Giving from Being: an Antidote for Loneliness
As we go through the Awakening process, we will face the conditioned ways we’ve connected with others through our lifetime. We will become aware of the ego’s desires, manipulations, defenses as well as early childhood programming where we searched for approval, permission, praise, and love from our care-givers.
Conflict in friendships and relationships point out the cause-effect nature of the ego’s personal sense of “self”. We experience turmoil when we believe thinking mind’s negative thoughts and act out reactively. We reach the point where we are very weary of war. We will do anything to experience peace.
We move past denial and open to the inner-correction of ways we’ve behaved through dysfunctional emotional reactivity; we learn about emotional health. We address feelings and learn to communicate with transparency. We question codependence and begin to learn assertiveness. We move out of enmeshment and step into empowerment. We turn within rather than expecting or demanding that others do for us what we’re able to do. We give outer support and learn to request support.
We tune into inner validation and encouragement as we work through fears. We notice what needs to be done, we do what is necessary in each moment, we watch our skillsets improve. We experience greater ease achieving specific goals in our physical world. We learn to balance doing with spiritual practice or sitting in the silence of being-ness. We participate and we contribute, yet we let go of results.
Awakening has its times of gentleness and fierce strength. Some conditioning dissolves, much like cotton candy when it meets the moisture within the mouth. Other patterns of conditioning are cut clean through with one slicing blow, like a razor-sharp sword.
The ego’s restrictiveness, limitation and bondage are no match for the sharp edge of Awakening. One glance from pure seeing brings Awareness of the Freedom which has always been, newly recognized and eager to be explored.
We might reel in the discovery of our level of dependence on others and the conditioned ways we’ve related with friends, family and the people around us. We might see how we’ve “used” others to validate our sense of self. We may see how we’ve manipulated to gain attention or affection. We might realize we’ve used force, violence, or angry demands to ensure we get our way.
We see how we fear abandonment and rejection and beg, plead, cling, feign or lie. We notice the ego’s strategies to hold others close and our attempts to gain control. We might be shocked to see the ways we’ve avoided feeling our darkest fear of being alone, the fear of loneliness and separation. We are emotionally maturing and spiritually expanding.
We may discover the many ways the ego ensures abandonment won’t happen. We might maintain the status quo in unfulfilling relationships/friendships because at least it’s better than being alone. We may boost ourselves with facebook friend counts although we rarely communicate more than a few “hey, what’s up’s’/happy birthday. We can fill our spare time with binge-watching movies to feel involved in a virtual community.
We could over-invest in social activities that leave us burned out. We might fill our home with pets to replace the closeness with family or friends we’ve “lost” along the way. We may turn on the tv, the radio, music, news to fill our living space with “people sounds” even when we’re not really interested, we just need it so being alone doesn’t creep into Awareness. So innocent is so much suffering.
We’re innocently searching for connection and the mind searches “out there”. We’ve temporarily lost our Awareness of Who We Are, the deepest connection with All. We’re desperately afraid of the emptiness we feel inside, so we cover this seeming void with distraction.
We’ve had and continue to have so many opportunities to be in the company of others. People are everywhere. So is nature, so are plants, rocks, grass and animals. The problem isn’t opportunity. The problem isn’t “them”. The trouble-maker is the ego which judges, criticizes and misinterprets every contact and interaction. The thinking egoic mind and its collection of past pain gets in the way. Next time we’re out running errands, we can check witness this for ourselves.
Observe the thinking mind as it comes into contact with others. Listen for the negativity it generates. Count the thoughts which judge, criticize, or assume in some light that is less than complimentary. It may be a surprise, to see how fear and separation are “affirmed” by egoic mind upon every contact with another human being. The ego is simply doing “its job” to maintain separation and stoke the fire of fear.
Whatever ego can define, it holds itself separate, “not me”, “I’m” this but not that.” Ego cannot join, it can only stand against. We, however, do join, for the unlimited freedom of That Which We Are turns nothing away. Being can find Itself in everything and sees everything as Itself.
Watch how the ego defends, attacks and runs its program of warfare. See how believing these thoughts affect our behavior: the smile we don’t give; the hug we refuse to fully embrace; the compliment we don’t give nor do we really “let in” if it’s offered to us; the sharpness to our tone of voice; the side-ways glance we give (the look); the way we bristle and speak abruptly; the air of suspicion through which we view the interaction; the sigh of sarcasm and the roll of the eyes; the curses under our breaths. The strategies of warfare are many; we not only pay the inner price of losing our sense of peace but we lose sight of our connectedness, our Oneness, our Hearts hurt.
Be gentle as these come into Awareness, this is innocent ignorance and there’s no need for blame, guilt, nor shame. Just seeing the cause-and-effect chain of events is enough. This is mental illness within the context of social interaction, for the ego is insane. This negativity robs us of the recognition of inherent preciousness, intrinsic worth and our root essence as unconditional love. This ages the body, depletes our energy level and compounds the backlog of our pain-body’s burning resentment. We miss the fountain of goodwill available in our hearts because of the incessant monologue of the ego’s insanity in our heads.
“But what can we do about it, we can’t just wish the ego away”
This is true, the ego is part of human conditioning and it need not go away. It just needs to be recognized, this is the step out of warfare; this unplugs our emotions from its strong grip and lessens the collateral damage.
Would we believe the thought that we’re pink-and-purple polka-dotted hippos? We would laugh at this thought and it would go away just like it had appeared; it might even be surrounded by the cushion of peace which comes with good-natured humor. But how do we hold onto the negative judgments that spring to mind when we’re in the company of another person? Can we allow them to pass with a tiny smile of recognition of the ego’s silliness? Can we find the field of Unity as Being?
How often are we in the company of someone else in silence? How often do we spend time with eachother simply being? What usually happens is that two minds are “minding” — while bodies are doing. Mind is running the interaction. When what we believe are “our” thoughts meet agreement by the other person, we are “getting along”. When thoughts disagree, we experience conflict. Mind is meeting mind rather than the spaciousness of That Which We Are, our truest essence of formless beingness.
One spiritual practice is to ground in the Present Moment as one’s essence of being-ness while meeting another person from that field of alert Awareness. Allowing what words arise while focusing on the spaciousness from which breath comes, envelopes the interaction in peace.
When a reply comes out of the mouth from Being-ness, it often surprises us with its tenderness, gentleness and on-target timeliness. We’re awed by Its skillfulness in both context and content. Genuine unconditional love speaks without egoic agenda. Disagreement, coming from Being, is free from warfare. A fact is spoken and all outcome is released. Even a “no” to a request coming from Being is kind, considerate and very wise.
This field of being-ness offers no conflict for it accepts and allows. The egoic mind has not gone away, it is transcended in that moment. While being included within Beingness, ego can no longer dictate nor control the interaction. When everyone with whom we interact is met with the peace of Being, where is separation? Where is fear? Where is loneliness?
Consider why we enjoy being surrounded by nature. A walk focuses the mind on the breath and the senses. Eyes drink in the scenery, the nose soaks up woodsy odors, the skin registers sensations of warmth and cold, the body balances then steps forward. The egoic mind becomes quiet when Present Moment Awareness is primary. Relief, sweet relief from the spinning of thinking mind. There’s no argument with the tree, the flower, the bird, they simply arise in appreciative wonder and joy. Nature gives us a direct experience, the gift of being led into Presence, being-ness.
The next time we feel lonely, we can choose to either fire-up the engine of thinking mind which seeks someone’s company to “mind-with” or we can enter Presence. We can meet another person from our being-ness and observe the gifts the interaction brings.
The gift we’re giving is the same as Nature, we are sharing being-ness. Sharing the mind through “minding” cannot compare. Minding’s benefits wear off quickly for validation, praise and agreement must constantly be renewed through another person. Being is unlimited and always available within each of us; Being is shared in silence even if words appear and disappear.
Sharing being-ness strengthens Presence for all involved. It’s the gift which when shared, multiplies, without depletion. Presence or being-ness is received as and while it is given. The bible mentions in Luke 6:38: “Give and it shall be given to you.” Offering Presence is to receive Presence. This is where giving and receiving become One.
Science mentions our bodies receive a “hit” of the pleasure hormone dopamine when we give gifts. In some psychology circles it’s encouraged to give what you wish most to receive (if you want appreciation, give appreciation). Watch how it feels to give from Presence, from your essence of being-ness. Can the union between you and the other be felt more strongly than separation? Is there a calming Certainty felt more deeply than thinking mind’s fearfulness? Does the chattering negativity of ego calm down?
When we’re in touch with the deepest Truth of Who We Are, we’re tapping into all of the qualities we most want from human connection: Peace, Joy, Unconditional Love, Certainty, Power, Connection, Unity, Generosity, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Honor. These flow from being and when given, multiply. In the fullness of Presence, where can loneliness abide? Loneliness can only “live” within the depleted state, cut-off from our own hearts and essence, our well-spring of Being-ness.
The photo at the top of this article shows a candle offered in open hands. This week, could we imagine each interaction with another person to be our offering of Light, from the Unconditional Love We Are, given freely-openly-willingly? We offer Presence. We share from the fullness of our Being-ness.
We can observe how this affects the ego’s interpretation of loneliness and separation through our direct experience of Union in Being.
With You as Awakening Unfolds