Develop Your Spirituality Feel Happier Improve Your Life By Mary Jaksch By Mary Jaksch Do you suffer from loneliness? Like many people, maybe you too feel isolated and disconnected. We don’t have to be alone in order to feel lonely. In fact, the worst kind of loneliness is when we are surrounded by people, but feel disconnected. The loneliest time in my life was when I moved to New Zealand and had to start building my circle of friends from stratch. That experience taught me that we need to be active in order to escape loneliness. If we just sit back and wait for others to do it for us – it won’t happen. Loneliness is the feeling of being separate. . Our Western culture breeds loneliness. There are five reasons for this: Our traditional social structures have weakened or broken down. Families units are small and we don’t have the support of a large extended network of relatives. Life is busy. We lack time to be with loved ones or cultivate friendships. (There may be fast food, but there are no fast friendships!) Many people have more virtual than face-to-face interactions with others. Low self-esteem can leads to isolation because the confidence to seek out the company of others gets eroded. Activity that divert the mind from a sense of loneliness, such as TV, surfing the Web, or Internet games drive people deeper into isolation. Depression – which comes with a feeling of disconnection – is widespread. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. ~ Mother Teresa There are ten active ways to emerge from loneliness It takes energy to make friends – but you can do it, no matter where you are. Practise kindness: complete one act of kindness for another being each day. Take up voluntary work: join Amnesty International, the Red Cross, or a community group. Do something productive: clean your home, weed the garden, or tidy your cupboards. Have fun: learn to dance, go to a pottery class, or go surfing. Start an interesting hobby and join a group to learn it. Pick up the phone, or write an email. Don’t wait for people to contact you Join an exercise group and get fit together. Go for daily walks in order to connect with nature. Join a discussion group on the Net. Strike up friendships on social media like Facebook or Twitter It’s important to realize that no one person can complete all our emotional needs. In fact, in order to become whole and happy, human beings need a measure of solitude – which is very different from loneliness. Solitude is when we are on our own – but feel deeply connected to all around us. I had become, with the approach of night, once more aware of loneliness and time – those two companions without whom no journey can yield us anything. ~ Lawrence Durrell Solitude is the sense of intimate connection with all beings. . The most important way out of loneliness is to become more self reliant, and to value solitude.To do that, you need to stop covering up loneliness through using TV, drugs, alcohol, or other means of deadening your feelings, and embrace silence instead. It may sound strange, but once we begin to value solitude – which is the birthplace of creativity – we begin to feel connected even when we are alone. And we become less needy – which helps us to create healthy, respectful friendships. What helps you feel connected? Do you have some tips for others? *** Join us for the next FREE Virtual Zen Retreat: The Miracle of Kindness, 7-12 february 2010. (It’s a great way to get to know like-minded people in the private forum.) Learn how to cultivate kindness Feel the power of loving-kindness meditation Be inspired for a positive future Your personal messages, and your Zen lessons have made me realize the true value of this human existence. ~ Lokanandha P. Secure your place by filling out the form in the sidebar or find out more about Virtual Zen Retreats here.