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Experiencing God Aesthetically: Loneliness, Monks and Gungor

Latte art at Intelligentsia Coffee

This week was an interesting week for me emotionally and spiritually. Hillary and the girls spent some time with her parents in Roswell, New Mexico while I took part of the week to experience life at a monastery. My motto for the week was, “Expect Nothing.” Everything I had heard about spending time at a monastery warned against expecting a major spiritual experience. As I now look back on this week, while drinking some amazing coffee at Intelligentsia Coffee, I can describe it in four chapters.

Loneliness

With two young girls who are very expressive, our home is never quiet. But Monday night it was quiet. I actually went to the public library because I didn’t like being in my quiet house. That night as I lay in bed it was almost impossible to go to sleep in the quiet house. Again Tuesday night, I had a hard time sleeping. I felt lonely. Ronald Rolheiser talks frequently¬†about loneliness and the danger if it is not worked through correctly. Laying in my bed alone did not feel good. My emotional state was not in a healthy place. Read the rest of this entry

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Struggling with Loneliness

Ronald Rolheiser writes in The Restless Heart, “No person has ever walked our earth and been free from the pains of loneliness. Rich and poor, wise and ignorant, faith-filled and agnostic, healthy and unhealthy have all alike had to face and struggle with its potentially paralyzing grip. It has granted no immunities. To be human is to be lonely.”

He goes on to write, “Under the surface, though, we are not easily fooled by our own facade of strength. We hurt, and we live in pain, in loneliness, damned loneliness. Unfortunately, too, the cost of our self-deception is high. We pay a heavy price for not admitting our loneliness, facing it squarely, and grappling with it honestly. Loneliness, as we shall see, is most dangerous when it is not recognized, accepted, and worked through creatively. It is then that it wreaks havoc with our lives. Conversely, too, we shall see that it is a tremendously creative and humanizing force when it is recognized and addressed correctly.”

How do we run from our loneliness? In our media saturated and hyper-connected culture, how can technology mask our feelings of loneliness?