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www.ismaili.net :: View topic - Loneliness: Why is it inseperable from human existence?
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Loneliness: Why is it inseperable from human existence?

 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 3:05 pm    Post subject: Loneliness: Why is it inseperable from human existence? Reply with quote

If there is a feeling that we feel most often,
and spend most of our effort masking, it would be best
described as loneliness. We feel it when we are
driving our cars, but we mask it by turning our radios
on. We feel it when we get home from work, but we
mask it by turning our television on. We feel it when
we talk to people, and mask it with fake
conversations, in which we pretend we are doing
“pretty good” or “just fine”. We feel it when we are
in a club, with hundreds of people, and we can’t quite
figure out what every one is celebrating.
Many go through extreme measures to relieve
themselves of this feeling by doing drugs, drinking,
having promiscuous sex, and even getting married (last
one’s a joke). However, indulging in these activities
only lets you forget your loneliness, it does not
replace it with a happier feeling.
But, why do we feel lonely? Is there a reason for
why loneliness is inseparable to human existence? Can
we nurture this feeling? In order to better answer
these questions, one must ask “when do I not feel
lonely?”. Most people will agree that the feeling of
loneliness is overshadowed when they feel love: love
for their family, love for their friends, love for
people they may not even know, and love for God. Love
gives you a sense of completeness. And isn’t the best
antonym for loneliness - completeness?
Is it humanly possible though to feel love all the
time? This may not be possible in the world that we
live in. A person needs to express many emotions, all
of which are healthy and often times necessary. But,
is it possible, to always keep the love alive in your
hearts? For that, you say, you would have to become a
figure of love i.e. someone like Mother Teresa. I
say, that is indeed true. But, the more love you try
to have for others and your Creator, the more love it
will help you reach for. This process will continue
till the point where are blessed with the light, and
the light will forever make an abode for love in your
hearts and your soul.
What purpose does this feeling of loneliness serve
then? Why is this feeling so inseparable from human
existence? Is it possible that it exists to remind
you that you think your identity is of a human? Is it
possible that it exists so that you can seek for
yourself a better title such as “God’s Servant”?
Maybe, this feeling of loneliness, is not to be
masked, but be accepted, and used for you search for
inner happiness.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the most beautiful thing i have read so far.

Thanks for sharing this.
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noorani81



Joined: 22 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You for you feed back. If you guys can be a critic, and let me know where it doesn't flow, and where it doesn't make sense, or why you liked it, I would truly appreciate it. Thanks

Best Regards,
Akbar
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:50 am    Post subject: Rumi on Loneliness Reply with quote

When you are with everyone but me, you're with no one. When you are with no one but me, you're with everyone. Instead of being so bound up with everyone be everyone. When you become that many, you're nothing. Empty. - Rumi


In my opinion our experiences in life need not be masks. They are only masks as long as we are not in tune with the Lord. If you enjoy His companionship, then whether you are physically alone or with company or enjoying TV or music then you are filled. But if He is not with you, then the entire existence becomes a mask.
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noorani81



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You for your feedback on my essay. Your quote by Mevlana Rumi helped me look at it in a different light.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loneliness is a fact of life. Loneliness is not just the result of being alone. It can be felt while with another or with many. Loneliness is the resulting experience of separation from the self. Until you have learned to connect continuously with your essential Self, you are prone to loneliness.
Most deal with loneliness by attempting to escape it through addiction or too much activity. Most do not see loneliness as an opportunity to connect with the Self. Actually, it is. When loneliness comes to you, feel it and see what it is telling you and where it wants to take you. Just be with it. Resist the impulse to escape. Consider this alternative if your first impulse when you feel a twinge of loneliness is to increase the intensity of whatever you are doing. It may not feel as good initially, but it does have potential to bring you a greater sense of well-being. Your loneliness can tell you the right thing to do.

As a child or a teenager you may have had lonely hours and days. You may wish to escape the memory of those uncomfortable feelings. But remember this: you are no longer a child and past conditions are no more. You, as an adult have tools, skills, and insights you didn't have then. Loneliness then was not helpful or productive. But it can be now.

It may be helpful to explore your loneliness a little more in depth by asking yourself these questions:

1.
What do I do in order to avoid loneliness?

2.
Do I secretly view loneliness as unhealthy or as meaning that I am unworthy?

3.
How can I use loneliness as an opening door to my essential self?

4.
Am I willing to just sit and feel my loneliness? Am I willing to ask myself to be patient and find out where my loneliness can take me?

5.
Did I know that my loneliness can be the impetus I need to take some positive action, move on to greater discovery, or invention?

6.
Have I missed out on being more alive because of my refusal to face and feel my loneliness?

7.
Am I willing to talk honestly to someone about my loneliness? Am I willing to be real about my feelings and not intellectualize them?


Loneliness can be the creative inspiration that can connect you with your very essence and inspire you to transform yourself and others for the better.
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noorani81



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Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your feedback. It was nice to know that you agreed with me as far as viewing loneliness as a medium through which spiritual enlightenment could be achieved. The questions that you listed should be asked by everyone, and they should be answered honestly. Your last question "Am I willing to be real about my feelings and not intellectualize them?" i thought was the most important. Thanks again for your feedback icon_smile.gif
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shamsu



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Aloneness Reply with quote

I have read this some where I dont remember who said it

Spiritual quest can be described as the flight of the alone to itself

Loneliness in my opinion is a nonsense word. It is an impossibility in fact.

A person may in a state of delusion think of him/herself as lonely but how can any creation be seperated from the creator when the existance of the created is contingent to the creator and the sustainence of which is constantly provided by him.

To be lonely is impossible except in a deluded state.

Sorry about it but this has been my thought for a while.

Shams
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Aloneness Reply with quote

shamsu wrote:

Loneliness in my opinion is a nonsense word. It is an impossibility in fact.

A person may in a state of delusion think of him/herself as lonely but how can any creation be seperated from the creator when the existance of the created is contingent to the creator and the sustainence of which is constantly provided by him.

To be lonely is impossible except in a deluded state.

Sorry about it but this has been my thought for a while.

Shams


If everyone of us was living in harmony with the creation and the Creator, than you would be right. Unfortunately this is not the reality and we do have situations where people do feel lonely or are deluded according to you. This feeling of inner void is prevalent and that is the reason why many people turn to drugs, alcohol etc to fill the void.

In his Silver Jubilee talika message MHI mentioned "engenders an evil vacuum of destructive forces". He would not mention this if this vacuum was impossible.
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jasmine



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:11 pm    Post subject: Loneliness Reply with quote

We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we've never even met?

When Christ said: "I was hungry and you fed me," he didn't mean only the hunger for bread and for food; he also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst his own and his own received him not, and it hurt him then and it has kept on hurting him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in his loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that's real hunger.

- Mother Teresa
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 5:23 am    Post subject: Re: Loneliness Reply with quote

jasmine wrote:
We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we've never even met?

When Christ said: "I was hungry and you fed me," he didn't mean only the hunger for bread and for food; he also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst his own and his own received him not, and it hurt him then and it has kept on hurting him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in his loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that's real hunger.

- Mother Teresa


That does not accord with our understanding of an elevated soul. In our tradition an elevated soul is never alone. He is always in companionship with his Lord or Master. He is never in need of anyones's companionship or societal acceptance. He always does what is good for creation and him/herself regardless about what others may feel.

As a matter of fact solitude is desired by this soul for contemplation and reflection and the Lord gives it to him/her in the form of societal rejection! To illustrate this Budh Avtaar ordered the Pandavs to sacrifice a cow. This was considered sacriligious by the rest of the society. This caused widespread condemnation by the society and slander against them. As a result the Pandavs exiled themselves to Himalayas and spent the rest of their lives in solitude away from the society.
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shamsu



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 7:37 am    Post subject: Al-Ahad Reply with quote

People, people please try to understand the meaning of Al-Ahad.

The most spiritually elevated person is by definition of Ahad, ALONE.

To become one with him and to realize that there is no other.

Alone---thats the goal.

I know most people dont agree with me but try to leave the body aside and reflect on Al-Ahad.


Shams
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a matter of clarification...

When I mentioned an elevated soul is always in companionship with his/her Lord or Master, I meant as in:

"To rahesho GurNar ne Saath" - " You will remain with the Guide and the Master" (Anant Akhado)

In my opinion there is a reason for the Pir to mention company of the Guide or Master as opposed to al-AHAD. Other worldly concepts can scare away beginners on the journey. It is more comforting to the materially attached to know that they will be with the Guide as opposed to being all alone.

Ginans address to all levels of the Jamat, i.e., beginners, advanced, intermediaries etc.
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shamsu



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 5:01 am    Post subject: Imam SMS and Mowla Aly Farmans Reply with quote

Mowla Aly's Kalaam states

Mai aur tu ki doori cchod, ek dekh kuch do nahi
Aisa samaj, fana ho usme, tu nahi toe woh sahi hai.


Imam SMS Farman.

"Tame Fanafillah thao"

Fana aetlae kahi nahi

Allah = Allah

Khudavantallah ni jaat ma naabud thai javu.



K
u want to be with him or u want to annihilate in him that is the question.

To be or not to be .....


Shams
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 5:25 am    Post subject: Re: Imam SMS and Mowla Aly Farmans Reply with quote

shamsu wrote:


K
u want to be with him or u want to annihilate in him that is the question.


Shams


YAM,

In either case there is no feeling of loneliness and the need for any other companionship or societal acceptance.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Loneliness ....
Learn to be alone and to like it.
There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company."
- Mandy Hale
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I do not believe that human relations are of sufficient interest, nor of sufficient permanence to keep a man happy all through his life. He must have something else to turn to. This need may express itself in this form of art, of scientific studies or mysticism, but more often it takes the form of a search for higher life.

It is understandable, therefore, that the three great monotheistic religions of today -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- have been born in this area where human existence was restricted to its barest forms."

http://www.ismaili.net/speech/s571125.html

"Thus it is my profound conviction that Islamic Society in the years ahead will find that our traditional concept of time, a limitless mirror in which to reflect on the eternal, will become a shrinking cage, an invisible trap from which fewer and fewer will escape. "

(His Highness Aga Khan IV's Speech at Seerat Conference Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, March 12, 1976)
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Blessings of Solitude

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
- Anne Frank

A quiet mind cures all.
- Robert Burton

Let us be silent, that we may
hear the whispers of the gods.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.
- Laurence Sterne

Spend some time alone every day.
- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The U.K. Now Has a “Minister for Loneliness.” Here’s Why It Matters
Tracey Crouch will oversee the government’s efforts to tackle “the sad reality of modern life


he United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a “minister of loneliness” to tackle the social and health issues caused by social isolation. As Peter Walker at the Guardian reports, Tracey Crouch, who most-recently served as minister for both sport and civil society, will lead a cross-governmental group responsible for creating policies to address the growing problem.

Ceylan Yeginsu at The New York Times reports that the appointment comes after the release of a report on loneliness last year by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, a committee formed in honor of the 41-year-old Labour MP who was murdered by a far-right terrorist during the Brexit referendum in 2016.

According to a press release from the prime minister, appointing a minister for loneliness is the first of several recommendations that she hopes to implement from the report. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May says. “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/minister-loneliness-appointed-united-kingdom-180967883/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is Loneliness a Health Epidemic?

Last month, Britain appointed its first “minister for loneliness,” who is charged with tackling what Prime Minister Theresa May called the “sad reality of modern life.”

Public-health leaders immediately praised the idea — and for good reason. In recent decades, researchers have discovered that loneliness left untreated is not just psychically painful; it also can have serious medical consequences. Rigorous epidemiological studies have linked loneliness and social isolation to heart disease, cancer, depression, diabetes and suicide. Vivek Murthy, the former United States surgeon general, has written that loneliness and social isolation are “associated with a reduction in life span similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”

But is loneliness, as many political officials and pundits are warning, a growing “health epidemic”?

I don’t believe so, nor do I believe it helps anyone to describe it that way. Social disconnection is a serious matter, yet if we whip up a panic over its prevalence and impact, we’re less likely to deal with it properly.

Anxiety about loneliness is a common feature of modern societies. Today, two major causes of loneliness seem possible. One is that societies throughout the world have embraced a culture of individualism. More people are living alone, and aging alone, than ever. Neoliberal social policies have turned workers into precarious free agents, and when jobs disappear, things fall apart fast. Labor unions, civic associations, neighborhood organizations, religious groups and other traditional sources of social solidarity are in steady decline. Increasingly, we all feel that we’re on our own.

More...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/opinion/sunday/loneliness-health.html?emc=edit_th_180210&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=45305309
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When You Listen to Music, You’re Never Alone

Technology hasn’t diminished the social quality of listening to music.


Excerpt:

But recent looks at the evolution and neurology of music suggest we are not waltzing by ourselves. Musical experiences are inherently social, scientists tell us, even when they happen in private. When we listen alone, we feel together.

Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Ph.D., a research neuroscientist at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, has explored how music “creates the sense of social belonging,” as he writes in a 2015 paper, “Please Don’t Stop the Music.”

“When you’re home alone in your house, it feels empty,” he says. “And then you put on music and all of a sudden you feel better because you’re not alone. It’s not that literally you’re not alone. But you feel like you have company.”

More...
http://nautil.us/issue/57/communities/when-you-listen-to-music-youre-never-alone-rp?utm_source=Nautilus&utm_campaign=6d6bbdf320-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc96ec7a9d-6d6bbdf320-60760513
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 Ways Spending Time Alone Makes Your Life Better

It’s no secret that introverts like being alone. We read, watch Netflix, surf the Internet, or whatever. No matter what your preferred solo activity is, it turns out downtime isn’t a waste of time—it’s actually really good for your mental health, your productivity, and even your relationships. Here are 12 ways spending time alone makes your life better:

More....

https://introvertdear.com/news/introverts-benefits-of-spending-time-alone/

*******
What creative people understand about the importance of being alone

Excerpt:

But being alone doesn’t have to be the same thing as being bored or lonely. In fact, when the word “alone” was coined in medieval times, it referred to a sense of completeness in one’s own being, according to Ester Buchholz, a psychologist and psychoanalyst and the author of The Call of Solitude. According to Buchholz as well as a many other psychologists, solitude is an important—and normal—part of human existence. And it’s also essential for our best creative work.


More...
https://qz.com/649771/what-creative-people-understand-about-the-importance-of-being-alone/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A SUMMARY OF “THE END OF SOLITUDE”

A few months ago, I mentioned Dr. Sherry Turkle’s Ted talk “Connected, but Alone” in my “It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s the Internet!” post. Dr. Turkle discussed how technology has resulted in constant communication in order to mask loneliness and an ignorance of how to be alone. Continuing with this theme about technology’s damaging effects, I have found a similar article that explores how technology makes it impossible for us to ever be alone and how this lack of solitude affects us.

More...

https://loganjonesblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/summary-of-the-end-of-solitude/?utm_source=Direct

*******
No Solitude, No Revelation

I met some really incredible people at TED conferences I attended, and Rabbi David Wolpe was one of them. Here he is on the power of solitude:

When he was a child, the Seer of Lublin (later a famous Hasidic master) used to go off into the woods by himself. When his father, worried, asked him why, he said ‘I go there to find God.’ His father said to him, ‘But my son, don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?’ ‘God is’ said the boy, ‘but I’m not.’

Solitude is the school of the soul. Why was it Pascal who said that all of our problems come from not being able to be in a room alone? Not solely because he was an introvert, but because he was a deeply faithful man and religion not only emphasizes community but helps cultivate solitude. ‘Moses received the Torah from Sinai,’ says a classic rabbinic text, and Abravanel, the 15th century commentator, asks—why Sinai? Why not ‘from God?’ His answer is not that Sinai is a synecdoche—that it stands for God—but rather that Moses needed the experience of aloneness on Sinai to be ready to receive the Torah. No mountain solitude, no revelation.

Introverts people their solitude—with books, with imagination, sometimes with God. Hitbodedut, aloneness, is a traditional Hasidic practice in which the worshipper goes off alone. Sometimes he will scream, or cry, or contemplate, but it is essential that the eyes of the world do not push or pull in that moment. Influence is important, but in aloneness is freedom. Those of us who stand on the side at the party, or prefer not to go, do not devalue others. We just find that we can be truest to them when we have stored up quiet moments in the private reservoir that nourishes our souls.

If you’d like to know more about Rabbi David Wolpe and his work, please go here:

http://www.sinaitemple.org

https://www.quietrev.com/no-solitude-no-revelation/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why Silence Is So Good For Your Brain

In a loud and distracting world, finding pockets of stillness can benefit your brain and body. Here are four science-backed reasons why.

More...

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/silence-brain-benefits_us_56d83967e4b0000de4037004

*****
The Power Of Silence For Highly Sensitive People

https://introvertdear.com/news/silence-hsp/?utm_source=Direct
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let’s Wage a War on Loneliness

The condition isn’t just depressing. It can be deadly.


LONDON — We humans make a lonely crowd, and it’s killing us.

Social isolation is more lethal than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or than obesity, according to research published by Julianne Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University. Since obesity is associated in the United States with 300,000 to 600,000 deaths a year, the implication is that loneliness is a huge, if silent, killer.

Loneliness increases inflammation, heart disease, dementia and death rates, researchers say — but it also simply makes us heartsick and leaves us inhabiting an Edvard Munch canvas. Public health experts in many countries are debating how to address a “loneliness epidemic” that corrodes modern life, but Britain has taken the lead: Last year it appointed a minister for loneliness.

“It touches almost every one of us at some point,” Baroness Barran, the current minister for loneliness, told me. “It can lead to very serious health consequences for the individual and leads to erosion of our society, where people become isolated and disconnected.”

I’ve become interested in loneliness while reporting on the opioid epidemic and soaring suicide rates in the United States. These have complicated roots, partly economic, but they also result from social isolation. Extended families have dissolved, and social institutions like churches, bowling leagues and neighborhood clubs have frayed. We are no longer so deeply embedded in our communities.

“I trained in internal medicine, and I expected most of my time would be spent on diabetes or heart disease or cancer,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was surgeon general of the United States under President Barack Obama, told me. “What I didn’t expect was that so many people I saw would be struggling with loneliness.”

More than one-fifth of adults in both the United States and Britain said in a 2018 survey that they often or always feel lonely. More than half of American adults are unmarried, and researchers have found that even among those who are married, 30 percent of relationships are severely strained. A quarter of Americans now live alone, and as the song says, one is the loneliest number.

More...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/09/opinion/sunday/britain-loneliness-epidemic.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_191110?campaign_id=2&instance_id=13708&segment_id=18674&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=453053091110
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coronavirus and the Isolation Paradox

“Social distancing” is required to prevent infection. But loneliness can make us sick.


In December, a woman in Tulsa, Okla. used a Craigslist post to plea for holiday companionship. “Anybody need a grandma for Christmas?” she wrote. “I’ll even bring food and gifts for the kids! I have nobody and it really hurts.” More than three in five working Americans report feeling lonely. Now that the country is facing a disease outbreak that demands measures like “social distancing,” working from home and quarantines, that epidemic of loneliness could get even worse.

A paradox of this moment is that while social distancing is required to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it may also contribute to poor health in the long run. So while physical isolation will be required for many Americans who have Covid-19 or have been exposed to it, it’s important that we don’t let such measures cause social and emotional isolation, too.

The Health Resources and Services Administration cautions that loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can increase the likelihood of depression, high blood pressure, and death from heart disease. They can also affect the immune system’s ability to fight infection — a fact that’s especially relevant during a pandemic. Studies have shown that loneliness can activate our fight-or-flight function, causing chronic inflammation and reducing the body’s ability to defend itself from viruses.

Across the country, people are being asked to work from home, universities are switching to virtual classes and large gatherings are being canceled. These are key strategies to prevent transmission, but they can come at a social and mental-health cost: furthering our sense of isolation from one another, and making us forget that we’re in this together.

Already we’re beginning to see suspicion and paranoia play out in public spaces. People struggling with allergies report that every cough elicits glares. In Sydney, Australia, reports say that a man died after he collapsed outside a Chinese restaurant and onlookers refused to perform CPR. Asian-Americans have reported racist comments and harassment, based on the wrongheaded belief that they’re more likely to be carrying the coronavirus.

There is evidence that the more isolated people feel, the less likely they are to take measures to protect their fellow citizens. A study conducted in Germany found that, among a cohort of people aged 60 and up, increased loneliness was associated with lower rates of flu vaccination. In Taiwan, a feeling of closeness with neighbors was associated with the intention to get a vaccine, or to wash hands more frequently.

Similarly, an analysis of H1N1 vaccination rates after the 2009 swine flu pandemic found that states with higher rates of vaccination also had high rates of “social capital,” a measure of the extent to which people in a community have social networks and are willing to help one another.

A study conducted in Hong Kong in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic of 2003 found that among the elderly, measures of subjective well-being did not fall below normal levels. Researchers concluded that this was in part because of a sense of community connectedness.

Loneliness and isolation are especially problematic among older people. Twenty-seven percent of older Americans live alone. According to the H.R.S.A., among older people who report feeling lonely, there is a 45 percent increased chance of mortality. In a quarantine situation, this could become even more dire. Those who need lifesaving medication, require specific medical assistance, or have meals delivered to them may be unable to get those services.

For solutions, we can look to countries where people have been dealing with coronavirus for some time. As the BBC reported, people in China are turning to creative means to stay connected. Some are streaming concerts and gym classes. Others are organizing virtual book-club meetings. In Wuhan, people gathered at their windows to shout “Wuhan, jiayou!” which translates to “Keep fighting, Wuhan!” A business owner packed 200 meals for medical workers, while a villager in a neighboring province donated 15,000 masks to those in need.

For those of us who know people, especially elderly people, who may be isolated, get connected. Check in daily and look for ways to spend time together, either through a FaceTime or WhatsApp call, through collaborative gaming or just by using the telephone.

Of course, none of this behavior is a substitute for good government policy. Societies that have a more of a communal bent also tend to have a social safety net and better sick-leave policies that facilitate efforts to contain the virus. Activists in Chicago have put out a list of demands, including free testing and medical care for people with Covid-19. In Detroit, activists have convinced the city government to reinstate water service to thousands who have been cut off for not paying their bills with no cost to them for the first 30 days.

It may provide some comfort to know that thousands of other people are going through the same thing, and as in China, collective coping strategies will emerge. TikTok videos, memes, stories, essays and poems about living in isolation will all become part of the culture. We could come out of this feeling more connected to each other than before.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-social-distancing.html?te=1&nl=david-leonhardt&emc=edit_ty_20200313&campaign_id=39&instance_id=16718&segment_id=22176&user_id=b5e5426f5c89f06ac9cd19778d3e6de3&regi_id=4530530920200313
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bliss of Solitude

Author(s): George Watson
Source: The Sewanee Review, Vol. 101, No. 3 (Summer, 1993), pp. 340-351
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27546732
Accessed: 29-03-2020 14:26 UTC
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https://www.jstor.org/stable/27546732?mag=discovering-the-joy-of-solitude-while-social-distancing&seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

Excerpt:

Solitude is not bliss because you are rich, then, or because you seek a life without words. It is bliss, ultimately, because it allows you to savor and value an inner life of untrammeled reflection. That savoring and valuing are highly modern. In his Essais Montaigne remarks, very originally for a man of the 1580s, that his best thoughts arise not when he is conversing or reading but instead in odd and unexpected places: "My mind usually brings forth its profoundest ideas, as well as its maddest and those I like best, unexpectedly"; and he adds that they vanish as quickly as they come unless set down at once, which may help to explain why he wrote the Essais.

They come "on horseback, at table, in bed?but mostly on horseback, where my thoughts wander most widely." Montaigne sets the lonely apperception above the findings of learned disputation and orderly research, and he makes a point unparalleled in ancient and medieval literature?that minds work best when they wander free. Montaigne does not deny that minds need discipline too, and he often praises his father's insistence on a rich diet of early reading and on an earnest study of ancient languages. But such disciplines need to be superseded by something wider, he believed, if they
are to bear fruit: by a license to forget they ever occurred by a disposition to let go, to fantasize and to speculate.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Introvert, Dear - This is for all the quiet ones.

Let’s Use This Time to Teach the World the Greatness of Introversion


Introverts have a unique opportunity that we may never have again.

We’re living in uncertain and even scary times right now. Many of us are stuck in our own homes, unable to go out and do the things we’re so used to doing.

People are dying and hospitals in some countries are overwhelmed. Though it’s hard to see the benefits of such a terrible situation, introverts at least have an advantage. Since we’re wired to handle being by ourselves, we’re much better able to handle forced social isolation. The world is turning to us to learn how to best handle this crisis.

In my state, before we were ordered to stay home, a coworker was telling me how her extroverted son is going crazy right now because he can’t go out and do anything. I replied, “That’s not a problem I would have.” It was unintentional, but it came across as bragging.

In truth, introversion is an advantage right now. When this crisis is over — and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later — the world will likely go back to valuing extroversion over introversion, praising the “people person” who loves being the life of the party or can easily work with others.

Of course, the health and safety of everyone is our highest priority right now. Yet introverts have a unique opportunity that we may never have again: We can show the world not only how to be an introvert, but that introversion is a great thing — not just during times of crisis, but all the time. Here are five things I believe we as introverts should be showing everyone.

5 Things Introverts Can Teach the World Right Now

1. Spending time alone helps you grow as a person.

I have a family I’m quarantined with at home right now, and as always, I’m making sure I interact with them and spend time with them. Yet I’m also spending a lot of time by myself, as I always do, and as I need to do as an extreme introvert.

I’m watching educational documentaries. I’m writing more. I’m trying to read more. It’s through these activities that I’m learning about myself and the world around me. I’m expanding my brain and gaining more knowledge so that, when things get back to normal, I’ll (hopefully) be a smarter person because of it.

I do this as much as I can anyway, though with a full-time job and a family, it’s hard to find enough time to do this to satisfy my craving for knowledge. Now, I have more time, and I’m loving it. I feel that it’s best not to waste this time and to see it as an opportunity to better myself. I hope other people will view this situation the same way.

2. Spending time on yourself prepares you to face the world.

As we know, extroverts gain energy from being around other people, while introverts gain energy from being away from others. Because we live in a society that values being social, the most extroverted of us — and even those who are introverted — sometimes miss the value of spending time alone.

I know that when I’m about to face a big social situation, or when I have just done so, I need alone time to regroup and “heal” myself. I feel this is something that everyone can benefit from. It is when we are alone that our minds wander and our imagination grows. We take a step back from our busy lives and repair our bodies and minds. Everyone needs this, not just introverts.

3. You must learn to function by yourself so you don’t use others as a crutch.

I tried to think of a less harsh way to phrase that, but after a little time, I decided that it fit what I was trying to say. We live in a society where we rely on other people for so much: for employment, for social interaction, and for love, just to name a few. Yet the ability to be independent is important as well.

I’ve been talking about being able to occupy yourself during downtime, which is important enough. Yet the ability to just function as a human being in general, without relying on the emotional support of other people, is a critical life skill. This can apply to work, personal relationships, or anything else. I’m not trying to downplay the importance of social interaction, as we all need that, even us introverts. Yet the ability to sustain yourself, on your own, is key.

4. You must master other forms of communication.

As we socially distance ourselves, interacting with others in ways that are not face to face are more important than ever, and will continue to grow in importance. I can’t speak for all introverts, but I prefer writing to face-to-face communication, for example, emails and text messages. I’m better able to articulate my thoughts that way.


Many of us are stuck working from home, so here’s an opportunity to get better at emailing, posting on social media, or doing video chats. We can come out of this crisis, hopefully, mastering these introvert-friendly forms of communication — and maybe more meetings really will become emails.

Join the introvert revolution. One email, every Friday. The best introvert articles. Subscribe here.

5. You must be able to see what your life is like without any social interaction.

I’ve been discussing the benefits of alone time. Yet I feel as introverts, sometimes we get so carried away with talking about how important this is that we forget how important connections with other people are. Despite our innate desire to be by ourselves, interaction with other people is vital to keep our society going. Whether we’re at work, at the grocery store, at social events, or doing just about anything else, without human interaction, our society would crumble.

Yet this doesn’t just apply from a practical standpoint. From an emotional standpoint, despite the fact that I usually prefer alone time, I still need interaction with my wife, family, and coworkers to keep my spirits up. I just don’t need as much of it as other people. In the situation we’re facing right now, we all have an opportunity to see what our lives are like without one another — and overall, I don’t think that’s a world we want to live in.

So, to all my fellow introverts: Do not spend this time idly! Use this as an opportunity both to better yourself and to show the world there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.

In fact, the qualities of introversion are critical. It’s unfortunate that we have to face a world pandemic in order to realize this, yet humanity should try to learn from every difficult situation it faces.

Let’s help the world learn about introversion during this one.

https://introvertdear.com/news/teach-the-world-the-greatness-of-introversion/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listening for Loneliness

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself” – Carl Jung

We have all experienced a sense of loneliness at one time or another in our lives, whether caused by a relationship breakdown, health problems, moving home, changing school or job, becoming a parent, or after a bereavement. Under the current restrictions to our daily lives, loneliness is an increasingly familiar feature.

Loneliness impacts both our physical health and mental health. Researchers have discovered that the effects of loneliness on the body are the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; when we experience loneliness, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase which can impair our immune system, negatively affect our cognitive performance and increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. It is unsurprising that loneliness can affect our mental health; loneliness is felt in the same part of the brain as physical pain.

Earlier this year, the Aga Khan Social Welfare Board (AKSWB) held their annual convention at the Ismaili Centre with the theme of “Listening for Loneliness”. The shame and stigma surrounding loneliness was confronted head on. Through workshops, stories and discussions, personal experiences of loneliness were shared. Realising that others had similar feelings of exclusion, self-doubt and insecurity when they felt lonely, created empathy for those who find it difficult to seek support. It also provided an insight into how to recognise loneliness in others.

Human beings are social creatures, our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. In these difficult times, where connection is challenging to say the least, here are some tips to stave off loneliness:
• Establish a daily routine including activities – this can help you feel more settled, provide a sense of normality and a feeling of control over your time
• Stay in virtual contact – maintain connections with friends and family as much as possible through Whatsapp, Zoom, FaceTime etc
• Have authentic conversations – at the AKSWB convention, Dr Shermina Sayani talked movingly about the power of meaningful connection as the key to combatting loneliness; by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we enable others to do the same and through that honest exchange, genuine connection occurs
• Eat healthily and exercise – keeping physically healthy can boost your immune system and improve your mood so it is important to eat well and to get regular exercise
• Plan activities – consider doing things that you haven’t had time to tackle before e.g. updating a photo album, finally reading that book you bought months ago, tidying ‘that’ cupboard. Try setting a challenge for yourself e.g. learning 20 conversational sentences in another language(s), cooking something you’ve not made before, writing a short story (or a long story!) – the sense of achievement will help to boost your mental well being
• Adjusting your mindset and expectations – accepting that events are beyond your control and knowing that being physically away from the people and the things you love is only temporary. Remembering that everyone else is going through the lockdown too can help you feel grounded and is a reminder that you are not alone
• Practise self-care – studies show that self-compassion improves well-being and happiness. Consider keeping a journal of your emotions during this period and make a note of things that made you feel happy or accomplished throughout the day

Loneliness is a universal experience. If you remember someone with whom you have not had recent contact, give them a call and make that connection – you never know how a tiny interaction can positively impact someone else’s life.

The Womens Activity Portfolio (WAP) are holding a virtual workshop on the same topic on on 19 April 2020 at 2pm.

If you are struggling with loneliness, please call the Coronavirus Support Helpline on 020 8191 0911.

https://the.ismaili/uk/listening-loneliness
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