Poli.V

Social Commentary, Activism, Humanism

The Buddhist View of Loneliness as a Good Thing February 15, 2013

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2009/02/chogyam-trungpa-rinpoche-pema-chodron-the-buddhist-view-of-loneliness-as-a-good-thing/

Here’s the Buddhist view of loneliness.

It works for me, I think unknowingly I have embraced this concept in times past, lost my way and here I am back again.

I found the Elephant Journal through Facebook and it’s proven to be a boon at times. The advertising on the page can be a little overwhelming but when you get past that and read the articles the message can be quite profound.

Lots of good reading to be found here.

This bit particularly resounded;

“The second kind of loneliness is contentment. When we have nothing, we have nothing to lose. We don’t have anything to lose but being programmed in our guts to feel we have a lot to lose. Our feeling that we have a lot to lose is rooted in fear—of loneliness, of change, of anything that can’t be resolved, of nonexistence. The hope that we can avoid this feeling and the fear that we can’t become our reference point.

When we draw a line down the center of a page, we know who we are if we’re on the right side and who we are if we’re on the left side. But we don’t know who we are when we don’t put ourselves on either side. Then we just don’t know what to do. We just don’t know. We have no reference point, no hand to hold. At that point we can either freak out or settle in. Contentment is a synonym for loneliness, cool loneliness, settling down with cool loneliness. We give up believing that being able to escape our loneliness is going to bring any lasting happiness or joy or sense of well-being or courage or strength. Usually we have to give up this belief about a billion times, again and again making friends with our jumpiness and dread, doing the same old thing a billion times with awareness. Then without our even noticing, something begins to shift. We can just be lonely with no alternatives, content to be right here with the mood and texture of what’s happening.

The third kind of loneliness is avoiding unnecessary activities. When we’re lonely in a “hot” way, we look for something to save us; we look for a way out. We get this queasy feeling that we call loneliness, and our minds just go wild trying to come up with companions to save us from despair. That’s called unnecessary activity. It’s a way of keeping ourselves busy so we don’t have to feel any pain. It could take the form of obsessively daydreaming of true romance, or turning a tidbit of gossip into the six o’clock news, or even going off by ourselves into the wilderness.”

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2 Responses to “The Buddhist View of Loneliness as a Good Thing”


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