Lion's Roar

Alone Together

IN 2001, I CONTRACTED what appeared to be an acute viral infection. I have yet to recover. Imagine the aches and pains that accompany the flu—that’s how I feel every day, just without the fever. It has forced me to trade an active work and social life for the relative isolation of being mostly housebound. Because I’d always enjoyed being alone, I was caught off-guard when loneliness accompanied me into this new life. I longed for the companionship of others and to be able to share adventures with friends and family. I also felt a strong aversion to this new feeling of loneliness, and this added to my suffering. All in all, it was a dark period for me physically and emotionally.

During that time, I was reading Ann Packer’s novel, , and came across this passage: “Lonely is a funny thing. It’s almost like another person. After a while, it will keep you company if you let it.” Immediately, came to my mind. Metta is often translated as loving-kindness, but I prefer the more modern translation—friendliness. (This is also a more accurate rendering because metta is derived from the word which means “friend.”) Packer’s words suggested to me that it was possible to change my reaction to loneliness from aversion to friendliness.

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MELVIN MCLEOD Editor-in-Chief ANDREA MILLER Deputy Editor MEGUMI YOSHIDA Art Director ANDREW GLENCROSS Deputy Art Director & Production Coordinator LIZA MATTHEWS Senior Designer ANNAKA GALE Editorial Assistant ROD MEADE SPERRY Editorial Director LILL