"The partner of loneliness is intimacy.
Unity has no opposite.
In unity, intimacy and loneliness are one."
The sense of loneliness is deeply intimate. It arches out from the source of ourselves in a hollow ache of separation from the whole. It is peppered with a sense of unworthiness, as well as shreds of inner condemnation. It's iced with shame and guilt and (most annoyingly of all), it can have a sense of truth about it.
The lonely can feel betrayed, abandoned and frozen at the perimeters of time and space. Time left them behind. There is no space for them. Indeed, they can feel invisible and unseen in all they do and all they are.
The feeling of loneliness can be like a hollow, rotting energy at the back of the chest. It can also get chronic, running through the blood and into the bones, causing a stiffness, or awkwardness in movement. It clumps in energetic contractions along the spine, often causing back-pain and frozen shoulders. The body feels heavy in loneliness. The body becomes like a stranger of a foreign weight being dragged around, with no natural direction.
No words, no distractions, no TV drama or casual conversation in the park can fill that gap, when loneliness sets in and freezes as an affliction.
“I agree to be intimate with you only if I never feel lonely.”
It can be noticed that loneliness includes the existential sensation of being excluded from time – being left behind in time, or not being part of time. It also involves the sense of having no space. The lonely space is non-space. Life is happening “elsewhere”, away from the lonely person. In a sense, time and space is denied to the lonely one. Rather than this being an experience of liberation, it is a felt as a rigid horror, or a kind of dead-end. This is not the exhilarating liberation of the movement beyond the restraints of time and the boundaries of space reported by many spiritual seekers! Yet it is not far from it either.
If the lonely one can continue into the heart and gut of his or her loneliness, allowing it to arise in awareness without limiting awareness, sampling and suffering its energetic content at a layer beneath the programs of the thinking mind, a kind of alchemy is possible. This is partly because the contracted pain of loneliness is close to the source of the individual, which is the source of the whole. Paradoxically, a first task in approaching loneliness, is to give the feeling all the time and space that has been denied. Time and space are like oxygen to starved vitality. A second task is to express that loneliness through time and space, into the world of form. Tell someone you are lonely, and if there is no-one there, tell a tree, tell a flower, tell the sky. Communicate it. The world is listening. A third task is to allow yourself to receive the loneliness in the environment: to refrain from censoring it, to let it live, to witness.
"The fear of intimacy suffuses each moment of loneliness.”
It seems that when we want to be free of loneliness, that we are seeking intimacy. Yet what can often be observed is that often, we are incredible intimidated by intimacy!
With intimacy, the threshold into time and space is also the playing field contraction. This is the shadow of the bliss of touch, or the pleasure of togetherness: emerging out of a resistance to the pain of later distance and the inability to control togetherness.
We tend to have mental agendas concerning who we want to be intimate with, when we want to be intimate with them, and where. More often than not, these are not free choices, but agendas based on trauma, fear, or conformity. Paradoxically, contractions birthed by this agenda (to keep pleasure and avoid pain) often mean that the self-proclaimed intimate ‘person’ spends a lot of time rejecting intimacy, not only with the world, but also with themselves.
The critical stage of the loneliness/intimacy contraction is found in the embedded condition: I agree to be intimate with you only if I never feel lonely.
It’s a twin trap, a loser’s game, where the contraction will become increasingly dense; the life source of the individual increasingly severed, and the physical body decreasingly responsive to the open invitation to belonging through living connection with the universe.
Loneliness & Blissfulness
Imagine a kind of loneliness that is at one with the loneliness of hidden within each one of the over seven billion humans alive today. Imagine it was the same loneliness. But don’t stop there, let this loneliness be alive. Let it undulate and flow, let it expand and contract according to its own rhythm. Let this awesome human loneliness resonate into the soil of the planet and through the rock, and through the substrata of the earth. Let it radiate outwards towards the infinite space above and around us, and beyond the mental idea that the sky is the limited. Let the loneliness have a subtle melody, reverberating through this physical universe and any other dimension. Let loneliness rejoice, until the word ‘lonely’ cannot define it any more.
On the road of self-inquiry, we will often traverse the river of loneliness.
We have collectively rejected the surface of loneliness as 'bad' energy, a defunct, despicable and despairing space, yet we have confused the energy with the effects of its contraction. Out of this confusion, we lock up our natural loneliness, masking it, confusing it, oppressing it and pretending it’s not there. In this, we create the illusion of loneliness, that is grossly cemented with the stubborn resistance of beliefs in ultimate separation, from each other and from the source of us all. As this living, source energy is increasingly layered with masks, unseen, unfelt and forgotten, we begin to deny that it is even there.
Yet even the first layers of loneliness are not only ‘lonely’ in the common sense of the word. Within the suffering of loneliness, we can experience a deep, personal empowerment; and a movement to authenticity and inner truth.
In the allowance of loneliness, we move towards our spiritual center, which is not ‘out there’, in the other, or in the world, but at the source of all we are. Loneliness burns away the inner structures and constraints that are the by-products of the demands and expectations of others.
Through allowing our own loneliness, we can release our fear of authority, opening the possibility (perhaps for the first time in a long time) of increasing honesty within ourselves. Loneliness has a holiness about it. In its subtle energy, it is a kind of prayer, a prayer of longing through perpetual creation.
When it is allowed, this ‘lonely’ energy begins to expand through the subtle layers of being. As this energy is allowed to expand, it naturally connects to the same loneliness in others. As we find peace in the allowance of loneliness, we find we are able to allow and connect with the loneliness in the environment. What happens when two people relax in an agreement to be lonely together? A deeper form of intimacy with life is emerging.
Loneliness of itself births a new depth of intimacy with life. This intimacy, by nature, does not depend on conditions. There is a living intimacy possible with each moment of experience. In the movement out of the habitual thinking mind, or out of judgmental thought into silence, we become intimate with the sense perceptions. Through an intimacy with our reflex to shut down or resist these gateways to experience, the reflex itself is deterred.
Each sense perception is sensing in the timeless moment and in infinite space. Our senses have all the time and space in creation through which to relax and open, externally and internally. The physical sense perceptions begin to open as channels of receptivity, or as organs of consciousness. Loneliness and intimacy both become free effects of a deeper unity beneath the manifold layers of form.
Could this be the connection for which both intimacy and loneliness are longing? The unity found in pure perception through manifold perspectives of consciousness? The unity out of which all beauty can appear by virtue of separation through conditioned space and time into differentiated parts? The raw, human, universal and natural sense of being irrevocably part of the whole?
Spiritual teacher, Georgi Y. Johnson, is author of I AM HERE – Opening the Windows of Life & Beauty. You may choose to watch an interview with her on Conscious TV, Georgi's website is http://www.iamhere.life