Sunday, April 01, 2012

Friendliness in relationships helps with loneliness

Today Thomas Moore (@thomasmoore Soul) tweets, "The solution to loneliness is to enjoy a friendship with all beings, demonstrated in a habit of friendliness. You reach out. You don't wait."

This approach echoes his observations shared in Care of the Soul, p.94-96:
"Many people wait for members of a community to invite them in, and until that happens they are lonely. There may be something of the child here who expects to be taken care of by the family. But a community is not a family. It is a group of people held together by feelings of belonging, and those feelings are not a birthright. "Belonging" is an active verb, something we do positively. In one of his letters Ficino makes the remark, "The one guardian of life is love, but to be loved you must love." A person oppressed by loneliness can go out into the world and simply start belonging to it, not by joining organizations, but by living through feeling of relatedness — to other people, to nature, to society, to the world as a whole. Relatedness is a signal of soul. By allowing sometimes vulnerable feelings of relatedness, soul pours into life and doesn't have to insist on itself symptomatically.

Like all activities of the soul, community has its connection to death and the underworld. ... From the point of view of the soul, the dead are as much a part of community as the living. ... Outward community flourishes when we are in touch with the inner persons who crowd our dreams and waking thoughts. To overcome loneliness, we might consider releasing these inner figures into life, like the one who wants to sing or cuss in anger or is more sensual or more critical or even more needy than "I" would like to admit. To "admit" who I am is to "admit" those people into life, so that the inner community serves as a start for a sense of belonging in life. I "remember" people I met for the first time because I am in touch with the archetypal world of my imagination, and on the basis of that self-knowledge I can love anyone I meet and be loved in return. The roots of community are immeasurably deep, and the process of belonging, dealing actively with loneliness, begins in the depth of the soul.

Love keeps the soul on the track of its fate and keeps consciousness at the edge of the abyss of the infinity that is the range of the soul. This doesn't mean that relationships between people are not important to the soul's loves. Quite the opposite: recognizing the importance of love to the soul, our ordinary human loves are ennobled beyond measure. This family, this friend, this lover, this mate is the manifestation of the motivating force of life itself and is the fountain of love that keeps the soul alive and full. There is no way toward divine love except through the discovery of human intimacy and community. One feeds the other.

Care of the soul, then, requires an openness to love's many forms. It is no accident that so many of the troubles we bring to therapy have their roots or manifestations in love. It may help us, in those times of trouble, to remember that love is not only about relationship, it is also an affair of the soul. Disappointments in love, even betrayals and losses, serve the soul at the very moment they seem in life to be tragedies. The soul is partly in time and partly in eternity. We might remember the part that resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life."