Noble friends are we?
What’s the difference you say? Well I believe it is a World of difference.
Most of us have many friends, some of whom are near and dear to us, while others are merely “Facebook friends”. And we could all easily assume that the ones who are closest to us are indeed Noble friends. Thinking about how close we are to them, all of the secrets we have shared, and the trust we have developed in one another. But this too does not constitute Nobility in a friendship. In fact, sharing secrets may be one of many ways that this friendship is far from Noble. More often than not, our secrets have to do with disturbing emotions or the unskilful thoughts of others. And these discussions are only encouraged and inflamed when shared with a commiserating friend. While this may feel satisfying in the moment, post reflection will reveal the darkness that prevails in your mind. Both of you have participated in an unwholesome interaction that only served to propagate further suffering and dissatisfaction.
But until any of us become aware of this habit, we will continue to create and attach to others who are unhealthy and damaging to our peace and hindering the practice of acceptance.
While I would advise each of you to lovingly avoid these unnoble friends, there is a serious caveat to this. Each of us may in fact unknowingly be that very person. Easily justifying our thoughts and words because we believe them to be true and relevant based on our limited perspective. But the root cause of this is exactly that limited perspective that we are not aware of. Seeing things through our small window of view, we ignorantly believe reality is what we alone can see. If this sounds like someone with a huge ego, you would be completely on target. Now ask yourself how many times a day you view other people or situations with this very type of egotistical opinion and outlook.
I believe that we each need to begin with internal observation and insight. Spending the time, the investment, in ourselves each day to sit and observe our own minds. Beginning with the love and acceptance of ourselves, and cultivating this in a way of non-judgement and equanimity. We need not turn to anyone else for approval or clarity, as we can allow ourselves the chance to just be with these thoughts and emotions. Allowing the muddy waters to settle and the clarity of virtue to arrive by way of wisdom and acceptance. And it is with this practice that we become our own Noble friend. Developing into a person that may perhaps be a Noble friend to another living being one day. But being one to someone else will only happen naturally, once we have truly cultivated this for ourselves first.
Choose your friends wisely, and be your own best friend first. Unconditional love begins with the self, and Noble friendship is simply a natural outpouring of that goodwill and acceptance.
Remember always, the practice is Bhavana: Wisdom, Meditation and Virtue. And if we do not possess all three, then perhaps we should all be more quite for now.