Loneliness

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 pm

JohnK wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:17 pm
A small challenge to us if anyone wants to particpate:
We have ideas and questions about causes and such, but what is loneliness? How do you know that what is happening in experience equals lonely?
(preferably using the dhamma to offer answers).
Hi, John,
I don't think the suttas will offer much on loneliness but you can always go to https://www.accesstoinsight.org/index.html and search, which I just did, and then read the linked results - which I didn't.

I suspect that "loneliness" is a relatively modern thing, a product of the loosening of family and community bonds which started with the Industrial Revolution, and wasn't common enough in the Buddha's world to need much attention.

:namaste:
Kim

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:42 pm



:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

JohnK
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Re: Loneliness

Post by JohnK » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:27 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 pm
...
I don't think the suttas will offer much on loneliness...
I suspect that "loneliness" is a relatively modern thing...
Thanks, Kim.
I wasn't thinking that the suttas would need to discuss loneliness specifically to help address the question of how we come to the conclusion that what we are experiencing is "loneliness," but that teachings in the suttas could be used to explore that question. This exploration could be in the abstract, or even more interesting I think, reflecting on actual experience.
For example, in the abstract, using the khandas, we perhaps have a bodily sensation and vedana that we perceive to be loneliness (but how? especially if it may be as you suggest a modern thing, so probably trickier than perceiving "anger"). Or, using DO, visual contact with an old photograph or a happy family causes an unpleasant feeling that we experience as loneliness. Do we recognize it as loneliness when we begin to recognize thoughts of loneliness? Or before that? So I was just wondering if anyone wanted to explore what I think is either an underlying aspect of the topic or maybe just plain off-topic!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 am

MN 122: Maha-suññata Sutta — The Greater Discourse on Emptiness

Discovering that the bhikkhus are beginning to enjoy life in society, the Buddha emphasizes the need for isolation in order to remain in the void.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. http://translate.google.com.br

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

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Kim OHara
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:06 am

Lucas Oliveira wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:56 am
MN 122: Maha-suññata Sutta — The Greater Discourse on Emptiness

Discovering that the bhikkhus are beginning to enjoy life in society, the Buddha emphasizes the need for isolation in order to remain in the void.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


:anjali:
Yes - absolutely. It has a lot to say about the benefits of being alone.
But being alone is not at all the same as loneliness. As this dictionary https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dicti ... ish/lonely says, "Someone who is lonely is unhappy because they are alone or do not have anyone they can talk to," and the unhappiness is central to loneliness.
The good monks in the sutta actually suffer the exact opposite of loneliness, since they suffer the unhappiness of being with (too many) people.

:namaste:
Kim

binocular
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Re: Loneliness

Post by binocular » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:27 am

manas wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:01 pm
I thought that like the apes with whom we share so much DNA, humans are intrinsically social animals...to be content alone, is the exception, rather than the rule.
Rather -- How come it is considered strange that a person may want both: sometimes, to be alone, and other times, to be with others? How come there seems to be a trend in society to allow for only two options: either a person is a loner, or they are gregarious, and that's it. As if it would be impossible or abnormal to want both, each at different times.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Loneliness

Post by binocular » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:42 am

JohnK wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:27 am
I wasn't thinking that the suttas would need to discuss loneliness specifically to help address the question of how we come to the conclusion that what we are experiencing is "loneliness," but that teachings in the suttas could be used to explore that question. This exploration could be in the abstract, or even more interesting I think, reflecting on actual experience.
For example, in the abstract, using the khandas, we perhaps have a bodily sensation and vedana that we perceive to be loneliness (but how? especially if it may be as you suggest a modern thing, so probably trickier than perceiving "anger"). Or, using DO, visual contact with an old photograph or a happy family causes an unpleasant feeling that we experience as loneliness. Do we recognize it as loneliness when we begin to recognize thoughts of loneliness? Or before that?
Taking care of our eight cats, I've made an interesting discovery:
Like most people, I've grown up with the belief that cats are loners. But regularly seeing six cats play together, and sleep together in the same big box (on a relatively warm day, so they weren't huddling together because it was cold) made me reconsider the "Cats are loners" dogma. Observing the cats, I see that sometimes, they like to be with other cats, or us humans; and other times, they are happy to be alone, or even want to be left alone. When they are alone, they don't seem to me like they are seeking out secluded parts of the house or the garden to sulk or because they would be unwell, they just like it. Just like at other times, they like to be with other cats, or with us humans.
Seeing how social these supposedly loner cats are, made me rethink how I think of aloneness and loneliness.

It seems to me that the feeling of loneliness arises when a person believes 1. they should have particular types of relationships with others, and that they should be in those relationships 24/7; and 2. that being alone is always bad.

- - -
Kim OHara wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 pm
I suspect that "loneliness" is a relatively modern thing, a product of the loosening of family and community bonds which started with the Industrial Revolution, and wasn't common enough in the Buddha's world to need much attention.
On the contrary, loneliness seems to be a prominent theme for people who are very social. It's very social people who can't stand to be alone, and who experience aloneness as loneliness (and who socialize in order to escape the feeling of loneliness).
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

manas
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Re: Loneliness

Post by manas » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:10 pm

This very medium we are using right now - the Internet, and social media in particular - has contributed to increasing real-life isolation from other human beings, for many people.

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Nwad
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Nwad » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:17 am

Seclusion is a gift that prised by the Lord !
When some one is secluded, his mind goes inward, not outward, he is mindful, have no distraction to flood his mind ... :meditate:

What i love the most is a loneliness. You are free when you are alone...

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Crazy cloud
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Crazy cloud » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:46 am

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:02 am
I refute the premise that people who are married are not lonely, that those who have four siblings are not lonely, that those who have lot of real life friends are not lonely.

Being alone is the natural state of a human being. In recent decades, it is this natural tendency that is becoming more and more visible.


:namaste:
Being a human is a process, so which part do you consider to be the natural lonely bit?
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

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No_Mind
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Re: Loneliness

Post by No_Mind » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:44 am

Crazy cloud wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:46 am
No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:02 am
I refute the premise that people who are married are not lonely, that those who have four siblings are not lonely, that those who have lot of real life friends are not lonely.

Being alone is the natural state of a human being. In recent decades, it is this natural tendency that is becoming more and more visible.


:namaste:
Being a human is a process, so which part do you consider to be the natural lonely bit?
The adult matured one after 40

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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robertk
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Re: Loneliness

Post by robertk » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:27 pm

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/h ... 6d3466f56c

b] v
The abyss of solitude[/b]
’A recent Lifeline Australia survey reveals that 60 per cent of people here suffer crushing loneliness at some time in their lives’.
’A recent Lifeline Australia survey reveals that 60 per cent of people here suffer crushing loneliness at some time in their lives’.
RUTH OSTROW

AN HOUR AGO JANUARY 28, 2019
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On a recent trip to Mexico I searched in vain for a quiet room in a homestay so I could get a little work done.

People kept talking to me as a I laboured. And outside they were dangling out of windows, screaming at each other. The streets were alive with music and celebration as neighbours sat on their steamy balconies, laughing.

It reminded me of Cuba and India, countries where mandatory interaction with old and young in the one house or street is the norm.

I’d always thought it would be impossible to live like this — with no privacy. But it occurred to me in Mexico that these people were a lot happier than many in the First World, not despite but because of their intense interactions.

Statistics on the loneliness epidemic in the Western world are alarming. In Britain — where more than nine million people report they often or always feel lonely — a minister for loneliness was appointed last year.

More than 60 million people in the US — 20 per cent of the nation — feel lonely and have no one with whom to discuss important things.

A recent Lifeline Australia survey reveals that 60 per cent of people here suffer crushing loneliness at some time in their lives — and the phenomenon is growing rapidly, causing significant health and social issues and contributing to our rising suicide rate.

A study of loneliness and wellbeing by Melbourne’s Swinburne University and the Australian Psychological Society found more than one-fifth of Australians rarely or never feel they have someone to talk to or turn to for help; more than one-quarter feel lonely on at least three days every week.

Almost one in three Australians does not consider themselves part of a friendship group. Almost half feel disconnected from their neighbours.

This social isolation occurs equally with men and women.

Chronic loneliness leads to ­disease and can shorten life expectancy. The research found loneliness increases the chances of an earlier death by 26 per cent. It’s shown to increase the concentration of cortisol levels in the body, as well as stress hormones, which can cause anxiety, heart disease, depression, digestive problems and stroke.

People with friends and loved ones are healthier and happier, according to Australian research from the Flinders Centre for Ageing Studies. The longevity of those with a large network of friends is 22 per cent higher compared with those with the fewest friends.

The Australian Loneliness Report found married Australians over 65 or those in de facto relationships are the least lonely and the most healthy.

So why do we feel lonelier, and what can we do about it?

The why is twofold. It’s about the gap between how we are built to live and how we actually live.

Humans are social animals and genetically programmed to live in proximity to defend each other against predators. We are also crafted to pair-bond and live in communities to raise offspring. Many human emotions contrive to keep us in this structure. Shame comes from a fear of social disapproval and the dread of being cast out to die; and loneliness forces us to crave social companionship.

The physical pain of loneliness — a sad, hurting feeling in the chest, an emptiness in the stomach — keeps us in the pack, and keeps us procreating. We are rewarded with feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, the cuddle chemical oxytocin, and serotonin when we connect and touch.

Lonely people are 15.2 per cent more likely to be depressed.

Our changing societies have stripped us of support networks. Our children and other relatives are less likely to live nearby, and the rise in divorce means many are without a companion in later life. We live longer and witness partners, friends and kids moving on.

Loneliness spans all generations. More than 7.6 million people in Britain live alone. Social media, mobile devices and streaming services further isolate people.

Michelle Lim, scientific chairwoman at the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness, says it’s about the quality, not the quantity, of time one spends with other people; it’s about wanting to be understood. Some people are lonely in their primary relationship, too.

Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten has called for a state minister for loneliness.

Think tanks are exploring ways urban areas can be designed to create a sense of community. Many experts would suggest going out often. However, the Loneliness Report shows that mixing with strangers leads to high levels of social anxiety among one in four Australians.

My advice is to accept the discomfort and do it anyway. Many of my friends go on websites to meet people: dating sites, if they are single, or meet-up sites to make friends. Hobbies with like-minded people are available at the click of a button — from knitting to pub crawls or mountain climbing. I’ve made many enduring friendships this way.

Volunteer work is also good for the soul. We can never be lonely when giving back to those less fortunate than ourselves

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Manopubbangama
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Re: Loneliness

Post by Manopubbangama » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:10 pm

robertk wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:27 pm
t it occurred to me in Mexico that these people were a lot happier than many in the First World, not despite but because of their intense interactions.
Agreed, from someone who used to live in Mexico.

Mexicans are a great people and have a great culture.

They know how to not take things too serious, for the most part. The truth is that despite the 'wall' talk, they really do not envy us, some just want to make a quick buck to be able to live a normal life, back home, away from cripplingly low wages for the uneducated.

The loneliest, most unhappy people I ever met were New Englanders, when I lived in New England.

They had so little family it was amazing. For the first time I learned about 'only cousins.'

Southerners were not nearly as unhappy, from my perceptions when I lived in the South.

People need to start having bigger families, more children, and stop trying to live alone in big houses.

I blame feminism for this, of course (I know I sound like a broken record).

Feminism has destroyed the family so successfully that wherever it takes root, birth rates plummet, and babies are given to the fire at a rate that would make Ghengis Khan go forth and renounce violence.
Buddhists, beware of spiritual transvestites.

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Re: Loneliness

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:23 pm

Greetings,

This topic on Loneliness was created before the descoping of News, Politics and Current Affairs from this site.

As such, the original post did not specify a direct connection to the Dhamma, and whilst that was alright at the time, it is now not strict enough to prevent the topic going off in directions that are out of scope for this forum.

Therefore, this topic will be closed. If anyone wishes to address the subject of Loneliness from a Buddhist perspective, by all means please create a new topic to do so. (If you do, send me a PM and I will link your new topic to this closed topic). If you wish to discuss the topic of Loneliness more broadly in a manner that includes socio-political factors, please do so at Dharma Wheel Engaged.

:thanks:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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