Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The heart is a lonely hunter...

dawn in Romblon

When I think of loneliness, the novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" is the first thing that comes to mind.

Is it OK to talk about loneliness nowadays? Probably not. There’s always shame and disgrace attached to admitting loneliness. Maybe this is the reason why I sometimes wrap it in fancy names like depression (sounds like a medical condition), blues (a personal idiosyncrasy), PMS (can’t help it). I have friends and family and I can find the company I want if I really want it…but it’s the type of company that adds to my feelings of isolation. For a couple of weeks now, I can never quite seem to shake this state of discontented estrangement. I'm having a hard time getting up in the morning--all I want to do is sleep.

My co-worker suggested that I go out of town with friends, that I need a break. I was thinking of going to Baguio last Friday for the Panagbenga festival, but I was too lazy to even pack! I like the idea of going out of town---anywhere---but I don’t like company. Right now, I want to just drive alone without a definite destination. The scheduled trip to Cebu next week is probably a good thing.

I was out with friends almost every night last week…watched a movie, drinks and blabber---but I felt incredibly lonely in the middle of it all. I hugged Fritz last night and was overcome by that same emptiness.

Maybe it's the literature I've been reading---I’ve finished Orhan Pamuk’s “Istanbul” and have started on “The Kite Runner” by an Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. I guess the melancholy (or huzun) of “Istanbul” didn’t leave me.

Huzun is a Turkish word whose Arabic root (it appears five times in the Koran) denotes a feeling of deep spiritual loss but also a hopeful way of looking at life, “a state of mind that is ultimately as life-affirming as it is negating.” For the Sufis, huzun is the spiritual anguish one feels at not being close enough to God; for Saint John of the Cross, this anguish causes the sufferer to plummet so far down that his soul will, as a result, soar to its divine desire. Huzun is therefore a sought-after state, and it is the absence, not the presence, of huzun that causes the sufferer distress.

While some of us spend a lifetime trying to escape loneliness with shoe shopping, binge eating, alcohol, one-night stands…I believe that the only real way through it is by forming true connections with people. But as I grow older, I sometimes feel that I seem to have lost the connection with people, that I indulge myself in solitude. Have I become indifferent? Have I opted to emails, internet chats, blogging, and text messages in order not to get my hands dirty in the humus of humanity? Are these technologies little arrows targeting at the heart of loneliness, or they’re the contributing factors?

I don't know if my loneliness is a symptom of not being “present” in my life. Do I live in the past or the future? Am I denying myself this moment? I ask myself lots of difficult questions when I’m in this mood, and I don’t have the answers. But I learned from experience that loneliness is part of the puzzle of existence, a passing phase, a flatulence of the soul—so I know, I’ll snap out of it. It’s just a question of when.


Sidney said...

“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence”
-Thomas Wolfe-

Unknown said...

Wise words, Mr. Wolfe! I totally agree.

Thanks for sharing, Sidney.:D

Anonymous said...

Wow...a beautiful shot along with lovely words...I agree with your thoughts...very nice!

Anonymous said...

When I was a freshman in college, our English instructor asked us to write something about our "idea of loneliness." We were given 30 minutes to do it. I could not think of anything to write so I submitted a blank paper with nothing but my name and a dot in the middle of the paper.

You don't want to know what mark I got for that paper. Let me just say I survived the the skin of my teeth LOL.

Unknown said...

Thanks for visiting, flyingstars.

Unknown said...

Your English instructor didn't appreciate the philosopher in you, bertn.:D At least you survived the class with sheer effort! :D

Thanks for dropping by.

Daguldol Tarakatac III said...

luna mi,
An analysis was once done of the comfort found in driving alone without a definite destination.

It was found that sitting inside the car creates a "womb" of isolation - that brings us back to the peace of our pre-natal existence. It allows us a period of "development" before we re-emerge "born" into the chaos of the world.

Also - it allows us a powerful sense of control (to put on the lights, to lock the doors, to turn right or left, to go forward, to stop, to turn on the radio, to what station, what kind of music,to control temperature, where to go, when to end the journey ...).
As such, the sense of complete control is an antidote to a life that seems to be spinning out of control, too fast, too slow, headed in an unknown direction, or perhaps even just headed in the wrong direction, and sometimes even just not moving at all.

Solace, peace and a sense of control with all the time for reflection. Powerful medicines for the toxins of life ...

Like you I drive alone and aimlessly quite often.
It's rejuvinating
It's reinvigorating
It's refreshing
It's soothing ...

Isn't the automobile such a wonderful invention?


 gmirage said...

Die größten Feinde des Glücks sind für ihn Schmerz und Langeweile. (The biggest foes of human happiness are pain and boredom) which results to loneliness---

don't let it get you...

Migs Bassig said...

PMS? Does that mean premeditated sadness?

I know you know you're not alone, I mean when it comes to having these feelings. But as you said, we all snap out of it.

Hope you're feeling better!

Unknown said...

I truly appreciate your sharing the analysis, Daguldol. Now I understand this urge of driving alone without direction. The ‘womb of isolation’ is indeed a comforting place---no backseat drivers, its just me, my thoughts, my music and the steering wheel.

Unknown said...

I'm working on it, Gzel. Thank you!

Unknown said...

You can call it that, too, Migs. As one of my girlfriends say, a wise woman knows she’d be having PMS next week so she pampers herself the week before it hits, then wallows in misery when it comes, and looks forward to the another week of extravagant indulgence to recover from it.:D

I'm already feeling better just reading your comments. Thank you!