I’m not sure if I actually feel lonely or if Loneliness is whispering her voice to my ear, just for now. Just not sure.
See, yesterday, I was going to spend the day with my friend, Laureen – we call each other friends without benefits, which is what friends used to mean – but she couldn’t make it. I went to a 6.30 am meditation, bouncing with irrepressible joy, meditated and had breakfast with the lovely band of others. Then returned home with nothing to do but change sheets, wash clothes, cook next week’s lunches and start my new business. Actually, lots to do and just doing it alone, then.
Of course, Facebook tells me that everyone out there – absolutely everyone, without exception – is meeting with friends and having a very unlonely time. I was, it seems, the only person on the planet without other bodies around him, yesterday.
Then, today, I cycle into the city to enjoy the exercise, the city markets and a coffee while I write this. Along the way I’m observing, counting, analysing … in a non-analytically vague sort of way. Yes, there are small groups of cyclists and walkers but most are alone. I peer inside passing cars and most are inhabited by one person. There are four patrons at this café – all men, all alone. I chat to a couple of them and, like me, are enjoying the aloneness time … time to think our own thoughts or no thoughts at all. Time to just be, unfettered by others’ expectations and needs.
Now, I’m the weirdo who says a cheery hello to everyone he passes. What I notice is that most people – particularly those alone – look up with surprise and then an astonished joy washes over their faces … people alone and thirsty for and basking in an unexpected and momentary flash of connection with this cherry other. Many, many of these astonished joys are on the faces of those with other faces beside them. I wonder if many who are not alone are lonely, as if being next to another body – or many other bodies – is not enough to stave off that ever-present loneliness.
 Do I notice because it’s happening or because I want it to happen; expectation creating reality and all that? Who knows? I sure don’t!
Sadghru says that if we’re bored with ourselves, we’re in bad company. If we’re lonely and unhappy with ourselves, we’re in bad company. Being with other bodies won’t shift the feeling we have when we’re alone with our sad, bad, mad company.
So, yes, we’re always thirsty for connection and, because we rely on the outside world to make us happy, we continually search for other bodies to fill the void. But they cannot. No body can create the real connection we’re thirsting for.
Loneliness will never be sloughed off with tribes of friends or family around for we’ve all known loneliness in a crowd, in a happy, supportive group.
There is another connection that does fulfil and we’re never taught to honour or grow it. It’s our connection with God, the universe, Yahweh, Great Spirit, Christ, Buddha or whatever we call that which is greater than all of this. It’s that connection with Self and, just as we need to go to the gym regularly, we need to return to the One Self regularly to honour and grow it. When we do this, lonely has no chance – we kick the L out of it and lonely becomes One-ly.
With our connection to the Big One that we are, we become better company to ourselves and to any other bodies we find ourselves next to.