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Why I will not be 'lonely this Christmas'

Posted by Simon Parke, 23 November 2022, 5.18pm

This is a meditation on the shift from dependency to intimacy.

But let us begin at the beginning.

Our sense of self develops initially in relationship with those around us – with our mother and then with others.

From here on, our feeling of self swims in an atmosphere of relationships internalised from our past. It exists in us as a collection of memories and associations, both those remembered and unremembered.

These are memories which may be good or difficult. Either way, their ability to shape our sense of self is considerable.

But now, as our mind slows, and our breathing deepens, we arrive in the present, where this old self has less existence. In the present, memory fades, has less power over us.

Here, untouched by the shaping power of memory, we are allowed to be alone. We are allowed to exist away from relationship, which may feel both liberating and troubling.

Perhaps memories of loneliness arise; memories of a forgotten or abandoned child.

This is difficult but OK. We acknowledge these feelings…but don’t move an inch, and don’t rush for company - for if we can stay, and breathe through them, our sadness dissolves these old accretions and leaves us free here to be happily alone.

Here we exist differently.

Alone and well; alone and strong.

We feel the simplicity of the alone and, in our chest, the spacious depth inside us, almost luminous in its darkness and silky in its easy and generous hold.

Here is a different self; a homecoming for the soul, gentle caverns of bliss; and we find ourselves inseparable from this loving space and the experience of intimacy between us.

We walk with it through the day.

Everyone we meet and everything we encounter becomes part of this space, subtle intimacy with our partner, with the postman, with our cushion covers, with the sparrow on the wall, with paving stones, with the wind, with our anxieties and the fire.

We find ourselves intimate with the world, where everything belongs, because we belong beyond the memories of a self whose conditioning no longer shapes our thoughts.

We exist in a sea of relationships; but exist also beyond that sea and beneath it.

The journey from dependency to loneliness; from loneliness to alone; from alone to intimacy.

Despite the famous Christmas song, I will not be ‘lonely this Christmas’…

…though I may at times be alone.

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