Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Faces of Spiritual Friendship

During Monday night's sangha meeting, Gil had us share in small groups, our experiences of spiritual friendships. Yesterday, I got a condensed dose of such friendship with not just one, but three very meaningful encounters, in support of emotional issue I have been struggling with. All with women. Different ages, different stages along the path, different venues.

First was a comment from long time online sister, Nadine, in response to my blog post. I came to know Nadine in the course of blogging at La Marguerite, the environmental blog where I kept green for several years . . . I have great admiration for Nadine's poetic talents, and for her courage in meeting the hardships that often come with being a true artist. Knowing that she read my story, and that she could relate it to her own life, lightened the burden of my fear a bit.

Later, was interview with Ines Freedman, one of IMC teachers. Ines was the first person to meet me back in July, when I finally decided to attend IMC. I still remember her talk, on 'Renunciation', and the joy of hearing her words, that spoke to my darkness. There was a way out, and she knew. Yesterday morning, I had expected to see Gil, as usual. Ines was there instead. Seeing her, firmly seated on her chair, I thought she looked like a female Buddha. Sharing my plight with her, I felt totally seen, and heard. With great ease, she helped me unknot the twisted mess of my emotions. I walked out smiling. A teacher can be a friend also.

Just as I was leaving IMC, I ran into Hillary, another member of IMC sangha. Hillary is the smile that welcomes all newcomers to our center. That morning I felt moved to stop, and respond to her inviting face. The time felt right for sharing stories about our lives as mothers and wives, and travelers on the path. Knowing that she, too, had had moments like the one I was struggling with, came as yet another gift of friendship.

The rest of my day felt so much lighter. To Nadine, Ines, and Hillary, I extend my deepest gratitude for the gift of their spiritual friendship.

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