Nov 24, 2010

Spiritual friendship

What spiritual friendship is not: a feeling of comfort, safety and warmth in companionship.

Spiritual friendship does not put a communion of minds above the individual's own private relationship to truth. By truth, I don't just mean truthfulness, but truth itself. The concept of truth is "how something is in an absolute sense", and is the standard tool for understanding Reality.

Spirituality is about understanding Reality. Therefore, spiritual friendship must be wholly focussed on the individual's own relationship to truth.

Feeling welcomed, happy, safe, loved, respected, and admired indicates loss of spirit in oneself - and also in whoever instigates those feelings in you. Why is this the case? I'll explain it briefly.

Understanding Reality reveals the true nature of oneself: that all is empty of intrinsic reality. Ultimately, Reality has no form of its own. It cannot be confined in dualistic forms, or be exclusive and finite, since all finite things share the same relative, interdependent nature (dreams are only dreams relative to waking life, and are real in their existence of being dreams).

Thus, all the forms and finite entities like selves, objects, possessions, loved or hated people, emotions, dreams, wishes and ideas, are merely wisps of existence: interactive, tangling, intercoursing strands in the ever-unfolding oneness of Reality. None of them are truly separate, nor exist independently in a solid concrete way.

So, the feelings of warmth, comfort, safety, delight, or pride that arise in relationships, automatically guarantees a lack of enlightenment. These feelings indicate the basic, underlying delusion of concrete self-existence. The need for a companion to reaffirm and concretise one's existence, one's values, one's opinions and world-view, are all branches from the one root of the delusion of self-existence.

Spiritual friendship must spring from an individual relationship to truth, and only the absolutely perfectly wise person feels no pain from spiritual friendship.

So here are some warnings:

If you trust another person, it is almost certainly a guarantee that neither of you are wise.

If you have warm feelings of respect for them, again, wisdom is lost.

If you have an associate or colleague who smiles at you, laughs, enjoys your company, likes to hold passionate conversations with you, then you ought to warn them that they've lost their soul. If they disagree with you, then keep away from them.

If you cannot find a good soul who refuses to lie to you, if you cannot find someone who tells the truth without adornment, if you cannot find someone who is plain-speaking and troubles only to deepen their roots in emptiness, if you cannot find someone who is without affectation, pride, compassion, or affection, then....

Wander alone like a rhinoceros.

— Kelly Jones