A r t i
c l e s
[copyright 2000 by Richard Andrew King - All Rights Reserved]
sad to live your life alone,
but you've got to know you're not alone;
the Lord has claimed you for His own,
and His loneliness is calling you Home."
From the song, "It's a Good Day"
Copyright 1999 by Richard Andrew King
All rights reserved
It can be very sad to live alone, as only the lonely know; as only the lonely can know. The sound of loneliness can not only be deafening but shattering. If you live alone, truly alone, you know what I'm talking about. You awaken each morning to dead silence. You come home from work to dead silence. You spend your nights in dead silence unless you fill the air with some kind of television, radio or stereo noise. You go to bed alone, especially if you live a life in keeping with spiritual laws and commandments. And, you also spend your holidays, Christmas & Thanksgiving in particular, alone, in dead silence, when most everyone else is spending time with their families, exchanging gifts, chit-chatting, socializing and enjoying each other's company, as sounds of laughter and merriment fill their air. But there's no one for you to share these times with because you live alone. There is no social merry-making, no chitchatting, socializing or enjoying anyone's company except your own.
When you've had a great day and want to share your joy with someone, because you live alone, there is no one to share it with except the silence. . . and the walls. Oh, those familiar walls - inert, placid, non interactive but nonetheless steady, constant, faithful, secure. When you need to vent and get something off your chest, there is no one with whom to talk. There is the silence, only the silence, and the utter helplessness of having all this 'stuff' inside - positive and/or negative - and nowhere to go with it. On weekends, if you do anything, you usually do things alone because you are alone. And. . . you do all this day in and day out for years, maybe even decades; maybe even a lifetime. Forever there is the constant state of being alone.
Sound familiar? No? If it doesn't, you're not really living alone. You may be a single person who happens to be gregarious and socially inclined. But some people are not so socially disposed. They truly live alone. They have no one - no one with whom to talk, play, interact, share life's ups and downs. They know who they are and they also know of that which I speak. They are the ones who find themselves 'living loneliness'. They are the ones to whom this article is addressed.
If one does not think such people exist, check the annual list of suicides.
How many people, tragically and sadly, take their own lives each year,
especially during the holidays, because they are lonely and just cannot
cope? How many others turn, sadly, to alcohol and drugs to
fill the void in their lives in an attempt to drown the pain of their isolation?
How many others, still yet, try to remove the pain, the loneliness and
the hurt by engaging in endless sexual encounters with other people in
an empty pursuit to fill the emptiness, placing their lives, health and
well-being - and that of others - at risk, in some cases lethal risk?
There are, in fact, many people living loneliness. Some hide it better
than others, but they exist and they exist in larger numbers than most
COPING WITH LONELINESS
If you fall into the category of those who live alone and are lonely, bearing in mind that not everyone who lives alone is lonely, how do you cope? How do you manage? How do you live life on a daily basis year in and year out and stay balanced, whole, healthy and positive? How do you do it?
I can only share with you the ways I've learned to cope. I'm sure there are others. What I've learned over the years and through endless days of truly living alone, is that when you're in the battle, you either learn to fight and survive or you die. It's that simple. Since death, I'm referring to suicide, is not an alternative because of its heinous spiritual consequences, then fighting is all that is left. So. . . you become a fighter. You collect your wits, still your mind, summon all the courage and wherewithal you have and charge! Into the battle you go with an iron will and firm resolve to conquer and not be conquered, not to let life beat the life out of you but rather you instilling life with more life - positive life. It is not everyone's battle but it's yours and mine - those of us who live alone, who have been presented with a destiny of isolation and solitude.
As you fight, you will learn to become such an accomplished fighter that, eventually, and after many bumps, bruises and booboos (and don't think there won't be any), you will have no more adversaries, no more opponents, no more demons or bogeymen to slay. You will have conquered, triumphed. You will do so because you did not yield. Sure you took some hits. No fighter ever fought without getting hit and hurt. So you fight. You wield a sword this way, slash that way, jab and thrust when you are given the opportunity to slay and destroy one of your bogeymen, but, and this is key, you never, never, ever quit under any circumstances. You can rest, withdraw, retreat, recede for a time; you can hurt, complain, moan, groan, cry and bitch if you want, lick your wounds and give yourself a chance to heal, but. . . you never give up, never!
How do we fight the loneliness? By attacking the emptiness we feel from the inside out, by becoming aware that our isolation is a result of separation from God, not man. Through thought, prayer, meditation, contemplation, study of spiritual scripture from Saints and Mystics throughout time, participation in health engendering activities and, most of all, engaging in the transmutation of lonely thought to holy thought because when we're holy, we're whole and, therefore, cannot be lonely. That's how we cope.
The great spiritual challenge given to those of us who live alone is to conquer, not to yield; to learn the value of isolation and solitude; to merge in the Oneness. Sawan Singh, a Mystic of the Twentieth Century said, "There is no better luck than solitude." Why? Because it is only in the solitude, the isolation, the silence, that we learn to find Him, our Creator, our Source, the Essence behind our living energy and our soul. We can't do this if we're constantly involved in an atmosphere of noise, chatter and other distracting paraphernalia. Therefore, through this understanding we see that being alone is a truly Divine gift, not a weight of despair. This should help lift our spirits and give us courage and hope.
Those who live alone know the silence. Oh, that irrepressible silence. It can be deafening and it can be disconcerting if we misread it. Silence, to one who feels there should be no silence, who feels that it is a void that must somehow be filled, can be a great enemy. The strategy, however, is not to run from it by filling the air with empty noise from external devices such as radios, televisions and stereos but to challenge it; to conquer it; to make it our friend. How do we do this? Attack it! The way out is in. Be still and go into the silence. Attack it! Embrace it! Learn to love it! Don't be victimized by it. Sit down. Be still. LISTEN! The silence is a doorway leading to the end of all loneliness. In reality, it is a gift of and from God to draw us into a higher Reality. It is the conduit for the release of the soul from its seemingly endless experience of pain and sorrow. In essence, God is calling us Home through the loneliness. God's in there, in the silence, somewhere. We just have to find Him. It's a game of hide and seek. He's hiding. We have to seek, but if we're sincere in our search, He'll pop out from His hiding place with a playful, "Boo!" and reveal Himself to us, eventually.
In essence, it's ok to be alone. In fact, it's ok to be lonely because the loneliness is the kick in the pants we need to reverse our outward flowing consciousness to an inwardly flowing direction. In one aspect, loneliness is the 'wrong way' sign that forces us to turn around and go the other way, the right way on the spiritual highway.
Besides, let's be truthful and really direct. Who is there who is not lonely? Let's not be fooled. We could have a thousand 'friends' around us and still be the loneliest person on earth. People who make a habit of socializing constantly could very well be the most lonely of all souls. Liquor, drugs, illicit relationship after illicit relationship, the pursuit of power, fame and name are all ways people use to fill the intrinsic loneliness all of us naturally feel as a result of our separation from our Source, God. Take anyone who is extremely socially involved with life, who thinks they are not lonely and put them on a desert island and see how comfortable they really are. If they were never lonely, they will be able to manage the isolation of truly being alone whether there are people around or not. It's quite arguable that those people who need people to be happy are most probably the loneliest of all and the most desperate. They just manage their loneliness in a different way. The fact is, we're all lonely to some degree. The way in which we deal with our loneliness varies. That's all.
Much of the dilemma in attempting to eradicate the loneliness manifests in the manner in which it is done. The normal course of action is to fill the void with external means when, in reality, the void is filled through internal validation of our inherent divine worth. However, we can't acquire this validation by searching for it on the outside viz. a viz. worldly wealth, name, power, position, relationships, success and achievement. Peace always originates from the inside, not from the outside. Yet, in general, the whole of mankind seeks it on the outside. Such a course is like walking down a trail for an entire lifetime only to arrive at a dead-end in the end. Then it is too late to go back and find the right way.
Turning within to find the peace which will neutralize the loneliness is definitely the answer. Saints and Mystics say so. Christ confirms: The kingdom of God is within you."[St. Luke:17-21] He did not say it is 'without' you but within you. If turning 'within' were easy, the whole world of souls would have already done so. It hasn't. It is a long and difficult road but one which must be traveled if we want the peace we seek. To travel this road we have to change the way we think, act and view the world and its activities. Interestingly enough, the inward journey is lonely, too, because it is a rarely traveled path. But what are the options? The worldly road leads to fields of illusion, loneliness and despair. The road 'within' however, although lonely for a time, does not lead to illusion or loneliness but to eternal bliss. That's the eternal Mystic promise.
If you are one of the 'lonely' ones, be of good heart and good cheer.
You're definitely not alone and you are in an exceptional position for
spiritual growth and ultimate soul liberation. Use the gift of loneliness
to get personally stronger by contacting the Power that waits within.
Turn in, tune in, not out. Transmute, redirect your energy and focus
in life to an inward direction. Be happy with who you are.
Value your isolation. In truth, we're all born alone; we will die
alone and we will go on from here alone. Thus, it is best
to use this time alone to prepare for that time of certain departure when
we will have to make the future journey alone. Nobody will be holding
our hand when we die. We will go alone into the great beyond.
If we use the loneliness well, if we turn our attention inward in the quest
to find God, eventually we will find Him, and then all our feelings of
loneliness and isolation will come to an end forever, and we will never
be lonely again. . .ever!