When loneliness and feeling alone is no laughing matter

The Christmas season is usually a time when people gather and celebrate together. Paradoxically almost, it can be also a time when many people feel very lonely. The sense of loneliness can affect people who are single and in relationships, living with others or on their own. It transcends cultures, class and locality. It can affect even those who seem the most jolly and full of the joys of life. Particularly after Christmas, there’s a “let down” period. After the high adrenalin rush and the excess, there’s often a “down” time. Christmas in the West is a big spending binge … Read more

Do you love to be in nature away from other people?

Is there a part of you that prefers to be in nature, away amongst mountains, by the sea or in the countryside, where there aren’t any people and you have to yourself the splendour of nature? Do you get times when you want to get away from the stresses and strains of dealing with your fellow humans and the crowded cities? Just recently someone was telling how she comes into her own when in nature, in the silence and stillness of remote mountains and their vast and massive rocky majesty. I thought, “me too!” Your special place, if that is … Read more

Do you let loneliness get to you or choose to change?

After all the activity of Christmas comes the loneliness of January, in the depths of winter, with cold, grey, sunless days and long nights. What was all that festivity about if life is really like this? There are those who feel lonely in relationship and want a change, but there are very many today who aren’t in one and feel the lack of company very much at this time of year. Statistics abound about the rise in the number of people in the UK living alone, around 16% in recent surveys, and in the US it is over 50%. Of … Read more

We seem to be becoming a very divided society – or am I dreaming?

Am I imagining it, or are we becoming a very divided society and alienated from one another? And if this is true, then how do we respond to this, to our fellow humans’ tendency to differentiation, of seeing another as different and as a threat? One area that has been concerning me for some time has been the growth of a tendency in society to separate off from one another in terms of nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, physical ability and welfare dependency, among other differentiations. At one level this may not seem new, one might think “T’was ever thus”, but … Read more

Feel the connection in relationship where we are as One

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there,” (Rumi). I always find this a deeply moving quote, because it holds out the possibility for a greater, deeper connection between humans, beyond our personal stuff, where we can truly meet each other and feel the connection between us as One. Today I was forwarded this inspiring TED talk video about the Power of Connection. [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEaERAnIqsY’] The speaker, Hedy Schleifer, says that, in line with the thinking of the philosopher Martin Buber, there is between two people a “relational space” and … Read more

Where our values don’t translate into action

As this recession (really a depression) in the UK grinds on, the tolerances that were initially retained post-2008 seem to be breaking down and I wonder if we’re moving to a period where we need, where we really need, to take a good look at our values and what we want as a society. I’ve been noticing how people have been struggling individually in the face of what for the vast majority of us is an unprecedented contraction in the economy. I say contracting, although on the face of it we seem to be “flat-lining”, in other words bumping along … Read more

Be really alone and find what’s really there

Aloneness is at one end of a spectrum of awareness, at the other end of which is At-Oneness. They are polar opposites. Aloneness has a variety of associated experiences, the understanding that we are separate being the underlying condition. We may at times feel lonely, on our own, abandoned, unloved, sad, miserable, depressed. Not surprisingly, we fear it. It can be such an unpleasant place to be that we’ll do all sorts of things to avoid it. Many will cling to the company of others and even go into relationships for fear of being alone and unloved, not necessarily the … Read more

Why do people cry at weddings?

I attended a wedding last weekend in the august surroundings of the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in London,  at which someone my wife had known a long time was getting married. It was a traditional Anglican wedding, during which we were treated to a sermon by the priestess. Her subject was “Why do people cry at weddings?” I was initially absorbed by her range of psychological explanations, until she settled on a religious explanation as the real reason. Well, if you are a devotee of that tradition, or others for that matter, I can imagine that her explanation that … Read more

How can Christmas be meaningful for you?

Now we’re getting very close to the Christmas break, it’s perhaps a good time to reflect on what Christmas is about. For many of us in the UK it is a feast day, time with the family, when we traditionally give each other presents, or a holiday. For some it is a traditional religious occasion, and this might spill over to impact more people than is usual, to judge by the larger than average turn-out in churches up and down the land. There’s a debate going on about how many people are actually Christian, but somehow the underlying cultural identity … Read more

Seeing the essential good in others stems from thinking well of ourselves too

I was today reading about an aspect of Indian philosophy that regards the Self as divine and about its logical consequence, that that same divinity would belong to other people, and the further consequence, that it was ethically intolerable to think, say or act in any way that would be adverse or harmful to another being. Or, as my guru puts it, “See God in each other.” Quite apart from any religious position here, and this blog seeks to rise above that stuff, I’m struck by the undercurrent of fundamental respect for my fellow humans implicit in this philosophy. They … Read more