Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Lonliness is Our Friend
(I think I have listened this CD every Christmas since 1993)
Parents are running around to ensure that family gatherings are perfect. Children are creating their “Wanted Lists” for Christmas. Tickets are being bought at high prices so to stand in long lines to bask in crowded modes of public transportation to visit loved ones cross country. The holiday season is a time where families, friends, and co-workers gather in the name of breaking bread and drinking wine. End of the year parties that put smiles on the faces that otherwise would show no expression because their daily overwhelming job tasks. But this is only one side of the spectrum where smiles and hearts are filled with warmth in the cold weather.
For those who exist on the other side of the spectrum their faces expresses frowns and sighs. Loneliness surrounds those who are unable to spend time away from home or split hairs over excessive traveling prices to spend the holiday season with loved ones. I have experienced this myself for the last 7 years. I cower in my home away from the holiday spirit because I feel guilty its not spent with my family who I have not spent the holidays with in 8 years. It begins with the month of Thanksgiving where I feel I only have my life to be thankful for. In December, I remember the pains of the past that stresses loneliness and guilt. I know that I may feel lonely, but I am not alone because I have had a number of discussions with friends who are living the same bleak experience. This years cursed holiday has not been much different from the past. However, my perspective on how to cope with the holiday season has changed.
This year has been a rollercoaster that has reached the heavens and also descended into what I thought at the time was hell. For some reason the heat caused me to sweat profusely and the winter breeze was slightly colder. But, I am determined to make this holiday season different aside from the troubling thoughts my mind conjures. I believe if I know how to help others with loneliness I will be able to understand for myself what it means to live with a healthy loneliness. We all have a desire to be loved. We all desire to have a companion to share life with, may it be a with a friend or through the intimacy of someone you would like to build a family with.
There are six types of loneliness. They are: less desire, contentment, avoiding unnecessary activity, complete discipline, not wandering in the world of desire, and not seeking security from one's discursive thoughts.
Less desire is the willingness to sit with yourself and loneliness without seeking out something to smile and or change our mood so to escape the feeling of being alone. When you are able to sit in silence and explore loneliness without any answers you are able to understand the benefits of not letting the mind wander and invoke negative thoughts or actions.
The second kind of loneliness is contentment. We all seek satisfaction in our daily lives and create plans on how to maintain a certain satisfaction in our relationships, jobs, and other external factors that we may indulge in on a daily basis. Until we sit down and realize that there is no one around and the feeling of loneliness settles in. We figure out how we can dissassociate ourselves from loneliness and begin settle into the idea that this is what we are worth and we have nothing to lose. We give up on the hope of moving away from loneliness that may bring us any lasting happiness or sense of well-being. But, in order to escape this loneliness it is imperative to give up the bond with the nervous dread of doing the same thing because it allows us to be comfortable. As we become comfortable there is a shift that we are unaware of. We must continue to move through contentment with no alternatives and be content with the current mood and occurrences. Most of all do not settle. We must learn to remain moving. Even when you are sitting there is movement that we aspire to be aware of through spiritual work. Spiritual work is not easy. It takes more work than merely escaping what we are not comfortable with. Contentment is rooted in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of change. Change fear and we change contentment.
The third kind of loneliness is avoiding unnecessary activities. When we are boiling in the loneliness and cannot bear the heat it allows our heart to be brainwashed by our mind. Our heart grows hands reaching out for anything and anyone to save us. We become Closter phobic and the inside of our skin begins to itch trying to find anything that will help us escape through our pores. Is it possible to rely not on activities where we are seeking companionship or a habitual ways of using our same way of escaping the demons that loneliness may conceive? Is it possible to sit with ourselves? Could we stop relying on what we know of the past that assisted us from breaking away from loneliness? Could we calm down and allow ourselves the compassion and respect for ourselves?
The fourth kind of loneliness is complete discipline. Complete discipline means that every moment you get to sit with the loneliness that you are experiencing you are willing to be in the moment. We realize that loneliness does not have to be an enemy. It can also can be an experience that we can cultivate the mind and heart to realize how things really are. We realize there is no certainty in anything. We use loneliness as a discipline to realize the power of the unresolved moment of our lives. We then understand that the only moment that exists is NOW. The past and the future do not exist and the present moment is the moment we must exist in and not escape. The honest truth that hurts is there is no tomorrow and only today therefore we must understand loneliness is discipline that forces us to get to know ourselves. Loneliness is not a problem. Loneliness is not a complex formula to be solved.
The fifth kind of loneliness is wandering in the world of desire. Wandering in the world of desire involves vehemently searching for alternatives, seeking external factors like food, drinking, and people. It has the addiction quality that plagues today’s society. We are all scared to live alone so we are willing to settle, sacrifice, and indulge in things that may not be healthy for us or not necessarily what we enjoy so that we can feel apart of something.
The sixth kind of loneliness is seeking security from one's discursive thoughts. We all have a mind capable to create negative thoughts. But, the issue is not to succumb to those gruesome thoughts that take you on the wild rides that you are unable to keep up with or control. Our conversations with ourselves shouldn’t lead to questions of skepticism, but to questions of being. We must learn how to ask questions without expecting any answers and allowing ourselves to experience what is. Sit in peace attempting to dissolve in the silence and when a thought comes up silently say to yourself “thinking” to bring you back to the moment. We expect security through our internal chatter. But, we must encourage ourselves to acknowledge the chatter and then keep moving, not expecting certainty or uncertainty, but change. There is no need to “self-grasp” because life is forever chaning. Thoughts have no objective reality. But, we have the power to find our true self in the moving thoughts of being.
I no longer feel lonely in this world because I am on this journey of finding what it means to “Be.” For years during the holiday season I have looked around and seen loved ones disappear. When I see families come together I smile because I know one day I will be excited to have my loved ones all under the same roof. But, until then I sit and sift through the tears, and discursive thoughts, touch and go, so that I am able to maintain the softness of my heart. And wish everyone, both alone and not alone, the love and peace I have cultivated within to share with during this year’s holiday season.
at 4:00 PM