How long has it been since you woke up feeling anything but fear and shame?
Do you feel alone in the world? Scattered and separate from yourself and others? Apart from your understanding of the Divine? Do you long for connection but feel overwhelmed by people? Do you have many people around you whom you love and who love you, yet you still feel lonely in a crowd? Do you project the appearance that everything is perfect, and yet you feel totally empty, like you are crumbling inside?
If so, you may also feel disconnected from your life, as if you are just going through the motions. It is as if everything okay on the surface, but you feel desperate inside, wondering Now What? The tendency is to then hide this from the ones you most love. This sense of loneliness is not the same thing as clinical depression, although it is often mistaken as such.
No matter how it feels right now, you are not alone. You do not have to do it alone. We can help you find yourself again.
You are inherently good. You are worthy of love and belonging. You do not have to prove yourself to anyone, including you. You can learn to let go and love yourself. You can find a light in the darkness, because it dwells within each of us. No matter how hard your past, no matter how overwhelmed or exhausted you are with trying to hold it all together, you can heal and find peace. I promise: There is nothing wrong with you, and no matter what has happened in your life, you are good. You are worthy of love and belonging.
The sense of desolation most people describe as loneliness can be deeply primal and spiritual in nature. If the mere presence of other human beings was enough to cure loneliness and depression we would all be happy, eternally fulfilled and content. Yet there is something more, a deeper need we have for connection, an existential pain that cannot be cured solely through interaction with others. In fact, feeling a lack of understanding from others and a sense of separation from yourself or God can be one of the most painful forms of loneliness. The deep experience of loneliness that comes from a feeling of spiritual separation is what John of the Cross termed the Dark Night of the Soul.
All of the spiritual traditions and religions describe these experiences. They describe a deep understanding that the Divine wishes a relationship and communion with us, as much as our souls long for communion with God. The Koran, the Torah, the Psalms and parables of Jesus describe many of these experiences of coming and going, of longing and pain, of union and separation, of things being lost and found. These ancients people were of arid regions. They understood the desolation and life and death nature of the dryness of the desert, so God is often described as a form of “water,” as a lover wanting to seek relationship, as a Source of enduring friendship and provision.
Every tradition tries to convey an understanding of the reciprocal need and nature of this connection to the Divine, of this deeper understanding that we are not isolated or forgotten. Genesis says we “should not be alone.” The Buddhists speak of your Buddha Nature and of opening one’s heart to hold all sentient beings, being as gentle and consistent in your kindness as a loving mother is to her only child. Shamanic and traditional healers speak of soul retrievals, of communion with the Spirits. Jesus wanted his friends with him and was forever going off in boats to fish and hang out with them. The Torah and Old Testament are full of stories of God continually reaching out to the people. The Hindus speak of the Atman, the “Eternal Self,” and of ashrams, teachers and methods for spiritual union. Kabir described it as “the breath inside the breath.”
In human beings there is an primal, universal need for connection. This need, and therefore this ancient path, is similar in each tradition and culture. While in the moment it can feel exceedingly uncomfortable or even grievous, the path appears to open only as much as we can or will give ourselves to it. This path inevitably involves forgiveness of self or others, seeing things in a new way, letting go of resentments and finding a sense of loving kindness toward yourself. For those who do not feel comfortable with a concept of a deity, there is still a need for gentleness and compassion toward self and others, what the Buddhists might call metta. All of these things lead to a deeper sense of connection to the Self, to God and to community. The results are a sense that one’s loneliness slowly decreases as the peace and joy increases.
The key to cracking the lock that houses loneliness is taking the time to get to know yourself, to really prioritize what is most important to you. Meaningful connection with others is important and encouraged, as is living congruently with your values, hopes and dreams. But until you make the time and commit to sitting with yourself, to entering into the inner desert to face your demons, they will always plague you. Carl Jung said if you don’t do this deeper work these things in your unconscious will “rise up to you as your life and you will call it your fate.”
There is a piece of Buddhist wisdom which says,
Death is certain. The time of death is uncertain. Knowing this, what is the most important thing?
For many, finding a liberating sense of peace and joy again is the most important thing; truly living life to the fullest and being connected to family and friends is the most important thing. The key is to do less and be more. The key is to slow down enough to hear the inner Voice of Love, to get in touch with the places inside of you that already holds all you need. The key is to be indiscriminately loving and gentle with yourself; to explore what the still, small voice may be saying to you. The key is to allow yourself to be plunged into the darkness to find the Light, knowing that on the other side you once again melt into God, or the Atman, or your Buddha Nature, or your Self…whatever you call it, you can again return to your true home.
If you are looking for a Light in the darkness, or a guide to help you find home, please contact us. We can help.