Often times, we are alone but don’t feel lonely, but we feel lonely when we are in a crowd of strangers or at a party with people you don’t know. It’s clear that there is a difference between psychological loneliness and physical loneliness as we can feel joy when we are alone but not when we are lonely. Much of this depends solely on attitude. The minute you fill your mind with negative judgement and anger, you separate yourself from others and spiral into a lonely state. But if you have an open heart and are filled with trust and friendship, even if you are physically alone or living a hermit-life, you will never feel lonely. You could spend three years in a cave and not be lonely with an open heart, trust, and friendship, but without these you’ll find loneliness even in the middle of a crowd.
The only thing that can bring happiness is warmheartedness. It produces inner-strength and self-confidence; it reduces fear and develops trust and with that trust, brings friendship. We are born social animals and cooperation is essential for our survival, but cooperation is based on trust. When there is trust, people come together and entire nations can be brought together. When you have a compassionate mind and you cultivate warmheartedness, the whole atmosphere around you becomes more positive and friendlier. Suddenly, you’ll see friends everywhere.
But if you feel fear and distrust, other people find the need to distance themselves and in turn, they also feel cautious, suspicious, and distrustful of you. Living with fear and considering yourself as different — something special — creates emotional distance from others. When more emphasis is placed on yourself, more anxiety and nervousness sets in.
The paradox is that although the drive behind excessive self-focus is to seek greater happiness for yourself, it ends up doing exactly the opposite. When you focus too much on yourself, you feel disconnected and alienated and in the end, you’ve even become alienated from yourself.
“Connection with others is a fundamental part of who we are as human beings.”
We are part of a community. Our interests and futures depend on each other so if we isolate ourselves, how can we be happy? Try walking down a street when you’re feeling judgmental and critical of others. Then, walk down the same street again when you’re calm, feeling more open with warm-hearted acceptance and compassion. You’ll find that everyone you pass seems warmer and friendlier when you’re in this calmer, more compassionate state of mind. Isn’t it incredible how the mind and heart can completely change the physical and social world around you?
Turns out, you can actually change the world more than you think.
DAY 20. Love, Ro