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Loneliness & Sadness

We all have days when we feel lonely, but the very idea of loneliness comes from the false notion that we are separate and isolated parts in a world filled with other separate, isolated parts. In truth, we can no more be separate from our world than a fish can be separate from the water in which it swims. When we really begin to look at the boundaries we see as so solid, they prove to be, in fact, quite porous. For example, it is not clear exactly where our skin ends and the air begins when we consider how our skin is affected by changes in the quality of the air. When it is dry, our skin becomes dry, and when it is humid, our skin becomes moist and supple. 

By the same token, it is difficult sometimes to distinguish the boundary between one person and another, especially when our actions tie us together so inextricably. Every move we make has an effect that touches all the people around us. On an even more subtle level, when we share space with another person, we often pick up on their energy, feeling how they feel and attuning to them, whether we mean to or not. This is what we mean when we say a mood or a feeling is contagious. We cannot help but be part of the realities of the people around us because we take form from the same energetic force, and this force unifies all life. This force is the light that all the great mystics and gurus encourage us to move toward, and it is the light we will dissolve into when we move beyond our individual egos.

If loneliness is a temporary condition based on an incomplete understanding of what we are made of, we can think of its presence as a catalyst for exploring our ideas about reality. We can respond by testing the boundaries we believe separate us from the life within and all around us. If we test them, we will discover that they are not so solid after all and that we can never really be alone.

Whether we are lonely or not, it is impossible to avoid times when we are, for whatever reason, deeply sad and probably the last thing most of us want to hear or think about when we are dealing with profound feelings of sadness, is that real learning can be found in this place. In the midst of our pain, we often feel picked on by life, or overwhelmed by the enormity of some loss, or simply just too exhausted to try and examine the situation. We may feel far too disappointed and angry to look for anything resembling a bright side to our suffering. Still, somewhere in our hearts, we know that we will eventually emerge from the depths into the light of greater awareness. Remembering this truth, no matter how elusive it seems, can help. 

The other thing we often would rather not hear when we are dealing with intense sadness is that the only way out of it is through it. Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and the faith that we will come out the other side. With heartfelt courage, we can allow ourselves to cycle through the grieving process with full inner permission to experience it. This is a powerful teaching that sadness has to offer us—the ability to surrender and the acceptance of change go hand in hand.

Another teaching of sadness is compassion for others who are in pain, because it is only in feeling our own pain that we can really understand and allow for someone else’s. Sadness is something we all go through, and we all learn from it and are deepened by its presence in our lives. While our own individual experiences of sadness carry with them unique lessons, the implications of what we learn are universal. The fundamental wisdom we gain from going through the process of feeling loss, heartbreak, or deep disappointment gives us access to the heart of humanity. 

Loneliness & Sadness

 
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