Daily Tao / 262 – Loneliness


Loneliness need not be despair.
It could be an opportunity.

Why are people lonely? It is because they feel no contact with anyone or anything else. They need to feel that they are valued, that they are a part of something, and that their environment will respond to them. When that does not happen, they feel isolated.

One of the major strategies for combating loneliness is to have a mate and family. That is not always perfect, and the problems of a relationship and family sometimes outweigh the terror of loneliness. It is far better to be self-sufficient. Then whether one has loved ones or not, one will not suffer from loneliness.

Some people claim that self-sufficiency is a myth. A person is a social animal, they declare; people cannot successfully live outside of some community. But that is not the correct way to understand true self-sufficiency. What we are referring to is a supreme sense of connection with oneself and the cosmos around oneself. This doesn’t preclude community with others, but it does prevent the excesses and shortcomings that occur when society is one’s only source of union.

Tao surrounds us. One who is with Tao is never lonely, but is an integral part of the natural cycle. In the same way that water surrounds a fish, Tao surrounds us. If we feel lonely, then it is only because we are forgetting how we are totally immersed in Tao. That is why loneliness can be an opportunity : It reminds us that we are dwelling on our own egoistic identity rather than on the support of Tao.