Loneliness, that feeling of emptiness and longing, is not the failure to connect with others as many believe. It is the failure to connect with ourselves… with our true nature. How can we connect with ourselves when we are not even able to be with ourselves, to see what is going on in the mind? In fact, most of us don’t even want to admit that we are lonely.
And when we do feel lonely, we look for causes of loneliness (living alone, self-absorbed society, or poorly planned urban spaces) outside of us, and that is the wrong place to start. We look for comfort from others because we cannot live with ourselves with our minds. We keep ourselves busy and try to fill the void in us with material goods, addictions, or the company of other people to avoid reconnection… to make us forget about ourselves.
Many people also wrongly assume that loneliness comes with old age. In reality, we have always been lonely (irrespective of age or the type of work we do) but we have kept our loneliness hidden by our continuously chattering and perpetually distracted mind and our “busyness.” As we age, we slow down and have difficulty being busy all the time—that is when most of us come face to face with our loneliness.