It didn’t start with the pandemic for me; this battle against loneliness. I would wager I’m not the only one battling it, either. We are all, in one way or another, trying to find a means to lessen the loneliness, emptiness, void that lives inside each and every one of us.
We aren’t always conscious of our loneliness. Sometimes it manifests as obsessive compulsive behaviors, like reaching for the ice cream in the fridge, a late night text to the ex, scrolling through memories of previously held joy on social media, having a cigarette outside under the blanket of stars, watching an old movie or tv show seen ten times too many, playing a familiar video game solo or in a group.
Whatever we may do to fill that empty space that moves us to do something, anything, it never seems to be enough. Maybe for the moment we are filling that time, the emptiness subsides, but once we are finished with whatever activity we temporarily found to fill the space, the problem creeps back in. Ever so subtly, ever so consistently.
Some of us are really good at consistently filling the gaps with useless, unconscious activities that leave us feeling even more empty than before, so we keep going and finding more and more material possessions and activities and achievements to keep our lonely mind occupied.
Sometimes, we think finding a relationship and starting a family is going to fill that gap. So we go into the world to find the right person to embark on such a journey with. And sometimes it works. We get into that flow of creating a family and life is good until it the excitement starts to settle.
Small incompatibilities between members of the family begin to rub you the wrong way. The freedom you once had seems so appealing. Being surrounded by people, sometimes in itself, is lonely. Even being around those you love, it doesn’t always fill that gap. Sometimes you can feel even more alone when it feels like no one completely understands you. Being around your family, it dulls the aching pain of loneliness, emptiness, the void but sometimes the urge to run away into solitude comes over us. The grass is always greener, right?
It’s not that you can’t be happy in a family or relationship. The trick is to be complete on your own and not place your happiness as a responsibility on others. Seems much easier said than done. And I agree. It is a constant battle, day in and day out trying to keep that creeping loneliness from invading your inner life.
How is it possible to find that sense of wholeness in a world of increasing panic, chaos and radicalization? There seems to be less and less people out there to connect with that you share common ground. Personal attacks coming from even those you love because of tense political and economic climate. Maybe the answer lies on a road less traveled, these days.
Seeking a spiritual pursuit is the tried and true resolution in years and civilizations past. Which one is entirely personal and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. All spiritual practices point to the same universal truths. The pursuit of it will lead to more questions and the unfolding of more realizations.
As Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him who knocks it will be opened” KJV.
In the photo above, a rose blossoms in the Jardin Alhambra of Granada Spain. This beautiful place of intense religious conflict illustrates a universal truth. Throughout the pain and suffering that unfolds in the world, beauty and life unfolds as well, if we keep our eyes open and minds focused on the higher truths.
Maybe we can realize the true miracle of being alive and our differences with others is eclipsed by our awe that we ARE different and maybe that is what is beautiful. Maybe we will have more tolerance for the differences of others because we put on a new lens, a new filter and see the positives and beauty of what used to seem unsavory. Maybe we won’t be so lonely if we take in the beauty hidden in plain view.