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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean


There are often times when I am aware of loneliness; times when I wonder if it will ever go away, if it will ever transmute into connection, relationship, union. Occasionally I wonder why all the work I’ve done on myself has not yet transformed the sense of despair or dejection that are symptoms of this loneliness.

Loneliness is a reminder of separation. Loneliness can lead me to a downward spiral of shame and hopelessness. Loneliness can suck the life out of my immediate experiences.

Being alone, however, is different . . . unlike the black hole of lonliness, being alone can feel alive, heart palpitatingly immediate, pulsating with potential. Even though I understand we are all one, all connected with each other, I can also grasp that we are paradoxically here to make the human journey alone. No other human can experience my life for me, love or be loved for me, feel my broken or open heart for me, or die for me; nor can I, for them.

Coming to terms with the truth of my aloneness, with the solitary situation of existence – I can sometimes dispel loneliness . . . I can reorient in moments to the truth of alone-ness as an organizing principle. Accepting this truth at the center of my experience I can access a state of tender vulnerability which, in turn, defines my perception of aloneness; the experience is open, unknowing, uncertain. Stabilized by sensing Truth in my core, I can get in touch with and explore the wobbly and insecure experience of being alone, without dissolving into lonely despair. In aloneness, I can't look to outside to reference who . . . or what . . . I am, or why I’m here. There’s a sense of falling forward into space with no reference points, no others against whom I can measure myself or track my unfolding . . . Will I be met? What will meet me? Will I die? Am I OK? Am I doing this right? Anchored in Truth, I can flail around in the vast sense of aloneness without getting entirely lost.

Aloneness, I am discovering, is the field in which the Knower emerges, the circumstance in which I can become aware of knowing that I Know. And yet, in a world that has forgotten its value, I, too, forget that in aloneness dwells the knowledge of Oneness, the infinite connectivity linking every dimension of life. But the invitation of Alone is direct and relentless. When I am not paying attention, I am called from deep within my body, my being, to discern, to discriminate, to emerge from the victim story of loneliness and return to what is meaningful to me. I am reminded to focus on the singularity of my body, to live and share my life, not wish for someone else’s.

I, alone, embody a unique representation of the contradiction and ambiguity of separation and union. My very existence is a singular, matchless dance, a balancing act in the ongoing alchemical transmutation of the mind’s perception of lonely loss to the perpetual Presence of Love . . . All-one.

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