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
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.