I have been doing a lot of work on my new book lately. Three chapters are now completed. I wanted to post a few snippets along the way that might be of help. So I thought the topic of friendship that I added in chapter 3 was a good snippet to start with.
Friendship is a key Gnostic ideal, and allowed all of those who had participated in the mysteries (search for Truth) to come together in “a joining of the Truth, that they should have no adversary.” (NHC- Second Treatese of the Great Seth) Richard Rose also felt that friendship was just as important as the student-teacher relationship. Mr. Park preferred to have his students and him all living in the same house, mostly I feel so that friendships could grow.
Rose claimed it was clear that one must help others for there to be personal growth. It is sort of a law: genuine, respectful friendship between people is one of this realm’s highest ideals- not just for happy living, but for being able to attain one’s Self. “There is no religion higher than human friendship.” (Richard Rose) He does mean that social interaction or mutual affirmation is the goal of the spiritual quest- but more in that we are going to use the people we encounter to help discover the truth about ourselves- while the experience of helping, and being helped- will aid our progress, far better than any monastery or cave-like monk life (though at times a period of total monk-like solitude will be required). No teaching should ever be trusted if it does not allow for unselfish co-operation between co workers on the path.
It is very difficult to walk the path alone, and it here where a school, group, or just a few spiritual friends are not just of value, but a part of the process- in fact more valuable than a library of the 500 best spiritual books. “For those searching for the truth and self realization, the need for co-workers is as great as the need for teachers.” (Richard Rose) real spiritual friends will help to sustain our path, to not get lazy and keep us moving forward. And when we find people who also are serious about finding answers to their life koans, then we must spend time with them, while those who are not interested in these matters, we should use as little of our time as necessary. And help may not mean to be working with people directly. The help could come from helping a group or teacher continue their teaching. “From this moment on children (initiates), return always to your divine nature. Seperate from evil, decieving friends. Accept the Christos, the spirit of true friendship as your good teacher.” (NHC- Teachings of Selvanus)
Of course this need to commune with other seekers does not mean that we should give up our individual will or discrimination, turn ourselves over to a group unquestioningly. “Fright never injures anyone. What injures the spirit is always having someone on your back, beating you, telling what to do and what not to do.” (Carlos Castaneda, Journey To Ixtlan)The search for self is a very alone thing, and when we find Self, all we find is alone- however the friendships along the way are part of the process of finding we are All-One. Rose reminds that we should try to find someone one level above where we are to help us (and because in the law of the 4 levels is not a ladder but a pyramid, means there are always more on the bottom than on top) we should try to find six people to help. This help must be given selfishlessly. If we help another simply because we feel we will then get (or are somehow owed by the universe) help in return, then that is selfish helping. We have to be selfless in our desire to help, not for gain, but for the joy of helping. Helping should become natural to you.
Real spiritual friends have another gift they give to us- they can mirror, or directly point out, our weak spots and dangerous egoic minds. If we just stay alone with no external contact, it can be easy to stay or fall back asleep. It helps to have others around who have made a similar serious commitment to answers, for they become mirrors for us, show us our blind spots. Those who we can see our flaws in, and see their flaws in us as well. They can help us work through a problem (as being in a similar place doing similar work) and can show us something about us we can not see ourselves. We have to get comfortable letting our spiritual friends be very honest with us, even if that honesty hurts. “A friend on the path should serve as a mirror to point out egos and destructive tendencies.” (Richard Rose)
Yet through all this selfless helping, one must remember that paradoxically one is alone, and must on walking the path to Truth, be very selfish. In that you are going to find your essence as the number one and only quest of your life. You are not out to save family, friends, community from the woes of the planet. You want answers.