A New Way to Think about Friendship

While walking with my neighbor Judy we were talking about
friendship. Judy is planning to leave Albuquerque
after more than 20 years living here. She was telling her daughter-in-law she
felt bad about leaving her friends, when her daughter-in-law repeated an idea she
had heard from her spiritual leader. This is my translation of it.

If we look at our friendships as something special, like a
romantic relationship, they not only are heavy with expectations (and thus
disappointment) but they also exclude all of those people who are not in the
“friend” category. If, instead, we view all people as givers and receivers of
love, if we intend to be open and loving toward them, then our world of people
we can relate to on a heart level is suddenly enormous. If our intention is
love, then we can give love to everyone and be open to receiving love from
everyone, and not just save it for our “friends.”

I was attending a workshop with Evan Hodkins (http://www.schoolofalchemy.com/),
who told a story about going to the grocery store for something he needed for a
cooking project and coming home with a bag full of groceries but not the
particular item he went for. He was (to my mind) understandingly annoyed, until
he remembered that his purpose in life was to love, not to do projects. So he
went back to the store with that intention – to have the trip be an experience
of love rather than shopping. Getting the grocery item was secondary to his
intention and life purpose.

When we are open to the possibility that each person we
encounter is an opportunity for us to give and receive love, we don’t need to
be so attached to those we call “friends” as our only source of love, comfort
and companionship. We hear about people creating intentional families when
their family of origin might not be the place they feel comfortable. This
concept is similar. We can see friends everywhere, then when we are called to a
new place to live or work, we can go there realizing that we are not leaving
something behind, but opening ourselves to something new and enlarging our
consciousness of those we love and who love us.

To all my current and future friends, “I LOVE YOU!!”