Being a good friend is sometimes easy and filled with rewards and sometimes difficult and demands that we dig deep and find empathy or compassion for someone else’s shortcomings or difficult situation. We don’t often question our ability or willingness to be a good friend to others when things are easy, we just do it; we show up day by day and deliver what is needed in the moment. Sometimes we make the difficult choice of not being friends with someone, because there is a situation we can’t tolerate and we choose to walk away. But to be clear, we are walking away from our own intolerance. Being friends with our selves gets even less consideration! Though we’ve heard that age old saying, “be your own best friend”, do we practice it?

 

Meditation is a path to awakening that honest friendship within, that willingness to show up for yourself, not just when you’re happy and feeling good and life is easy, but especially when things are NOT good and life feels hard. To show up with interest and compassion and a willingness to stay with the difficulty, rather than to skip out, avoid, or reject yourself in hard times! It is a practice of staying close, even when everything in us wants to run away. It takes commitment and steadfastness and courage!

 

Pema Chodron says in her book, “Taking The Leap”, “we have the capacity to see ourselves honestly, and that takes courage, it is moving in the direction of seeing our life and it’s attendant problems as a teacher rather than a burden. This involves fundamentally learning to stay present, and learning to stay with a sense of humor, and loving kindness toward ourselves and the outer situation, with honest self-reflection.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche called this “Making Friends With Ourselves”, this friendship is based on knowing all parts of ourselves without prejudice, it is UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDLINESS!

Meditation is a practice of learning to stay, through thick and through thin. And by doing so we connect with our own ‘natural warmth’ that we all have the capacity for, this ‘warmth’ is the basis for love and compassion. And the more we are willing to stay; we realize that we are ALL up against the same struggles. That just like me, other people feel pain and want it to go away. This insight has the potential to humble us and cause us to have more sympathy, we discover we are all in the same boat, and knowing this can make us very forgiving, both toward ourselves and others!

 

Pema says, “This is the spirit of delighting in what we see rather than despairing in what we don’t want to see.” It’s the spirit of letting compassionate self-reflection build confidence rather than becoming a cause for depression.” Being unconditionally friendly with you, your own built in BEST friend, ultimately makes you a better friend to others, a more authentic and honest friend!

 

So let’s practice our meditation today as an act of friendship toward ourselves knowing that it makes us a better friend toward others.   As we sit today think of how you listen to yourself, is it friendly? Are you harsh and critical with your self-talk? Would you talk that way to a friend? And if so, perhaps you need to make friends with your own intolerance first!

 

Find a comfortable position, take three deep breaths and begin….

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