In last Sunday’s weekly letter I issued a gentle warning about how deconstruction can affect your relationships.
So I want to develop this topic a little further to talk about how, even though you might be in relationships with family, friends or partners, you may experience an inexplicable kind of loneliness that feels existential in scope.
One of our members posted in our Facebook group (BTW, if you’re not a member of our private Facebook group, please request an invitation! That’s where a lot of the conversation is.) wrote about this loneliness. So, here it is (used with permission):
“I am curious. How many people reading this post feel like they are practically completely alone regarding their spiritual “aloneness.”? I have to say, that I love my family and many friends, but there may be one or two (apart from some of my fb friends) who can truly identify with my plight.”
This perfectly articulates a dilemma many of us face during the deconstruction of our faith and beliefs: we can be in relationship yet at the same time feel very lonely.
This is normal.
I’ll use my relationship with my wife Lisa as an example. We have a good relationship. We are friends and talk a lot. I’ve been through many deconstructions, but the most intense one that began four years ago put the most strain on us. We did tons of talking, as we’ve always done. Lisa was a good friend through the whole ordeal. But one of the issues that contributed to the strain was that she couldn’t understand me. And what contributed to her not being able to understand me was that I couldn’t understand myself. Lisa and I therefore came to conclude that it is not compatibility of beliefs that held us together, but a mutual respect for each other’s journeys, no matter where they led us. This is the glue.
Even the person who loves me most couldn’t understand me or what I was going through. I had to walk this path, in a sense, alone. Lisa was with me physically and in many ways emotionally and spiritually, but she was almost like a silent partner. Even though she loves me, she was just as perplexed as I was about what was happening, and this had a way of making me feel isolated and alone.
I believe loneliness is an existential human reality. It is something we all must deal with, and we all deal with it in different, unique and individual ways.
Someone once said that the cure for loneliness is solitude. Which means we can better deal with loneliness when we are at peace with ourselves. It takes some work, but if you can get to the place where you can say, “I’m in a place of real confusion right now, but I’m okay with that. I know that if I just remain calm and wait, clarity will come.” The result of this will be your own sense of inner peace, but it will also help those around you to relax.
If you desire to go deeper and become more authentic, you must embrace the accompanying reality that you will experience this loneliness. That even in the middle of a crowd, even of friends, you will experience the feeling of not quite being understood or fully known by them.
But then, something else I’ve discovered, is that when I came to perceive that all is love, that compassion of and for all things is the ultimate truth, then I knew that somehow I am fully seen, fully understood, fully known and fully loved. Thistransformed my loneliness into an intentional solitude and I’ve learned to live with it, but with gratitude.
I hope this helps. Peace on your path my friends. If you want to respond, just reply to this letter. I love hearing from you guys. I really do!