Sunday, March 9, 2008

Old Friends

I've been absent for awhile from blogland. I was on the road, flying from here to there. A couple days ago, i landed in Washington, D.C., to meet an old, dear friend. We first met 40 years ago, in New York City. We were young seekers, looking for God. We took drugs together searching for higher meaning, and joined Iskcon together a couple of years later, compelled to follow the pure devotee who was the great guru of our times. Now, half a lifetime later, we met again, deep into our middle age. My friend is doing well. He wears a Muslim prayer cap now, and his path is informed by the spiritual traditions of Iran and the language of the Koran. While the form he embraces is now Sufism, he is still the same seeker.

Friends are mirrors, just as are all close relationships. We want to see our friends reinforce our good qualities and are uncomfortable when they show us our faults and limitations. But it is not the sharing of judgements or belief systems that is really important, but the sharing of basic values, especially the values of self realization and devotion to one Supreme Being. It is that sharing which gives us inspiration and hope.

After the pride and intoxication of our youth has been humbled by the force of time, it's nice to see that those values we were so idealistic about in our youth remain as the core content of our lives. Form is a function of content, and the form of God consciousness has manifold expressions. Regardless of the form, the expression is always good when the content is God, Who is all-good and all-inclusive. It is He only who reconciles all diversity and all contradictions in the unity of His personality. We who are lost in the duality of forms in this world, can be relieved and liberated when we recognize and serve the purpose of that Supreme Personality.