by Sandra Radja
Loneliness is depressing. It brings up feelings of unworthiness and cravings and feels like a huge space to fill. And when we are out of balance, we can fill that space with activities that are not beneficial to us, just to remove the feeling. The activities can be hanging out with folks that deplete your resistance, or it can be about snuffing out the feeling with synthetic happiness. Whichever way you look at it, loneliness is a real thing, even though we probably won't go to the doctor for it. Rather we might make up another issue, such as addiction, to give our feelings credibility.
To feel lonely is a disturbance of Vata and since Vata is comprised of Air and Space, it is the space element that feels out of balance. The concept of space is to provide a container for the other elements to exist and this container needs to be in accordance with your Prakruti (or natural constitution) meaning the right diet and lifestyle that works for you. When loneliness hits and starts to make you feel bad, there are usually other signs and symptoms going on that something is out of balance. You might notice insomnia, constipation, feelings of nervousness or anxiety, dry skin, just to name a few. The wind probably bothers you as does the cold and you might find your appetite is variable as well as your focus. The very cool thing about Ayurveda is that taking up a Vata calming protocol will cure the loneliness too.
One interesting thing that Dr Robert Svoboda said in lecture once was that your house was your second skin. The way I took that was the way you kept your body in balance should include the way you live in your home. He said that if you tended toward more Vata, then a moderate amount of furniture was ideal since Prana needed something to cling to. If there was a lot of Kapha in the system, then a minimalist approach could bring balance. This hit a note with me since I had travelled so extensively and usually invested little in furnishings because of the temporary nature of my time there. So now I see that not only was I disturbing my Vata by the excessive travel but also by the fact that wherever I did land, I didn't "house" myself well enough to ground and gain some earth.
Here is where I want to switch the concept of space from negative to positive, from loneliness to being alone. There is a great healing aspect to creating space. It allows stuff to come up and leave the building. This is unprocessed emotions that would otherwise cause disease. I've often advised clients to visit a look out when they feel stuck or can't find clarity in a scenario. You will often use the expression, taking time out to clear my thoughts, without realizing how you were using the space element to heal yourself.
Dr Lad once poetically declared that to be alone is a beautiful thing, to be lonely is ugly. His comments are always worth sitting on for awhile. I have observed this since and I believe it to be a truth. The difference I see is that people that are alone, in concentration of their activity, in awe of natural beauty, in enjoyment of personal creation, seem to blend in with their surroundings; they seem to forget themselves. And it's in this enjoyment of their moment that they radiate.
I wanted to inspire the difference in photographs. I selected some pictures I thought represented the beauty in aloneness. It is true that we must find our balance to create community and friendships to enjoy company. Vata personalities need it more than most. But to turn the spirit of being alone into a regular medicine, dosage depending on dosha, I feel should be an important aspect of our health care. You not only make yourself content in the doing, but you show others that you're all part of this connection together.