Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality


Replacing Loneliness

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Internet users want to avoid being phished—or deceived into giving out personal information by a legitimate looking icon that will later cause chaos in their life. No one really wants to be phished because it makes us feel like a victim. This phishing tactic is nothing new however. The human emotion of passion sometimes poses under false pretenses and deceptively gets us to spill our guts only to create later a loneliness that can’t be shaken. The loneliness goes on to threaten the integrity of our self or our relationships and causes problems. Fortunately, these problems can be dealt with in an effective manner and we can further garner a spiritual arsenal that protects us from future phishing attacks.

How loneliness can fit into a world with 6.9 billion people is puzzling; but it happens nonetheless. More baffling is the fact that loneliness is so arbitrarily defined people who are lonely don’t even know it or people who think they are lonely are only bored or boring. But, personal information gets senselessly spread around and feelings of vulnerability, inadequacy, and spiritual emptiness take over in the thoughts of the victim.

Here are a few tips that can be tested to curb loneliness.

The first tip is to distinguish between loneliness and boredom. Loneliness is broadly defined as despair or isolation. Boredom is dull mindedness. Boredom is when our jobs, our everyday routines, or our expectations have become so tedious that our brain rewired itself not to notice the spectacular, hilarious, colorful, philanthropic, ingenious activity going on all around begging us to participate. We have become dreary. But steps can be taken to reverse this boredom. For example, pick up litter or wash a smutty smelly sidewalk area in the city. Not once, twice, thrice, or four times but until it is seen that pro-active positivity replaces negativity and there is no more lure to focus attention on that which is mind-numbing.

The second tip is to realize that loneliness can’t be taken personally. This is a doozy of a task because human beings adore discussing themselves and what they are doing even though a majority of the time it is uninteresting and irrelevant to the world or spiritual progress. But remember, phishers have no personal vendetta, they are impersonal. Loneliness is only out to catch the first fish that chomps on the hook. So, don’t chomp.

To feel pessimistic, unappreciated, and disliked is pretty much to feel lonely, which we can do in the middle of an exultant group of enthusiastic people. Therefore, the third tip is to do to others what you would like them to do to you. (Matt. 7:12) Be optimistic. Don’t automatically be suspicious of what others are expressing. Appreciate. Value the progress made by others even if you believe it is pitifully small. It isn’t. Everyone’s spiritual progress and goodness is huge in the eyes of an impartial mind. This brings us to liking. To like, takes some finesse. We must like the spiritual more than the physical. Happiness has never come from a good-looking body or cute hairdo. We must like honesty more than eating Twinkies. We must like helping our neighbor more than watching TV. We must like our partner as much as we love them. These manifestations take effort. Contentment with the status quo is unacceptable.

Successful follow through occurs when the goal is well-defined. The aim is not to get rid of loneliness, but to manifest optimism, appreciation, and likability, all qualities of God. We certainly don’t want to dismiss the validity of a solitude that reveals God-with-us. (Matt. 1:23)

For decades, researchers have been collecting data to determine how to control or treat loneliness but modern science is incapable of keeping up with the increasing claims of loneliness, and the resultant complications due to treatment of the symptoms, especially depression. Giving out personal information is not necessarily the answer whereas getting to know our own God-given capabilities to be friendly, helpful, and appreciative is more productive.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Prayer can’t change the unalterable Truth, nor can prayer alone give us an understanding of Truth. Prayer, attached to an eager consistent intent to know and do God’s will, will bring us into all Truth. This prayer really has little need of audible expression. It is best expressed in thought and in life.”

 



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