Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
Loneliness is taking the illusion of separation and making it real.
Loneliness is sitting down in a boat ride at an amusement park and never coming out of the tunnel.
Loneliness is believing every lie that has ever been told us.
Loneliness is the root of all evil.
There are two parts to loneliness: self-centeredness and disheartenment.
There is a difference between being alone and loneliness. We could live in a large family, have a job with many others, attend a large church, and live in a big city and still feel lonely. On the other hand, we could live in a cabin deep in the woods and, while being alone, feel connected.
How can we feel estranged from all that surrounds us?
We believe that we are separate. That we live in a separate world. That people want to be separate from us. That God does not recognize our existence.
It’s all beliefs that are not true. It’s all lies.
We get to this place of unbelief because we get caught in our own dreams. Dreams of self-importance that we don’t see recognized by others. It’s like building a life of living in a House of Mirrors and believing everything we see.
We see ourselves. But we don’t see anyone else.
And we take everything we see – and don’t see – as the truth.
It’s as though when we need advice or consolation, we turn to the mirror over our bureau and think that the ensuing conversation is real. That we have the answers to all our questions.
Underneath the emotional assertion that no one wants us, is the reality that we don’t want others.
We are the ones who are really doing the rejecting.
No one around us is “good enough.” Because they don’t function as perfect mirrors for our egos.
They might criticize. Or neglect. Or even ignore.
Others are seen as inadequate. Which turns into a sense of rejection. And being rejected, even in the smallest way, Will Not Be Tolerated.
So we turn inward and become increasingly dependent on our own voice. Our own assessments. Our own values.
And the more we turn inward, the more distorted our view of reality becomes.
Madness can set in.
And so there we are, becoming more and more lost in our own thoughts. Even when others reach out to us, we hold tight to our sense of separateness.
It becomes our identity.
We are lonely.
Loneliness can become all we are. It can make us drop any awareness of the importance of all else that is around us.
We have dug ourselves in a hole. In experience, a very real hole. But digging and digging and digging can get exhausting.
What to do?
The more we allow loneliness to swallow us up, the more tired we become. Loneliness exhausts our spiritual reserves.
It can even eat into our physical health. It can be the cause of depression, which can lead to various means of harming oneself. It can eat away at our hearts. Literally.
And until not that long ago, people’s death could be ascribed to loneliness.
As we give up so do our bodies. We shut down, and our bodies reflect this.
Self-centeredness tells us that no one loves us. Disheartenment tells us that there is no use trying to find someone who will.
When I worked on a suicide help line while I was in college I learned many things. The most shocking was that the desire to commit suicide, in these cases most usually a scream of feeling too lonely to go on living, was attached to anger. Anger at someone who wasn’t giving us what we wanted. And If I kill myself, won’t that make them sorry!
The lies of loneliness can include the error that our happiness is in the hands of someone else. And if that person doesn’t give us what we want, then we have the right to hurt them by killing ourselves.
The inward spiral of loneliness can even lead us to wanting to hurt the other person in more direct ways.
It’s as though loneliness becomes a disability that results in our complete discouragement. And through that discouragement we just stop living.
We lose our creativity. And that is the most significant byproduct of loneliness.
We lose our ability to find ways of being connected.
The concept of the Other can disappear altogether.
It is through our feeling separate that evil can manipulate us. Many forms of absolute evil use the illusion of bonding to catch and hold us.
Satan is the form of absolute evil that functions as a connected soul. Like the roots of a mushroom underground, everything belongs to one unit.
Satan is the form of evil that is demonstrated in the movie, The Exorcist.
Children long to feel connected to others. And when they don’t they can let Satan into their souls thinking that they have found “an invisible friend.” Someone who understands us and loves us just the way we are.
The few times that I can remember wondering if my visions were coming from God because there were significant differences in them from the usual ones, what I noticed was that there was a coziness to “the voice.” Friendly elbow pokes. Jokes.
It’s like a plant evil wants to pot in your soul: just joke about this negativity and we’ll have fun. But plants can grow. Even – or most especially – in souls.
Once I was clear what was happening, I just let the visions go on. Pretending all the way that I was along for the ride.
Because evil doesn’t want to teach or actually encourage. Or show the way.
So letting them run their course is the most fun: they come to an end. And evil is horrified by this.
Fishing for souls is what evil is good at.
Today, in our world, our culture around the world is sinking into the horror of child sexual abuse. It is literally all around us.
Women who have sex with their own children on camera to make some money.
People who go to ravaged countries and gather up children to sell to others as sexual property.
One young woman that I have listened to is fighting back against this. Or trying to. She was one such ripe plum picked, stolen, used.
She describes her first experience of sexual molestation as being told continually, Just let it go. Just let it go. Just let it go.
Let your resistances down. Let your objections go.
You are part of this family now. Your role is to satisfy my sexual needs. In return, you will belong here. Be one of us.
It is the actual voice of evil. In the ears of so many little girls and boys these days.
The enticement of finding a home. Being part of a “family.” Having a real role in that family.
Evil cannot get through the bonds of love. Of connectedness. Of real family.
Only one who thinks he is alone will be willing to reach out to the temptations of evil: the illusions of family (Satan), increased power in the world (Antichrist), satisfaction of lusts (the devil), special gifts (the female form of absolute evil). And the list goes on.
Evil cannot make inroads into us unless we want that to happen.
Working with a lonely person can be very frustrating. It is his will against our good wishes for him.
Creating flourishes of love for that person will only backfire because the efforts will be torn apart, scrutinized, and found wanting.
Why? Because we are thinking of ourselves. Or, better, we are thinking of what we would want to happen if we were sorrowful.
A lonely person is a professional egoist. Nothing will be good enough.
So we have to bring the experience of connectedness to the lonely one.
But gently. Like light rain.
A little here. A little there. Like feeding a stray animal that hangs around the backyard. Running out to it with a big plate of food won’t work.
Leaving a little here and there will.
And then there is always listening. Which is, to my mind, the most effective means of offering healing to another that exists.
Don’t even respond. Or, if that seems inappropriate, just repeat back what you heard.
From time-to-time ask, Is there anything I can do for you?
Or make a little gesture on your own.
The purpose is to offer just enough (but not too much) to make the lonely person want more.
And not be overwhelmed in the receiving.
It you upset the person by doing too much or by doing something that is for you and not him, then back off. Then leave some time, and try again.
It’s the consistency of your effort that will be the cure.
The trust that you are there.
Like an abused animal, little by little, offering something until a connection is made.
Don’t forget, you are working with someone who considers himself lost. And is angry and may very well want to hurt you.
Much like a stray or wounded animal.
So, distance and time and consistency are the keys.
And there is always prayer.