5 Famous Spiritual Leaders On The Deadly Sickness of Loneliness

 / 

5 Famous Spiritual Leaders On The Deadly Sickness of Loneliness

Loneliness, when accepted, becomes a gift that will lead us to find a purpose in life. ~Paulo Coelho

Loneliness is the illness of our time. Even medical research is warning us that it may be a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity.

A stark warning which oddly contradicts the perception of cultural advancement in a technology-driven world. After all, we can communicate with far more people and in far more ways than ever before, and we’re connected twenty-four seven. Yet we can still feel desperately alone when together with others in a crowd of people.

Technological communication and connection aren’t giving us what we need. Something is missing. We’re overlooking something critical to the human experience, and loneliness has become the dark plague that torments the human soul.

It’s not a physical or a mental ailment, meaning it’s not the result of a deficiency in health. It’s not governed by serotonin or some other neurological chemical processes. We cannot rationalize it away, or medicate it away with pharmaceuticals. Painful loneliness can affect anyone with a healthy body and mind, of any age, background, or belief system.

Loneliness is a spiritual illness. It is a dearth of a very important kind of connection, something other than the technological connection or even connection with the group. It is a crippling disorientation with the world we live in.

In our inert world, where spiritual disorientation and groundlessness prevail, we are crippled by the great crisis of modernity: disenchantment. We try in vain to force-feed enchantment to each other, through television, sports, and movies. Our disenchantment, however, is not regarding a lack of entertainment, but rather a lack of self-permeability, a lack of connection with the cosmos. ~Gary Z McGee

Examining the thoughts of some of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders sheds profound insight on the causes and the cures of loneliness. Their wisdom here seems to point in the same direction, offering hope when all seems lost. Consider the following…

Paulo Coelho

Author Paulo Coelho, who is most well-known for his book The Alchemist, is someone who has experienced deep loneliness in his life, often writing on this theme in his many books. He speaks about the dynamics of loneliness, that paradoxical fact that sometimes we feel alone and do not like it, while at other times we feel like we need to be alone.

A passage from his book Adultery sheds light on his perspective.

It’s loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by loved ones who care about me and want only the best, it’s possible they try to help only because they feel the same thing— loneliness— and why, in a gesture of solidarity, you’ll find the phrase “I am using, even if alone” carved in stone.

Though the brain says all is well, the soul is lost, confused, doesn’t know why life is being unfair to it. But we still wake up in the morning and take care of our children, our husband, our lover, our boss, our employees, our students, those dozens of people who make an ordinary day come to life.

And we often have a smile on our face and a word of encouragement, because no one can explain their loneliness to others, especially when we are always in good company.

But this loneliness exists and eats away at the best parts of us because we must use all our energy to appear happy, even though we will never be able to deceive ourselves.

But we insist, every morning, on showing only the rose that blooms and keeps the thorny stem that hurts us and makes us bleed hidden within. Even knowing that everyone, at some point, has felt completely and utterly alone, it is humiliating to say, “I’m lonely, I need company.” ~Paulo Coelho, Adultery

He adds a bit more here, in a short talk:

As Elvis Presley says: “Are you lonesome tonight?” and when you’re alone, what do you really do? How do you deal, how do you cope with yourself? Is it a burden? Or is it for you a way to dive deep into your soul and understand yourself? In my case, it’s both. Sometimes I feel really alone, and I have no one to talk to. Sometimes there is this moment that I really need to be alone and to understand what’s going on, not in the world, but within myself. So, your thoughts on loneliness, that very, very strange feeling that once a day or a week, we do feel. ~Paulo Coelho

He is pointing out that loneliness plays a couple of functions in life, serving as a warning and as a respite.

Read Is It Solitude or Loneliness?: 4 Questions to Help You Tell

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle, the author of the renowned book, The Power of Now, has spoken on the phenomenon of loneliness, offering this informative perspective on why loneliness is so pervasive today.

There have never been more lonely people than now. Loneliness perhaps is a relatively recent phenomenon for humanity. In the past, one’s identity was very tribal, and if you were expelled from the tribe you would die. Not just physical, psychologically you would die.

And then later on when there were not tribes and more, but social groups, those lonely outsiders very often were those through whom breakthroughs came into this world because they were forced to go deeper. Those who didn’t fit in for one reason or other, those who felt so lonely they were forced deeper into the vertical dimension, rather than seeking some kind of solution on the horizontal dimension, more relationships or whatever. So there’s the great opportunity in loneliness.

And through acceptance, one can say loneliness transforms into solitude. Solitude means being alone, and it’s quite beautiful being alone. ~Eckhart Tolle

Mooji

Jamaican born spiritual leader Mooji asks the important question, ‘Can You Be Alone?‘ To understand and shift your relationship with loneliness he encourages you to first try to be completely alone, to fully feel what it is that is happening within your own soul.

Forget about trying to be one with anything. First, come to be completely alone. Go the opposite way, be completely alone. Don’t look for any support from anything for one moment. For one moment, see how you are only by yourself. Don’t associate with anything at all. Come to this place to be completely alone and see if you’re in a crippling position. Come to this place first. ~Mooji

Thich Nhat Hanh

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, also the author of many books including You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment, gives us perhaps the most thorough assessment of the roots of loneliness. He discusses the idea that we must come home to ourselves to find peace and happiness.

Once we are home, we no longer feel lonely. Home is a place where loneliness is happiness. But where is home? It is within the self, it is an island, a place inside ourselves where we must return to in order to be happy. Many of us have forgotten how to take this place with us in our day to day lives, and as such we drift further away with each communication. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Furthermore, he offers an explanation as to why technological connection and being part of a group does not always alleviate the sense of loneliness. We are disconnected from ourselves

Loneliness is the ill-being of our time. We feel very lonely. Even if we are surrounded by many people. We are lonely together. And there is a vacuum inside of us and we do not feel comfortable with that kind of vacuum, so we try to fill it up by connecting with other people. We believe that when we connect with other people that feeling of loneliness will disappear. And technology supplies us with a lot of devices in order to connect. Stay connected. We always stay connected but we continue to feel lonely.

We use technology to try and dissipate that feeling of loneliness but we have not succeeded.

In our daily life, we are disconnected from ourselves. We walk, but we do not know that we are walking. We are there, but we do not know that we are there. We are alive, but we do not know that we are alive. We are losing ourselves, we are not ourselves.

How can you connect with another person when you cannot connect with yourself? ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Read 50+ Quotes About Stress That Will Help You Calm Down

Deepak Chopra

Author and speaker Deepak Chopra have also shared his insight on this, pointing towards healing. He once wrote:

Healing loneliness requires more than simply seeking out the company. As you’ve probably experienced, you can feel lonely in the middle of a crowd, at a holiday party or with a group of caring friends. The root of loneliness isn’t the absence of other people but an inner absence — you don’t have a centered awareness of your true self.

Your true self is your spirit, which is infinite and eternal. Its qualities include love, compassion, equanimity, joy, creativity, intuition, pure potentiality and bliss. When you’re established in the awareness of your true self, you feel lovable and connected, whether you’re in a packed stadium or spending a quiet afternoon by yourself. At the most basic level, the company you enjoy the most is your own. Loneliness, on the other hand, is the condition of feeling negative about your own company and therefore requiring other people to fill that inner lack.

Feeling an inner lack is almost universal. It’s a result of a restricted state of awareness that is constricted, unable to look beyond rigid boundaries. The more you try to defend these boundaries, the more fearful and insecure you become. Loneliness is only one symptom. When your awareness is constricted, it’s easy to get lost in the drama of the ego-mind (that limited aspect of ourselves which feels separate). In a misguided attempt to feel secure, the ego-mind relies on reinforcement from other people to feel lovable, never realizing that love is our essential nature. This struggle is a crucial cause of loneliness and pain.  ~ Deepak Chopra

In Conclusion

It is quite telling that so many of today’s spiritual leaders have made so many comments about loneliness, all pointing in the same direction: the need to fully connect with the self. The cure for the desperation of loneliness is learning to be at peace in yourself, and once this is achieved, the world changes and relationships take on more depth and meaning than they ever had.

In such a fast-paced, hyper-connected world, the traditions of spiritual wisdom remind us that the human journey of finding peace and happiness is one that takes place inside ourselves and that we do not need external influences to give us what we need to be filled with love.


This article (What 5 Great Spiritual Leaders Have to Say About the Deadly Sickness of Loneliness) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

5 Famous Spiritual Leaders On The Deadly Sickness of Loneliness

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Rat Girl Summer: 5 Must-Follow Tips For Your Most Epic Summer Yet

Fun Rat Girl Summer Rules To Follow This Summer

This summer is going to be a little different, and a whole lot weirder. So say goodbye to hot girl summer (for now) and say hi to Rat Girl Summer.

Created by Lola Kolade, this new mindset encourages women to embrace chaos, snack on little bites and go against the rules in life.

“Rat Girl Summer” took the internet by storm as a movement to advocate authenticity and challenge beauty norms. It was all about celebrating imperfections and rebelling against the same old tired standards.

People who jumped on board were all about embracing what makes them unique, flaws and all. They’ve let go of caring about what’s trendy or in fashion, prioritizing comfort instead.



Up Next

The Psychology Behind Changing Hair Color: 7 Mood Boosting Benefits

Psychology Behind Changing Hair Color: Clear Benefits

Feeling a little blue lately? Why not dye your hair, and see if you feel better? There’s a psychology behind changing hair color, and it might be the mood boost you need.

Different colors evoke different emotions according to studies, they even impact our mental and physical well-being.

In an attempt to make ourselves happy again in this world full of constant change, altering our hair color can offer that fresh start feeling.

Imagine looking up at the sky after a bad day, the sunshine is yellow and so are happy colors such as orange, pink, red, etc. They all give off positive vibes that we all love. Even softer tones such as peach or lilac can uplift your spir



Up Next

10 Signs Your Home Has Good Feng Shui: Learn To Invite Positive Energy!

What Is Good Feng Shui At Home? Clear Signs To Know

Home is where the heart is, but do you have good vibes in your actual home? Get to know if you have good feng shui at home and start embracing that energy with the signs below!

What Is Good Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art and science that aims to harmonize people with their environment. One of the core principles of this practice is to create a positive and balanced energy called chi in spaces like homes.

Although this may seem mysterious, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out if your home has good Feng Shui or not

Take a look at are ten good Feng Shui tips that can indicate whether your home is radiating positive energy<



Up Next

Feng Shui Colors — Use These 4 Colors For A Happy And Abundant Home

Best Feng Shui Colors To Use For Your Home

Everyone has a favorite color and certain shades that brighten our moods. In this article, we’re going to focus on four of the best Feng Shui colors that are said to attract wealth and abundance.

Colors have a big significance in the ancient art of Feng Shui. They can serve as conduits to emotional energies and natural elements. By using the power of feng shui colors, one can create an environment that lets wealth and success grow.

Are you ready to create a more prosperous atmosphere for yourself and your family? Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst feng shui colors to avoid!

Related:



Up Next

6 Therapeutic Japanese Words With Deep Meaning

Japanese Words With Deep Meanings That Bring Peace of Mind

Japan has figured out how to bring us tranquility. This country is full of therapeutic Japanese words with deep meanings that will make your soul feel at peace.

Living in a world that moves at the speed of light, it is so easy to get caught up in the chaos. Stress seems to be on every street corner and finding peace and serenity seems to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

These Japanese phrases with deep meaning gently remind us all to just slow down, take a deep breath, and find peace in the present moment. Each word carries its weight when it comes to finding harmony within oneself and achieving an unmatched sense of peace.

So let’s dive into six therapeutic Japanese words with deep meanings that can give you instant tranquility in this hectic world we live in!



Up Next

Plant Parenthood 101: How Caring For Plants Can Nourish Your Mental Health 

Ways Plant Parenthood Can Boost Your Mental Health

Have you ever wondered why so many people are embracing plant parenthood? It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s someone proudly displaying their thriving indoor jungle or posting pictures of their leafy companions on social media. 

But this trend is more than just a passing fad; it’s a movement that promotes not only the well-being of plants but also the mental health of humans. 

Let us explore the concept of plant parenthood, why caring for plants is important for both plants and humans, and learn how do plants help mental health.

What is Plant Parenthood?

Plant parenthood is the act of nurturing and caring for houseplants as if they were our o



Up Next

30+ Truths About Diet Culture, Eating Disorders, And The Process of Healing

Honest Truths About Diet Culture And Eating Disorders

Diet culture impacts so many people all over the world, and unfortunately, much of it’s impact is negative and harmful. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, then you’ve come to the right place. These truths about diet culture will help you understand it’s repercussions, and motivate you to live your life in a much healthier way.

If you are struggling with food or an eating disorder, these helpful points may offer you the nudge you need to change your relationship with food.

Related: Diving into Diet Culture Definition: 5 Startli