I think we have all had the experience of feeling lonely in a crowded room, and conversely have been completely alone and yet not felt lonely.
Being alone and being lonely are two very different things. The presence of people does not mean we will feel less lonely, and being without the immediate presence of people does not entail that by nature we will be lonely.
I have experienced the extremes of sitting on a particular beach, on different days (in the early hours of the morning) and being nearly completely alone, but in some instances feeling lonely and isolated, but most often feeling connected and loved.
The feeling we have of loneliness comes from disconnection. When we disconnect from others, and develop a feeling of being disconnected from the earth and the world around us we are likely to be lonely and feel truly alone. However when we reconnect and realize that we are all one, and can only ever be one, and that every thing and being is connected we can never be truly alone or lonely!
Knowing, and more-so truly believing that we are loved, unconditionally, is a key component of feeling connected. When we constantly require constant and visible signs of love and appreciation from others we are lacking the solidity of self love, and we will never truly believe that we are loved when these reminders are removed. Consciously of course we know that there are people who love us, on a grander scale we know that there is universal love, and we can never be disconnected from it...we can only choose at times to close ourselves off from it.
I have had many realizations of the universal truth of love. Some have been spontaneous whilst out walking or surfing, others through meditation, transformational breath work, yoga, and two of the most amazing experiences during a Psych-K 'Life Bonding Balance' and another as a result of a workshop/retreat I attended.
Part of the 'Life Bonding Balance' is to imagine your best and worst case death scenarios. The interesting thing for me was that in both scenarios that I imagined, I was alone. However in one I had the unshakable faith that I had helped make the world a better place and that I was unconditionally loved.
In the other I knew that I had deviated from my path of passion and purpose and was alone, lonely and without love. (I recount this experience in Time Rich Cash Optional: an unconventional guide to happiness).
The workshop/retreat culminated, after a weekend of self-work, with a period of reflection in which to allow a resolution or breakthrough to occur. As I contemplated in silence the beautiful realization that I am loved sprang into my mind and infused throughout my entire being, seemingly connecting me to all the universe around me. This realization...not simply knowing consciously but truly, deeply knowing, believing and understanding that I am loved provided one of the most deeply calming moments of my life. A moment that has infused itself through every subsequent moment.
Using the belief statement: "I am loved" as a daily intention or personal mantra reminds us day-to-day and moment-to-moment that even if we are alone, we need not be lonely, because love is always held for us in the hearts of those who we in turn love, and provides the wonderful threads that bind us all in a loving universal embrace.
And here's a bonus for you! 'Alone' by my boys in Like A Storm