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At 5pm on Friday evening, a dozen or so folks gathered online in a multi-dimensional meeting which included sound, video, and much laughter. Lots of laughter. Many ideas were exchanged about how to best use such meetings in the future. But this first meeting was primarily about getting to know each other a bit better through the spoken word, through smiles and favorite quotes and prayers. It was about planting new seeds of friendship and growing the friendships that have formed through #SpiritChat over the years.

The Sanskrit word for ‘friendship’ is maitri. It is also referred to as <a href=”https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mettā“>Mettā</a> in the Pali language. How and where does a friendship first come to life? There is usually some common ground necessary for two (or more) people to decide to sit with one another. The sitting can be in silence, a primarily one-way communication (lecture), a two-way conversation, or even a multi-way exchange facilitated by a desire to be in each other’s presence.

When friendship takes on the energy of @maggiemistal, the expression of ‘loving kindness’ (@sageandsavvy), or is simply steeped in love (@AwakeningYourTrueSelf) or is a simple yet heart-felt expression of gratitude (@tomarciamae), it transmits the energy of the heart to all present. When it takes on the expression of ‘watching, waiting, working’ (thank you, @mscator), the gentle sharing by @wonderpix, the energy of @maggiemistal, the creativity of @heiddiz, it breathes new life into the sitting. When it is expressed through the Mettā prayer of @intuitiveheal, the wisdom of @southbaysome and the grace of @garygruber, one knows and feels that they are in a special space and time.

And so, the seeds of friendship are nurtured. One question, one answer, one chat, one conversation, one smile, one kind gesture, one zoom meeting at a time.

It is tough to say what will come next, but for today, the heart feels filled with maitrithe benevolence and radiance of those who shared with all of their heart.

The sage Patanjali said in his yoga sutras (aphorisms) – “be friendly towards those who are friendly towards you.” It sounds simple enough, but it isn’t always easy to do (why is that person being friendly? what do they want from me?) However, it is safe to say that we are largely “friendly to all” in the #SpiritChat community, and we extended on that principle in today’s sitting.

As I sat watching the radiant colors of the sun, the sky and the clouds merge into the lake waters, it reminded me of the ease with which we all converged on the common ground of friendship today. We came a bit closer to the essence of maitri, of Mettā, of meditation.

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. What is (or was) the greatest friendship you have experienced? How were its seeds sown? How did its roots develop, its flowers bloom? And those friendships that withered away – what was their life cycle? Share with us, Sunday April 7 at 9amET / 1pm UTC / 630pm India in our weekly #spiritchat on Twitter. Namaste – Kumud