One way or the other, I closely identify with the image of the Lone Sheep. This Sheep has a history both of feeling alone, and more recently, of standing alone. The sheep which tends to feel alone is the sheep who finds herself in the position of perpetual dissatisfaction with most of life’s endeavors and happenings in which she becomes lost. The sheep who feels alone tends to approach life with great negativity and reluctance, resisting the grasp of quicksand beneath her feet by flailing her body outwardly, sinking her further, faster. The Lone Sheep, on the other hand, finds herself in a state of rebellion against the internal onslaught of her personal belief system, a twisted amalgamation of the common belief system. The Lone Sheep while sinking intentionally stops, and fully alert watches her surroundings in great detail from moment to moment waiting not for any ‘saving vine’ to come to her rescue.

The Lone Sheep will never join a common movement or any ordinary revolt. Her rebellion is no ordinary kick in the face of the herd mentality, the social conformity of the community of sheep, nor an outward rebellion against the external authority of the Sheppard and his cronies. Nor is this a rebellion against her outward appearance as a sheep, which she knows she is helpless in altering. Actually, this is an internal rebellion, a rebellion from deep within as the Lone Sheep clearly SEES the meaninglessness of revolting against the circumstances of her external environment. This external environment, she clearly understands, will always be what it IS.

The Lone Sheep finds that it’s not the external circumstances that cause the general suffering of sheep, but the psychological reactions to those circumstances which cause the external world to appear “good” or “bad”, “easy” or “difficult”, “beautiful” or “ugly”, “rich” or “poor”, “high” or “low”. Yes, the lone sheep rebels from within, a revolt against the attachment to the ideas that the external is “this” or “that”, which is an extension of an attachment to the ideas that she is “this” or “that”, the root cause of which is the mind’s natural susceptibility to the infectious herd mentality into which all sheep are born and indoctrinated.

Essentially, the Sheep experiences a constant movement between these two states of “alone” and “Lone”, each state a temporary beginning of the other’s end, and each state a temporary end of the other’s beginning. The movement between these two basic states of mind reflects the Sheep’s immutable struggle for LIFE synonymous with Truth. This struggle is to end all struggles, transcending the duality caused by the perpetual cycle of “unaware” to “aware”. The Lone Sheep’s endeavor is a trial, a battle for survival that is turbulent and painful, yet absolutely necessary. For in the absence of this essential struggle Life is bound to remain a dream, a projected and conditioned hope for a nonexistent future which is the very cause of poverty and violence occurring in the present moment.

It is written in the New Testament (Matthew 10:34-36) that Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”

Indeed, only in struggling between the states of relative ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ may the Sheep ever tap into the potential that is objectively beyond them both, beyond the herd within. The Lone Sheep is an impeccable warrior who must find the courage to oppose the fragments of self within her own psyche. The Gospel of Mark 5:9 describes in the country of the Gadarenes:

“And He (Jesus) asked him (the man), “What is thy name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion: for we are many.”

These fragments are the many voices within the Sheep’s head who, as Jesus perhaps suggests, are not her genuine family, not True members of her household but intruders. The Lone Sheep is here to negate the presence of intruders within her own home in order to become Master of the House, ridding herself of the Legion within, once and forever.