Maybe once, when we were naïve, we shared our lives with those around us. We let our happiness rise and fall with theirs, a tidal wave to remind us that we are intricately connected to other souls. But then we grew older, and our needs grew stronger, and we were lonely no matter how many people we had. So we poured ourselves out to others in desperation, expecting a reciprocation. But we never got back enough; people always disappoint, and the hole in your heart would always remain a hole.
Perhaps one day, for the last time, we gave ourselves away. Trembling hands presented all we had. He accidentally dropped it to the floor.
So we swept it up with cupped hands in a hurry, tears in a flood, and fled to a small dark cave. We drilled into ourselves the belief that we would always be alone. This world is full of empty bubbles of individuals, and we will never, ever fully combine. Protect ourselves. We learnt to grow our own strength, so that we needed no one else. Neediness was an abominable weakness.
We learnt to cut ourselves off, reject our nature of being sociable creatures, organisms that did need others to survive. We sealed off the hole in our hearts with layers and layers of silver duct tape. Locked it up in a freezing incubator, away from the hands of humans. We recited the mantra: dependency is death. We began to take pride in the fact that we could survive a whole night alone, then a week, then four years. Four whole years of keeping our heart in, a glorious achievement. We did it all on our own.
Then one day, someone walks alongside you on the beach and lies with you on the sand and puts his hand over your heart. No. Fear creeps up your back, but you keep yourself still. His words are a ray of warmth, and your heart begins to thaw, and you don't know what to do. You miss it so much, the feeling of having a heart of raw flesh, but you see, you know what is coming and you tremble at the thought. The waves are receding, receding, and if you didn't know any better you'd think oh this is so strange and beautiful but you have seen it before. In the blink of an eye the tsunami will sweep over you and devour everything you knew.
But you let him. You let him reach into your heart and hold it in his hands. You are a gaping crater in full display. He notices the duct tape over the hole. He picks at the tape to undo it, wanting to know what lies beneath. And when the wind rushes in you are aware again that you are emptier, hollower than ever.
(We have, in my view, created a society in which people find it harder and harder to show one another basic affection. In place of the sense of community and belonging...we find a high degree of loneliness and alienation. - dalai lama)