Tuesday, March 29, 2011



The Buddhist tradition has a lovely concept of friendship. This is the notion of the ‘Kalyana-mitra’, the ‘noble friend’. Your Kalyana-mitra, your noble friend, will not accept pretension, but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. No-one can see their life totally. As there is a blind spot in the retina of the human eye, there is also in the soul a blind side where you are not able to see. Therefore, you must depend on the one you love to see for you, where you cannot see for yourself. Your Kalyana-mitra complements your vision in a kind and critical way. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.

One of the deepest longings of the human soul is the longing to be seen. In the ancient myth, Narcissus looks into the pool, sees his own face and becomes obsessed with it. Unfortunately, there is no mirror in the world where you can catch a glimpse of your soul. You cannot even see your own body completely. If you look behind you, the front of your body is out of view. You can never be fully visually present to yourself. The one you love, your anam cara, your soul friend, is the truest mirror to reflect your soul. The honesty and clarity of true friendship also brings out the real contour of your spirit. It is beautiful to have such a presence in your life.

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