The world needs friendship
The International Day of Friendship gives one pause to consider the role of friendship in our world. On this day, first, we see problems such as 1) War, 2) Poverty, 3) Environmental degredation and 4) Human rights abuse. Then we can ask ourselves some questions. What is our personal role in the problem, and the solution? How do we begin to act? And if we are already engaged, what can we do to become more effective? According to un.org, the most basic ground from which we can make a difference in the world is soft and trusting relationships based on making friends.
Looking in the mirror
Friendship begins with being a friend to ourselves. Looking inside ourselves with the unbiased lense of meditation is like holding up a mirror to the world. The reflection is where we can see the source of our own problems, and the world’s. With the unbiased and clear mirror, we can ask ourselves four simple questions: 1) “Am I kind and gentle with myself, or am I at conflict with myself? 2) “Do I appreciate my inner strengths and talents and use them for benefit, or am I constantly lacking something?” 3) “Do I feel self-fulfilled and enjoy what I have, or do I need to constantly buy more stuff?” 4) “Can I be joyful and content with myself, or must I always depend on others for my happiness?”
The seeds of friendship
In each of the above questions there is a positive and negative response. While we may not be completely 100 percent either way, the positive response shows that we are friends with ourselves. The negative response means that we are either 1) At war with ourselves, 2) We are poverty stricken, 3) We are degrading the world, or 4) Abusing ourselves. These are the seeds which grow into positive and harmonious relationships and friendships, or else conflict and disharmony (the four problems above). We begin by taking an honest look at ourselves.
Making friends with ourselves
Hopefully we will find softness and gentleness in ourselves. Then our relationships move to more genuine friendships, and these in turn collectively move society in a positive way. Finding that kindness to ourselves, we begin to understand our role in the world. We begin to glimpse the truth of interconnectivity. We see how making friends with ourselves is the first step. Solutions begin with kindness to ourselves.
Cultivating friendships on retreat
Cultivating friendship with ourselves occurs in the practice of meditation with like-minded friends, in a gentle and safe environment. This is a good way to start, with lots of yoga, meditation and free time. The retreat is an opportunity to make new friends, deepen friendships and explore with like-minded people. The next retreat is 23 – 29 September 2017, in the Morocco countryside. We host this special retreat also in the New Year, 28 December – 3 Janauary. See you there!