Self-Friendliness

SoulWork for Healing Loneliness

In the times of solitude, like in the pandemic, we might feel more lonely than usual. Presence of another human being is regulating our nervous system and is stabilizing us. People are mirroring different parts of our being. We need to be seen! Human brains and bodies resonate together and this gives us a feeling of belonging. Missing all these resources can easily makes us feel desperate.

 

On the other side, if we search for the fulfillment always outside of us, we will never find peace. Our true home is inside of our being. This is the true source of fulfillment, peace, contentment. When we don't have the contact with our core, our soul, and we are all the time searching for outer contact to fill the emptiness inside, we are restless. We send and read to many e-amils, too many Facebook posts, we search for sharing and getting input over all the possible devices etc. But none of these "fills" really fulfill us.

 

In human nature both is valid - we are species that need each other, we are interconnected and need relationships; and we need our inner relationship with ourselves, as the basis for inner peace.  When inner relationship is intact, our potential and strength to handle the outer nonfulfillment grows. The outer disharmony or lack of contact is not that devastating. 

So when we miss our friends and dear people spending time with us, then we have to turn inward and find our own inner friend. We need to strengthen inner friendship with ourselves and simply practice being our own company and enjoying it. I am offering here is a SoulWork exercise, which makes us aware of different levels of our being. It also reminds us on our good qualites and supports our trust in our strength. We practice to rely on our inner being, that is always there for us. We also practice to surrender into the web of life, that is holding us all the time.  

 

*This meditation for Self-Friendliness grew out of an inner process in a hard period of my life, when I felt lonely and abandoned. Luckily I knew then that "Everything that you want you already are", as Rumi would say. So I sat down and looked for the friend inside, that I was looking for outside. And I found her!



Step #1

Setting the Stage for the SoulWork

Find a place in your room where you want to do this SoulWork**. It should be a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and where nobody will desturb you. You will need two seats next to each other, like for two friends sitting together on a park bench. That could be two chairs, two sofa places or two meditation seats. If you are at home, it might be helpful to use two cushions to mark the two places. (I find it also comforting to leave the cushions there for some time after your SoulWork is done, and have a look at these cushions from time to time, as a resource.)

 

Take one of the seats, that spontaniously feels "yours".  Close your eyes and gently tune into your presence. Feel your body sensations, your emotional state and your mental state. I guess you will be doing this this SoulWork when you really feel lonely and maybe quite agitated, so it is important to calm down before you do the inner work***. For that purpose you can simply count your breaths or use any other breathing technique that works well for you. One good example is the 4-4-8 breathing technique

  1. inhale through your nose for a count of 4, taking the breath into your stomach
  2. hold your breath for a count of 4
  3. exhale through your mouth with a whooshing sound for a count of 8
  4. repeat everything 3-4 times

Now the state of your mind, heart and body should be calmer so you can move to Step #2 and start the SoulWork. 

 

**Once you practiced enough, you will notice that  you can do this SoulWork at any place and in any position. It can very well be done on a bench in a park or even lying in bed.

 

***Important: if you notice that going inside is triggering your trauma and your state is getting worse, don't continue doing this process alone! Find a partner or a therapist, or feel free to contact me for a short help-session (live or online).


Step #2

Allowing Loneliness

Now it is time to allow your feelings. In this step you become a container for your loneliness and everything else connected with it. Each person is unique and so is also your feeling of loneliness unique. Allow the loneliness to come up - this is the time when it can show itself to you. Where do you feel it in your body? How does it feel? Does it have any shape or color? What else is there? Here are some examples of different aspects:

  • Shame: Very often, when we don't feel well, a kind of shame is connected to it. A concept in the background is that if we would be "OK" person, we would never feel lonely. There must be something wrong with us.
  • Guilt: We feel that it's our fault that we feel this way and that we must have done something wrong to be punished by this feeling. 
  • Unworthiness: Feeling lonely could mean in our minds that nobody cares for us, that we are not worthy of other's love and attention. 
  • Horror: You might notice an overwhelming fear in the  background of your loneliness. One reason might be that if we were being left alone as a baby for a longer period of time (long for the baby), we might be frightened that we were left to die. Aloneness is a horifying feeling for babys that a baby can not regulate alone. It can be triggered by feeling lonely later in life.
  • Abandonement: Being left alone as a child (not a baby) where the mutual connectedness with our care takers was already established, might bring a deep feelings of abandonement when we feel lonely as grown ups.

Beyond these and more apsects, there is probably lying a sadness. Allow the sadness and the tears, that will clean your heart and energy in your body. Let the feelings flow until you notice that the emotional wave is done and you start to calm down. 


Step #3

Become your OWN best friend

Now change the place and sit on the other cushion. Imagine you are your own best friend, sitting next to the "lonely you". Imagine being the ideal best friend, the one you (the lonley you) always wanted to have! Feel that your presence is container of love, loyalty, encouragement and acceptance - just like two best friends, who are there for each other, at eye level and deeply devoted to their friendship. This "you as your best friend" can really have a shape of yourself, when you feel good, strong, compassionate and giving. Or it can have another shape of the ideal best friend, you always wanted to have - a "buddy" on your side that never leaves you. 

 

Look at your lonely self through the eyes of this loving compassionate presence. Let your heart be in touch with your friends heart. You can turn your body towards your lonely self to have a better contact. What do you see? The eyes of compassion will recognize a lovable being who is suffering. How would you, as the best friend, comfort the suffering friend? How would you use your body, your heart-mind-energy and your speach to comfort your friend?

  • COMFORTING BY BODY 
    Try to sense what are your friend's physical needs while feeling lonely - is it caressing, holding safely, rocking, hugging? Which gesture of your body would show your love and be most comforting? You can imagine (and/or actually really do it) that you are gently supporting your friends back / hugging over the shoulders / letting her/his head rest on your sholder, while she/he is sobbing. Maybe she/he wants to lie in your arms, being gently rocked. Or your friend wants to rest her/his head on your lap, to simply relax and let go of tension. Or... 
  • COMFORTING BY SPEECH 
    Which comforting words would you say? What does your friend need to hear? Tell these words to your lonely self, in your mind or even better aloud, for as long as he/she needs. Also notice and tell your friend her/his qualities and why she/he is worth of having friends and connections in life. Tell why you are her/his best friend and which are the qualities you treasure most.
  • COMFORTING BY HEART-MIND-ENERGY
    Express your feelings for your lonely friend energetically, by letting the beams of friendly love out of your heart and/or your whole presence reach your friends heart, body and energy field. Fill the inner and outer space of the lonely you with pure energy of friendliness, trust, compassion, connectedness and love. Let her/him feel, that there is a best friend, that will never ever leave her/him. Shower her/him with that best-friend-friendliness untill you feel that every cell and the whole energy field is filled, fulfilled, happy and feeling connected. 

There is no one in the whole world being more competent in comforting you than your inner best friend! Enjoy the fact that he/she knows the real you and your real needs better than anybody else. At first it needs exercising to get to know yourself so deeply - but it is worth it!


Step #4

Receiving friendliness

Now change the seat again and go back to the place of your lonely self. Repeat the 3 comforting and nourishing aspects from the Step #3, but this time as a receiver. 

  1. Sense the presence of your best friend, that will never leave you, sitting just next to you. Feel the connectedness to your friend and that is ok to receive this act of friendliness. That's what the friends are for!
  2. Physical: Feel the caressing, holding, or whatever was your comforting physical need.
  3. Speech: Listen to the reassuring words of your best friend about your qualities and worthiness.
  4. Heart-Mind-Energy: Feel the friendly love that is pouring into your body and your energy field.
  5.  Notice what happens in your body after receiving these aspects of friendliness. What is different?

Know that always - right here, right now, next to you, inside of you, as a part of you - there is this best friend. Now let the presence of you best friend merge into your body. Become one space, while at the same time feeling that inside this space there are two parts - one that feels lonely from time to time, and one that is her/his best friend and always there. 


Step #5

Integration

However small or big a process of (any) transformation is - it needs time and space for integration. That is a very important aspect. If we don't allow it and go on with our lives too soon, the whole process may crush and we might fall back into our old patterns. The new won energy is like a vulnerable seed, that needs water, time and space to manifest itself. Without it, it can not blossom and unfold. 

 

In my case, after a good therapy session - where strong emotions and important insights would intensively flow through my body, heart and soul - I would usually need a quiet break, sometimes a good food and then a nice deep nap. It feels then that I am like a newborn baby (and actually I am, cause the new parts are just born!) and I need my basic needs covered, so my body can grow: a peaceful safe cradle, some good food and a good night sleep :). That is quite a body-oriented nourishment of an integration. But it is also enough just to sit and rest after finishing the Step #4. This is the time for simply Being. Just be and feel the space inside and around you and allow your energy to reorganize itself and integrate.


After practicing this SoulWork for some time, you will develop a kind of "felt sense" for the best-friend-presence. Then you will not need to do the whole process from the beginning, but will notice that the best friend can heal the loneliness in an instant, already by remembering it and calling the felt sense back into your body.  


"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you." Rumi

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