Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse came into my life at the perfect time. My soul was yearning for something deep, and Siddhartha delivered. It’s been on my book list for over a year – sometimes you wonder how those serendipities work themselves out. It’s magical.
Background of the Book:
To give a little background for those who have not read it, Siddhartha is a young boy who leaves the faith of his father to go on his own spiritual journey. It follows him through five major shifts in his life and through to his old age. He experiences and leaves beautiful relationships along the way, always remaining loyal to his purpose and ideals.
At one point Siddartha feels very, very alone. He didn’t belong to the Brahmin’s anymore, nor the Samana’s. He had nowhere to say anymore, “I belong here.” He felt like something was gone from him, he had shed his skin like a snake does. It left him lonelier than ever. Yet it allowed him to see the world new for the first time… things that were always there, but now viewing with new eyes.
My Own Story With Loneliness:
I know this pain of loneliness. The first time I felt this level of loneliness was in my first marriage. I had entered into this contract with my boyfriend, and God, to be married and become one. But we never became one… not physically, not spiritually, not emotionally. I didn’t believe in divorce. So I did what I had to… I lived the lie. I lived a quiet, lonely death, where the outside world saw the facade, the life we wanted them to see. (I can’t go here right now – it’s too deep, too much for right here in this post. For more of this, please subscribe to The Virgin Wife Chronicles.)
The second time I experienced this level of loneliness was when I was converting to a faith not of my family. I was transitioning from feeling like I belonged in my family, my tribe, to not fitting anymore, and grasping at straws to learn how to fit differently. And then I was in this transit space where I felt like I didn’t belong in my family and I wasn’t part of this new tribe that I was converting into yet.
I can tell you that these dark chasms (and that is what they are) are where we find ourselves. No longer do we get to parade a banner belonging to this group or that tribe… instead we are left alone, with only our own thoughts, demons, prayers, and epiphanies. There are no coattails to ride, no thoughts to borrow, no cloaks to cling to. It’s a space that will either lead us to death and despair, or to life and joy. Our choice. Our courage. Our bravery.
I wish I knew how to help others choose the path of life and joy. But I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I went from my path of destruction to my path of life. I was headed for death. Truly headed for death. (Do I have to say it?) And then, after years of disconnected prayers, stacks of books, torrents of tears, depths of despair, something gave. I found courage. I took baby steps. I chose life. I survived. I’m living. I’m breathing. That world I left behind feels like some remote incarnation.
But I can’t tell you ‘how’.
It’s an answer I seek diligently. I want nothing more than to be able to tell you ‘how’.
In the meantime, keep moving. Keep breathing. Keep praying. Keep reading.
Maybe that is the ‘how’.
Just keep going.