I am going to wander into some dangerous territory today.
Many will raise their voices in vociferous protest at what I say. So, let me acknowledge at the start that what I advocate will not work for everyone. But it will work, in spades, for anyone who is actively conscious that they are on a spiritual path and everything that happens to them is merely a tool to help them awaken.
There is a lot of talk about how prevalent loneliness is today. The Surgeon General has called it ‘a grave crisis’ and linked it to all manner of physical ailments. Closely allied to this is depression. People of all ages are depressed, and the numbers are increasing.
There are a range of ‘solutions’ prescribed for these maladies. You should consult trained professionals. You should become interested in hobbies and other persons. You should indulge in physical activity. You should actively seek company. You should volunteer for worthy causes and much else.
Embedded in all of these ‘solutions’ is the notion that you should be eagerly excited about something or someone outside of you and this gives ‘meaning’ to your life.
I have a different take on this.
You are being very ‘me centered’ when you are lonely or depressed. You want the world, your world, to unfold in a particular manner and the world is going its merry way paying no attention to your wishes. Your children are too busy with their lives to give you the companionship you seek. No one calls you to chat and your calls are not well received. Nothing excites you anymore. The cravings you had – shows, restaurants, travel, exotic vacations – have attenuated or disappeared.
If you think about this seriously, this is a wonderful opportunity that has been handed to you!
Nothing that is in time and space, nothing that is outside you can ever give you lasting joy. You know this at some level. But you have been brainwashed to seek pleasure and fulfillment in the ‘outside’ world. Everybody around you is on the same futile quest and urging you to keep on yours and join them as well.
And now, by good fortune, the outside attractions have lost their glitter. Celebrate this. Spend time in quiet contemplation and meditation. Read The Art of Meditation by Joel Goldsmith. If you are a person of faith, know that Krishna or Jesus or Allah or the Buddha is guiding you. If you are an atheist or agnostic, the Universe has your back.
Don’t just be lonely. Contemplate your loneliness.
This is not easy, but the outcome is splendid. Joy will come into your life. And this is joy that is not dependent on anything or anyone.