Close Events of the Third Kind

AFTER A WHILE, one becomes lonely.

The “while,” our researchers say, may be early for some, but after 70 or 80 years or so, it’s common. Their studies tell us we can assume that long-term loneliness is an ancient belief in the bell-jars of mortal life, that our friends will be off for adventures away, leaving us to think we’re alone on Earth.

If one of our friends was a wife or a husband, then our touch and our, “Good morning, dear one,” will be lost over a wide calm ocean of silence.

I didn’t think of this till a year or so ago.  I learned there were not two, but three ways to die.

Sudden events: car crashes, lightning;

Slow events: illnesses, smoking;

And the third event: loneliness.

We barely realize it’s happening, the third.

Sometimes former mates become wonderful friends.  Sometimes they learn how to change from mates to friends, to live without romance, and without the angers that touch many in the midst of separating.

Yet what happens is that the two don’t play with words they way they did before, no more the table-tennis with ideas when each could say anything to the other.  There’s no intimate sharing of thoughts, they don’t have time or interest, to tell each other what living feels like, the way once they did.

Romance is a color of life that they agree not to share.  They’ll talk about most things, business and daily events, when they might meet, but nothing that touches deeply, as though their hearts were sealed from the story of our own personal joys and fears.

Since I’ve chosen to live a life of distance from others (except for writing, like now), loneliness tapped on my door for a long time before I noticed.

Researchers say that men will lose some seven years of a life alone, against the alternate life they’d share with their partners.  Living alone, one needs to search for one’s purpose, instead of knowing it in a mate’s touch, or smile.  Without her or him, there’s no one to respond to words that once found bright echoes, once mattered to a close Other.  We know we’re separate, and we know there’s a good chance we’ll be separate for the rest of our lives.

The Internet, does that help?  For some, they say.  Internet relationships work well for those of the golden mean.  If you’re live at either end of the gold, you’ll be untouched, and silent.

How can you tell someone you’ve just met, of the lifetimes you’ve lived till this minute, and learn about theirs?  It will take a million words to say hello, unless they have a soulmate’s touch of who you are, and you find the same within yourself.

If you had a old wind-up clock that ticked away the minutes, you can finally let it stop.  Trouble is, when it stops ticking, it adds to the silence.

10 thoughts on “Close Events of the Third Kind

  1. Thanks for sharing. (Again.). There are so many challenges life brings us. In the treasures that we are given, there are also curses. As much as we wish it was otherwise, there is no perfect.

    May those of us who enjoy hearing your thoughts give you some response back that will remind you in some small way that you are a part of us.

    And we are very grateful that you are here and alive and back to sharing your gift.

  2. Dear Richard,
    Your books have had a profound effect on my life. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and
    “A Gift of Wings” helped to inspire me early on in my journey, some forty years ago. Someone that is very dear to both of us recently suggested that I read “Illusions”. I think that you have met who I am referring to on more than one occasion. Your book was to become a part of my recovery process designed to pull me out of a very deep, dark and lonely hole that I had fallen into. They went so far as to state that I was the “journeyman” in your book. I have to ask: Did you know that “Illusions” was non-fiction when you wrote it?
    Anyhow, thanks to our dear friend, I have since discovered how few of us will ever get to discover the wonders of the universe while still in the flesh. I have also discovered that I will never, ever, be lonely (or alone) again…
    Thank you for your inspiration; from your books, and, from this website. I hope that your recovery has gone well. Sincerely, Doug
    PS: Ask me about my signpost sometime. And, ask me why I don’t like power lines, either…

  3. Richard, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know the profound effect you have had in my life. Illusions is my favorite book and I give it to everyone. I have read the book cover to cover many times but I also use it to open to a page when I need some advice. My favorite part was the vampire and not wanting to hurt people. I think many of us have that problem. I just ordered Illusions II yesterday and hope I enjoy it as much as the first.
    I really enjoyed your blog for today and I am so glad I found it so I can read more of your thoughts. I have always wondered if people really get to someone to help them (Like Donald Shimoda or Socrates for Dan Millman or Simon Potter for Og Mandino). I’ve always wanted to have someone’s life to have been better because I was in it – you, my friend, can definitely say that

  4. We seem to examine our lives more closely when we are alone/lonely.
    I agree that sharing life with a beloved partner is wonderful. Most humans, given a choice , do not want to be alone.
    I do have friends who do chose to be alone and have learned the art of being alone not lonely.
    Meeting over the internet can be tricky ,
    We only know what we are told…
    Romance…is lovely and needs tended like our well kept garden.
    The basis of a good and enduring relationship has always been RESPECT.

    My thoughts on a rainy morn in VA

  5. Dear Richar:

    There was a day when I found a very good friend, after many year of not seeing him, hearing something nor reading any of his letters. Amazingly we were able to share that moment like if we were not appart for a single second.

    Loneliness is not the absence of the people we love, or those who share the same thinking about life. Loneliness is our own decision to not open our doors to those who want to give us love.

    Those living people who are beside us since we were born, are not mean to stay there forever, and yet, when they walk away their own path our lives remain chained for something stronger than the routine and obligation.

    I am glad to know you are back, doing what you enjoy the most.

    Best regards:


  6. I appreciate your reposting of this, Richard. It touched me deeply the first time I read it, because I had been wondering what was wrong with me for awhile. I am good friends with my former husband. We were married for 31 years and have been divorced for 15 years. We have 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren whom we adore. I also have had a deep connection to someone else which has since turned into a friendship only. I guess what I long for at this stage of my life after being on a spiritual quest for 30 years is someone that I could relate to on that level. I think this has become more important to me in the past several years. It is a lonely thought that there is a good chance that it will not happen. I am a quiet person who loves solitude and am also an artist. We spend a lot of time alone by choice when I am not with family. I live close to nature on a lake and in most ways my life is very fulfilling. The missing component that makes me lonely is feeling that there might have been a spiritual soulmate out there somewhere to share that emotional, spiritual and intellectual connection with, but perhaps it is only a disconnect inside of me that causes this feeling. At any rate, I thank you for bringing it up. I will definitely think about it more. I wish you all good things on your journey.

  7. Richard,

    You are further along the path than I am (but not by much). I have wondered about the same thing. I am active, have two of my children still at home and my former mate who has become a friend.

    However, I seem to have always managed to be alone. for the most part it has not bothered me however there are times, that I can really relate to what you have said in your post. I wonder, if those feelings will become more prevalent as I become an empty nester. I am not sure why this has been the road I am on, but it is what it is. It would not surprise me to find that after the kids are gone that I have a life on the road. We shall see.

  8. Dear Richard,
    I am so glad you’re back. I often wonder about the nature of communication. When I got divorced I was shocked at the thought that what I had lived in my moments of happiness and deep love was a misinterpretation. I got to thinking that what I thought had been shared moments of bliss were just reflections of my inner state at that time. For a while I just thought that communication was impossible, not just verbally, any kind of communication, since we always interpret from our own consciousness. Then I got to thinking that we look for a soulmate because we like company in the journey, it is really so much fun. But deep inside, I believed that the journey is a matter between Me and the Great Conscousness. It is just us. And those of us who have chosen to live this journey consciously are sometimes reminded by the Great Consciousness about that. The great paradox is that we are always alone, everything around us just a reminder of where we are, and yet never alone. Loneliness comes from the illusion of separateness, but it is an illusion we have chosen to believe in during our life on earth because it is important for us to do so. My feeling of loneliness is a deep longing, a memory from past lives from which I can remember that feeling of trascendental love for another soul. But then we are never alone, we are all part of a greater Soul. I am not separate from you, Richard. You taught me that. When I read Jonathan, at age 12, I was so happy to meet you again. I never had any doubts, we had met before, and I could feel in my heart you had offered to write to help us remember… You cannot imagine how grateful I felt, then, my dear friend. What a deep feeling of Love. And yet I know what you mean. That longing… at times it’s so powerful, I even talk to my imaginary soulmate I have not met yet in this lifetime, but whose Love I can still remember from past ones…

  9. Thinking about what you have said Jennifer, it is possible that lonliness has nothing to do with the number of people around us. Rather, may be a measure of our sense of connectedness, of the links between us and our surrounds. I have been lonely at crowded social gatherings where I have little or nothing in common with the people there, and the complete opposite walking or riding though forest miles from the nearest person. Being able to share is important, but it doesn’t always have to be so.


  10. A lot of my life has been guided by Richard’s words.

    Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.
    Then be sure of one thing:
    The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
    The original sin is to limit the Is. Don’t.

    So, to find the soul mate we are imagining, why not just leave it up to the Is? I think we “realize” the plan by not contradicting it with thoughts. Richard again … “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours”.

    Can we “attract by means of the vibration we emit” … and find that or who we want?? basically by “the art of allowing” as Abraham-Hicks says. To me it means only allowing the thoughts that are in line with our imaginings.

    Thoughts just come flying in. We can put out a vibrational magnet for only the ones we want, that’s what I’m working on… stay off of the other ones.

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