How Do We Reconnect When Lonely?
Is Facebook making us lonely? In yogic terms one of the root causes of suffering is the perception of being alone. We think no one else feels what we feel, therefore no one else understands what we’re experiencing.
When our seventh chakra, the crown chakra, is blocked we feel lonely and disconnected. The work of this chakra is then to bring healing to the ailment of loneliness. For some, loneliness might have the literal meaning of being physically removed from other people. This seems to be a recent trend with the new obsessive emersion in social media. But feeling disconnected can have a deeper meaning and impact on your life, especially if it feels like you are living one never-ending groundhog’s day. Does your life have a feeling of futility?
What’s interesting is that in 1950, less than ten percent of American’s lived alone, but by 2010 nearly twenty-seven percent of households were occupied by only one person. There is a growing epidemic of loneliness. “We found that loneliness somehow penetrated the deepest recesses of the cell to alter the way genes were being expressed.” Loneliness affects not only the brain but also the basic process of DNA transcription. When your mind is lonely, your whole body is lonely. “Internet communication allows only ersatz intimacy. Forming connections with pets or online friends is a noble attempt to satisfy a compelling need, but surrogates can never make up completely for the absence of the real thing.” The real thing being actual people, in the flesh, as Stephen Marche explains.
Yoga and Community
Personally my favorite part of yoga has nothing to do with poses or breathing, but with community. It’s about the coming together of humans in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, ages and interests, in the sharing of an experience. That’s why I go back every day, both as a student and a teacher. What’s more, it has been scientifically proven that being in a healthy community is good for us. The vibration of positively minded people raises our vibrational frequency.
This shared joy elevates our spirits and is even talked about in Yoga Sutra Chapter 2.33 Pratipaksha Bhavana. Essentially the sutras dictate that when we are imbalanced mentally, physically or emotionally, we are not living our true nature: Joy. Therefore, engaging with others and thinking happy thoughts helps us to create happiness both internally and externally. Positive energy creates and attracts more positive energy.
“Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, and ennobles us. Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of the whole.” – Jack Kornfield.
How Do We Reconnect?
First, you have to accept that we are all already continuously connected. All you have to do is open back up to our collective energy. This is referred to by scientists as the Zero Point Field, meaning that all matter is interconnected by one energy web. The easiest way to quiet the static that prevents us from feeling this, is meditation. Meditation creates a non-dualistic understanding of the world. It promotes the science of universal harmony. Meditation is a philosophy of supporting, rather than competing against, one another. It helps take away the feeling of threat and disconnection from the world. It promotes love as the eternal connector.
Dr. Dean Schrock describes meditation and explains why it works: *”Meditation allows you to access the quantum field of energy which is essentially a field of love. And meditation heals by leading you to love.” *
The true meaning of Namaste is: When I am in a place of love and you are in a place of love, we are one love.
Wishing you all the courage to open your hearts to greater community and collaboration. Love yourself, love your day, love your life.
How Does an HSP Cope With All the Suffering in the World?
If you’re not familiar with the term HSP, please see the definition for “Highly Sensitive Person” from Dr. Elaine Aron.
With no simple answer, I’m afraid. I’ve pondered my own answer to this question for several years. The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to me during one of my own meditations a few years ago. I use it often…and lately, that means almost daily!
A Meditation of Hope and Love
Find a meditation time – at least 30 minutes, or longer, if possible. You know the criteria – quiet, uninterrupted time and space, preferably your own special place that may have candles or a special feeling of comfort and security for you.
Sit or lie down in a very comfortable position. (I prefer lying, with something light and soft to cover me.)
- Begin slow, deep breathing, focusing on blowing all your breath out – as if blowing out a candle.
- Breathe in deeply, through your nose, to a count of 8 or 10. Hold for a count of four.
- Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, to a count of ten.
You want to create a very deep cleansing breath. Notice: You might begin yawning, or drifting off to sleep. Go with whatever feels best for you. There is no ‘doing it wrong’ here. Just keep practicing until eventually you can complete the whole meditation. Now here comes the harder, yet important part.
Begin to allow your mind to go ahead and focus on all the things you have been concerned or worrying about. Like many of you, I have been close to tears each day as I hear about all the suffering in the world.
Lovingly ask each individual concern to patiently wait in line — assuring them they will all have a chance to be heard. In your relaxed state, begin to see each entity forming a line, waiting patiently. As they come up to be heard, assign them a name like Robin Williams, Gaza/Palenstine conflict, Nigerian girls or maybe for you it might be lost job, finances, or whatever else evolves as an appropriate and loving way to remember and honor your concerns.
As an HSP, these kinds of images tend to burrow deep into my inner world and I can begin to feel burdened, lethargic, and sometimes hopeless. Cognitively, I know there is really nothing I can (concretely) do about these tragedies, yet my yearnings for a better world keep my mind occupied.
Now comes the next step in your meditation.