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A World of Yoga
To Have a Friend, Be a Friend
Companionship is an extremely important part of the quest for higher consciousness. It's nearly impossible to achieve lasting superconsciousness by yourself. You will inevitably need help. It may seem strange that something so subtle which involves going deep within your own being should so keenly require companionship, but it's true.
Studying the lives of those men and women who were considered enlightened throughout the ages,1 you will find, likely without exception, that each one was significantly helped along the way by one and often several special companions. Most books about higher consciousness2 say that it is usually — if not always — bestowed by one who has it upon one who truly seeks it. Further, the seeker must prove to his (or her) enlightened companion that he has enough character always to be constructive while developing immensely increased power and insight.
The Golden Rule
Often, it appears that the aspirant makes the extreme
effort of being more conscious at every level of his being and then when he is
ready, the awakening companion appears. As their special friendship grows and,
as the seeker satisfies his mentor with his abilities, the enlightened companion
then transmits higher consciousness to the ready student who has pleased him (or
It's fairly easy to imagine being a good companion. Simply practice the golden rule of many paths: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But, it takes deep thoughtfulness to actually live the golden rule. Sympathy and devotion to the spirit in each person is required. All seekers have chosen a delightful but most challenging project — true friendship.
A True Friend
If higher consciousness is particularly important to you, start as soon as you can to be a good friend. One day your goodness and your quality of friendliness will attract an enlightened companion into your life. Your relationship with this special companion will become the most profound relationship in your life. Or, it is possible that your first enlightened companion will reveal to you that he is not the enlightening one in your life but a senior brother or sister who has come to further prepare you, guiding you toward your ultimate companion.
In order to sustain your vitally important relationship and realize higher consciousness, you will need to be an especially true friend to this companion. You will need to be caring and concerned about his or her happiness. As a friend, you will want to share his or her concerns and labors. Naturally, you will want to make his, her, life more pleasant. You will have to know life and yourself well enough to become trustworthy, capable of keeping your agreements. To be a friend, your word must be true. A true friend, you will hold good will in your heart even when you misunderstand or distrust your gracious companion. You will refuse to indulge bad moods brought on by your inadequacies. It is not easy to be a true friend.
A Friend of All
Consider, however, that the state of higher consciousness involves ultimately becoming a loyal and trusted friend of higher consciousness itself. Are you friendly to the idea of higher consciousness? Do you truly have room for this reality in your active life? Can you put the interests of your quest ahead of your selfish tendencies or bad moods — regularly? Are you willing to share your concerns and your delights with your dawning inner wisdom?
Not only do you become a friend to higher consciousness, fellow students, and the awakening companion, you become a conscious friend of all. You're proceeding, as you seek higher consciousness, toward being an excellent companion, a pleasure to be with. You are getting free of negative moods, sharp words, and cruel thoughts. You are, in becoming more conscious, a clear and living example of what a friend really is.
What is Stronger Than Your Will Power?
Do you know companionship is stronger than will power? It's true, isn't it? Have you observed how often close friends persuade you to do what their group wants? Even if you have other plans or even if you don't approve of what they're trying to do, they will generally win. If they tend to lose your willing response a few times, they may kick you out of their close fellowship.
People have a deep need to belong. We want to feel the approval and appreciation of other people. Many of our satisfactions come from knowing that other people think well of us. Generally our individual resolve melts before the will of our close friends.
How many young men in jail have been motivated by their friends to commit those crimes for which they now are removed from society? On the other hand, groups of successful people often inspire one another. Due to some exciting synergy a group of business friends can together accomplish far more than the sum of their individual efforts. Successful people tend to influence one another to greater success. Failures spread frustration and discontent liberally. And, often, gangs of young men tempt one another, egg one another on, into violence or drug addiction. For good or ill, companionship is usually stronger than will power.
People are often valued or looked down upon based on the company they keep. Schoolteachers and, later on, policemen find they have to keep an eye on certain groups of youngsters. Most troubles in school halls and city streets come from small groups of people who encourage and reinforce one another in causing trouble.
Very often frustrated writers get together to lament how their genius is being ignored. They tend to form a clique of such sympathetic intensity that they become less creative and ultimately they all find they cannot break out of the "failure gang."
Similarly, sometimes a staff is determined that its job is so difficult, success is impossible. Yet, another group of people may do the job with ease and great success.
The lesson is that behavior, attitudes, and abilities of groups of people are crucial to success. Some men, for example, buy failing radio stations for a pittance. They create a new staff and program format. A few years later the stations are worth millions. There are numerous professionals who specialize in turning failing groups of people (businesses, teams, staffs, organizations) into great successes.
Companionship in Families, Too
Sometimes one family has the attitude that no one can succeed in the world and each child becomes infused with failure, usually succumbing to it — in school, later on in career, and in marriage. Meanwhile, a family next door, in the same apartment house, with a similar total income, is grateful for life in America and so eager to work with gumption and optimism that each child does quite well in school. Very often these children end up with happy marriages and own successful businesses.
Too often children's minds and emotions are soaked through with the world-views of their moms and dads. Where the father has confidence and a friendly view of other people, children look forward to the unfoldment of their own lives. A parent who is angry about his life conveys frustration and fear to his youthful companions. A happy mother is a comforting inspiration to young ones who not only feel loved and "worthwhile" but able to confront their own problems and enjoy happiness too.
In most cases, parents are our primary teachers of "what life is and how to live it." From helpless infancy through unwieldy adolescence, parents are our main companions. From breakfast through dinner, in the evening and through the night, a parent is a principal and extremely influential friend.
Much of what you think about life or feel about yourself is probably based on your experience with your parent companions. Generation after generation is powerfully influenced by the way "mom and dad" think and feel. So much of psychotherapy — perhaps most of it — is based on dealing constructively with life while unlearning (or better understanding, as the case may be) what one parent, or both of your parents, taught you by word and example.
The heart and mind of a youth are open containers for the experiences and impressions of others. The quality of companionship directly influences not only what a young person knows but what he or she feels about the world and himself or herself. Also, what a youth knows and feels is generally the basis of his actions. Yet the youth acts according to thoughts and feelings which are so often imparted from parents.
The breakdown in the American family unit is generally cited as the main factor in our incredible crime rate. Most juvenile delinquency is linked to family problems — often the physical or emotional absence of the father. And, a recent poll of the prisoners in one penitentiary revealed that all inmates said they had been victims of child abuse.
Companionships, early or late in life, have a profound impact on
what a person does with the gift of life. Under positive influences
you can cherish the life in others and, holding all life precious, make the
best of your own life, too. But, if you are neglected or influenced by negative
views, you will likely have little appreciation for the life of another, or for
your own life. You will probably not even see or seek opportunities for a
1 By enlightened we mean those who have not only contacted higher consciousness but have been transformed by it and live in it. Saints who live continually conscious of God's presence are defined as enlightened.
2 For example, Cosmic Consciousness by Dr. Maurice Bucke.