Alone in the World

Alone

The following words from John O’Donohue really spoke to a truth in my heart today :

Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open ended transition, but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outward to the world. No longer on the run from your aloneness, your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to covertly scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself. This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.

In contrast to the rest of Nature, the human mind makes us feel alone, aware of the distances we will never be able to cross. The mind cannot resist exploration, because it always sees the world mirrored in itself. The huge longing of the human mind is to discover ever larger shelters of belonging.

Eternal Echoes pp. 93-94.

John O’Donohue

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