We tend to think that surrounding ourselves with people is the antidote to feelings of loneliness. We convince ourselves that the answer must lie somewhere else – somewhere other than here and away from ourselves… perhaps in that little space between one’s own mind and another’s. Call it No Man’s Land: we know we cannot cross these barriers. Through our use of language – verbal, body – though, we can try.
You and I, respectively, are quite alone here. Nobody else can ever fill our limbs nor our brains’ many rooms the way we do. And we always want to be part of something bigger, don’t we? Something less mortal than we are. We speak of romance and of revolutions; produce things, and proceed to smear our names across them. We drown ourselves in things that distract us via intoxication, or via means that might closely resemble it. Why is it that we tend to be most ‘at ease’ when we are not even really ‘here’ (to truly internalise it) in the first place?
We are almost constantly on the lookout for new ways through which to lose ourselves. We run blindly from our cores – these loud and often angry things that almost perpetually call out to us. They want for us to listen; they need for us to nurture them, to solidify them.
Perhaps the first few times we actively choose to direct our attentions away from the outside, and exclusively inwards, it will feel rather like a piercing, much like what a knife knows it must do if it is to find the heart of something. We tend to hate the quiet, don’t we? And we are known to run from the slightest hints of boredom and whatever it is that may be conducive to our being truly introspective. What could it possibly be, then, within ourselves, that we fear so much?
All human beings ultimately want happiness; we long for something permanently satisfying. But we are, quite frankly, stupid for ever thinking that the pleasures of this world could ever exist on an equal footing as ultimate Happiness: the stuff of Heaven. Heaven cannot be recreated on Earth. And when we try to do this via the pursuit of ‘pleasures’ associated with things like lust and gluttony, all that really happens is that we come to experience a hit of something like ecstasy…and then it is gone again. Then the goal posts move. Increased restlessness ensues, and we need more.
See, hunger cannot be satisfied by anything other than food. Our deepest yearnings cannot be satisfied by anything other than the authentic acknowledgement of God’s Promise. Some pangs of hunger – loneliness, and all the rest of it – here on Earth, and then Heaven, hopefully, at the close of day.
The human heart is such a restless thing; it writhes around, turning itself this way and that. The saddest of these hearts are probably the ones that do not even know their own selves at all; they have neglected their inner worlds in favour of that big sparkly snow globe of adornments and delusion that lies beyond them. The (outermost corners of the) outside world: all that stuff that does not really concern us, and yet we seem to busy ourselves with it all so very much.
In seclusion, one can only truly be lonely if one is absolutely alone. But this will not be the case if we come to befriend ourselves – to quiet and then embrace these clamouring cores of ours. And loneliness will certainly not be an option if we take some steps towards knowing the One who knows us best, who created us, and who sees the folly of all this: our constantly beating around the bush, seeking momentary pleasures and pseudo-meanings here. The Truth will surely catch up with us; we should not fear too much, and nor should we despair in the reality of what currently is. We must know that it will not be like this forever, and that Time is forever pushing us towards something Else.