Dear Sweet Listeners,
We're just about to head off on vacation with our dearest couple friends whom we have known over the course of 35 years. Three of us met in the “Living Love Community” back it in the late 70's, early 80's. We lived together and were part of a teaching team based on the “Handbook to Higher Consciousness” by Ken Keyes. We all made bonds there which would last a lifetime. What we had and still have in common is an avid interest in the spiritual path. I met my husband a few years later and he had been a leader in the “Good Enough Community” out of Seattle.
David Whyte, among my favorite poets and authors, wrote this piece on friendship, which I hope you will enjoy... David's words clarified how I feel about my soul friends, Amba, Chittak and David...
David Whyte's offering on the topic of Friendship:
Friendship is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.
In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves. Through the eyes of a real friendship an individual is larger than their everyday actions, and through the eyes of another we receive a greater sense of a self we can aspire to, the one in whom they have most faith. Friendship is a moving frontier of understanding, not only of self and other but of a possible and as yet un-lived future.
Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationships: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honorable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.
The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence.
Through the eyes of a friend, we especially learn to remain at least a little interesting to others. When we flatten our personalities and lose our sense of curiosity, friendship loses spirit and animation; boredom is the second great killer of friendship. Through the natural surprises of relationship, we recognize the greater surprising circles of which we are a part and eventually find a wider sense of revelation independent of human relationship: to learn to be friends with the earth and the sky, with the horizon and with the seasons, even with the disappearances of winter and in that faithfulness, eventually take the difficult path of becoming a good friend to our own going.
Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even if one half of the bond has passed on.
But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
Written in one sitting at my writing desk, looking out over the clear blue sea of the Puget Sound on an equally clear September morning. I had woken in the night, courtesy of just having returned from Europe, having dreamed a long conversation with a dead friend; we were laughing and joking, poking fun at one another’s faults and foibles while enjoying our entrance, traveling in the back of a Limo, across a magnificent bridge into a great city. The physical essence of the dream was exactly the same essence I had felt with him while he had been alive and yet the dream felt as if it also marked a new stage in our relationship. In the dream I felt fully alive, privileged, blessed by friendship, up to our usual mischief and sure we would find it all surprising, insightful and hilarious, with good food and drink, conversation and conviviality along the way.
All honor to you, Patricia