26. FRIENDS AND FAMILY, ideas and facts

People, near, far and everywhere, not only those born into our lives, but all people, some we know and others we do not know, good people and bad, all kinds of people.  We look at them, even admire some of them, but we do not see them, not really, because we are so busy sorting and installing them into a system, who is who, where and why system.  That is what we do with all people, family, friends, acquaintances and others.  We install them into a system, to fulfill our needs and control our fear.

Why do we have this need to sort and install people into a system?  We must know how it prevents normal communication between us to classify each other.
Why do we need to protect ourselves in our relations with other people?  We cannot have a close and healthy relationship with people if we are afraid of them and feel we need to protect us in some way.

What are our ideas about the concepts family and friends and why?
We can answer the why with one word, fear.  Our need for friendship, whether from family or others, is fear.  And that fear stands in the way of normal and healthy relationship between people.

The family is different from other groups and other rules apply within the family than outside it.  Most of us believe its members should stick together and protect each other, no matter what.  And many see the family more as an obligation they have to meet and then the need for the family becomes an obligation as well.
Family members are not our choice, but are born into the group, even though they can become friends later on.  We do not have to like them, but still we have them in our lives and have to associate with them up to a certain extent and stand by them when needed.

Other people are something else; they are optional and carefully selected by a specific system.
Still there is no difference between them, they are but a group of people, we gather around us.  The group is very similar for all of us, colleagues, playmates at school, sports or elsewhere, neighbors, etc.
We divide the people, we want to keep close, into three groups which we call, friends, acquaintances and others.
Each group is then subdivided into even smaller groups as far and near, according to the confidence we demand of the group’s members.  Thus we expect friends to show more confidence than others.
These groups are not stable.  Friends and acquaintances are variable titles.  A friend can easily fall further away and change into an acquaintance, or he can leave, and new friend take his place, all according to our wishes.

We choose these people by the ideas we have created about how friends and acquaintances should be, both in quantity and quality.
Many people believe that having many friends equivalent to being happy and having few friends the same as being antisocial and even poor in this respect.
Other and opposite idea is having few and trustworthy friends.

Of course we set rules and limits to how our friends and acquaintances should behave.
We try to ensure that their ideas are similar to our own.  For we cannot associate with people who doubt us and our good qualities and thus disturb the life we have created for us.
If a friend breaks the rules and limits we set, he would very likely lose the label friend, for shorter or longer period of time.
Sometimes we seek specific friendship, in hope it will bring us some kind of importance or benefit us in some way.  We can only find such friendship with those we think are superior to us.
But mostly we seek friendship among so-called equals in form of our status in society, occupation and interest.

There is of course lot more to be said about this matter but this is somewhat the ideas we have about the concepts family, friends, and acquaintances.
The reality of it is then quite different.

We cannot label a relationship that is created for our own benefit friendship, whether it is through work, search of knowledge or longing for importance.  To maintain such friendship would call for certain behavior from the one seeking, and by that make him a prisoner of that behavior.
Relationship or friendship created from the concept of equality is no different.  For all the systems, rules and limits we demand, are always according to our needs and interest.
We try to hinder any threat to our ideas and there is no difference between self-interest that is created from the idea of equality or the desire for importance.  Self-interest is always self-interest.

The fact of the matter is that we have no friends and acquaintances.  Not in the true meaning of these words.  We associate with certain group of people.  That is all.

We do not seem to realize that everything and everyone around us is an image, also so-called friends and acquaintances.  The conflict, if and when there is a conflict, is our own image about the subject.
We have all heard and said I was so disappointed in him; I did not expect this from him.  What we, on the other hand, do not seem to know, is that we have created a certain image of the one who disappoints us.
We have obviously also set some limits and demands on the strength of this image.
And since we do not see the difference between the person and the image, we become very hurt and offended when the person behaves differently from what we expected, and then the image becomes skew or falls apart.

We direct the hurt to the person from whom we created the image.  That creates disagreement and we get caught in a conflict we could easily have avoided.
For this is entirely our problem, created in our minds and nothing else.  And it has nothing to do with the person from whom the image was created.

What drives us to gather groups of people around us, friends and acquaintances, is fear of being alone.
We truly do not dare to stand alone.  Yet we are alone.  We are all alone in the world.  Nobody can come into our world and we cannot leave, at least not alive.  That is a fact we should face.

If we look at our lives from the beginning and until now, we can see it is mostly made of and created from the ideas that we have about everything.  That is all.
We are born into this world not knowing who or what we are.  We are told that we are and are not, should be and should not be, like this and that.
We are made to believe we are large, small, fat, thin, etc. and that we should be good, obedient, efficient and eager.  We should be positive and not negative.  Little by little we realize we are it all, both the positive and the negative.
Sometimes we cannot hide what is considered inappropriate and negative and then we get punished or rejected for it, which again makes us try to hide it even better.
But we are still all of it, both the positive and the negative.

Because of what we are and what we are told we are, the idea that we are bad people, or at least different from what we should be, starts molding in our minds and we become vulnerable and afraid.
We do not realize that the rejection we get for showing our negative side, is the fear our loved ones have of losing what they have, or think they have.
It is through rejection that we learn we are alone in the world and we are ready to do all kinds of things to make it go away.

And so it has been through the generations, and will continue to be unless we stop it, because when it is our turn to give, we obviously give what we have, which is the same as we were given.

All our lives we are trying to get the people around us, family, friends and acquaintances, to accept us as we are.
But all we get, no matter how we try, is that we are not good enough and have to change.
And then we endlessly try to change something from what is, into what should be.
And thus we create conflict and struggle within ourselves, which we automatically send out to our surroundings.

We dare not stand alone and accept ourselves as we are.  We do not know how to do it. We do not know that the world, we have created around us is an illusion created from all the ideas we have about everything.  That is all.

And all we have to do is to stop, here and now, and be ourselves.

Somewhere inside us there is something that knows this all.  Because everything about us, no matter what it is or how, is in our memory.  In our core we know what and how. The only way to find it, is to peel off and look at all the delusion, all the ideas, we have created for us, until there is nothing left but the core, which we are trying to hide behind all our ideas and images.  For why would we spin a web of illusion if there is nothing to hide?

When we have examined and let go of all our illusions, our true identity, the truth, that is life and us, will be visible.

The truth will take away our loneliness and fear and unite us as one, for if it is one then it is another and they therefore one and the same. And even though we, as a creation, stand alone on the outside, we are united within, as the truth, which is life. That is love.  And where there is love there is no fear.

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