The Karma of Loneliness
Most prayers are not really prayers but letters to Santa Claus — a child compiling and sending a wish list. Whether you believe in a deity, or higher power, or however you choose to name it, if it becomes a separate place or personality for your ego to send its prayers to, you are slipping into narcissism, which is as common in Buddhism as in theistic religions.
The Christian narcissist believes that “God has a plan for me.” The New Age narcissist believes the same thing, but replaces “God” with “Fate” or “The Universe.” And the narcissist who has turned towards Zen sees the practice as a process of self-help or self-improvement, not realizing that it is the self that has caused all the problems that require help or improvement.
The sad, and ironic, thing about narcissism is that it always, with no possibility of exception, brings loneliness. Whether in religious or spiritual practice or in personal relationships, the narcissist creates his/her own loneliness — because, when you are squalling for attention from God, The Universe, or another person, you are viewing them as being separate from you, and therefore you are coming from a position of alienation.
In religious practice, if God is another existential being that you talk to, then, by definition, you are separate from God.
If you are governed by Fate or The Universe, then you are separate from Fate, and you are not a part of The Universe.
If you seek the attention/admiration of other people, or try to control or manipulate other people, then you are seeing yourself as separate from them.
This is the karma of loneliness. If you make things all about you, then there is only you, and if there is only you then you are lonely.
When you drop your self-centered story, it becomes clear that you are not separate from anything — God, Universe, a teacup or a toilet. Nothing exists independently or separately from you, and, therefore, there is no you.