We all know our friends. These are people who we’ve been through difficult times with and yet the relationship has survived. What it’s survived is our mistakes. Every human being has a manner of being. And every single way of being will sometimes exact a price on others.
That price will seem higher to some than to others, and we feel the same about the prices of dealing with others. If we look at our friends, we see the people who are the most tolerant of paying our prices, and we are tolerant of paying theirs.
That math is the basis of the friendship. If it gets out of balance, the friendship can end.
Friendships start because people’s histories meant that they offered the other person more rewards than suffering. And those relationships build if we continue to benefit the other person more than we cost them.
At the same time, our enemies are those whose histories and experiences conflict with our histories and experiences. It’s not that we have an issue with the person. Both of us innocently share an issue that is formed by histories largely out of our control.
That fact is why there is always hope for people to make amends in the future. Because between then and now, we will be shaping our future history.
If we shape our future wisely, we can guide it toward a reevaluation of the prices associated with others. And maybe we can get them to reconsider their valuation of us too. In short, if we’re open-minded, anyone is a potential friend.
It’s a worthwhile meditation to look for this reality in our lives. How tolerant are we to those around us? And why do some people get more and some less? Also, how tolerant are they to us? And why?
If we study this issue enough, we realize that everyone is just innocently being who they are, and our conflicts are like whitecaps on one big lake. We are all water. On the surface we can be choppy and dramatic. But it’s important to note that most of the water is not visible, and it remains a unified whole even when our egos are roiling.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.