An Article by Michelle Wood
Friendship was an important aspect of my life this past
week, from helping a neighbor assemble a planter/garden
arch and plant flowers to surprise his wife, to connecting
with former coworkers at a corporate function to which I
was invited. To tell the truth, I was a bit surprised by an
“Ah-ha!” moment about the strength and duration of
friendships, past and present, and these are the thoughts I
share with you.
I wish you many long and happy friendships!
Those truly linked don’t need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, their friendship is as true as ever.
In the distant past, there was once a young and wealthy
statesman who was on a diplomatic mission. Pausing by a
river at night, he heard the haunting sounds of a lute. A
passionate musician himself, he took up his own lute and
eventually found a goatherd sitting on an old ruin. In those
days, an aristocrat would not associate with a commoner,
but the two men struck up a friendship through their music.
Their playing was as smooth and natural as flowing water.
Once a year, the ambassador and the goatherd would
renew their friendship. Though they had the chance to play
their music with others during the rest of the year, each man
declared that he had found his true counterpart.
The ambassador tried for many years to lift the goatherd out
of his poverty, but his friend steadfastly refused. He did not
want to pollute their friendship with money.
Years later, when the ambassador was gray haired, he went
to the appointed spot, but his friend was not there. He tried
to play alone, but his melody was forlorn. Finally someone
came to tell him that his friend had starved to death during a
recent famine. This news made the ambassador despondent.
He was caught in the irony of knowing that he had the
money to save his friend, and yet he understood the man’s
values as well. In sorrow, the ambassador broke his lute.
“With my friend gone from the world, who will I play my
True friendship is a rare harmony.
No doubt you have a friend who is so close to your
heart and mind that, even though you may not see this
person for months or years at a time, the moment you are
together again, it is as though you were never apart.
I am blessed to have two such friends; both live on the other
side of the country. Due to schedules and time-zone
differences, I seldom speak to them, but when I do, the
conversation flows so naturally and easily it is as if I had
spoken to them just the day before, as if we had never been
apart. Much to my delight, I discovered a third such friend
just yesterday. I attended an event at my former place of
employment and had a wonderful conversation with a person
I had not seen in about a year, but with whom the
conversation flowed as if we had talked just last week
instead of over a year ago.
Just how rare are these “true friendships” as the story calls
them? Is there some secret ingredient or invisible chemistry
that goes into creating one?
I think these special friendships are a glimpse at Universal
Oneness. When you live in the Dao, you have no concern
for who is rich and who is poor, who is artistic and who is
not, who has a higher education and who does not, who
holds a high position and who holds a low one. Your
concern is not about being better or worse, but in being,
simply being in the moment, like the two gentlemen in the
story playing their lutes together.
The special ingredient that created their friendship and
allowed them to be in the Dao when they played together
was the common musical ground on which they could share
their passions. This kind of friendship is not about what one
person can do for the other or what one can give the other,
it is about a harmony of personal energies that enables a
sense of Oneness to exist that is far greater than a simple
combination of individual interests.
Just ponder if you will: do you have more than one passion,
one area of interest that you love to pursue? I have two: one
is teaching and working with children, the other is spiritual
learning and experience. Remember when I said earlier that
I have two special friends and recently discovered a third?
One of them is a special friend in the area of teaching and
working with children, the second is a special friend in the
area of spiritual learning and experience, and the third friend
is related to both these areas!
This realization is very valuable information. It tells me that
true friendships are not haphazard coincidences, they don’t
“just happen,” and they need not be all that rare. You can
build them on common interests and shared passions. You
can cultivate this type of friendship which leads to Universal
Oneness and being in the Dao by reaching out to people with
whom you can share your passions without regard to social
or economic position.
Don’t wait for it to happen, go out and make it happen.
Every true friendship you cultivate brings you closer to living
every moment in the Dao.
Feel better, look better, and live better with holistic
stress-reducing information and relaxation techniques that will
help you achieve a joyful, natural, and stress-free lifestyle.
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