This month I really felt I wanted to focus on something positive and since February presented us with Valentine's Day which in Estonia is more about friendship (we actually call it Friend’s Day) than about romantic relationships, I decided to write about friendship. However since the month itself has turned out to be quite busy for me personally, the world has moved on from friendship to warship. Life moved on till I was pondering on my own intentions to be positive and put my chosen direction under a question mark. Is friendship still the best topic for the month of February?
I agree with your thoughts and yes, indeed it is. War originates from a separative approach to man’s thinking. Seeing yourself separate from the other and hence setting your actions against the other. Whenever we set ourselves against the other, whether my truth against your truth, my rights against your rights, my values against your values, or my view of the world against yours, we will have a war of wills.
If you are pondering how you have personally contributed to the war in Europe then I believe you do not need to look very far. Each time in your family or workplace when you have set yourself to be against someone else, you have added your drop of separativeness to the chalice. Being competitive without being friends makes you compete against your rivals. But we live in a world where the competition for being successful is the core component. Every one of us defines our success personally and hence picks the target against which to compare his/her progress in a very unique way. Yet all this breeds setting yourself against another human being.
It does not really matter if you are against Ukraine's course of action or against Russia’s - as long as you are against something you are adding more wood to the fire. Being against poverty, inequality, corruption, pollution, etc is still being separative. Whenever there is this OR that there is confrontation. For some reason using the AND seems so difficult. Why does it have to be that if I am right then you must be wrong? Why is being right the absolute term and not relative to your life experience?
What can be different?
The answer is right under our noses - friendship. Most of us have the experience of friendship. If I am your friend then do I have to agree with you in everything you do and think? In true friendship, the answer is No, in a partner of crime type of friendship it most probably is Yes. Even if I do not like some of your behavior I can still be your friend. I can bring you my different view should it be useful for you in some ways but I will not force my view upon you.
Confronting (from Latin coming face to face) your friend does set your view against him/her but it does not need to end up in competing with your friend or setting your actions against him/her. And it does not mean you would love him/her less because of the differences.
If you fight against someone or something then you fight against evolution. How so? If we are in agreement then it is not possible to fight nor compete against. Only where there is a difference does this type of opportunity show up. But the difference is the blessing, it is the source of evolution because it means there is a gap between my experience and your experience. This gap is so necessary for finding new experiences.
Whenever we disagree we should get excited! Yes, there is a missing link between our views of the world and this is like unexplored land, the unknown. Instead of being separative and against in our response why not join the forces and be inclusive in our joint exploration of the unknown! If I am certain that I already know everything there is to know about the issue at hand then there is no evolution, no new creations nor discoveries.
So how about becoming friends with our so-called enemies? Tough one. If you are so certain that the other is taking action that from your point of view is surely life destructive then how can you be friends with the other? The simple answer is that you cannot. End of story.
The more interesting question would be why can’t I? If I am not able to be friends with myself then I cannot be friends with anyone else. If I cannot love myself unconditionally then I cannot love anyone else either unconditionally. Learning to love yourself in every deed, action, thought, quality, and ability is a hard journey. There are simply too many things we do not like about ourselves, our lives, and our circumstances.
I know that some of you will disagree with me and believe that you really love everything about yourself. Maybe you do but I cannot say that for myself. I believe that I am an endlessly more mysterious being than I can even imagine. Hence perhaps I really know less than one percent of my Self. How can I ever know whether I even like those unknown parts of myself, not to talk about loving them?
Being friends and loving does not mean you are not using force.
I am already hearing questions that you can love yourself as much as you want but that does not stop your fellow human being from cutting your throat. Being inclusive and loving your fellow traveler in this mysterious Dream does not mean you should not use force where needed. You can not be against force nor power either.
Love has a passive expression that we can recognize in acceptance, forgiveness, being non-judgemental, empathy, and so on. But love also has active expression in being confronting, not pitying, taking action, and using force to fight for a win-win. Unconditional love equals true friendship where you will use both your hands to express passive and active love at the same time.
The sword has two edges - active and passive - and it cuts both ways. But rare is the individual who knows how to use the sword in the relationship with him/herself. How to cut through your self-importance, your self-pity, your defensiveness, your separative thinking, your victim mindset, and how to cut open your vulnerability, your heart, your forgiveness and acceptance of yourself, and all the diversity of qualities present in each and every human being.
It is a long journey ahead of us indeed but it is not a sad journey. No, it is a journey of excitement, adventure, challenges, surprises, won and lost battles, friendship, and also pain but ultimately the road is filled with hope as man’s spirit can never be defeated. Waste no time by tackling your personal challenges but give yourself enough time to adjust yourself to the riddles posed by life and enough to become friends with every aspect of your Self. That is my wish for you, my Friends!
One step closer,
This is our monthly letter to share our views and understanding of what is happening around us, complemented with photos by Anu Martinson.
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