The joy of Friendship

I have always wondered where my naivete about people and friendship stems from. Not that I think I am wrong in believing that everyone is trustworthy, just that I have been told this is my weakness. The other day a third of our classmates from high school had a reunion in the city where we were raised in India. Most of us had been together in school since we were seven. We are all now in our early fifties and this reunion was after 37 years of finishing high school. Those of us who could not be there were just as excited about this mini reunion as the ones who did meet.

That was where I learned to trust. School friends and friends in the neighborhood where I was raised have been my friends for life. It is because we got to know one another before we got to cultivate our ego personas. We touched each others souls because that was when we only knew how to connect with our spirits. Once our egos become our identity it is difficult to connect and make new true friends in large numbers. Even as children we quarreled, had unhealthy competitions and other negative interactions but beneath it all there was this connection that could not be broken. Some of my childhood companions seem to have disappeared but I still feel closely connected to them and want to find them again. The circle that was forged with each of these people was complete and remained complete even though we were physically separated. That is what true friendship is about. I know that these friends are human and therefore imperfect like I am but that is immaterial. Their personalities, their nuances, their ways do not affect my relationship with them. I do not need to know their life secrets and do not need to share mine. None of these external factors can affect the friendship because the connection that happened all those years back was not by a knot that can be untied - it was a seamless weave that knows no boundary. I know myself better because I know them. I know Oneness better because I know them.

I am looking forward to meeting them again. I need to meet them again to ratify my belief that we (meaning all of this Universe) are One. I have had relationships that started later in life that have soured and left me doubting this knowledge of Oneness and having this opportunity to reconnect with what brought this knowledge to the forefront is essential for me. I do not make friends easily but when I do I give it my all. All through my life I have continued to make a handful of soul friends but I have also been fooled into believing some others were soul friendships only to find out that was not true. It has pained me to discover this but now I understand it better. I did connect within these failed relationships - but these connections were knots that soon came untied. The knots were between minds and emotions. We liked the same things, had similar life experiences, enjoyed the manifestations of our spirit - but we never connected at the level of the soul. A small chink and the knot got undone. These experiences have only made me trust more in my belief that inherently everyone is trustworthy. Paradoxical - but true. I need to connect with people at the level of the spirit. Whether or not we have the same likes and dislikes comes later - much later and that is just for purposes of information. What is important is to connect at the level where appearances do not matter. This is possible with everyone. All of my classmates from school were different even as children - yet we all connect with one another. The only common factor is the Spirit. So also is it today as adults. The connection must be at that level. We have to go into any relationship knowing that we are different physically, intellectually and emotionally. We have to know that these are manifestations of a Spirit that wants to experience varying expressions of life. This knowledge keeps us connected to that Spirit so we can enjoy these nuances without forgetting who we really are.

Our love for siblings and parents and our own children has nothing to do with genetics or blood. It is because at least one of us has either connected or allowed connection directly with the soul of the other. The unconditional love that a mother has for her child comes not because she physically gave birth to the child - she gave birth to the child because she connected with the soul of the child. The lasting relationship between spouses is only possible when they are willing to touch each other at the level of the spirit. So also between friends - at least one has to touch the soul of the other at some time for the flow of love to remain undisturbed. I have wondered why I continue to feel love for the people with whom my relationship has soured - I know now that it is because either they touched my soul or I theirs and no matter what happens the flow of love cannot be interrupted. That feels good. It helps me feel whole. It helps me love myself more. It gives me faith in my own power to connect with myself. All because 7 classmates met 8,000 miles away.

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