Embracing the Radical Core of Loneliness

Loneliness. I feel it frequently. Viscerally. It’s like a core of suck. Lately I’ve noticed it comes at certain times of day – generally right around twilight, and I am seized with this sense that it’s like “oh my god, i’m totally crazy, i’ve been running around the country and the world shooting my mouth off and people think i’m nuts and no one wants to talk to me except via email and my only friends are my cats…”

Which, perhaps, is true. And yet, despite being *that guy* (c’mon, even you know I’m that guy, even my therapist knows I’m that guy, and he adores me) when I’m not suddenly *floored* by wacky depression (hits like a ton of bricks, walking is an INCREDIBLE antidote) the fact is that I have a muse just like you have a muse (otherwise, neither of us would read the stuff we read or write the stuff we write) so basically –

We Are So Much Less Alone Than Most People.

because they have nothing. they have tv and Kandy Krush. they have Pokemon Go and bad pornography. they have this absurd de-contextualized wall of data and they don’t have any sense of “a wellness lifestyle” to filter and contain that mountain of bullshit out there.

Which makes us elite, actually. It really does. All around us we have people so *afraid* of loneliness that they will actually spend fifteen hours a day trading cat videos on Facebook rather than actually *feel the loneliness.* They never feel it because they *can’t* feel it. We Are the Lucky Ones.

And yet, there’s that *thing* that we feel in it. Here’s the best thing I can offer:

The impulse on it is to attach something to it. “I am lonely because…” (my favorite one is because my Dad doesn’t like me, I’m sure you have one too.) But no! Wait. Loneliness does not have *causality.* Seriously. Loneliness is like a Buddhist joke (because I’m a Buddhist – to the Hare Krishnas, maybe it’s a Hare Krishna joke, but I don’t know their world view so I can’t explain it to them.)

Here’s the joke: you’re lonely because you’re *feeling* something. Feeling something isn’t just “alien to our culture” today but it’s kinda alien to the Western world like, maybe forever. And what you’re feeling is *real* in the sense that I get a knot in my stomach – but the most important thing is to *not attach anything* to that feeling and just feel it.

There. You are lonely. You are not lonely because you don’t have friends, or because your dad doesn’t like you or because your friends can’t stand you or because you can’t get laid – you’re lonely because you’re a human being and you have feelings.

Okay. Now what?

Breathe. Seriously. When the lonely hits, I breathe. I have literally pulled the car over to breathe into the loneliness and feel it and DARE IT TO KILL ME. “I can feel you, loneliness! Kill me, you bitch!” And it hurts so bad and it really does seem like death is a better idea, but once I have determined that Loneliness is an entity, then I conjure up a dark yummy thought like, “I am lonely because people SUCK.”

And you know what happens then, when I externalize it? When I’ve felt it try to kill me and then I become convinced that it’s because of THEM? Then I feel AMAZING. Because *they* are trying to hurt *me* – and I won’t let them, dammit. Fuckers.

Accept the lonely. Breathe it in. Invite it to kill you. Externalize its source. And recall that if Lonely is “the rest of them” that you aren’t going to let them kill you.

You just wouldn’t believe how effective this is. It’s kind of absurd, really. But hey – that’s kinda what I’m here for.

November 9th, 2016 by