When Adam was created, God knew that he would be lonely and he sent Eve to love him and give him company. God created us as social animals and didn’t want it’s creatures to be lonely.
Since the time we are born, we are taught to give and receive affection. A lonely person is not accepted well in the society. Family, friends, co-workers, everyone around us give us a sense of belongingness and help us find a place in this mosaic of life. But when this association, this feeling of affection goes away, we feel sad, miserable and LONELY.
Often loneliness is caused by emotional or situational factors. In today’s virtual world, I would call loneliness to be the rise of Facebook and Twitter. People who are really lonely in life, find solace amidst thousands of virtual friends and followers.
If we are made by God to have companionship, then why do we end up isolating ourselves from others, or are isolate by others in our daily lives?
I do cherish few moments of solitude that I personally choose for myself, but I also know that long period of lonely time can make me feel depressed and pathetic. It can even make me irritant and crazy. It’s like a confined space where body and mind struggle with thoughts and no one to share them with. If I stay alone by myself for a very long period of time, I start to question the existence of my physical presence, how the world is and how the world stopped or changed when I withdrew myself into voluntary confinement. Sounds crazy, right? That is why I need social interaction, I need to have people around me with whom I can channelize my thoughts and understand the essence of life and in the process enjoy it. Besides, isn’t this what God wanted for us?
I remembered the times when I was in my college and going through a rough patch. I didn’t have a roommate and I was sort of living all by myself. I would go hours and sometimes days without any human contact. I would confine myself to my room and keep working on my laptop and think for hours. The result was not that pretty though, I ended up with depression and anxiety. The feeling of being disconnected from the world around me entrapped me so badly that I couldn’t move even though I had the freedom to go anywhere I wanted, meet anyone I wanted to and yet there I was sitting in my room alone with my laptop and a can of red bull.
Being lonely not only cuts us off from human contact, it also keeps us away from a very important element of our lives, curiosity and affirmation of others. We as human beings are born curious. We want to know everything around us, that is why we read newspapers and watch gossip channels. When we confine ourselves to solidarity, the feeling of knowing what’s going on or the feeling of getting affirmation is missing. When you dress up for a party, you want people to affirm you that you look great, without that there is probably no point in getting dressed. It gives me recall of a scene from the movie “A beautiful mind” in which John Nash asked a student to verify that there was a man standing beside him talking to him. Nash has schizophrenia which made him hallucinate and thus he relied on other people to assure him that what he was seeing was indeed reality or not. But if you think about it, we all are like that; we all practice this to a certain degree. We want people around us to confirm our own presence in the world. We want people to tell us that we are indeed alive and that life is not a hallucination.
The impact of what absolute confinement and loneliness has varies from people to people. I got thinking about people like Gautama, who left a rich life and family behind to travel alone in search of meaning of life. Loneliness helped him find what he was born to do. What loneliness does to a person is something which is unpredictable. You can be depressed or become a saint and preach the world. But whatever you do, always follow your heart and be happy about it.