exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Editor's 1-Minute Essay:
|to be known as one knows oneself
return to "Friendship" main-page
"On this side, when I met my beloved ... I became herself - she was (so to speak) transformed into me. All that she knew and felt became the content of my consciousness. All that I had attempted and achieved, all that I had failed to accomplish, yet battled and struggled to complete, was known to her as no words, no thoughts even, as earth uses the terms, could have conveyed. We were one, yet individually our own very separate selves, knowing as we were known, to the full extent of each other's capacity. Capacity is the only limitation in the spiritual realms." Archdeacon Wilberforce, Letters from the Other Side
500 channels and nothing on
Nothing on, nothing good, nothing worth it. Similarly, as we "open a channel" to perceive what's going on "down below," we might notice a generalized floating unsavoriness infecting much of our lives.
You can be in a crowd of “500” people and still feel alone. You can try to fill your life with “500” activities, win "500" awards," be a hero to "500" people and still feel empty on the deep inside.
You can attend a large reunion, warmly interacting with relatives, people you love and who love you, but, even amidst this familial pleasantness, you might still be sorrowing behind the convivial smile; in fact, at such gatherings, more than usual.
Here is a dramatic example of hidden sorrow and the winsome social mask, "held up with two hands."
Søren Kierkegaard is one of my favorite thinkers and teachers, but his secret griefs were almost too much for him:
I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth's orbit ————— and wanted to shoot myself.
the most important item I would share with you concerning the subject of friendship
Literature, movies, and songs often attempt to define and illustrate friendship, this most basic impulse of the human spirit. An incredibly vast subject, friendship cannot be addressed here with any degree of fullness; however, there is one point which may require our special attention.
We are social creatures, made to live in community, in oneness, with others. We desire to escape the prison of our own aloneness. We crave, if it were possible, for one person to know us as we know ourselves.
Is this asking too much? In this world, it seems to be. No one here has this. And yet our deepest selves, our innermost yearnings, insist on, and cannot be comforted without, this zenith-level affinity of mind meeting mind. Is this a problem without a solution?
There is a lofty, high-altitude, form of friendship as integral part of eternal life. New Testament Greek scholar Dr. William Barclay informs us that the word “eternal” does not primarily mean “endless duration of time.” It includes this, but, without something more, immortality alone would not bring happiness to us. “Eternal” from the original Greek offers the sense, “living as the gods.” It means that those on the higher levels of existence, in Summerland and beyond, do in fact enjoy this kind of rarefied friendship.
Perfected friendship awaits us, is stored up for us like an inheritance, as the poet Rilke instructs, and will yet satisfy and complete our spirits. The attendant sense of oneness, of truly being known, of mind touching mind, will be, by far, the most delicious experience for us in our eternal lives.
I became her, and she became me
Notice the masthead quotation by Wilberforce. When he crossed over and was reunited with the woman he loved, they experienced a kind of mind-meld, a degree of intimacy and bondedness, unknown to us in our materialistic world. This unitive state did not destroy their individuality; such is always preserved. But now, each voluntarily surrenders, each to the other, the underpinnings of consciousness, and a kaleidoscopic, breathtaking world of secret-garden affinity opens to them! - as Frank Sinatra used to sing, "you think you've flown before, but baby, you ain't never left the ground."
500 channels and nothing on, even for your wedding day
The soliloquies of John and Mary reveal their apprehensions, even on their big day. They desperately negotiate to be happy, they seek for liberation from their aloneness. And yet, even as the cameras flash, even as they flash those biggest smiles of their whole lives, they sense, down below, something is not right.
“The Wedding Song,” channeled lyrics from Spirit Guides, proclaims that the very essence of authentic romance is not a union of bodies -- although, that's part of the package -- but a “union of spirits,” a meeting of the minds. Only this kind of hot-plasma, real-thing fellowship will satisfy the soul, allowing it to escape the prison of its aloneness.
where is the voice to answer mine back
“A hand for each hand was the plan for the world, why don’t my fingers reach? Millions of grains of sand in the world, why such a lonely beach? Where is the voice to answer mine back? Where are two shoes that click to my clack? I’m all alone in the world!” Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol, 1962
one person who understands
We might glance up at the starry night, the Milky Way ablaze; or we might step into a winter wonderland of freshly fallen snow; or maybe experience that April morning with the first sweet scent of spring. In those times, and also in ordinary times, we might say to ourselves, especially if we are missing someone, “Oh, how I wish I could save this moment and communicate it! How I wish I could convey to my lost friend what I am feeling right now! Oh, how I wish I could share it!”
The sense of transmitting one’s deepest thoughts and desires overwhelms with, is subsumed by a spiritual hunger, a longing to be known even as one knows oneself. In the future, doubtless, we will share happiness with many, especially with a small group of dear ones. These are they -- one's soul-group -- with whom we will trek through eternity.
However, among this privy council of intimates, there will be one -- one only -- who will know you to the utmost, will know you as you know yourself: you will become her, and she will become you.
In this marvel of utimate-reality interconnectedness, we finally discover our "reason to stay alive for."
if you have one true friend, you may have more than your fair share
A quotation from Thomas Fuller (see it on the “Friendship” main-page). Essentially, Fuller is saying that virtually no one here on "the sorrowful planet" has a true friend.
Is his assessment too harsh? It may not be harsh enough.
no friends, only accomplices
The dysfunctional ego is constitutionally unable to have friends. It derives its energy and essence by crafting reality in terms of “me versus all.” It’s part of the individuation process. We talked about this in the “purpose of evil” article.
The "false self," if subjected to enough pressure, if sufficiently provoked, is potentially capable of any atrocity of history. This includes betrayal of others. See Viktor Frankl's testimony about the camps. The "long dark night of the soul" will reveal these depths of malfeasance.
In the meantime, the ego has no friends, only accomplices: it will forge temporary strategic alliances in order to get what it wants; and every needy little ego wants something. This includes John and Mary.
And it tends to get worse before it can get better. Consider this from Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao:
If you spend a long period of time in study and self-cultivation, you will enter ... a world of extraordinary perceptions. You experience unimaginable things, receive thoughts and learning as if from nowhere, perceive things that could be classified as prescient. Yet if you try to communicate what you experience, there is no one to understand you, no one who will believe you. The more you walk this road, the farther you are from the ordinary ways of society... To speak to them of the wonders you have seen is often to engage in a futile bout of miscommunication. That is why it is said that those who know do not speak.
As you develop yourself more and more, not only will you not have a true friend – which is the norm in this world – but you will vastly lower the odds of the possibility. No one will be able to make sense of you; worse, almost no one will want to.
This planet is a terrible and severe classroom, good for only one thing: the individuation process, the crafting of personhood. In this “strait is the gate” environment, in order to reach a higher level perspective, we might be called upon to stand alone, even, if need be, against all the world. Abraham Lincoln well understood this challenge. Listen to him here, my favorite quotation among many thousands on the Word Gems site:
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.
Editor's last word:
“Friendship” becomes topic-icon #100 on the home-page. I never write unless I feel I have something important to say. And, most times, it feels as if “this is the most important idea I’ve ever tried to convey.” Maybe, this time, it’s true.
By the way, did you notice? I didn’t until I’d finished this writing.
The boy and girl sitting by the lake, ever so slightly, are touching hands; very discreetly, almost imperceptibly, fingers meet. Others in the foreground by the boats wouldn’t be able to tell. Or, in this small disingenuity, as they stare blankly dead ahead, are they encouraging a studied nonchalance - for themselves?
We’re reminded of the disengaged two in “The Remains Of The Day” and their “ludicrous proposition.” The enchanting beauty of a lake at sunset provides excellent venue, and cover, for two young teens intent upon hiding from each other.
We trust that this pair, sitting by "a lonely beach," will eventually work this out. After all, as we learned from the lamenting young boy, "a hand for each hand was the plan for the world" - hands touching hands, minds touching minds.