Unconditional Friendliness


Tara Brach remarks from 2002, as quoted in "Unconditional Friendliness":

  • We use the word "friend" so casually that we forget its true meaning, but friendliness is one of the main translations of the Pali word metta, or lovingkindness. The care and understanding of a friend is a well that drops into the very source of our being. If all religions and great ideologies disappeared and our one pursuit was friendship — unconditional friendliness with each other, our inner life, all nature — ah, what a world!

  • The Buddha's disciple Ananda, in his fresh and direct way, asked the Buddha, "Is it not so that half of this holy life is good and noble friends, companionship with the good?" The Buddha responded, "Do not say that, Ananda. It is the whole of this holy life, this friendship, companionship and association with the good."

  • The greatest gift we offer each other is the gift of presence. I've always been touched by a phrase Thich Nhat Hanh teaches: "Darling, I care about your suffering." In an atmosphere of caring presence, we can get very real. We are free to feel and express our longings and fears, free to unfold into wholeness.

  • Through conscious relating, we discover a more porous sense of identity, as "my pain or shame" changes to "our shared suffering."

  • The root of the word good, "ge", is also the root of the word together, and signifies "being joined or united in a fitting way." When we feel connected, we see and reflect back to each other our essential goodness. Not only does this reassure us that we are personally lovable, but such mirroring actively reconnects us with the beauty of our awakened being.

  • Although scriptures guide us and practices focus and quiet us, we awaken through the living experience of love. The Buddha's message to Ananda was timeless: Unconditional friendliness reminds us of the truth of our belonging. Because we are interdependent, we do not awaken alone. When we give or receive love and acceptance, the trance of being a limited and separate self dissolves. The great Indian teacher, Poonja-ji, said, "We release our separateness into the ocean of being."

(cf Radical Acceptance (2015-05-13), Learning to Pause (2015-08-10), Inhabiting the Body (2015-09-10), Edgeless Sea of Compassion (2015-10-10), Veil of Separation (2015-10-14), ...) - ^z - 2018-08-10