Loneliness is a curse. Actual loneliness. Not self-imposed solitary confinement. Not boredom. Not being too lazy or arrogant to include other people in our life and love. But the loneliness that gnaws on our consciousness, and disregards our soul, is equal to the emotion that aches and craves to find a cure. Admittedly, people spend a large amount of time, money, and effort trying to alleviate or avoid loneliness. And yet we need our quiet time, alone. We need to discover who we are as an individual. So, how can the abyss between the feeling of bitter loneliness and the feeling of individual fullness be bridged? By recognizing and validating the Cause of our completeness. And, this is no small task in the face of loss, betrayal, and discrimination.
When ants build their nest in the middle of a dirt road, they are going to have trouble when a vehicle drives over the road. The ants however do not understand they are in a road, they do not understand what a vehicle is. Most ironically, they are not familiar with what it means to have a nest in a safe place. However, even in the midst of ignorance, the ants can respond to the trouble by adapting their duties to overcome the problem. They can rebuild or move. Author, Norman Cousins has been quoted as saying, “The eternal quest of the human being is to shatter his loneliness.”
People can feel lonely and not even know why. For no apparent reason, they have no sense of confirmation, hope, or support. A life can be full of activity, surrounded by other people, and yet a person’s heart can be interrupted by depressing loneliness. Generally, this person needs quiet time to learn about themselves, not more activity to assuage loneliness. However, solitude can be frightful. It can come across as the exact thing that will push them over the edge into the abyss.
Some people may believe they know exactly what particular human circumstance triggered loneliness. However, if they lost the feeling of companionship or support due to a human circumstance, that good feeling was not established in a safe place. Completeness is not dependent on a human circumstance and to believe otherwise only misleads people to rebuild the good feeling in the same troublesome area. We need to get off the road that brings loneliness. This does not mean we become isolated. Wholeness naturally involves healthy activity and continuing relationships.
Loneliness, or comfort, conditional upon a human circumstance or bodily chemical, does not define us. Human circumstances change and the chemically based body dies. We are defined spiritually.
When understood, our spiritual nature defines our feelings. Mortal feelings do not define our identity. Solitude does not have to hurt. Comfort and encouragement do not have to distract our attention away from our wholeness or make us afraid to express our self more and better each day.
We are the effect of the One Cause, not the effect of the multifarious effects in the world. Our Cause is All-in-all, never lonely, never incomplete, never missing something. From 21st Century Science and Health, “The details of our uniqueness reflect the one infinite individuality, God. These characteristics are understood in, and formed by, Spirit, not by mortal sensibilities and feelings. Whatever reflects Mind, Life, Truth, and Love, is spiritually conceived and brought forth…”
My parents died, a few years apart and at a fairly young age. Their deaths were wretched to watch. They were good parents, good to us children. Do I miss them? Yes. However, their absence does not distort my quiet time of remembrance into loneliness. As I live each day sharing the good they taught me, they are still very much alive to me. This experience helps me when loneliness tempts me to feel cursed due to some other situation.
Our spiritual identity has never been cursed.
We can identify with our nature that expresses infinite Love, intelligence. We are individual. We are unique and our uniqueness is our completeness. Sometimes we shy away from admitting how unique and useful we are, sadly losing sight of our wholeness. Or, we naively believe someone else completes us. Also, the world’s cruelty and ignorance constantly bombard us with pronouncements of lack, brokenness, and inadequacy. And, that we must get someone or something in order to be complete! Not true.
The abyss between bitter loneliness and supportive comfort shrinks down to a passable crack in our journey as we start thinking from the standpoint of an infinite individuality, God, maintaining completeness in each person’s unique character. Making quiet time to deny the mortal tendencies and affirm our wholeness enables us to see our true worth which does embrace and express love for others—even the people who grate on our sensibilities. It is impractical to react to loneliness. Instead we can respond and adapt to a greater recognition and practice of our completeness.
Cheryl Petersen's book 21st Century Science and Health is the first English revision and update of Mary Baker Eddy's textbook on spiritual healing, Science and Health, written in 1875. The book can be found online at Healing Science Today