IMG_6623 Every year at the Summer Gathering of our group of New Essenes I’m reminded of the importance of friendship.

We all roll up in varying shapes and sizes, with our smiles and warm hugs and as we get older we bring our many aches and pains too. Healing is offered to everyone – on various levels – and as we are nearly all therapists of one kind or another many leave feeling so much better than they arrived. But it is due to far more than receiving a ‘treatment’ or two. Some of us have joined together every year for over twenty years. We only see one another once or maybe twice for those who come along to the AGM in Spring and possibly don’t really know the ins and outs of the mundane aspects of our lives. Yet we ‘know’ one another at a deeper soul level than can be described in words. There is such love shared between us.

How does this love manifest? By acceptance, nurturing, humour and understanding. When we greet one another our eyes shine and the warmth in each hug is deeply nourishing. It is the love, and the friendship that heals.

There is so much to be gained from the energy of group meditation, exercising on the lawn doing Tai Chi or sitting and eating together at round tables and sharing our wisdom and deepest spiritual experiences. But the most important is the laughter. Laughter touches every part of us, doesn’t it? The tonic of a good belly laugh, the sharing of a silly comment, the banter between friends. Why does it make us feel good? It feeds the soul.

So often I talk about my dream to set up little ‘star-groups’ of support and friendship between like-minded people. At all my workshops I invite people to get in touch with one another for sharing their spiritual experiences and supporting one another over a phone call, or even online. It is hard for people to find the time to keep it going.

We all have incredibly busy lives and most have full-time jobs or families who make demands on our time. But friendship needs care and time too. It doesn’t have to be often. Real friendship can last over time and space. I sometimes don’t see old friends for years, yet when we meet it is as though it was only yesterday. It is because of the depth and quality of sharing, that these friendships are heartfelt.
Friendship can be fleeting, like the people we meet and have fun with on holiday. It may be for the duration of a job, or a three year college course. Or it can be for a life time, like some of my Essene friends of almost twenty years. Some of us have friends who are still there from schooldays, that have been maintained since childhood. People who know every detail of your life and been there during all the important developments, and changes. Like all the relationships in our lives friends will inevitably come and go. Those who touch our heart will stay there, even when they have moved on. I still love the friends I no longer see and send blessings to them regularly, hoping that all is well in their world, wherever they are.

To have a good friend we have to be a good friend. Sharing is a mutual gift, requires giving and taking in equal measure, and effort from both sides. Friends are like angels, we should honour them, value them, trying never to take them for granted. In our hearts and on many levels, whether in this world or the next, these important friendships will always be there.