Friendship is a many splendored flower that blooms when hearts connect. Regardless of their origin, their depth or their breadth, friendships have roots in connection. Wherever there is more than one gathered, the potential for friendship exists. Two may create interdependence, codependence or independence, depending on the health of the friendship and the interactions.
From a spiritual perspective, the Indian sage Patanjali (said to be the organizer of Yoga principles), refers to friendship in the precept of maitri. In one of his oft-quoted aphorisms, maitri inculcates the ’attitude of friendliness to increase the level of happiness in our world’. In particular, we can raise our awareness to be friendly towards those who are friendly towards us – reciprocity with a friendly attitude waters the seeds of friendship. The more we develop this attitude within us, the more our heart consciousness grows.
As I look to some of my own personal friendships over the years, some key characteristics seem to emerge among the ones that have sustained the passage of time and space. Mutual respect and an unwritten agreement to ‘live and let live’ is one key. Commonality of values, ethics and principles – even though their implementation may be different – is another key. The ability to speak our heart and mind to each other, particularly when we disagree, is another key. The celebration of each others’ successes, and the sharing of lessons learned from our ‘failures’, is yet another. What are some ‘key’ characterestics of your enduring friendships?
In all of the keys listed above, one common theme seems to be that my friends and I let each other ‘just be’. I am free to be myself among them, whether they be in the physical world or the virtual. A corollary is that the ones whom I do not feel free with, fall off the friendship realm. It does not mean that I abandon my attitude of friendliness towards them (unless they are openly hostile towards me and mean me harm) – it is just that the depth and breadth of the actual friendship changes over time and space. Have you ever had a really ‘good’ friendship unravel quickly? How did that happen and what did you learn from the experience?
As we enter the final week of July, I reflect on some of the friendships that have formed within the #SpiritChat community online. Some of these have ‘graduated’ to wonderful offline friends who value, support and communicate with each other on a regular basis. It should come as no surprise that folks who share their hearts in an open forum on topics of interest to them would form friendships that enhance each others’ freedom. As we approach the end of our fifth year online, I propose that the week between July 24th and July 31st be celebrated as ‘friendship week’ – both online and offline.
Join me. Let us reach out and grow our attitude of friendliness and raise the vibration of happiness in the world.
P.S. Join me as I host #SpiritChat on July 24th 2016 at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter – ‘Friendship and Freedom’. Next week, July 31st – Celebration! Thank you for all your support – whether you have just joined our community, or you have been us for months and maybe, years.
Friendship – Passionflowers (photo by Marcia Nelson Pedde ~ @tomarciamae – My friendship with Marcia and her husband, Mike goes back a long way on twitter. Check out their beautiful blog at M&M Musings 🙂 )