Loneliness is a pain in our heart; it is very difficult to deal with. Partly at least because circumstance seems to validate the feeling. But there is much within loneliness that is essential to our growth. Contained in the pain of loneliness is yearning. If we are overwhelmed by the pain and circumstance loneliness crashes over the yearning and can become despair, disconnect and depression. I think of loneliness as staying behind the 8 ball. Keeping the 8 ball in our perception which means to feel the pain but not let it crush us. From here we can meditate into and discern what it is about.
Yearning is a very spiritual feeling. Loneliness is on a continuum from yearning all the way to despair. Yearning seeks direction, affection and connection but it takes focus to discern what it is about. What we call Loneliness, on the continuum, has given into hopelessness; it is like white light or the snow on a TV where we can’t see our way. But if one looks into white light we find it has a whole rainbow of colors as when it is passed through a prism. Each color has a meaning. The white snow on a TV is buzzy like anxiety. We have to take our eyes off of the circumstances and move back to our heart, and listen to the feelings of yearning and they will begin to tell us what they are about. In yearning there are rich seedlings of love and hope, the beginning of manifesting meaningful connections within and without.
We may be yearning for a meaningful relationship, for intimacy, for affection, for sex. In examining these we can’t always trust what we feel and must discern their origin and intent. There are often old, outdated strategies that we picked up in our need to survive that have dysfunctional ways; and underneath these is our core self that can be trusted. All of these parts are not to be dismissed but taken care of and restored, like a parent with a child, by the core self. They all have needs and demands, but are relatively un-resourced but can be taught and nurtured to serve a better purpose. In yearning all these things can be recognized and brought to light, but it is a process of trial and error. We cannot have outwardly what we are looking for immediately which is most pronounced in relationships and sex, but in the yearning there is awareness and direction.
Nevertheless, there is no resolving the causes of loneliness unless we come into a deep awareness of our core self. In our core self we can receive the affection and acknowledgement that we yearn for and that nothing else can give us like we can. We have to take this action for our self. The great leap is to see that the core self is directly connected to God. In this acknowledgement we receive the compassion and sense of being seen that we have always yearned for, that others did not give us. Often parents, or others fail to see us, and actually pass the pain they cannot deal with into us. It is essential to realize that this core relationship is received by understanding that God as the divine human. One cannot have a relationship with a cloud, or an amorphous supreme being, but we can with the divine human who sees us all the way through. He called himself our Father, Mother, Friend, Hero and Comforter. These are all very personal and immediate.
The funny thing in dealing with loneliness/yearning is that the more one becomes aware and open the more our body also becomes sensitive and aware; this is a good thing, but it awakens the yearning and desire for intimacy, connection, touch and sex to be more acute. This is part of awakening our capacity for joy and being vulnerable. I think it is also part of God’s process for moving us out of comfort zones when we get too settled so to keep us growing. It’s a sort of test but the core self brings us back to what is really true for us. We keep getting better at the whole process and come to know who we are; we come to know what we want and what we don’t, what works and what doesn’t and what is morally and spiritually in keeping in being right with God. So, in letting the stuff go that doesn’t work we become more content.
Staying behind the 8 ball means we feel and discern the cause of our yearning. Perception by nature keeps the cause of pain in our sight so to speak as opposed to crashing in a wave of emotion (but all things are our teacher by trail and error). In yearning there is something God has for us to learn and do. The yearning often cannot be outwardly fulfilled, but it is fulfilling in itself to feel and understand what it is about. In submitting the yearning to our core self for care there is spiritual, mental and even physical satisfaction in our body, mind and soul. The core self takes care of our whole self; it removes false expectations and other people’s thoughts that muck up our thinking and separate us from our self. The core self is tethered directly to the Lord.
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” John 16:32,