive. Nonsense, I say.
Is it better to be in the company of someone that we find distasteful or even offensive than to be by ourselves? I can hear a response coming in now. It’s not just any interaction that matters; it’s a quality interaction or relationship. Now that would make me happy.
No, a quality relationship would not make you happy. You heard me right.
If you feel happiness within the context of a relationship the relationship itself is not the reason; the reason for your happiness is that you’ve accepted, as truth, a story that states this relationship is a good thing. So many of us, most of us, hold tight to a fundamental error — an error that causes untold amounts of suffering.
The error is this: life makes me happy or sad. To put this another way, external circumstances are the cause of my joy or pain.
Every emotional state — happiness, despair, anger, and any other emotional response — move from the inside out and not outside in. It makes no difference to your emotional state of being what happens “in the world”… it doesn’t matter one bit. What matters completely, what makes all the difference, is how you interpret what happens “in the world”.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare
You say being alone is something bad; I say it is not. So who is right? Beyond this rhetorical question see for yourself that the state of being alone carries no label — it just is. We are the ones who attach the label, who give some form of meaning to it.
Let’s answer the original question then: How to be happy alone? The solution calls for a response that is very simple but can also be quite difficult to carry out.
Here then is the solution: Stop attaching to the stories within your awareness that say being alone is bad. Stop accepting these stories as your truth. Instead simply observe these stories; allow them to be there without grabbing them somehow (through accepting them as truth or attempting to push them away).
The stories within our awareness, stories about loneliness and anything else, will move along quickly IF we leave them alone. They will come in, and then they will go. If, however, we grab them then we’re stuck with them and it will be our fault alone.
You don’t have to “do” something to be happy; peace and contentment are your natural state. In fact it could be said that to feel peace and contentment we must stop doing: specifically, stop getting ourselves caught in the mental activity that tells us something is wrong — the thinking that makes it so, as Shakespeare referred to it.
Allow this mental activity to be — observe it, listen to it, watch it — but don’t take ownership of it. Accept it but stand apart from it. Then it will be free from you (you are not grabbing hold of it) and you will quickly be free from it. This will produce a space, and within this space your natural state of contentment and peace will rise to the surface.
Try it for yourself and see.