Graffiti, taken in Paris

Avoiding People and Social Interactions

Do you feel so little common ground with people and society that you’d rather just withdraw and not bother?

A reader sent me the following set of questions, which I’m taking apart topic by topic to answer separately in different posts. Today we are talking about dealing with people and society.

Q: Did you go through a people-hating period? Not literally ‘hate’, but were people’s aspirations, values, and conversations so alien and ridiculous to you, that you felt no motivation to socialize or be part of society?

This is what I’m experiencing now. It is strangely painful and depressing. And a bit confusing, as it seems the endgame should be a feeling of connectedness, love, oneness, motivation, productivity, flow, etc. Instead, I am contracting more into my inner world and feeling lost (in the outer world), anti-social, and dying to escape.

I was a licensed attorney, teacher, counselor. And now … nothing. I’m exploring writing short stories with themes of awakening, but I often feel, ‘What’s the point? No one will get it.’ I feel drawn to the creative realm, yet I cannot find the motivation to do. It doesn’t help that financially, I don’t have to. Yet, I feel I’m wasting my potential.

I’m turning 40 on Sunday and have no children (husband (awake) and I (awakening) have been on fence; now I’ve mostly lost interest) and no career. How does one channel that ravenous floating woman who exists and creates just for the hell of it?! Or rather, the heaven of it.

Did you go through a similar phase (aversion to people, low mood, loss of career motivation)? If so, how did you overcome it? You seem so well-adjusted and content.

It’s interesting that you used the word hate. And I know you quickly qualified yourself, but I also know you have worked as an editor. If that word was in no way applicable to what you were asking, you would have removed it. So even though hate is not really what you mean, there is an element, some quality of that feeling that does apply for you. I’m going to leave that there for now, because I want you to be aware of it.

Lilith: The difference between us is that when I woke up, I woke up.

You are still not awake, but in some stage Sleepwalkers refer to as awakening. I did not share this experience, this so called process of awakening that so many describe. You are still firmly anchored into your personal perspective, the personal self at the center. That self is still real to you, even as you look out at society and the man-made world as being more and more unreal, less and less valid. So the outside is being called into question, but the inside perspective remains.

In one moment, I woke up. When you are awake, it is so stark and different. There exists no notion that one is in some process of waking up or that one is operating a various levels of being awake. Only Sleepwalkers make these distinctions because they are still dreaming and do not have the experience of being truly awake by which to understand the difference. People are awake or they are not. In a mundane sense, you can understand this: A brain surgeon is awake or he’s not. The pilot flying you from Los Angeles to London is awake or she’s not. In those circumstances you would never think to apply and accept some kind of gradation of how deeply or lightly asleep these people are.

When I woke, I saw people in a way that cannot be described very well. All at once, I saw them all-through-time, I saw them as glowing balls of light, I saw them riddled with parasitic attachments, I saw them in thrall and in love and enslaved in addiction to their non-existent personal self, to their story. I saw how dangerous they were, to each other, and sometimes to me especially. That which keeps people asleep would kill people like me. Kill or neutralize. I became aware of what people were thinking, of their constant stream of petty, grasping and violent thoughts. I could see when they were lying, and that people lie a lot. Nearly everything that people said was robotic, mechanical, manipulative, nonsensical. I saw all this, and more, with absolute clarity, but no judgement.

It’s not that I refrained from judgement because I’m a good person, a wise person, a morally superior person. There simply is no judgement. It’s very difficult for people who are still anchored to a personality-self to truly grasp what it means that there is no judgement. You can understand the concept that you shouldn’t judge, but it’s hard to understand that judgement doesn’t exist, it isn’t an option, it doesn’t happen. So, while I can say emphatically that people who abuse children sexually must be stopped from doing so by all means, I don’t experience any judgement. I don’t need to rationalize that maybe it’s just the way their brains are wired or that they were abused themselves, so are somehow also victims. Nothing like that. It just doesn’t come up.

These days, we spend a lot of time talking with or in some way communicating with computer programs. Sometimes we know it, and sometimes we don’t. When you call customer service and you have to talk to an automated program, some of them are quite sophisticated. Some, less so. There are programs now that can chat with you online so seamlessly that you would be hard pressed to even know there wasn’t a person on the other end of your chat. Most people are not aware that there are computer programs now that write news articles and blog articles. No human needed.

Waking up, really waking up, you find yourself awake in a whole world of people who are in fact run by programs. Some are rudimentary, some are very mechanical, others read the New Yorker or The Atlantic or The Economist, go to interesting parties and conferences and are more sophisticated programs. What does that feel like? To be in a world of purportedly billions of people and be the only one awake? Not that I am the only one, but how often, I wonder, does one truly awake person ever just happen to live next door to another?

There is an adjustment period. You will have to process this. It’s a lot.

Another thing that happens when you are awake living in a world of Sleepwalkers is that you suddenly have no more hooks. People walk around with all these things that can be hooked into, and they also have hooks that they use to interact with others. When you wake up, you don’t hook other people and you no longer can be hooked by others. Once people realize they can’t hook you, a lot of time you just become invisible to them. You fall out of their field of focus, which is to say, their reality. It’s a very interesting thing to experience.

I could say a whole lot about how people communicate with each other, things that have become utterly transparent to me, but are opaque to Sleepwalkers. You may have the knowledge, the concept that people behave this way, but you don’t see it with total transparency every time people do it. It’s quite a different thing.

I love people. I can’t say why. And it’s not personal, not a personal kind of love. There are people who are either too riddled with parasites or in the throes of full blown possession, and I stay away from them. There are people who are very rudimentary when it comes to which programs they are running. I limit my interactions with such people. But, no, I don’t hate or disdain people because they are asleep, possessed, controlled by a program, robotic, mechanical, or any of it. I’m just careful.

The programs that keep people in thrall (I’m calling them programs, but don’t take that literally) prefer when awakened people go off into a cave and live out their awakened lives in solitude. We are less of a threat to their food source that way. If you’ve seen the Matrix movies, you may recall that Agents can basically take over any one still stuck in the Matrix. That happens. Any Sleepwalker, no matter how spiritual or how evolved or whatever, can be used, taken over, if only briefly, by the program to antagonize (or worse) people who are awake and still willing to engage actively with Sleepwalkers. That’s another consideration when dealing with people.

But this is all from my perspective and experience. It will not be the same as yours. You are still using your personality self as the assemblage point from which you interpret and understand your world. Your interactions with other people will always be translated through this basic flaw of perception, even as you have the experience of becoming more aware of how silly or mechanical human interactions are.

From my perspective, you are asleep. A lot of what you say to me is nonsensical. And yet this doesn’t stop me from meeting you where you are. It doesn’t stop me from treating your concerns as valid, and speaking to you in a way that feels natural and friendly. I know that people still attached to the personal self take things so…personally, so I’m taking a risk here using this as an example. I hope you don’t take this personally! But imagine that from my perspective, the things you are very concerned with are just completely void to me. You are going around in circles. You are in thrall to programs. So? I don’t need you to be different than you are.

People are mechanical and silly and…well, often quite yucky. Are you seeing that? Isn’t that unpleasant? The only reason you have any strong feelings about it, like feeling disdain for people and social situations, or (and I know you don’t really mean this) hating people or just hating the whole stupid social pantomime, is because you know on some level that you, yourself, are not totally clear of this. You are not totally free of the programs. You look outward and say, “Gross! Why can’t people be awake and authentic instead of having these robotic, greasy ways of dealing with each other?” The reason it troubles you to the extent that it does is because you know that on the inside, you are not free of it. And isn’t that a very uncomfortable place to be? It is so much easier to be unaware or completely clear of it. Being aware and knowing you are not completely free of it is a state which engenders all kinds of cranky and uncomfortable feelings.

That’s where you’re at. And while it’s completely natural and good to look outside yourself at “other people” or at society, and recognize how insane it all is, you can then turn that awareness inward. Or not. You can also just relax about the whole thing. Because this all ties in to what you said next, which was a question about the endgame, as you put it. And I’ll have to get to that in another post.

To see the other posts related to this Q&A

How to deal with losing your motivation

image: taken in Paris, a wall mural, graffiti

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  1. Jesus Olmo says:

    “In the field of AI there’s a phenomenon called the uncanny valley. It refers to a line on a graph that trends upward as it depicts the increasing level of comfort we feel toward a robot the more human it appears. The line goes steadily up until the robot gets too human, too eerily real, and then the line dips dramatically— the uncanny valley—as observer comfort turns to confusion and revulsion. So close yet so far. This is how someone in whom the spiritual sense is not awakened appears to one in whom it is; eerily human, but somehow not. And not just someone, everyone.”
    -Jed McKenna, “Dreamstate. A Conspiracy Theory”

  2. Patrick says:

    “how often, I wonder, does one truly awake person ever just happen to live next door to another?”

    Here is a charming example of a conversation from one awake person to another. It is fun to speculate about how often this sort of conversation takes place in real life, as distinct from on a stage in front of an audience of seekers.

    As a rule, it seems that only non-duality teachers have an interest in coming out of the closet about awakening.
    In my experience it is difficult to communicate on a human level with teachers as they tend to be so caught up in their roles. Isn’t Maya wonderful?

  3. Emma says:

    “When you wake up, you don’t hook other people and you no longer can be hooked by others. Once people realize they can’t hook you, a lot of time you just become invisible to them.”

    Would you mind writing a bit more about hooks and hooking? Are hooks emotional triggers? This must be a different concept from, for example, people being attracted to an awake person’s energy / frequency.

    Also, since there is a difference between “awake” and “awakening”–a qualitatively enormous one–have you found that one who is “awakening” can ever do anything to shift into the “awake” state? There seems to be an enormous intensity of will that fuels “awakening” and you can go further and further until … you can’t anymore. Perhaps you get stuck. Then what? Stay stuck? You can’t go back it seems. But … is “awakening” just another illusion of the mind”? Is there simply only “sleepwalking” and “awake”? Most importantly:

    Can one really make the leap from awakening to awake by one’s own doing?

    U.G. Krishnamurti has a very strong stance on this! I wonder what your perspective is.

    Thank you, as always.

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