Many of you, I am sure, have experienced loneliness even when you are with others.

It is that something deep in you is not met, not seen, not answered by the one you are with, leading to a feeling of sorrow, emptiness or disappointment. The whole matchmaking and dating industry is founded on this deep-seated need and unfounded hope. We look to the outer world and to outer relationships to fill that inner void. There is a lot to be said about this all too human condition. The sociologist would say, well of course the human is a social animal. The psychologist would say, well of course how we are in our relationships determines our happiness. Both of these worldviews offer a partial answer only.

Energy is an interesting thing. Have you ever noticed that when you seek solace or comfort from a specific relationship, it starts to evade you? I am not talking about the heady days of the honeymoon period in any relationship. Those are the special days in the early phase of some love relationship in which you are blessedly exempt from the realities of the nuts and bolts of the daily grind. No, we are talking about the nuts and bolts part. The part when you are trying to figure out how to make this relationship work, or questioning whether it can work at all in the long haul.

The reason I am moved to write about this topic is because it is so pervasive….and not dependent on whether or not a person is in relationship – which is interesting, because it blows our whole myth of the meaning of loneliness right out of the water. There are a number of problems with trying to ‘fix’ loneliness by looking to your significant other to fill the void. The first and most important reason is that they can never measure up, because the void cannot be filled by another person. And the more dissatisfied we become by their apparent lack, the more they are pushed away by that dissatisfaction. If you have ever been on the receiving end of that energy, it has a sucking feeling, and you just want to get away from it, as if something is trying to glom on to you. So the dynamic bounces back and forth between disappointment on the one end of the equation, and evasion and recoil on the other.

The other interesting thing to observe is that when you experience loneliness – and we all do, as it seems to be part of our human condition – your energy is contracted. If you simply start to observe how you are energetically throughout your day, you will notice that you are in either a contracted or expanded state, or are in the process of moving from one to the other. If you can begin to observe how your energy shifts, including the when and the why, it will start to show you a lot about yourself. In fact everything in the universe is in a state of contraction or expansion, or is moving from one state to the other. Day into night, hot into cold, big into small, small into big, war into peace etc., whether we are talking about the climate, the economy, international relations or the health of our relationship.

However humans have the unique opportunity to become conscious. This ability to become conscious is the mysterious third that can take us out of the ping-ponging of our dualistic tendencies. When the soul turns away from its tendency to look outside to the outer world (things, possessions) and to outer relationships to meet its deep need and longing, and begins to turn inward towards the spirit, a new life begins. The influx of the spirit washes the soul clean and the bridal chamber is thus prepared. This can feel like a painful process, but ultimately it is the only one that matters. This is the sacred marriage that Jung and the Gnostics have referred to.

 As I was meditating on this condition, a red cardinal flew up to a branch just outside my window, as if to say, “I am here with you’. The call and response; I had to smile.

As the soul turns towards spirit with its longing for union, a state of fruitful, creative, pregnant expansion can begin. This is not for the young or the faint-hearted. They will have to continue to journey and seek in the outer world, in what my father used to call the school of hard knocks. I guess this blog addresses itself to the bruised warriors who have taken their knocks and seen the futility. This is not to advocate an abandoning of the world or relationships, but rather it advocates a relationship with spirit, which will in turn guide your life, if you can listen. Get ready to open into a whole new way of being in the world. You will feel it in your heart.

From Rumi:

Imagine the time the particle you are returns where it came from!

The family darling comes home. Wine without being contained in cups, is handed around.

A red glint appears in a granite outcrop, and suddenly the whole cliff turns to ruby.

At dawn, I walked with a monk on his way to the monastery.

“We do the same work,” I told him. “We suffer the same.”

He gave me a bowl.

And I saw:

The soul has this shape

Shams and actual sunlight,

help me now,

being in the middle of being partly in my self,

and partly outside.

Watch a remarkable artist and composer: Eleni Karaindrou