One day, my dear,
you stop and look around you,
find yourself stuffing needs into a sack of thoughts,
realize you have talked your life to pieces,
scratched your self to bits,
that neither hope nor doubt
can protect you,
that you are not mistaken,
that you haven’t lost your grip–
it is dissolving.
Now you can speak about everything silently. –Terrance Keenan, St. Nadie in Winter: Zen Encounters with Loneliness
I wrote a paper on loneliness awhile back, and then I meant to write another, but somehow I resisted….possibly because I was too lonely to write about loneliness. However, I did collect a lot of material on the topic, and loved the work of this Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest, Terrance Keenan, St. Nadie in Winter: Zen Encounters in Loneliness. How we run from it! Loneliness, that is. Someone commented that there is a difference between loneliness and solitude. It occurs to me that the difference may be that one is unchosen, while one is chosen, but in truth, I think it is the unchosen starkness of the experience of loneliness that is the more valuable. It is good when nothing stands between me and me.