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Have you ever noticed, when you decide you want to buy a yellow car, that you start seeing yellow cars everywhere?
Well, lately I have had that experience—but with people, telling me how they feel alone. Feeling alone can be subtle or overt. We categorize each other by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, political party, age group and sports teams! This creates space between us, and an environment for feelings of isolation to thrive.
When nations feel isolated or alone, fear, mistrust and envy set in. When people feel alone, the same thing happens. Our individual egos can cause us to forget about our interconnectedness and keep us alone and disempowered. In our unity, we can flourish and find true happiness:
There is power in numbers and there is power in unity. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. – Mother Teresa
Ye are all the drops from but one ocean, the foliage of one tree, the pearls from a single shell, and sweet herbs from the same one garden. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 280.
We all feel alone at times, but we are alike more than we give ourselves credit for. Each of us experiences the same emotions. We all worry about our children, weep at a love lost, mourn for those who have passed and laugh when something funny takes us by surprise. So how do we break this misconception of separateness? One way: stop listening to the voices that feed us this powerful fallacy. We don’t need to believe everything our egos suggest, and by acknowledging that we’re not alone we can dissipate its power:
Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. – Eckhart Tolle
Spend five minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things, (to be happy, to be loved) and we are all connected to one another. – the Dalai Lama
It’s natural to experience difficulty more acutely when you are the one experiencing it—but the fact is, we all navigate life’s challenges, and “Everybody Hurts” as the REM song goes.
No one is alone in their troubles; there is always someone else thinking, suffering in the same way, and that gives us the strength to confront the challenge before us. – Paulo Coelho
…this endless universe is like the human body, and… all its parts are connected one with another and are linked together in the utmost perfection. That is, in the same way that the parts, members and organs of the human body are interconnected, and that they mutually assist, reinforce and influence each other, so too are the parts and members of this endless universe connected with, and spiritually and materially influenced by, one another. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, p. 285.
So I want to address all those yellow cars popping up everywhere—all of you feeling separateness and aloneness now. I want to say to myself and to you, that separation is all an illusion.
To the wonderful man I know who is housebound due to debilitating illness; to my blind friend who struggles daily with depression; to the loved one who battles anxiety every day; to the dear soul that thinks he will never find love; to the busy mother who says she feels alone living in a house full of people; and to all those who entertain the thought of aloneness for even a moment…. It’s all a chimera! You are not alone. We are all from the same source down to each atom, interconnected in a web of loving energy that is eternal. The universe is wrapped up in each one of us.
God does not want us to feel isolated from each other or from Him. When we forget His love we feel this, but He is always there for us if we remember to turn towards Him:
O moving form of dust! I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me. – Ibid., p. 29.
So challenge at every turn thoughts that you feel things no one has ever felt before, that you are loved any less by God or that you are not eternal. When we dare to share and accept who we authentically are, we will find our darkest fears of isolation begin to dissipate and ultimately dissolve completely. In their place, with time and prayer and meditation, you’ll come to the realization of our profound connection to each other and to every living being.