Solitude is a condition of peace that stands in direct opposition to loneliness. Loneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. It is a condition of separateness. Solitude is becoming one with the space around you. It is a condition of union. loneliness is small, solitude is large. loneliness closes in around you; solitude expands toward the infinite. loneliness has its roots in words, in an internal conversation that nodbody answers; solitude has it's roots in the great silence of eternity.
...We leave our homeland, our property and our friends. We give up the familiar ground that supports our ego, admit the helplessness of ego to control its world and secure itself. We give up our clingings to superiority and self-preservation...It means giving up searching for a home, becoming a refugee, a lonely person who must depend on himself...Fundamentally, no one can help us. If we seek to relieve our loneliness, we will be distracted from the path. Instead, we must make a relationship with loneliness until it becomes aloneness.
Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It's restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down.
The Loneliness One dare not sound -- And would as soon surmise AS in its Grave go plumbing To ascertain the size -- The Loneliness whose worst alarm Is lest itself should see -- And perish from before itself For just a scrutiny -- The Horror not to be surveyed -- But skirted in the Dark -- With Consciousness suspended -- And Being under Lock -- I fear me this -- is Loneliness -- The Maker of the soul Its Caverns and its Corridors Illuminate -- or seal
Loneliness has little to do with what we do or where we do it, whether we're married or unmarried, optimists or pessimists, heterosexual or homosexual. Loneliness has to do with the sudden clefts we experience in every human relation, the gaps that open up with such stomach-turning unexpectedness. In a brief moment, I and my brother or sister have moved away into different worlds, and there is no language we can share.... It is in the middle of intimacy that the reality of loneliness most dramatically appears.
Loneliness is the inability to share your story, your Unique Self story. For most people, the move beyond loneliness requires us to share our story with a significant other. For the spiritual elite, the receiving of our own story - and the knowing that it is an integral part of the larger story of All-That-Is - is enough. But for most human beings, loneliness is transcended through contact with another person.
A boy told me if he roller-skated fast enough his loneliness couldn't catch up to him, the best reason I ever heard for trying to be a champion. What I wonder tonight pedaling hard down King William Street is if it translates to bicycles. A victory! To leave your loneliness panting behind you on some street corner while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas, pink petals that have never felt loneliness, no matter how slowly they fell.
Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness. Everything has to be filled in, it seems-appointment books, hillsides, vacant lots-but when all the spaces are filled, the Loneliness really begins. Then the Groups are joined, the Classes are signed up for, and the Gift-to-Yourself items are bought. When the Loneliness starts creeping in the door, the Television Set is turned on to make it go away. But it doesn't go away. So some of us do instead, and after discarding the emptiness of the Big Congested Mess, we discover the fullness of Nothing.
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