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  • Your own best friend

    The terms ‘loner’ or ‘hermit’ usually carry an implication of social values that I no longer subscribe to – values that apply ‘in the marketplace where there is a premium on acquired social ‘skills’’, as you say. I may be a ‘hermit’ in other people’s eyes because I don’t frequent the pub or go to social gatherings but I am not ‘hermit’ who retreats from the world despising the company of others.

  • Autonomy

    PETER: The feeling of being an outsider (Loner) is common to everyone, for ‘who’ I think and feel I am is an alien entity, cut-off from the actual world that seems to be happening outside of ‘my’ body. Similarly other humans I meet are seen and regarded as separate and alien to ‘me’. ‘I’ am ever fearful, ever on-guard, ever isolated, and ever lonely. The only relief from these terrible feelings is to be found in the good feelings of being needed, being useful, belonging to a group, and producing, providing for, and nurturing offspring. In the ‘normal’ world, these worldly fulfilments are often insufficient for some and the search begins for the other socially acceptable alternative – indulging in the feeling of ‘inner’ fulfillment and contentment.

    PETER: When I started to become free of malice and sorrow, I found my emotional bonds or ‘neediness’ with other people became noticeably weaker. The most noticeable effect of this was that I lost my former spiritual ‘friends’ because I was no longer a member of a group of fellow believers. As I progressively became free of malice, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where the ills of the world were blamed on others. And as I became progressively free of sorrow, I was no longer interested in participating in conversations where being here was regarded as a miserable business and where it was firmly believed that succour or relief could only be found by retreating ‘inside’. There was a period of time where I felt an outsider or a loner but recently I had occasion to meet quite a few old friends at a social event and all feelings of being an outsider and a loner had totally disappeared. I had a pleasurable time with a group of fellow human beings, regardless of their beliefs, gender or cultural conditioning.