Why you feel alone when you do the Work

It wasn’t long into my journey of doing The Work intensely before I began to feel alone and isolated.

There was a sense that I was different to everyone else, and that no one understood what I was going through.

In working with others and supporting them with their own work journey, I have heard them express the same thing.

In their book ‘The Stormy Search for the Self’, Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof, M.D. talk about this and I want to share what they say with you.

For me it helps explain what is happening.  Notice they use the words ‘spiritual emergency.’

This term doesn’t work for me and yet the concept they describe has been my experience.

They say:

You experience loneliness

Loneliness is another intrinsic component of spiritual emergency.

It can range from a vague perception of separateness from other people and the world to a deep and encompassing engulfment by existential alienation.

Yes, in my experience this sense of loneliness goes from a slight feeling to a much deeper feeling the more you inquire into your thoughts.

I certainly felt separate to a lot of people and whilst The Work Community was there, a lot of times I couldn’t even reach out to them.

You feel an inner isolation

Some of the feeling of inner isolation have to do with the fact that people … have to face unusual states of consciousness they may not have heard anyone describe and are different from the daily experiences of their friends and family.

This felt true to me. Who could I talk to about what was happening?  Would anyone else understand what I was feeling; what was happening inside to me; how I felt different and yet couldn’t explain it.

I was sure that no one else was experiencing what I was.  This led to a strong sense of isolation.

Withdrawing from daily activities is normal

Many people in a transformation process feel isolated from others by nature of the experiences they are having.

As the inner world becomes more active, one may feel the need to temporarily withdraw from daily activities, becoming preoccupied with intense thoughts, feelings and internal processes.

This is very much what I hear people experiencing the more work they do.  The more thoughts they question, the more into investigating their childhood stories of themselves, the more isolated they become.

Often they will isolate themselves by going away, leaving their partner, spending long periods of time alone.


You may lose touch with who you are

Relationships with other people may fade in importance, and the person may even feel disconnected from the familiar sense of who he or she is.

As this is happening, one may feel an encompassing sense of separation from oneself, from other people, and from the surrounding world.

Absolutely, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Moreover there is nothing wrong with you if you feel this way.

What I noticed was being around people just wasn’t something I could, or even wanted to do.

I felt as though even the thought of going out to a shopping center where there were lots of people was too much for me.

Human connection with others isn’t possible

For those in this state, even familiar human warmth and reassurance are unavailable.

Again, this was my experience.  An example in their book talks about a husband saying that nothing his wife could do would help, when he was in this space – “no amount of cuddling, no degree of encouragement.”

It was as if I was a wounded animal that needed time on it’s own to lick it’s wounds and heal itself.

Sharing this information may help you to know that what you are experiencing is a ‘normal’ part of the journey you are on of unraveling your life story.

I’ve experienced it, and so have others, it’s just that people don’t always talk about this side of their experience, which is why I am today.


About Karen Cherrett

Karen has trained as a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie and is also a Holistic Counselor. She wants to be of service to you to improve your love of life and all its experiences. Karen supports individuals, businesses and practitioners.

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