The other day, I was overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness. It was quite stunning and left a visceral mark on my chest. “What was this from?” I asked myself. I lead a full life, have many social contacts, a loving family, numerous students, etc. Certainly, the BBC news that I recently watched did not help the matter. Most news is composed of negative sound bites (1) without analysis. Following this stream, the uninitiated would undoubtedly be anticipating the end of the world. A daily diet of this nonsense, in the truest sense of the word — no sense — can never contribute to fellowship or camaraderie.
Loneliness can be broken into two forms: In one, I am physically isolated. I have no friends or family. “I have been a stranger in a strange land,” to quote Exodus. (2) This type of solitude is easy to satiate. Companionship is but a Tinder (3) app away — a local bar or nightclub would also suffice. The other form of detachment — that of the spirit or the soul — is much more difficult to appease. It is this that I would like to speak to. The sensitive soul knows. As Wittgenstein tells us, we all have a beetle in a box (4). I can’t see yours nor can you see mine. To extrapolate: I am hidden inside my corporeal form from the time I gain consciousness at 20 or so until the time I leave this mortal plane.
There are several ways to look at this epiphany or realization. The most important is that I am eternally safe. If I get to know myself, I am always sheltered from the vagaries of reality — within reason — from its pains, frustrations, and sense of loss. I can deeply delve into my being and find the answers to life’s questions: Why am I here and what is my purpose? I can do this on my own terms devoid of the pressures and values that I receive from my parents, friends, and society. A corollary here is that even if I listen to their advice, I am still 100% responsible for my decisions.
I can further build a relationship with God, Gaia, or the universe. This is an intimate and totally secure association. Once I achieve true connectivity, I can feel exalted because I can be completely honest and open with my thoughts and feelings. This rapport will only deepen. It will never suddenly stop and be pulled away leaving you feeling naked and exposed. You are free to discuss your deepest hopes and darkest feelings.
Human beings have looked to find this loving closeness from time immemorial. It is there but can only be achieved with an inner journey of discovery using the age-old tools of prayer, meditation, and introspection. Thus to combat a sense of loneliness is within my power and cannot be simply resolved through material possessions and fake friends. It needs the simple implements possessed within each of us.
The great philosopher and theologian, St Thomas Aquinas, (5) leaves us with a thought: Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also … understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you.
A closing thought: I always remind myself that I am, ultimately, a powerful entity. Life is ephemeral: I am on an essential journey to discover what my mission is and what contributions I am to make to society. I must be fully awake and capable of being strong and forthright. I am an essential being and my offering is necessary to help our civilization mature and deepen in its commitment to all its citizens.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about how to combat a sense of loneliness.
To be noted: from John F. Kennedy — Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
Just for fun:
This week, on your introspective stroll, please analyze what you think of the concept of loneliness.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: I am the great unfolding.
2) Exodus 2:22