I have had many conversations with fellow mystics on the topic of loneliness. As mystics we ARE different from the norm, usually pretty far-left of center. Many find it difficult to relate to or understand us. Others are hesitant to draw near because of the light we shine on the love they are, which they are perhaps not yet ready to be. We think, move, act, believe, see, differently and some find this disturbing. All this is reason enough to feel alone, set apart, even lonely. But there is an even greater source of our loneliness and it is God. More specifically, the call of the mystic, above all else, is to know God/dess, and it is through loneliness that God calls us home to ourselves and home to God. As I recent wrote to a student, fellow-mystic and spiritual sojourner:
Mystics always feel some sense of loneliness and isolation. It is the other edge of this double-edged gift. On one hand, we experience God more intimately and as One. On the other hand, we long for more of this. It is the “loneliness” that keeps us seeking God, seeking that experience of Oneness.
Our human inclination is to believe there is something wrong with us for feeling the deep ache of this existential loneliness. We judge ourselves. We wish for this aching emptiness to go away. We seek after the remedy to this loneliness by looking for things outside of us (including other people) to fill the void. What we end up finding is simply more emptiness, for there is nothing “out there” that can fill this void. Instead, we are invited to go into the loneliness for it is here we shall find God/Self. Again, as I shared with my student:
Transformation comes when we realize that loneliness is the GIFT that compels us toward God and that it is GOD we are lonely for – nothing else (which keeps us from looking “out there” for something to fill our emptiness – and emptiness that can only be filled by God). Don’t despair of the loneliness. Don’t chase after its remedy. Welcome it and accept it as part of your gift.
The loneliness and deep sense of isolation that plagues the mystic is in fact, our greatest gift. The loneliness that society tells us to judge and which we therefore are tempted to resist is actually God calling us into an ever-deepening intimacy. It is in entering into the loneliness, welcoming it, becoming comfortable with it that we find God and in finding God we find ourselves. And if more loneliness remains, we are called to remember that it is only God calling us even deeper into the love that we are and to dare to even go there. As there is no limit to the love of God and the love that we are in God, there is likely no end to the loneliness. When we accept this truth and cease from judging, resisting, or trying to rid ourselves of this loneliness, it is here that we find peace.
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