A theory, stemming from an experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s, claims that each of us is connected to any other through only six friends. According to a recent study, Facebook reduces the figure of six degrees of separation to only four, which means, by all accounts, social networking is making the world even smaller…well, at least figuratively.
In general, these social networking sites were developed to allow individuals to make virtual connections with like-minded others, primarily family, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. I’ll admit I have accepted a few friend requests from people I have never met before, as we share mutual friends.
It would appear these networks are serving as a replacement for more classic forms of communication like paying a visit, making a phone call, or handwriting a letter. I am always a bit amazed when I notice I have over 1K Facebook friends. Is it really possible to have that many friends?
The Sun recently passed from Capricorn into the sign Aquarius. As we are now progressing further into the Age of Aquarius, I thought it appropriate to focus on one of the cosmic patterns embodying this sign and the New Age, the archetype of Friendship.
So, what is a friend? What is the nature of friendship? How do we choose our friends? Why is it that friendship seems to be essential to the human experience? These questions have been the subject of countless prose and poetry, over the centuries.
We might say, generally, that a friend is a dear one of like-mind with whom we share common interests, for the purpose of enriching our experience. Why we have friends, and how we choose them may be rather more subjective.
We might engage a friend for high-minded pursuits like substantive discourse, or for more mundane reasons like enjoying recreation or entertainment. We may seek a friend’s advice or support in challenging times, or gain fulfillment by caring for him or her in an hour of need. We may seek company of another to commiserate or complain. For whatever the reason, we naturally seek community, and connection. We are innately drawn to others.
We begin to forge our first friendships about the time we are developing our sense of individuality, and beginning to gain some independence from our parents. This is during the time when our ego mind is establishing itself. At this stage in our development we are very keyed into our separateness, and exercising this awareness in ways that can be very challenging for others around us, who would sometimes rather we not.
The individuality we are exploring, and the independence we are exercising are, however, in their nascent stage, immature, in that they are so closely tied to the development of the ego, which is that aspect of ourselves that believes we are separate from the whole. This, to be sure, is an essential part of our spiritual evolution. In order to evolve, we must first involve.
In our descent into the physical, we progress from an initial state of unity with the mother, literally dropping into this space-time reality called life. Ideally, we remain intimately connected to that source until we become acclimated to our new vehicle and environment. From birth to age 7, we are in the highly accelerated growth stage of the Vital Body, what we know as our physical form. From 7-14 years, as we transition into puberty, we enter the birth cycle of the Desire or Emotional Body. Between the ages of 14 and 21, the age of majority, we are developing the Mental Body. Until this point, in terms of our spiritual evolution, we are still in the downward trajectory of involution. The period from age 21-35 years is considered the “Beginning of Serious Life.” This is when, more or less, we begin our ascent, our quest again for Unity. We are now, however, seeking union with God.
It is rather curious that in the earliest stages of our development, when we are so engrossed in the process of defining ourselves as separate, we still seek out others for companionship. There is still an innate desire for connection.
What, then, lies at the core of this attraction toward others? Beneath the surface details of physical appearance, social, cultural, and religious conditioning exists a deeper, more primal draw, one that continues, no matter how cleverly we frame it, to penetrate the illusion of separation we have painted for ourselves.
This elemental Force, that seemingly pulls us toward others like a tractor beam, is Love, the essence of our Being. The Light of the Christ or Buddha Consciousness within us is seeking out its complement in others. The essence of our being, the Supreme Self, is Light. Like moths to the flame, we are attracted to that energy within the other.
When we look at another we are gazing into a divine mirror, illuminated from within, which allows us, when there is no distortion, to view the divine within ourselves, and know it is the reflection of the same Divinity within the being of the other.
Is this not clear to witness in the innocence of a small child, who, until taught otherwise, will befriend anyone? Children see with the eyes of the Supreme Self. They love unconditionally. As yet unclouded by the fog of the ego mind, they are untainted by the patterns of fear thrust upon them by those who have lost sight of the Truth of who they really are. Jesus, who embodied the Christ, the archetype of the Divine Spark of Consciousness made manifest, states very plainly “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Love is a force that radiates from the core of our being. It is an outward moving energy with great power to create and to heal. Just as the Sun gives freely of its energy, and does not choose but a few upon which it will shed its light, Love is not selective. It is unconditional, a generative, primal force of Life, capable of transforming all that lies in potential within the seed of human consciousness into the full manifestation of the Christ Consciousness. We embody this same radiant Sun energy. Each of us is the Son/Sun of God. This consciousness, the eternal flame, resides in the altar of the heart.
As we begin our gradual spiritual ascension, our at-one-ment, somewhere between the ages of 21 and 35, it is usually around this time that our friendships are becoming more critical to our sense of wellbeing, and it is also the time when many of us begin to seek out a partner or mate.
Most of us are also still very rooted in our ego consciousness, at this stage of our development. We are firming up our sense of self, our identity, our profile. One of the ways we do this is through our friendships, and in our relationships with a significant other. During this period, many of us are still believe we are somehow incomplete, and through our relationships with others, be they friends or intimates, we will find the sense completion we perceive as lacking.
Our societal and cultural constructs perpetuate this false premise, as does the media. Certainly advertising and the social networks would have us believe we are less than, or abnormal, if we are not constantly seeking out new connections with friends or lovers.
What drives this engine is the desire for a sense of wholeness, a sense of belonging, a sense of security. But we will never truly find that which we seek, if we only look outside ourselves. We must, rather, turn our focus within. We must make our first priority “friending” the Self. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…and all these things shall be added unto.”
When we direct our focus toward discovering and befriending the Self, we come to truly understand and embody our independence and individuality. When we understand the Self is the Force that animates us, that sees, hears, smells, touches, and tastes, that thinks our thoughts, and breathes our breath, we can allow ourselves to become dependent on the Divinity within us. We come to understand we are Divinity in duality, God manifesting in physical form within this illusion we call reality.
Until we can recognize the Divinity within ourselves, and know it to be the same spark that animates all other beings, we will always view ourselves as separate. As long as we view ourselves as separate, there will exist judgment and conflict, both within ourselves and with others. For we can only ever see in others what we believe is the truth about ourselves.
Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister and confidante to Queen Victoria, spoke these prescient words, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” Whether or not this was his intended meaning, the riches of which he speaks are those found within. The Master, Jesus, speaks of this when he tells us, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again, and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
When we know the true nature of our being as the Limitless Love, Light and Life of God, this is what we share with others, and it is what we see in all others whom we encounter. Corinne Heline, the 20th century mystic and New Age Pioneer, describes this awareness as “a type of friendship that is destined to expand until it becomes all inclusive and world embracing.” The world becomes our friend. We are no longer selective; we give of our Self unconditionally. We have the technology, now we just need the understanding.
Why then, we may ask, does it seem there are certain individuals to whom we are drawn over others, those with whom we have a connection that runs much deeper than we can explain, those we might consider soul mates?
We are all expressions of the same Self, but through the individual actions we make in the manifest world, what we call karma, we create waves of energy that ultimately must be balanced. This amassed energy, this collection of experiences, is what we call our soul. The process of bringing this energy back into balance is what keeps us on the wheel of reincarnation. This is the Law of the Universe, impartial and just. No judgment, simply balance.
In the effort to balance our karma, the soul draws to itself others whose karmic patterns complement our own, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitting perfectly together to help us view the bigger picture of our experience, that our soul patterns may be worked through and harmonized. Ultimately, after countless lifetimes, once this process is complete, the soul is purified, leaving only the Self, which then merges back into the One.
There may be certain souls with whom we conspire, while still in non-physical, to help us work off our karma. There are those whom we love and adore, members of our family and our dearest friends, who seem to really understand us.
Yet, there are those, who seemingly give us the greatest grief in the physical realm, who are also our dearest soul mates. They hold the exact key in their karmic makeup to unlock the chains that bind us to the great Wheel of Cause and Effect. Every soul is our salvation. There is not one, whom we encounter, who does not offer us the means by which we can evolve. They mirror to us what it is that we need to heal.
When we know the Self within us and we only see it in others, when we understand the nature of the soul and the Law of Karma, we are able to release all judgment, all blame, all condemnation, because we understand our soul is magnetically attracting these individuals and all of our related experience to us.
The contrast we feel regarding their behavior, the discord we experience, is only the gap between who we perceive them to be and who they really are. We can only feel this conflict, when we forget who we are, when we forget we are pure Love.
Jesus, the Christ, said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” The Master confirms here the divinity of God that is within him also abides in us, and here, in this understanding, is where we must dwell. He goes on to say, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He asks us to give up our sense of separateness, and to enter Unity Consciousness, to wake from the dream of illusion, so that the joy fully expressed in and through his being may manifest in us, and that our joy may, ultimately, be complete.
Joy, the radiant Light that permeates our being, is only fully known through the expression of unconditional Love. We are now called upon to offer to each, no exceptions, no exclusions, only that which we truly are. We must let go the mask of the personality, in order to access the Truth of who we are. As we hold up the untainted mirror of the Self, we can then reveal to all others their own Divinity. After all, it is true that a stranger is only a friend we haven’t yet met.
We are slowly wading into the Age of Aquarius, the Age of the Water Bearer. Many of us are now finally rising up out of the murky depths of the Piscean Age, while others still drown in the stagnant waters of that former Age of Suffering. Water is symbolic of the emotions. As long as we remain mired in our own emotional life, it is very challenging to be fully present to others, to be a true friend. When we have purified our emotional body so all that remains in our cup, all that we bear is the clear, cleansing, enriching, generative draught of unconditional Love, we are able to let it pour forth freely to all, without reservation, for we know the artesian well of the Heart is limitless in capacity. As we give so shall we receive. As we freely radiate Love, so it must be divinely reflected back to us through the mirror of all our relationships.
Katrin Naumann worked for 20 years as a Theatre Artist, both behind the scenes as a Costume and Scenic Designer, and on stage, film and TV, as an Actor. She has been a lifelong adventurer on the path of Self discovery, which has led to her current role as Director of Inner Balance Life Works. Her holistic healing practice focuses on offering pathways toward (R)evolutionary Self Transformation. Katrin serves the community as an Energy Healer, Intuitive Spiritual Guide, Qigong & Yoga Instructor, Author, Public Speaker, and Workshop Creatrix.