A Friendship Meditation

A Friendship Meditation to mark International Day of Friendship 30th July 2022

Sharing the human spirit through friendship. Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples.

To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.

Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good. UN statement on friendship.

This is a simple version of a traditional meditation on equanimity.

Sit somewhere where you are comfortable and won’t be interrupted for a while, but keep an upright posture supporting your back and head yourself. With your head tilted up slightly, close your eyes. Take a few gentle breaths.

Think of someone who you like and know well (this can be a well-loved pet if no one comes to mind) and imagine them walking into the room and sitting in front of you. You may notice that your facial expression has changed. Notice any softening or relaxation in the body. Stay with that for a few minutes, just quietly enjoying the felt sense of being together.

Then imagine someone who you find more difficult coming in and settling down with the two of you. Notice how your reaction changes with this happening. You may be aware your expression has changed, that things have tightened internally. Acknowledge the change and any tension there.

Now refocus upon the friend, can you find that point of openness and joy again? Once you have done so try and hold on to it as you turn to the other – perhaps with a sadness that your relationship is different and the hope that it can change.

Then imagine a third person joining you, this time someone you don’t know, a stranger. What relationship is possible with this person? There is an unknown space, how would you wish to fill it? Notice the first thoughts that have come up, are they wary, suspicious even, or are they welcoming? Neither are right or wrong, but they will set the scene for whatever follows. You do not know this person so a certain reservation may be appropriate, but is there the space to learn about one another, the space to find ways to connect?

There is no need to seek perfection or the ‘soul-mate’, only to be alive to the possibilities for walking together a while.

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