When I was in seventh grade, the group of girls I hung out with stopped speaking to me. Every time they passed me in the hall, they would turn their backs and giggle. It was my first experience of real loneliness, and at the time it felt like the end of the world.
That experience stayed in my emotional backpack for years. Even now, just the word "loneliness" can trigger the emotion�part melancholy and part loss�of those days. It was only after I had been doing spiritual practice for quite some time that I began to see that the emotion of loneliness is not just personal. Like anger and fear, loneliness is one of those universal, primal emotions, a groove in humanity's subconscious. Most of us (even those of us who like being alone) can't help but fall into it at one time or another.
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