One of the most famous books on Yoga, written by the sage Patanjali recommends that we need to develop four attitudes in our lives in order to make progress in our spiritual journey. These four attitudes are – a spirit of compassion, a spirit of joy, a spirit of friendship or friendliness and a spirit of equanimity.

We have discussed the spirit of compassion and the spirit of joy in earlier #SpiritChat live discussions. This week, we will talk about developing the spirit of friendship and friendliness within us. The word “friend” is so commonly used these days to describe even casual acquaintances, that it is perhaps losing it’s original intent or meaning. There are lot of definitions and quotes for friends and friendship, and some qualities of friendship include – sympathy, honesty, understanding, shared joy, trust and many more.

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
– Thomas Jefferson

Different people may have different views on friendship because of their current or past experiences with friends – both positive and negative. I have had the privilege of having some very long-term friendships over they years – some spanning over twenty-five years – some still going strong while some have weakened over time, but are ready to be strengthened at any given moment. While long-term friendships form the foundation, short-term friendships often are also vital in our day to day lives.

Developing a spirit of friendliness is essentially a return to our original, new-born selves. A return to pure love. – Osho

So, what is connection between spirituality and a spirit of friendship? Is it perhaps that we have to be friendly to ourselves first, and then we can be friendly to others? How about having an attitude of friendliness towards those who have hurt us in the past, or may even be hurting us in the present? Is it realistic or practical to be friendly to our apparent (or real) enemies? What does it take to develop a long-term attitude of friendliness?

I invite you to come and share with us about friendship and friendliness in our weekly meeting on Sunday, June 10th 2012 at 9am ET/1pm GMT with hashtag #SpiritChat.

May we well find the friendship and understanding we are looking for.


Update: Here is the html transcript http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0610 and questions – thank you to all who shared in the discussion on Friendship! Some stats – 1587 tweets and 220 contributors. Thank you all!

Q1. What feelings does the word friendship invoke within you? #SpiritChat

Q2. What are some special characteristics of your long-term friendships? #SpiritChat

Q3. How does "being friendly" differ from "being a friend"? #SpiritChat 

Q4. How do we know when our spirit isn't along the path of friendliness? How do we correct it? #SpiritChat 

Q5. How do we develop an attitude of friendliness towards those may have hurt us or don't like us? #SpiritChat

Q6. How is social media engagement affecting our friendliness in the offline world? #SpiritChat

Q7. Do we need a spiritual guide to help us develop universal friendliness? Why or why not? #SpiritChat 

Q8. What is the one thing you can do going forward to focus on friendliness - your own and in others? #SpiritChat