Final Reflections on Friendship

Yesterday, while I was on my way to my weekly yoga class, I heard Barbara J. King interviewed on her new book, Being With Animals. She is an anthropologist teaching at William and Mary, and she had some fascinating things to share about the friendship between human beings and their animals, but most especially about the relationships and connections that exist among animals themselves.

For example, King studied apes in Kenya while working on her dissertation, and she observed that when one of the apes died, the rest of the community allowed the closest member of the family or friend, private time to grieve and be alone with the body before any others. King also pointed out that elephants often caress the bones of what we would consider to be a loved one, even after not having visited a particular area for a long time. They have the ability to recognize the remains of other elephants they were connected with, and knew where those remains were located.

I was fascinated by the stories King shared - and how the urge to connect with others is a phenomenon evident in so many species of living things. I reflected on these insights as I went for an evening walk at twilight - with the moon looming like a huge china plate in front of me - and the bright orange sun merging incandescently with the horizon behind me.

This desire to know and be known - to love - and be loved - to have true companionship is something Paramahansa Yogananda spoke so eloquently about, as you may have noticed from my last two entries. So now, I will share some final passages from his writings.

Note that Yogananda also speaks of the importance of finding friends from one incarnation to another. Whether one actually believes in the transmigration of souls or not - does not really matter. I think we all would agree that some soul connections are so strongly felt that they defy any kind of explanation. We have all had the experience of meeting certain souls that we feel we have known forever - just as there are some that we are distrustful of - or wary of - from our first encounter...

"It takes character to be able to apologize graciously and sincerely...

How can I learn to love my enemies? Meditation fills one with Divine Love, which enables one to love one's enemies...

Always remember that you need the inspiration of better company - of those more highly evolved than yourself - to keep constantly improving...

Make every effort to rediscover your friends of past incarnations. Try to resume such friendships, and perfect them into divine friendship...

One may come in daily contact with some people and yet not feel in sympathy with them. You have to adapt yourself to such persons and learn to love them...

When friends are very near to you, draw them into the orbit of your life...

Do not be deceived by physical beauty...An unattractive body may harbor the soul of a real friend...

Seek your friends of past incarnations in order that you may continue your friendship with them in this life, and perfect it into divine friendship...

Friendship is the universal spiritual attraction that unites souls in the bond of divine love...

When divine friendship reigns supreme in the temple of your heart, your soul will merge with the vast Cosmic Soul...

Making others happy, through kindness of speech and sincerity of right advice, is a sign of true greatness...

Friendship is pure by nature...Divine love is unlimited and Infinite..."

Today, give thanks for your true friends - especially those that have been there - no matter what - who have stood by you and accepted you - despite your warts and limitations - and loved you nonetheless. What greater example do you need of Divine Presence and Love?

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