I was reading an article on Lions Roar ( https://www.lionsroar.com/six-kinds-of-loneliness/ ) and in it Pema Chödrön was talking about how mature practitioners adjust to loneliness on the path. Certainly from what she says and from what I’ve experienced, the drive towards social interaction becomes less as you meditate more and explore yourself more.
If I look at my Buddhist years I actually interact less with others, but I don’t suffer directly from loneliness. I was wondering how it is for other students of the Buddha?
There's a difference between being lonely and being alone.
The Human animal is a gregarious mammal that favours being part of a herd. We are programmed to survive alongside other members of our species.
I am often alone.
I am never lonely. Because by and large, humans have a choice of whether to be alone or not. Nobody actually need ever be lonely, if they don't want to be.
From this mornings zafu...with some editing
Loneliness is a suffering of not being able to accept where one is. Anyone who has felt lonely in a crowd, surrounded by others, should know something about this.
It can be considered to be a complex delusion as a "self/verses other" mimicry of the human condition, while also being the emotional obscurer of it's own creator.
within a practice, loneliness potentially changes over time as its composite parts are allowed to be exposed, illuminated and are no longer recreated by our habituated responses to them.
Here where we formally experienced loneliness as a pronounced adversary to our own happiness, it slowly morphs into one of the more reliable teachers to point out where suffering's cause and the path towards its potential resolution lies.
To the degree that a separation between a self and others is allowed to dissipate within a practice,
is the exact same degree to which the root causes for loneliness follow suit.
Yes...Tis said....If you make friends with your self you will never be alone...,
And there are many different selves to get to know and make friends with ...
Simple answer no, it's more of a choice....that is one comes to find it's more of a choice...
Short answer - No
Conscious or unconscious, it is ultimately, a choice. You can be lonely amid a crowd of friends or infinitely connected alone in the wilderness.
I'm lonely around people alot of the time.
Over time we learn to be alone. And that gathering of attention and energy allows us to embody and open and become intimacy with what is in front of us. This is in ways that is impossible to really understand unless one has tried retreat or restricted avenues in which we deny that to ourselves. So there are all kinds of retreats but generally one doesn't have connection to the outside world via cellphone, internet, etc. One is alone and focused on one's spiritual cultivation.
You'd think you'd be more lonely. And in the beginning that is the case but over time you settle into just being yourself and your world. There is a simplicity to being alone. And then you just begin to open out and touch everything so intimately in such simple ways. the very trees and rocks that you never really looked at are poignantly alive and special. and everything is radiant and alive and communicating directly to you.
and one develops this flavor or taste in practice as well. because its just you there. your body and mind. your experience alone.
and it's completely counter to any logic really because that depth of aloneness is the key towards being connected to everything and everyone.
for me loneliness is somewhat not being able to stand the sense of aloneness and simultaneously have hope that some external circumstance or person will allow you to fully imbibe and live from such depth.
dharma is for people in a way that cannot stand that loneliness and has been burned by all the various attempts of trying to fix or heal that loneliness.
but oddly and against all conventional logic. the direction is fully towards the loneliness so that then one is situated as being alone. Without a sense of other. Without hope of this or that. Without any distance between ourselves and aloneness. To open totally to our pain, our fear, our reservations, etc. Whatever is happening, taking absolute responsibility and ownership. Then aloneness opens out totally into the very intimacy and depth we seek in situations and others. And when we meet others and situations we share that depth without asking for or begging others to heal or give us that in return. We no longer demand that from others.
The Buddha's aloneness is infinite and we all can share and live together alone.
Aloneness - yes
Lonliness - only if you so choose
Aloneness is a reality
Loneliness is an emotion.
It is a truism that one can be alone on mountain, but to be truly lonely, one must be in a crowd.
In a crowd, one is surrounded by fellow human beings yet one is, efectivle, isolated, invisible. The proximity is there, bit the connection is, perceptivly, missing. That mental void is the the progenotor of the profound loneliness.
When one is at one with the self and the environment, lineliness is an illusion, smoke wisked away by a breeze, a slight puff of air.
Aloneness opens the path to unity, the intertwinng of life.
Whoah, wait a minute! An authority from one of the main Buddhist schools says she's lonely, and always has been? That sounds like clinging, or grasping, more commonly known as neediness, to me. Too bad she can't appreciate how precious contemplative solitude is. What an unexpected issue for a nun to have! My impression was rather the opposite; that mature practitioners don't experience loneliness. Even some beginners don't. I'm glad you don't, OP. Maybe you're the one, who should be writing articles.
Thank you for the compliment @dakini and maybe I will try my hand at writing articles at some point in the future, although I don’t have Pema Chödrön’s track record.
But it might be worth noting what her six kinds of loneliness were, these…
I think the article is slightly mistitled, maybe.
Wiki on loneliness
:Loneliness is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. Loneliness is also described as social pain—a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections. It is often associated with an unwanted lack of connection and intimacy.
Yes it’s true, it’s caused by the illusion of separation. We are born into a physical body and are conditioned by that to think that we are separate from everybody else, and thus lonely. But with enough practice and untangling of our heritage, you start to experience the world as more alive, more interconnected, more truly luminous. You aren’t really alone, you are part of a larger world and I think that is why more advanced practitioners rarely suffer from loneliness, the world’s luminosity makes itself felt.
But you seem to be assuming that everyone needs a special spiritual practice in order to avoid loneliness. People who aren't emotionally needs don't need an antidote to something they don't experience. Loneliness is not inevitable nor universal. I don't know why it would be.
Am I understanding this correctly?
Sort of a deepening and turning inside-out of an emotional nature. Both needing to feel emotional depth, and turning the self-desire of that feeling into selfless desire. There is no you so there is no self-desire. This leaves infinite selfless desire to be experienced. Like turning a glove inside out. You become the giver instead of the taker.
A love of the moment, every moment, which replenishes oneself through enhanced concentration on the sense gates due to not needing to sacrifice concentration on the mind's thoughts, since most distracting thoughts are on self and there is no self or at least no focus on self. An attempt at practicing the perfect way to be in that moment guided by wisdom of love of the moment.
All I can say, being alone is not good for me. I need connections. Sometimes I don't feel lonely, but most of the time I do. Connecting with others makes a world of a difference to me.
Then you’re in the right place, NewBuddhist is a very connecting kind of spot!
For those who want to be in a more flexible contact, I suggest Telegram, because there you can interact without giving your phone number, but only your nickname (unlike with Whatsapp).
for example, I am @ShanJieshi (https://t.me/ShanJieshi )
I was contemplating bringing up the same topic but I prefer discord to telegram and I think I would feel bad missing the documentation process that happens on the forum.
I suppose here we have different schools of talk.
ah, for large groups and varied topics Discord is much better because it allows you to sort it into sub-items.
My Telegram offer is only for the purpose of having one to one communication, in case you want to share a "hello, how are you?" and a more friendly photo or casual comment.
Forums are even much better tools than massive social networks.and I think that in those social networks you end up growing a new form of loneliness.