The Spiritual Gift of Loneliness

I’m not sure if it is because of a particular perspective through which I view the world, a function of my temperament, due to being the first born, separated by nearly four years from my closest sibling, or none the above, BUT for as long as I can remember I have had a deep experience of being alone.  I remember sharing this observation with my mother not too many years ago and limited by my own lack of understanding and language,  I’m afraid it came off as first-born narcissism.  I think what I meant to express is that I always felt lonely and like I did not fit in.  There was (and still is) a loneliness that has always compelled me to seek what it is that says “home” to me. 

I cannot tell you the exact moment, but I remember the general time frame that revealed to me the cause of this loneliness.  This loneliness was not due to any of the aforementioned circumstances but is a profound gift from Divine.  Through the experience of loneliness, God was calling me home.  And….it was revealed that this experience of loneliness is not unique to me but is a universal human experience that arises out of our false perception of separation from God. 

When we exist within the illusion of separation, loneliness is the natural outcome.  We feel abandoned, separate, rejected.  This separation then compels us to seek its remedy.  Unfortunately, we frequently seeks its remedy in activities and behaviors that are not live-giving but often destructive.  We think is remedy will be in stuff or in relationships.  Ultimately, we discover that these things provide only temporary relief and we quickly move on to seeking the remedy to loneliness in the next thing or the next person we hope will make this feeling go away.  In the end, we find that none of these external experiences give us lasting relief of the loneliness that still plagues us. 

What we are invited to discover is that the remedy to loneliness is not outside of us, but exists within. What we  perceive as loneliness is an invitation to enter into whatever spiritual practice restores us to the awareness of Oneness with the Divine and with one another; for it is only in this state of Oneness that we are truly content and have the sense of being home.   Diligent attention to this spiritual practice deepens our recollection of this state of Oneness and eases the pain of perceived separation.  Loneliness is lifted as we come to know more fully our spiritual home within.   While we may never be fully free of this perception of separation and its resulting loneliness, what we come to understand is that when loneliness arises, we are simply being reminded to turn again to our spiritual practice.  Loneliness then is not a hole that we need to plug with things or relationships, but is our own heart calling us home to the heart of our true self in the Love of the Divine. 

So, the next time you are feeling lonely, remember that it is really God calling you to remember the truth of who you are as One with God in love, contentment and joy.   Enter into your spiritual practice and discover once again that you are NEVER ALONE!

Disclaimer:  None of this is to be confused with the loneliness that comes out of clinical depression!  If you are experiencing depression or thoughts of suicide, consult a medical professional immediately! 

 

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