Sometimes the most obvious things in life can be the most difficult to see. I've a good friend who once said to me he doesn't get lonely.
At first I thought this was a failing of his, an inability to feel deeply the connections and relationships in life, and when they are absent, their loss. Feelings of loneliness would, on this basis, simply be the sense of loss of those relationships. Seemed reasonable to me.
But during a dream the deeper implications and causes of loneliness was presented to me. Loneliness is a symptom of the lack of being 'masculine'. And by masculine I don't mean big muscles, or six-pack abs, or being "the hero" in a fight1. No, masculine2 is about IDENTITY; a strong, firm sense of self; a strong well-defined ego; freely owning one's own space, age and circumstances, all of which have clearly defined boundaries (think "particle" or billiard-balls with their hard shell, and when they collide they retain their identity3).
As a particle, it must be localized in space, cannot be split apart, and retains it identity in collisions with other particles.4
Looking back over all the various relationships I've enjoyed, those who confessed to feelings of loneliness were all lacking a strong sense of self, a well-defined identity and the solid ability to affirm their own value. It's this last aspect that has been becoming clear to me ... the elemental need to affirm our own value. It's the failure to define our value - by letting others set the agenda for us, or by letting others make demands on us that leave us feeling weak, or not in control of our lives - that causes loneliness.
Being masculine is a quick and direct antidote to feelings of loneliness. Mind you, being strongly masculine (identifiable with clear defined sense of self) is only half the story ... we need to complement our masculine with the feminine as well, by allowing into our lives the care and connections that can and do occur when we show up, and become visible and identifiable (loved ones can't connect to that which doesn't exist, or is invisible).
But most of all, this balance of masculine and feminine, of being 'in the zone' requires engaging both the feminine (letting go limiting relationships, ideas, circumstances, fears) while engaging our energy, purpose and sense of self-value. It's a dual-mind that straddles paradox: masculine and feminine, relaxed and focused, attached (to great outcomes) while being detached ... What are some of the symptoms of a small or absent sense of self? Complaining and blaming others "out there" - friends, family, the government, circumstances for our situation; feeling lonely; feeling powerless; feeling out of control; feeling a victim; feeling threatened or needing to 'fight' (yell at, punch or harm others). When one has a strong sense of self (e.g. Zen masters) we do not need to diminish, harm or fight others. More soon, on how to reclaim the masculine -- our quickest path to overcoming feelings of loneliness. [references/]
- Insourcing the masculine
- Rest-stops in the sky
- The immense importance of understanding 'masculine' and 'feminine'
- 1. This same friend once joked, casually and easily "If I was in a fight I'd go down like a sack of potatoes".
- 2. Masculine = right-hand side of the Table of One and All
- 3. Let's all rejoice in the particle nature of life, for without it there'd be no physical universe, or bodies with which to enjoy life. Or individuality, or any thing, basically. Not much fun in that.
My advice to those who seek "oneness" or enlightenment: Get a LIFE! Own your space, own your life with grunt and spunk! Rejoice in your individuality, age and circumstances; stop trying to deny your wonderful ego and physicalness, and for heaven's sake stop trying to 'transcend' it. Recall the wise advice of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: “Life on the basis of detachment! ... is a fatal error."
- 4. Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality