In the path of yoga and meditation or Buddhism or compassion, friendliness is part of our practice. But we might get confused as at the same time, we also always read or hear about the practice of seclusion or retreat from active sociable lifestyle, for any sincere Sadhakas to be able to go deeper into our yoga and meditation practice.
At some stage in our life, we will need to let go of our worldly duties and live a
secluded life to concentrate on our own Sadhana.
"friendly" towards all beings on the path of compassion, is different
from the worldly perception of what "friends" means. In the worldly
perception or understanding, "friendships" might means getting to meet up
with other people, to know and interact with other people, making and accumulating
"friends" with those who can share with each other, to care for each
other, to support each other, to hang out with, to spend time with, to
do some activities with, to eat, drink, play and chat with, to cry and
laugh with, somebody to talk to, somebody whom we can count on and lean
on, to help each other during difficulties, to be there for each other
during good and bad times, to celebrate or to mourn together... Or we
can only be "friend" with people whom we like and agree with, and we
cannot be "friend" with whom we don't like and disagree with... Or "friends" means those who have similar believes, thinking,
point of view that can "work" or "do things" together... And, anyone
who are not in these "categories" or if they are very different from us, then they are "not friends" or they are
"enemies". There are conditions in looking for "friends" or being "friendly" towards another being.
We have attachment towards "friends" or "friendships". We have so much
expectation towards what a "friend" or a "good friend" or a "true
friend" should be like... Such like when something not very nice
happens, we would likely to say this, "You are "my" friend, why you
treat me like this? You shouldn't do this to me..." We'll get
disappointed by "our" friends many times, but that disappointment is
coming from our own expectation towards how "our" friends should behave
or treat us. It is not coming from "our" friends being not nice or not
friendly to us or not being a "friend" for us... If we like "our
friends" very much, we enjoy the times being together, we will generate
clinging and craving towards this "friend" or this "friendship"... If we don't like "our
friends", we didn't enjoy the times being together, we will generate
aversion towards this "friend" or this "friendship"...
the path of compassion, yoga, meditation or Buddhism (all these
different names and forms are not different from each other - it's all
about realizing egolessness or selflessness to transcend "suffering"),
"friendliness" towards all beings means not having any ill-will or
hatred or discrimination towards all beings whether "good or bad"
beings, "human or non-human" beings, without judgment, expectation,
likes and dislikes, agreement or disagreement... We are able to be kind
and compassionate towards all beings...
terms, all are "friends" to us, we are "friends" for all beings, whether
beings I like or not, whether beings I agree with or not, whether
beings I know or not, whether human or non-human beings, whether "good"
or "bad" beings, there is no difference... And not limited to social
"friends" whom we like, whom we agree with, whom we know, whom we spend
time with, share life with, do things with, hang out with, get together
with, chat with, eat with, drink with, adventure with, growth with,
enjoy with, suffer with and so on...
It also means, it
is not necessarily that there have to be some people in our life whom we
can hang out with, do things with, share life with and so on, to have
"friends", to be "friendly"...
And there is a greatest friend
or "being" for us to love, to share with, to be there for good and bad times,
is ourselves... But, how many of us know about this friend... We keep
looking out for another being as "friend" who will love and care for
us... And when we try to "love" ourselves, we tend to become selfish,
only think and concern about our own feelings, desires and benefits...
We "love" ourselves with selfishness which is the cause of our own unhappiness...
If we know this selfless "friend" who is there with us all the time, there is no loneliness whether we have "friends" or not...
That's why being "friendly" to all beings and live in seclusion is not contradict with one another on the path of compassion...
people get confused with or reject towards some teachings or advice
coming from some great Gurus or Yogis or saints and sages in the past
telling us about practice "friendliness" and be "friendly"
towards all beings, but don't "mix" with people or don't "make
friends", live a secluded life concentrate on performing our own
it means is, treat all beings equally, respect all beings, have no
ill-will or hatred towards any beings, no differences or separation
between those I categorized as "my friends" or "not my friends"...
great saints and sages, those who were living in the world, doing a lot of karma yoga (selfless service) serving the
world, being with and dealing with different types of beings, they were
friends to all beings, but they "didn't" desire to make or accumulate
"friends" to spend time with, to hang out with, to do things with, to
chat with, to eat and drink with, to play with, to enjoy with, to share
with, to practice with, and so on... And yet they are sharing with all
beings all the time, they are "friendly" towards all beings, close or
far away, known or unknown, be seen or unseen, in actions or in
The practice of seclusion, it doesn't mean
that we have no more friends and be lonely being alone by ourselves
without any friends... But there is no loneliness and all are friends,
without the "necessity" of having a so called "social life" which means
having some "friends" or people whom we missed without their presence in
our life, whom we want to spent time with or hang out with or do things
with, for us to attain some sort of excitement or to remove unhappiness
or loneliness... There is no distractions of anything that can cause
restlessness... There is no vain talks, gossips, slandering,
back-bitting, criticisms, judgments, discriminations, complaints,
hypocrisy, lies, untruthfulness, politics, exploitations, and etc that
generate disharmony in ourselves and in others...
Our Guru Swami Sivanandaji told us to be "care-less" in order to succeed in our Sadhana,
it doesn't mean that we don't care for other beings, but it means "Care
for all beings without attachment, without being disturbed, nor
distracted, nor affected, nor influenced by other beings and social
activities, which derives from knowing what is real "friendliness"... He
also mentioned in his books or teachings repeatedly many times, about don't make or accumulate "friends" or do not mix,
as one of the important observations in order to be succeed in
meditation, it is not contradictory with the practice of "friendliness"
and compassion at all, as "friendliness" and compassion is not about
having a social life or accumulating "friends"... It is free from
ill-will or hatred towards all beings whether they are "good" or
"evil", whether we like them or not, agree with them or not, or whether they like us and agree with us or not...
Evil is "evil" as it appears to be opposite
to what is "good and kind" to allow us to be justified as good and kind,
and so, "evil" is not really evil... And "good" is not really good when
there is hatred towards "evil" as hatred is associate with "evil"...
course, there is nothing wrong with having a "social life" and involved
with "social activities" as long as there is no attachment... As social
life and activities don't give us "distractions" unless we (the mind) are being distracted and influenced by them...
we can be having many "friends" in life, but not necessarily that we
are completely be free from ill-will or hatred towards other beings...
By making and accumulating many "friends" also doesn't guarantee that we
will be free from "loneliness" or we are being "friendly"...
We might be "friendly" towards those whom we like and agree with, but we might not necessarily be "friendly" towards
those whom we dislike and disagree with, especially those whom we
"think" that they are "bad" or "evil" or "wrong", those who are not nice
and not kind to us and others, and those who hurt us and others
physically or emotionally... Look at ourselves, how often that we are
easily being disturbed or angry with somebody that we don't know
personally, nor who comes in contact with us personally, but whom we
"think" or "heard" that they are "bad and evil" beings who perform "bad
and evil" actions but it is not necessarily the truth as what we think
Restlessness, anxieties, agitation,
depression, fear, worries, disturbs, troubles, conflicts, arguments,
debates, anger, dissatisfaction, disappointment, violence, ill-will,
energy deprivation, jealousy, envy, desires, distractions or lack of
concentration that derives from worldly "social life" and "social
activities" which are the main obstacles in the path of yoga and
meditation, can be reduced to minimum when we practice seclusion from
"social lifestyle" and yet living in the world performing actions
serving the world without attachment and distractions... Especially
those of us who are still easily being distracted, or disturbed, or
influenced, or affected, or determined by other beings and social
activities due to lack of non-attachment or detachment, lack of wisdom
and compassion... As we are still being over-powered by ignorance,
desires, craving and aversion and all other impurities like anger,
hatred, greed, dissatisfaction, jealousy, pride, arrogance, fear, worry,
expectation, and etc...
We can try to meditate
everyday but still, our mind is restless, our ego is strong... We
continue to experience suffering or unhappiness, and be miserable... We
keep judging ourselves and others as good or bad... We keep having
expectation towards ourselves and others about this and that... We still
have ceaseless desires to be fulfilled, to be satisfied... Forever
Until one day, when the ego and selfish
desires have completely vanished, then there is no difference at all
whether having an active social lifestyle or not, as by then we are no
longer being distracted or influenced by anybody or anything, and we can
mix freely with anybody whether positive or negative beings, active or
inactive beings, wise or ignorant beings, happy or unhappy beings... We are always full of energy and yet be in calmness...
We might be performing actions in life for other beings, but we also
have time and space for our own Sadhana, not neglecting ourselves nor being distracted from perfoming our own Sadhana...
performing any actions for other beings doesn't mean that we didn't
perform karma yoga as part of our practice. It's because by taking care
of our own Sadhana is the greatest karma yoga selfless service being
perform onto ourselves and will be benefiting other beings naturally,
when we have peace and compassion in us.
this practice is only an advice to those who are sincere to transcend
"suffering", to be free from restlessness, discontentment, low
self-esteem, anger, hatred, fear, worry, and etc...
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