In the last few weeks I have been moved on many occasions by the central importance of friendship. Perhaps it started in New Orleans, where I was taking a workshop on the Pointing Out Way of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, when two new acquaintances, Jerry and Barb, a married couple, took it upon themselves to show me the city, some of its customs, and a basic understanding of its culture.

I appreciated what I learned but, more than anything, I was grateful for their kindness and warmth and simply for reaching out, one person to another, for no reason other than to be friendly.

Since then, I have had long Skype call with Craig O’Flaherty in South Africa, one of our PCC leaders. He shared his life, his current interests, and the challenges he’s faced since we last spoke with wondrous ease and openness. He listened with stillness, attunement and attention to what I had to say. I felt renewed, encouraged and blessed by this encounter with authentic friendship.

Then came several conversations with an old friend, Ken, who is staying at our house. We took up some current situations that are rooted in our mutual past and we had an understanding of them that only old friends can bring to a situation. Our common background allows us to appreciate the nuances, context and references so that our time together is rich and connecting.

So now I’m making friends everywhere. I keep finding the deep mystery of the endless depth of anyone’s eyes, even people I don’t know, even when we don’t speak. How is that possible?

Is there really one friend, as Rumi would have it, that we keep meeting over and over again? Who is that person?

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