Sunday, November 15, 2009

On Love and Loneliness

Mon, August 14, 2006
Here's something I've been pondering for a bit.

Sitting out here in Central Mass, isolated from everyone I know (well, I do have my kitties with me!), I've been pretty lonely. I have gone days and days now without any contact at all, save the telephone; I feel adrift, cut off and not right. Out of sorts. I was never cut out to be a loner or a hermit. I can't help it, really. I truly enjoy human contact, and more than just a hello to the teller at the bank.

I have heard, from people I consider to be wiser than myself, that to long for love is a sign of weakness and dissatisfaction with one's own soul, standing, spirit, whatever. I take it all to mean that to long for human companionship, to long for love, tribe, family, is considered weakness and bad and wrong from a spiritual growth standpoint. (Funny... I don't feel weak, or bad, or wrong. Just lonely.)

But, being a person who wishes to grow and evolve I think to myself; well, guess I have a long way to go... because I really truly don't feel quite right without human contact. Without my tribe. I don't feel quite as whole as I do when I am surrounded by the people I love and care about. Even if I am not hanging out by their sides every moment, it is enough to know they are there. Nearby somewhere, so that if I do wish to see them they are there. Not hours away!

I like my solitude, don't get me wrong. I love my 'alone time', when I can create, write, think, dream, self-love, whatever. But this feeling of being adrift, without my tribe, is almost unbearable. I did it for two whole years in Panama in the Peace Corps. I can tell you all about solitude, all about being alone when being surrounded by throngs of people... it's truly rough when you are surrounded by warm bodies, none of whom can even remotely fathom the depths of you...

So is it wrong, as according to the sages, to wish for my tribe? To want to be near the people I miss? To wish to have human contact? Or is it just the longing for a mate that the sages feel is weakness? Not that I don't crave that; the sexual and spiritual intimacy, there's nothing like it. The knowing that someone is caring for you, thinking of you and that you can return the feeling.

Is this dependence, sick, bad, imbalanced? I hate to feel that it is; we as people are tribal animals, we are meant to live in packs and be around one another- why else would we have so many ways of creating intimacy with one another? To me there is nothing in the world like the intimacy of caring for another human being. It is not enough to simply live in the world and know yourself, it is amazing to be able to breach the walls in another being's world and begin to understand them as well. It's amazing that we can even communicate, since our internal worlds are so different; but that is part of the fun, the challenge, the mystery.

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate the messages of the sages. It is not that I feel the need to obsess over another human being... far from it; I miss the love that frees the self, the intimacy of friendship that makes life worth living. What I did discover in Panama is that love is truly the only thing that matters; not success, not social standing, not possessions or anything else... just love. With the great capacity for love that we have, it is pointless to see it squandered. Love is not possession, not about owning someone or their time or jealousy or any of that; it is simply about keeping the threads alive to those that matter in your life and nurturing the life that it brings.

That is love, and without it I am lonely; without it I am another person trying to 'succeed' and 'get somewhere', but where I am going if not here, with all of you?

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