Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World, by Pema Chodron. New Book Group (virtual and in-person) begins Monday, January 9, 2023, from 10:00-11:30 am. Contact The Mindfulness Path at info at themindfulnesspath.com for more info.
The Season of Friendship
As we approach the deepest, darkest, most holy time of year we are invited to reflect on its personal meaning for us. It is time to pause and sense the true gravity of the season: all mammals in cold climates stop to hibernate, go inward, rest, eat their stored food and renew themselves. The pace of life in the natural world slows down. Now we can explore our inner realms and find the link to making friends with ourselves; eventually when we advance from winter and emerge into spring this newly formed friendship can be brought out to share with others.
Monks, a friend endowed with seven qualities is worth associating with.
They give what is hard to give.
They do what is hard to do.
They endure what is hard to endure.
They reveal their secrets to you.
They keep your secrets.
When misfortunes strike, they don’t abandon you.
When you’re down and out, they don’t look down upon you.
A friend endowed with these seven qualities is worth associating with.
~ The Buddha
What the world needs now is this kind of interconnectedness and potential love to heal the divisions that exist among so many people the world over. Today in the United States they call us “polarized”; meaning anti, against each other, caught in an isolating and antagonistic trap. Yet, it does not have to be this way. Instead, we can affirm the seven qualities in the Mitta Sutta and follow its wisdom by studying its meaning and applying it to our life and deeds.
The Buddha called himself a spiritual friend and this is also known in Buddhist teachings as Kalyana Mitta, the spiritual friendship between student and teacher. This orientation is more about the friendship that can exist between all of us composed of mutuality, harmlessness, and love.
At this special time of year, I invite us all to quiet, look within, and find the beauty of the season enamored of the closeness that wants to birth itself between all beings; a true fellowship of living.