On Loneliness

On Loneliness


It is … only in the state of complete abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful powers of our own natures. ”   Carl Jung;  Modern Man in Search of a Soul


Much of my life I spent locked in the cage of a deep and pervasive loneliness. It did not matter that I had friends, family or people around me. I struggled with this abiding isolation, helpless to make it go away. I berated myself for not “doing” the right thing, or “attracting” the right people into my life. Why when I married my best friend and was surrounded by children and friends that loved me was I still assailed by loneliness?

Figure at the Window by Salvador Dalí
Figure at the Window by Salvador Dalí

As I grew older, my parents died, my children left home, my husband and i were living with the consequences of a life time of destructive patterns of interaction, was I found myself in a “dark night of the soul”, as described by St. John of the Cross in his poem and treatise by that name – Dark Night of the Soul (Dover Thrift Editions). I saw nothing but endless isolation ahead, and death. I knew that I had to face my fear of being alone once and for all. I knew that I had to face it alone. That was all I knew, and it was terrifying. I believed there had to be a different answer to the problem than I had heretofore found and I became determined to find it.

Coming through a dark night is never easy, but it is always life and spirit altering. In my dark night I discovered a connection to myself and to my soul that now sustains me in a way nothing else was ever meant to do. I understand that now. One cannot escape loneliness through action or connection to others. One must heal the emptiness inside that separates us from ourselves. Only then can we gain true intimacy with others. It sounds simple, It is not.

Carl Jung discovered this as well. He discovered and articulated our need to discover the “powers of our own natures” and to live from within our own creative powers, using our own rich and magnificent resources. We have far more inside of ourselves and at our disposal than most of us ever imagine; more than most of us can even conceive, particularly when we are locked in the fear, dread and scarcity mentality of our culture. To discover our inner strength, the bubbling fountain of life energy that is ever-present to us, it is necessary to disconnect from anything that pulls us away from it and from that which draws our attention to false solutions and weak excuses. Only then, will we discover the richest part of this life we are now living.

Have you experience a “dark night of the soul”? Have you experienced deep and abiding loneliness? What did you discover there?

Unraveling Ourselves

Backwards Thinking


3 Replies to “On Loneliness”

  1. what I found was that to be truly alone is to turn off the ‘white noise’ we are constantly trying to listen to in everyday life, and then I learned just how meaningless the ‘noise’ is without the actions it professes. Pay close attention not only to what people say but to what advice they give.

  2. What a touching post. Thank you so much for writing it. Do know this though: most people are going through life asleep. It’s hard to find another person to connect with.

    I really don’t have anything to say worth saying, I think.

    I left my first husband when I was 40. I am now almost 68. Except for a very brief, disastrous second marriage, I’ve spent most every holiday alone, the vast majority of them not by choice. Some days I am desperately lonely — mostly during the Christmas season, but, then, I know it’s going to pass soon enough. But, for the most part, I have come to love silence and solitude (as much as one can have when one has a prima donna cat LOL). And I know I am connected to everyone and everything else; much of the time I feel it too.

    I was a philosophy major and a comparative religions major. I have loved both all my life, so I think that helps somewhat. Have read all the mystics, of any time and place, of all religions. Thomas Merton too. 🙂

    I’m not particularly religious, and I struggled off and on with dysthymia and clinical depression all my life, up until about 10 years ago, when an endocrinologist discovered my Vit B12 and Vit D3 were way too low and helped me remedy that relatively quickly. Now, the past 10 years (I retired 10 years ago), I have spent most days in profound gratitude, just to be alive.

    I am not particularly creative, but I just like ‘being’ — I’m a nature girl, I love to read (good nonfiction and classic English, Russian, Greek and South American fiction), and I just like ‘being’. “No place to go, nothing to do, nobody to be.” I did a lot of volunteer work for almost 20 years, until I was 60 — I’m done with that. Now I’m preparing to die. If our consciousness continues after death, I know I am going to miss the beauty of this world and universe and also miss being alive. But I’m very curious (actually, rather excited about it) as to what — or what not — lies after death. Not at all afraid.

  3. Oh, I love this, Dorothy! Loneliness points us into that abyss, through which we must endure the dark night of the soul. But you captured it perfectly with “Coming through a dark night is never easy, but it is always life and spirit altering. In my dark night I discovered a connection to myself and to my soul that now sustains me in a way nothing else was ever meant to do.”
    So, so true.
    Thank you for this!

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