Loneliness; The Burden of an Imaginary Wound…

 

 

As a person who has not only suffered from depression but also who has successfully moved on from its paralyzing influence, I continue to have an interest in the apparent causes and very real impacts of depression not only in my own life, but also the lives of others. 

 

Clinical depression clearly remains the domain of variety of qualified doctors; that being said, my personal experience and exposure to not only the experience of depression in my own life, but also as a witness to its influence on the lives of others allows me the opportunity to make a small contribution of understanding to this ever growing phenomena and the tragic impact it has when left unattended.

 

I find it interesting to sometimes check in on my stats page for my web pages to see which articles attract the most attention from viewers.  In my blog for example, the most visited entries begin with the subject of:

 

#1 Ego,

#2 Depression  

#3 Silence. 

 

And on another articles site I have :

 

#1 Depression,

#2 Happiness,

#3 Self esteem

#4 Relationship. 

 

Clearly the issue of depression and the desire for its opposite ~ happiness, ranks as a high priority of importance for many people.  My somewhat unscientific data suggests that there is a strong interest/hunger for not only more understanding, but also the “healing” or realization of these interrelated issues.

 

I believe loneliness is a distant cousin to depression; that it often becomes the preamble to what later expresses as the tragedy of clinical depression.  I believe the symptom of loneliness, not only flag an incumbent potentiality and growing dis-ease within ones present life experience, but also cultivates a verdant breeding ground for many other seemingly separate behaviors and ways of being that ail much of society in our present age. 

 

Feeling lonely from time to time can in most cases be considered normal and natural. Clinical depression on the other hand often impacts our lives with more dramatic symptoms that not only impact our day to day life, but also the balance of our body. 

 

Loneliness often goes unnoticed in our culture as a result of our ability to mask its presence.  I am amazed as I witness how many people consistently get caught up in “the doing of life”; the endless filling of life with activities, situations and circumstances that serve to numb and overshadow the inherent pangs of loneliness and despair.

 

Unattended, ongoing loneliness, is often shrouded in behaviors used to mitigate its presence; career and passion, noise and drama, serve equally as excellent substitutes to minimize, avoid and bury a variety of undercurrent feelings, including loneliness.  Often, choices and commonly observed behaviors which are accepted and glorified in today’s society such as overachievement (workaholism) serve to successfully overshadow incumbent feelings.  Bio/psycho addictions including substance abuse, toxic relationships, and the drama of ongoing crisis or chaos in ones life successfully cloak loneliness, preventing us from exposing and exploring underlying threads that weave the garments of deeper despairs and existential crisis that exist within.

 

If you doubt the impact, test the waters!  Make a commitment to eliminate for one week in your life any behavior or modus operandi [M.O.] that covertly or overtly fills a significant amount of time in your schedule.  It could be any experience or ongoing choice that consistently serves to occupy your attention and awareness.  On the surface there could appear to be one or more very real benefits to said behavior.

 

The temporary abstention from these distracting behaviors that serve to mask the presence of loneliness is a necessary “evil” that allows the psychology of loneliness (suppressed feelings) to surface, for the purpose of integration.

Through investigation, understanding, accepting and allowing we get to know what was previously unknown.  By witnessing or watching the impulse of those currants, we allow the observer (you) to investigate and question the legitimacy of those feelings and any corresponding beliefs, associations and behaviors that may be present or fused to those feelings. 

 

Through observation we allow what was subjective to become objective, liberating us from its influence and the need to live life based on choices that ultimately serve only as lid to feelings and beliefs that cripple our emotional freedom and effective, life enhancing, choice making.

 

As we turn our attention to the impulse, the urge, or the feeling of loneliness, uncovering corresponding thoughts, feelings, associations, memories or perceptions that may be fused to it, loneliness begins to evaporate.  With awareness we harness the power of observation.  Through investigation, we dive into a substratum of obsessive, compulsive, behaviors that once fueled M.O. that elevated our suffering. 

 

Often there is a tremendous fear that surrounds loneliness; we judge, evaluate and make it wrong, which only perpetuates our obsession to a multitude of “doings”.  Often there is a fundamental belief that by feeling loneliness or by surrendering to it, we risk the possibility of losing ourselves to it.  This is contrary to my own experience and understanding.  By getting close to it, by allowing it to surface I believe we create the space and opportunity to objectify it, thereby releasing its hold over us.  More importantly we can re-evaluate the need to continue to live lives with an M.O. that does not serve the cultivation and expression of our authentic being.

 

The discovery of underlying feelings including loneliness will often offer and preclude understanding and revelation to deeper levels of discontent, helplessness and hopelessness that typically sabotage our attempts towards the attainment and balance of a personal well being and serenity in life.

 

Investigation is an important stepping stone to awakening our inner wisdom on these most misunderstood emotions.  By asking who is lonely, we direct our attention from the foreground of life experience [“the doings” and “what happens out there”], to the background of our being, where the potential of real freedom exists.  There is an opportunity to asses how much of our life has in fact been driven by these favorite avoidance patterns that allow us to bury what appears to lie inside. 

 

It’s important to note and recognize that something always lies on the other side of loneliness; it could be a belief, a feeling, a thought, an association, a memory or perception; something that in itself, blocks or obstructs us from experiencing a deeper level of intimacy and relationship with our true nature and essence. 

 

When we choose to intentionally and deliberately not fill our life up with activities and choices that numb us to those feelings including loneliness, we unbound what was bound.  Free from our shackles, we unleash the creative capacity of our inner wisdom and Self, the source and substance of all good in life.

 

 

 

The Only Wound

 

I touched the only real wound I have tonight.

 

I felt the grief and the cut of my separation from God.

 

I’ve known the pain and the suffering,

 

the confusion and doubt of this great loss,

 

and tried in vain to fill this gap.

 

I’ve muffled the feelings,

 

the sadness, and the fear,

 

as temporary pleasures feed a hunger that grows inside.

 

 

 

 

I touched the only perceived wound we have tonight.

 

I witnessed the love and the safety,

 

the connection and the hold of her delicate touch on my life.

 

She swung me to and fro,

 

and,

 

like a playful child,

 

I rode the illusion of an endless dance;

 

of in and out,

 

of here and there,

 

of coming and going.

 

 

 

For a moment,

 

I lost my wound tonight…

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. I have suffered from depression for most of my life. On a gut level, I have thought that just as putting a bandaid on a wound actually prolongs the healing process, trying to cover up emotional pain with something else just delays the healing. Only when we become aware of the pain are we motivated to do something about it. And of course all the mindless activity we engage in to escape from our pain also serves to prevent us from asking who we really are and living from that sense of purpose. I also think that being by yourself is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe people have made it into a bad thing because if you are by yourself you can’t run away from your emotional problems. You can’t escape from you. And that is a good thing.

  2. Hi Tracy!

    Thank you for your comments! You are touching on a number of ideas that are important. I love the fact that in spite of what you experience[ed] there is insight and that is ALWAYS a good thing.

    In particular your comment:

    ” when we become aware of the pain, we are motivated to do something about it…”

    The key for me has always been awareness, something that is a difficult call because while we can be aware of the fact we are aware, we can never determine our level, or someone else’s level of awareness.

    I would elevate the part of your comment that speaks to awareness… and say that “when we become aware of the pain…” is ALL that is needed, and this is the challenge. We make assumptions that something needs to be done to fix, change, transform, heal, the situation or motivate us when we [when were depressed ~ don’t feel motivated].

    More and more I am feeling that all we need to do is allow. In its purest sense awareness is allowing, awareness is being present with what is without judging, evaluating or trying to change anything ~ this is the dark side of “healing”. When we are aware [allow] we create more space [rather than trying to do something or find the motivation, which has a tendency to aggravate the situation]. Creating more space usually allows things to shift naturally and spontaneously, the “healing’ occurs as a result of being aware… and like you said spontaneous motivation arises, where there was none.

    Nero Assistant once said: “healing is accepting who we are in every moment without trying to change anything”. I find this comment brilliant considering her story…

    In my own case “being by mySelf, allowed me the space to become more aware (or present to what was). My practices (meditation etc) also seemed to elevate the process as well. I also think (from my own experience ~ creativity/art) that healthy distraction (fill in your own blank! can also often serve in cases of depression; there seems to be no hard and fast rules ~ sometimes awareness can percolate into being, in the commercial pause of distraction and a momentary release from obsessive, mental masturbation and emotional overwhelm.

    Thank you for your comments…

    In appreciation of Who You Are; best wishes

    m

  3. thanks Michael..I really liked your article..thanks again!

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