By Adnan Mouhiddin
Sitting by the window in Starbucks close to my work, I observed, for few minutes, people passing by, running to the nearby station or other destinations. People from all faces, colours, and ages. Millions live in London, yet loneliness is one of its major issues.
One probably wonders why a large city like London with more than 6 million people is a city where loneliness is one of its phenomenon? It is a city where you can do what you want, the way you want it. It is the city of the endless list of activities and fun yet people feel lonely. They feel lonely because they are alienated not only from what they pretend to enjoy and from their surrounding world, but also alienated from their very being. Go to the four corners of the earth; go to the isolated islands and the far coastal villages; you will hardly meet a breathing soul suffering from loneliness. For some reasons, such ‘space’ with one’s self is called in primitive societies as solitude, whereas ‘developed’ societies call it loneliness. The more we surround ourselves with technologies, gadgets and meaningless activities aiming at filling our time, the lonelier we feel.
Loneliness is a deliberate isolation of ourselves from our ‘Being’ first, and others second. It is the lack of genuine communication with ourselves and with people second. The communication that is based on the interest in the ‘Being’ of ourselves and that of others rather than the activities aimed at filling a gap in the time. Loneliness is our inability to enjoy our solitude and embrace ourselves, our being, the true us, the authentic one, which will enable us to genuinely observe, capture and appreciate our likes and dislikes, subsequently paving the way towards activities we truly and abundantly enjoy. Knowing our own self on transparent, genuine and authentic grounds is the way to defeat loneliness.
The key to combat loneliness is for one to know his/herself, to converse to one’s self and listen attentively. For how could you enjoy another’s company if you don’t know them? It is easy today to blame our busy diary for our loneliness. It is even easier to blame time and our incapability to connect to others. Embracing one’s self and knowing it is probably the first step on the right direction. The more authentic you become with yourself, the more you enjoy the company of it and the less lonely you feel. Unless ‘knowing one’s being and self’ is observed and acted upon, the alienated man will always cry: I am lonely!
Photo: Salvador Dali at a book signing, taken with a fisheye lens, by Philippe Halsman, 1963.