It is common these days for us to have many casual friends. Social networking sites make it very easy for us to connect with others in a friendly way and share our personal thoughts, feelings, and moments with like-minded people. Although we are generally interacting with a larger quantity of people than ever, we are nevertheless, lonelier than ever. This age is being called by some “the age of loneliness” and it is estimated the one in five Americans suffers from persistent loneliness.
So many of us feel lonely deep inside, even though we may be popular in our social circles, have the admiration of many friends, and even be married with children. Being surrounded by people does not make us less lonely. It may keep us busy. It may temporary distract us from the loneliness we feel. But it does not solve the problem of loneliness. Loneliness is an inner condition of emptiness, so cannot be resolved through changing our external situations. Filling our life with people is not synonymous with filling our hearts with love.
So what can we do to solve the problem of loneliness?
If we understand the root cause of the problem, then we can apply the appropriate remedy.
The problem of loneliness is not just a mental, emotional, or physical problem. It is actually much deeper than this. It is a condition of spiritual emptiness caused by our strong identification with the huge world of materiality and a corresponding lack of awareness of our true spiritual identity.
Most of us grow up in the assumption that we are our bodies and our minds. If asked to describe ourselves, we will immediately begin describing the features of our body and mind. I am a man or woman, with a particular age, body type, ethnicity, occupation, family and social roles, and so on. I am passionate, energetic, friendly, out-going, and artistic. Generally, we identify so closely with our mind and body that we fully believe this is who we are. But here is the reality of the situation clearly explained by Jagad Guru