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I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling a deep sense of loneliness. It’s still there, poking at my heart, reminding me of some distant wound that I’ve never fully resolved. When I’m seeing or experiencing something that presses against it – even something as innocent as a scene in a movie – those familiar pangs return and I’m immediately overwhelmed by emotion.

We all have these little bits of shrapnel trying to work their way out of our hearts – relics of the thousands of battles we’ve had on the fields of life, love, and loss. It’s the body’s natural response to reject these things in order to heal itself, yet the fearful mind keeps them pushed down inside of us, terrified of the pain it would experience should we allow them to be released.

Don’t get me wrong – the process of release is painful… but this is a matter of perspective. Letting go is all about recognizing that you are not your wounds. The mind would identify with all of your scars, but you are not your mind. You are something greater than any mind. How do we get to know this? By observing.

As I’ve mentioned before, we gain immense freedom in this world when we stay aligned at our center. The yogis call this “sat-chid-ananda” – existence-knowledge-bliss. When you identify with this living power in your heart, you are immune to the world’s ills. It’s pure awareness, which is not affected by your experience.

When you’re feeling lonely, all you have to do is sit with it. Notice it. Because you can notice your loneliness, you realize that it is an object, something external. Yes, it “feels inside” but if you notice closely, it does not affect your true center. It’s not who you really are. It’s just something the body-mind experiences on the surface of awareness.

As you observe your loneliness, allow it to move through you. Don’t jam it back down because you’re afraid of the pain. Feel the pain all the while knowing that you are not that pain. Another helpful tip from the yogis is that everything is temporary. As you observe the piece of shrapnel moving out of the heart, you will hurt. This pain is an important learning tool because it teaches you two things. One, not to put yourself into situations that can cause a new wound like this one. Two, that you are so much stronger than you even knew.

Stand behind the pain and just notice how your body-mind reacts. Let your body-mind experience the reaction as you breathe. Your body-mind needs to feel the full extent of this pain in order to let it go. That’s it. This is all about letting go. And once you let it go, chances are you aren’t likely to feel it again. Things that remind you of your loneliness won’t be able to press against that sharp bit of hurt inside you because you no longer identify with it. You’ve let the feeling of it move through you and you’ve decided to let it go. All just by noticing and breathing and remembering that you are more than your faults or your wounds.

Awareness does not cling or fight against the things we experience or feel. Awareness releases things as they come and go. Be aware of your feelings but don’t identify with them. Identify instead with that immense power within you. You will then see that your inner disturbances have no strength to overcome your higher power within. This is what is meant by “being in the flow” – the flow of love extending from your heart through which all things pass without leaving a mark.

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