Under a solitary, soaked tree the air oscillates with the gentle pit pat of dripping water. The green canopy is changing to brown. The trunk crevasses and cracks are havens for snails. Their brown and black striped skin blends with the colours of the trunk. Around this isolated tree, fallen leaves scatter the ground.
Your Healing From Loneliness
Isolation and loneliness are endemic in our society. Why in our modern technological age, when we are connected to each other as never before, by telephone fax, email, car, bus, train, airplane etc. do millions of us suffer from loneliness? Why do we have more societies, clubs, associations, dances, parties and social outings than any other civilization in history and yet loneliness is rife? It's strange isn't it!
The answer is because loneliness has nothing to do with how many friends we can reach in our car, or how many clubs we belong to, loneliness is in the heart.
Loneliness is born of fear.
Loneliness is born of the fear that separates, divides and isolates. When we are obsessed with our worries and anxieties, when we are obsessed with ourselves, then we are lonely.
I lived through a period of crushing loneliness. It was during the years when I was depressed. When I was depressed I was obsessed with myself. Indeed I found it almost impossible to think outside myself. I remember during my three months stay in hospital for the condition, I used to go for runs in the grounds. Before I became depressed I was very fit and ran regularly, so when I was in hospital I tried to keep this up.
I remember asking my mother to bring in my running gear. I would put on my running kit, trot down the hospital stairs and burst out through the front door. It was a huge shock to go in my shorts from the overheated and closeted hospital ward, out to a freezing January winter night. The mental hospital was called Windsor House and was in the grounds of the larger City Hospital.
Windsor House itself was a rather attractive, if slightly forbidding, old stone Victorian building surrounded by other non-descript modern buildings, black tar macadam roads and car parks. This somewhat desolate environment was lit by yellow sodium streetlights, which gave everything an eerie colourless hue. Mist hovered above the yellow streetlights. Damp hung in the air. The place was deserted. I ran out into this gloom .. alone. I trotted around the dimly lit grounds for half an hour, occasionally putting in sprints to warm up. I must have looked a surreal sight to any onlooker.
When I returned to the hospital I was fine... for a while. I would be able to chat to the nurses and the other patients and take an interest in them. Then after about twenty minutes the crushing isolation would close in, I would go and lie on my bed exhausted, disconnect from the world and think about nothing but myself all over again. Although I sensed the running was doing me good. It was simply too much effort to keep it up. The loneliness would not go away. It went on for years.
I know about loneliness. It's a terrible affliction.
The call healed my loneliness and it can heal yours. When we are lonely we feel disconnected from the world. I was guided to counter that loneliness by countering the disconnection. This meant doing things that would involve me with people, by participating in activities and events that took me out of my self-isolating world. It meant devoting at least some of my time and interest to serving others. Doing this was difficult. I was frightened. I lacked energy. Because I was self-obsessed I felt I had nothing interesting to talk about. I thought that if I talked to someone else they would find me boring. I lacked confidence. These fears were a natural by-product of being self-obsessed.
Loneliness casts a dark shadow. We must commit to walk out of the darkness into the light. By nurturing activities that reconnect us to other people and by consciously taking an interest in this world outside ourselves, we will find the way out of loneliness and despair.
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