I don’t often feel a sense of loneliness, in fact, I really enjoy my own company and sitting with my own thoughts. I’ve often found that the times that I have felt lonely have been times when I’m surrounded by people rather than being, quite literally, alone.
When you Google the definition of loneliness, this is what comes up: sadness because one has no friends or company. I’m not really sure that’s the view I have on the reality of what loneliness really means.
This is what Wikipedia has to say: Loneliness has also been described as social pain—a psychological mechanism meant to motivate an individual to seek social connections. Loneliness is often defined in terms of one's connectedness to others, or more specifically as "the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person's network of social relations is deficient in some important way. I guess this is more what I would lean towards, the seeking of connections. I would also ask are we seeking deeper connection to ourselves, to the earth and to other people, but maybe mostly ourselves? Can we not actually connect better when we know ourselves better or feel in tune to our own desires?
I think I’ve have recently felt lonely because I’ve been disconnected from myself, not listening to my gut or just rationalising my thoughts and making them mean more than they really do… they are, after all, just thoughts and new thoughts can be created.
Maybe loneliness came about in ancient times when humans needed each other in tribes for survival. If the human in the tribe felt lonely and needed to connect with others in order to survive, maybe that’s why the brain sometimes has this thought or feeling. It could be a response from the flight or fight brain?
I think it’s actually okay to feel lonely and then just say to yourself, I feel lonely. And then, be done with it and do something productive… I also wonder if our generation feels more lonely than ever, being ironically so connected to their phones and the digital world instead of having real human connections.
I recently went out with some friends and 2 of them sat on their phones almost the whole meal, one proceeded to take selfies during the meal… It’s fascinating how lonely that must have felt while we were all in each others company.
Loneliness is such an internal emotion, it’s such a deep core feeling in your stomach. I wonder if monks feel lonely… doubt it.