Friendship is something we can take for granted until we lose a friend or move to another location or workplace and have to make new friends. Losing a friend, whatever the cause, can leave a hole in our lives – a sense that we have lost something of ourselves.
There is something special about a close friend – the ability to take up where you left off after many years, the capacity to share most subjects, the ready understanding of your quirks, easy tolerance of your idiosyncrasies and understanding-in-common from a shared history (however short or long the shared experience).
Barry Boyce discusses this feeling of being “in sync” in terms of the neuroscience notion of “brain coupling”, the experience of being “like one brain”. He goes on to elaborate:
I’m sure we have all felt that with a friend. The sheer joy of a shared laugh. The moments of listening when you need to be heard. The shoulder to cry on. Someone to share the ups and downs without caring which it is.
There is clearly something to savor in friendship – the ease of connection, the joy of “being with” someone, the ready tolerance, the sense that you are not alone (even if you have lost both your parents), the shared memories and stories, the emotional support and the supportive challenge that helps you to be a better person, parent, colleague or friend.
We need to take time out to value and savor these close friendships, whether they involve our life partner or people who live apart from us. Sometimes savoring may lead to a loving-kindness meditation to express appreciation or gratitude for the friendship or to reach out compassionately to a friend in need who may be struggling through health issues or some form of loss.
Then too there are the friendships that we experience every day that we do not consider to be close relationships. They may be supportive colleagues, the person serving us at the coffee shop, the owner of the newspaper shop or any number of acquaintances who we encounter regularly. We should savor their friendliness, helpfulness, willingness to engage in conversation and the way that they can “brighten our day”. These friendships are another form of human connection that enriches our lives – we can make them a source of mindful connection if we really savor the richness of being with them.
Even a simple smile for the person at the supermarket checkout counter can be an expression of appreciation and gratitude and a simple way to savor the moment through acknowledging their presence, friendship and assistance.
Savoring friendship does not always require loving-kindness meditation. As we grow in mindfulness, we can savor the moment when we experience friendship and be grateful of this gift that is often missing in the lives of people experiencing depression.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of cherylholt on Pixabay