Showing posts with label Ananda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ananda. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2023

Looking for a Friend

 Looking for a Friend 

Nature has designed our bodies to be constantly engaged with our surroundings. Our ego is designed to keep us involved in our thoughts, emotions, memories, desires, fears and imaginings.  

Do we ever stop to wonder and observe who it is that is thinking and doing all these things? Without consciousness and without self-awareness of being conscious, none of these activities would be possible. Like building a car, consciousness is the chassis upon which the shape, color and functions of the automobile are constructed. With a car there’s no need to crawl under it and observe the chassis but with human consciousness, there’s every reason to re-direct our attention upon the consciousness that is otherwise normally peering outside of itself, engaged in these many activities. 

Why is that? Consciousness is intelligence. Consciousness is the source of our ability to think, feel, act and experience life. Consciousness thus contains the “DNA” or “programming” that allows us to be who and what we are, at least as we self-define ourselves. Most people would probably respond and say, “So what? That’s obvious. What’s the point?” 

There isn’t a point until or unless we are willing to reflect that the very nature of that consciousness is not ours; it is not unique to us; it appears in others; it would seem to be the source of the amazing beauty, complexity, and innate intelligence that we see from the smallest quanta to the billions of galaxies. It is everywhere and in everything.  

When we reflect that the source of our awareness is the same everywhere, the word “God” might arise in our thoughts. Oh, maybe some other words, too, because while words are just, well, words (thoughts and sounds, really), the words point (potentially) to some-thing. Or perhaps in the case of pure consciousness, no-thing at all.  

If we stop to consider that this Consciousness-no-thing is the very essence and source of our self-ness and if we stop to be present with it, ceasing our internal mental narrative and external activities, we might find something wonderful arising within us, like a lotus flower that opens to the rays of the morning sun.  

The very nature of consciousness is that it doesn’t impose anything upon us. Beyond bestowing life and the powers and abilities inherent in the form it occupies, it does not judge; it only observes. It is patient and always available when we are conscious. With practice, however, we might find that it has much to offer but be warned that it cannot be ordered to do our bidding. 

Our restlessness of mind and body veils our awareness of the presence of our only real well-wisher, friend, and constant companion. Regular meditation, by contrast, reveals our Friend and helps us develop a long-term relationship together. Our Friend is the essence of humbleness insofar as most of the time and most people never pay our Friend the slightest attention though we owe everything we call ourselves to this Friend’s powers and presence.  

Just as our human friends influence our attitudes, interests, and activities, our invisible Friend will influence us over time in certain ways that are suitable to our deeper nature. As the very source of our life, there are some general qualities that our Friend will bestow upon us if we are open to receiving our Friend’s influence: vitality, health, equanimity, intelligence, acceptance and calmness. On the basis of such qualities, it is easier to love others without attachment and to think, feel and act in ways that resonate with our Friend’s silent voice which is our conscience.  

By now you have concluded that this Friend of Friends might be called God, Christ or guru. A saint or avatar is one who has achieved complete identification with this Friend and thus can introduce us to our Friend. 

There are countless methods of prayer and meditation, but I want to focus on this simple, but challenging, practice of “Looking for my Friend.” Here are some suggestions: 

  • Your mind, like Moses, will guide you to this Promised Land but, like Moses, your mind must stand outside the door. 
  • So let your Mind re-mind you that you wish to go within and meet your Friend. Let your mind be your verbal guide until you enter the Holy of Holies to commune in Silence. 
  • Calm and center yourself. Any standing, lying or sitting position will do, though the standard upright position of meditation is the best. Closed or open eyes as you feel. 
  • Smile subtly with soft eyes at the thought of meeting your Friend. Open your mouth slightly as if you are about to speak. 
  • Gaze into the near distance to gently fix your eyes as if to take into your view all the way to the left and right of your peripheral vision and thus not fixing your gaze upon any specific object. 
  • While gazing thusly, feel in your chest, just above the sternum, a soft perhaps warm feeling. This supports that subtle smile and soft eyes. 
  • With either your eyes or the entire field of your body’s awareness, feel that you are looking at.........looking. This is like placing two mirrors opposite each other: they go on to infinity or, put differently, it is like an echo chamber, though of awareness not of sound. 
  • Like catching a wave or feeling a passing breeze, it won’t be easy to hold this feeling because it cannot be done with tension or willpower, but with deep relaxation into the space that is between thoughts or other mental and physical activity or movement. 
  • You will tend to oscillate in and out of this space. The mind will constantly want to take over the space. With practice, the experience becomes more readily accessible and for longer periods of time. It takes skill and practice but even a little of this practice brings great rewards of relaxation and even calm euphoria or well-being. 
  • If you are inclined towards devotion, then feel that you are meeting Christ, Krishna or one of the masters in this silent space; and, that it is with their grace and presence that you are guided and held in this space. 
  • Otherwise, let your Friend do the (silent) talking. In time, your Friend will reveal more and more. 
  • During the day, when stressed or needing answers, call upon this Friend in this space even for just a nano-second. Even a little of this practice will save you from fears and suffering. 

Here are the lyrics from a Christmas song called “Looking for a Friend” by Swami Kriyananda. I have adapted them for this article: 

Looking for a Friend 


Where are you going my little one? 
“In hope these empty streets I wend; 
I’ve seen a star rise in the east, 
And I’m looking for a friend.” 

Where are you going, good shepherd folk? 
“From a lowly valley we ascend. 
A wondrous vision sent us here: 
We’re looking for a friend.” 

You learned men, where are you going? 
“Our souls’ long journey we would end, 
Therefore we’ve come to Bethlehem: 
We’re looking for a friend.” 

Good people, let me come with you. 
Perhaps he’s just around this bend, 
But whether near or far, I, too, 
Have been looking for a friend. 

May you, too, find the Friend within you! 

Swami Hrimananda