Autobio, Psychology, Spirituality

Self Love, Holiday Blues: Loneliness Edition

alone boulders idyllic looking
Photo by Kasuma on

I have been feeling lonely lately, especially so after I interact with my friends. The breadth of space between humans is sometimes staggering, and it can be sad to see that the gulf can only be breached so far. We cannot ever really know another person. Most of us don’t even fully know ourselves.

There is also the plain fact of separateness. In Buddhism, the remedy for this pain of separateness is to realize that, on some level, we are all part of the one thing that is everything. Yet, there is always the simultaneous and paradoxical knowledge that we are also separate. If I stub my toe, everything in the universe does not also stub its toe. So part of the remedy is accepting this separateness.

The Holidays are, perhaps, a trigger for this loneliness within me. So much emphasis on cheer and the magical connection of the human spirit with others we love. I am not a cheery person by nature. My brain defaults to pragmatic and pessimistic. I can’t help but see the “void,” which is constantly staring at us all, unless I work hard to check out. And even then it always sneaks through.

This is not a bad thing. In many ways it is a gift to have a brain that pulls me back to reality. My brain is also capable of more than pessimism about that void too. I learn that more all the time. There is a difference between seeing and accepting the void and sinking into it.

When I interact with others (or even just think about them), the temptation is always there to create a story about what they are thinking or feeling in regards to myself. Maybe aspects of the story are true, but it is doubtful the story is ever completely accurate. Staying in the story just causes suffering. To echo my last post, I need an objective statement. Woman existing in her human body.

There is also that other layer of truth. Woman part of everything. Woman who is everything. I have glimpsed that truth. It is often a part of what in Zen is called kensho or satori. There is some measure of peace and ecstatic vitalization within these states. Yet there is always the need for the acceptance of the reality of separateness and loneliness. There is no actual value in chasing satori. That is just another trap.

Ordinary life still exists. Ordinary life is meant to be lived. That is the Practice. Awareness in living ordinary life.

Woman who is both one with everything and separate from everything else.

Woman who accepts that.

Woman who lives.

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