Enjoying my day off on a lazy Saturday morning, I lay on the couch, surfing TV channels. On Animal Planet, something caught my attention and I paused. Two cute, little baby pandas lovingly cuddled and stroked each other. They played - one ran behind the other and then halted, as though giving a cue to its friend to swap turns. As I enjoyed the innocent display of emotions between two silent creatures, I was taken back in time to my own childhood days. The time when I too was innocent, when I had a great time in the evenings playing with friends at the nearby park, when I could laugh, jump and shriek with no bars, no reservations.
I switched off the TV and started chewing more on my thoughts. Where had all those friends vanished? Where did that innocence of being friendly with anybody without any judgements disappear? Yes, time had moved on and I had certainly expanded my circle – there was no dearth of friends, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and other online networking media.
And it’s the same story for all of us, isn’t it? Facebook has extended our options for friend-making. But think about it: are we true friends with all of them? Don’t we often cloud our minds with unreasonable judgements about who said what to whom, why the person did this and not that, etc.? And the funny part is, they are all our ‘friends’, or at least in Facebook records. Was it the same when we were kids? Did we think so much before speaking to our friends, sugar coating sour truths so that we still remain in their good books? But as we grew up, we started forming opinions about the same friends, finding faults with whatever they said or did.
In the process, some friendships faded, some died out. And we are still making the same mistake with a new set of people. Seeing them through a pair of glasses colored with our self-formed opinions of them. But it’s not too late yet. There’s still time to come back to our natural self, to the same child-like state, to the free, friendly nature which we are all gifted with. How? Meditation is the answer.
Ask yourself this: Who is a true friend? Who do we keep searching for?
- Someone who is understanding and sensitive to our emotions
- Someone who is happy-go-lucky yet mature enough to handle our problems
- Someone who we can turn back to when the whole world turns its back on us
- Someone who we can share our entire life with like an open book
And now analyze this: How many times do we qualify to these criteria? It’s easy to set expectations but tough to live up to them ourselves. With the practice of meditation, however, being a good friend and making one is not very difficult. Let’s see how.
- Meditation gives you deep relaxation and contentment from within. When you are relaxed and content in your own life, you become sensitive to others’ needs.
- When you meditate, answers to problems start coming on their own and then you can better handle the problems of others when yours are sorted out.
- Meditation fills you with love and friendliness towards everybody around.
And when you become a ‘good friend’ to your friends, you naturally tend to attract the same vibes from the opposite side. People want to be around you, they enjoy your company and keep you in their close circle. But it doesn’t end here. You must have experienced at some point of time in life that even when you are a good friend to others, for some unknown reason, they still carry ill feelings towards you. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “If we are unfriendly, it is because of stress and tension.” With meditation, this is taken care of as well. Because you have a positive, stress-free, and assuring personality, someone with ill feelings also tends to melt down in your presence. This is the power of meditation.
Shares Hitanshi Sachdev, student and daily meditator, “Thanks to meditation, even after three years of fight with my close friend, I was able to keep my smile intact for her and would always wish her well. But she never missed a reason to insult me or pull me down. Slowly, I noticed a change in her. My attitude won over and she started melting down. Now we are good friends again.”
Not just old friends but with meditation, you also tend to attract new, good-natured friends. Well, I can surely say that meditation is my new mantra to reach out to friends. Who needs Facebook now? Meditate and expand your reach to the whole world.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's wisdom talks
By Pritika Nair, based on inputs from Bharathy Harish, a Sahaj Samadhi Meditation Teacher.
Graphics by Niladri Dutta