A Garden named Friendship
By david brittain
ASCENSION SUPPORT TEAM
DAVID AND YVONNE BRITTAIN
A GARDEN NAMED FRIENDSHIP.
A true gardener learns to intuitively understand his or her relationship to his or her garden. Simply to own a garden is meaningless without this understanding. Each can survive without the other. But mere survival is a pallid shadow compared to the mutual enrichment to be gained from an evolving relationship. If the relationship is neglected or taken for granted by the gardener, this is quickly reflected by the neglected and unkempt appearance of the garden.
Conversely, if the caring gardener always has grateful, loving thoughts for the garden, that love also will be swiftly reflected by the garden’s appearance. Often gardeners lovingly talk to their gardens, even though they know that gardens respond to thoughts or thoughtlessness, not words. Each gardener is unique, and each garden responds in the relationship by visibly expressing that gardener’s uniqueness. If inner rigidity, created by doubt of self, hides that uniqueness from the gardener, this also will be visibly expressed by the rigid formality of the garden. In this sense the garden is the canvas on which how the unique artist regards self will be faithfully reflected. Reflected may be generous flowing curves of beauty and colour to be shared with and by all. Reflected may be the disciplined and precise formality that, with unspoken rules that must be obeyed by others, silently stunts the evolvement of the relationship.
Our description of a relationship with a garden may sound odd until we place it in the context of a friendship between two or more people. In this context the garden “is” the relationship. The people are the gardeners who have chosen to work together to create the garden. Now the garden will faithfully reflect the self-regard of more than one person. In this sense all that are involved in the friendship, must seek to protect the friendship, even from the thoughtlessness of each other.
Sometimes this requires openly declared mutually understood guidelines. Otherwise true and evolving friendship may often be confused with the casual amiability of shared or common interests. In the former, the friends will include in the friendship, all and everyone that each cares about. In the latter the narrow parameters of the shared interests may be the only real point of contact in the relationship. But then, to avoid the hurt of anyone involved by misunderstanding the relationship, it mustn’t be allowed to be confused with friendship.
The essential gardening tools of true friendship are honesty, open frankness, and the ability to trust your sensitivity to the sensitivity of all involved in the friendship.
We mean the honesty and fairness to not conceal annoyance and growing hidden resentment, behind the smiles and words of friendship. We mean the frankness to openly express the reasons for one’s annoyance, and the fairness to allow the unsuspecting cause of one’s annoyance to explain. We mean the courage and honesty to admit to being the unwitting cause of hurt and misunderstandings between others, even when to do so reveals that one was the cause. Often this may be due to one’s forgetfulness, and pre-occupied thoughtlessness.
This requires a readiness to trust that any recriminations one might fear will be cushioned by the respect of all for one’s honesty. Without these guidelines any friendship is doomed. With these guidelines, the sky is the limit. But the garden teaches us far more than that about friendship.
Always it sounds strange when we urge people to love themselves, but until you love you, it is impossible to truly give love to anyone else. The best you will be able to offer is conditional love that must be given or withdrawn, subject to your current judgements. At this point, love ceases to be love. Love instead becomes a transaction where your affection must be earned by first gaining and always retaining your approval. The drawback to this uneasy arrangement soon becomes apparent because, for you the world becomes a place filled with people of whom, currently, you approve, or disapprove. Or whom you totally disregard as irrelevant to your life.
In the context of many so-called friendships, from the very start it is obvious that no one involved in the relationship has ever learned to genuinely love self. So let’s look first at what love of self doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean selfishness, or thoughtlessness to others. In a similar way it doesn’t mean gluttony, greed, ambitiousness, or narcissism, because all of these negative traits are rooted in fear, and in doubt of self.
Mostly people look outwards and seldom look inwards, so most people always base their outlook on their interpretations of the incoming impressions that they receive.
Of some of those impressions they will approve. Of some of those impressions they will disapprove. But as all of those impressions, from birth to death, are from outside, on what will they base their approval or disapproval? The only thing they can base it on is their experience of the approval or disapproval of others to similar impressions received from outside. In this way each becomes a reflection of those around them, the child who becomes as an adult, a reflection of his or her father, mother, husband or wife. In this way the Status Quo is created, for which a less polite name would be “a herd mentality”, each member of which seeks to conform to gain herd approval.
Instead, get to truly know yourself. Eventually all the others come and go but as far as you are concerned; you will always be with you. Find out what makes you happy or unhappy. Find out what makes you angry, or reproachful, or worried, or anxious. Then find out why. Why are all of these involuntary feelings and uninvited emotions so important to you that they control your equilibrium and your clear thinking?
Yvonne and I try to always keep well clear of herd thinking and we are always seeking to reveal the truth behind the illusions. Equally we are happy to be us. We know we are not perfect and we don’t want to be, but we do understand our emotions, and ourselves, which helps us to understand others that don’t understand self and the effect of emotions upon self.
Having reached that point of tranquillity with ourselves we are happy with ourselves as individuals, so neither of us individually, needs the approval of anyone or of each other. Conversely we don’t feel the need to approve or disapprove of anyone else. We are not telepathic so who are we to judge why anyone thinks or does as they do? For Yvonne and myself, all people, and their feelings, are of equal value and importance.
Of course from the last two paragraphs the readers might suspect that we now glow in the dark, blissfully smiling whilst we hover at just below bedroom ceiling level. No we haven’t quite got there yet, and we mustn’t confuse tranquillity with complacency.
When one loses everything as Yvonne and I did, one survives the experience and emerges with a totally different set of values. In that sense we speak from experience.
All of those things that we owned had strings attached. For example, at the time it seemed so important to own a house. But when we lost our house we also lost the expense of maintaining the house, in terms of money and of physical and nervous energy. The relief from this ongoing drain was enormous, and it released us to focus our energies onto people instead of inanimate burdens. Needless to say, when friends seem to let us down, we still have a moan about them between us. But we never close the door on them because we know we might be wrong. If after a letdown the friend visits us again, with frankness we try to sort it out. If they don’t visit us again, then they, not we, closed the door on the friendship. All of this sounds obvious until you look around. Then you realise just what an abused word is the word, “Friendship”
In our hectic, competitive society, friendship is often equated with mutual usefulness, or is dependent on one person draining energy in some form from another person. When the energy supply is cut off, the relationship dies. To understand true friendship we must return to our garden, because true friendship is all about giving with no strings attached. Your garden gives everything to you with no expectation of return.
You give to your garden your loving care and you also feed energy back into your garden, in the form of water, fertiliser, and any other needs of the garden. But even if you failed to do this, the garden would simply continue to give to you everything that it could. The garden would never make judgements about you, nor about any plant growing in the garden. Orchids or stinging nettles, without distinction the garden would feed both. You might exclude the nettles, but the garden would never exclude any plant. Here is another lesson our garden teaches us about friendship. Friendship excludes no one, and so now we have a clue to help us understand universal, unconditional love.
Intellectually we could describe universal love as an incoming energy from Prime Creator. This incoming energy is very real, and is used to continuously recreate Creation. But then before we all sagely nod in agreement, we have to clarify what this really means. It really means that the energy structures of all atoms are made of love are made to love and to be loved. But regardless of the sage nods of agreement, this also is meaningless until you shuffle it through your heart centre to put it into practice in your daily life.
We consciously drop that easy cop-out, the judgmental role. We then replace that role with the ongoing conscious use of discernment. This is when we always hit trouble with people who just can’t understand anything but the judgmental role, for example.
Yvonne and I love all cats, but from 1991 for seven years circumstances prevented us from giving a cat a permanent home, but still we had cats. These were stray cats, alley cats, and cats, that when they were no longer pretty kittens, had been dumped by their owners. Many of these cats had the deep battle scars of survival, and the equally deep scars of rejection inflicted upon them by human beings. Always these cats were hungry. Always these cats were suspicious of our gentle advances to give them food.
But always, each in its own timing, these walking wounded would gradually overcome their fear of further rejection. One of these cats we named Oliver. He looked as though he had fought a combine harvester and had badly lost the fight. Oliver was a loner and he had to be free, and yet during his short life, which ended when some villager poisoned him, he learned to trust us. At first he came only for food. Then he came for food and for affection. Lastly he came simply to feel included. The last time we saw Oliver, he had climbed onto our porch, into our open bedroom window, and was fast asleep on our bed. The neighbours thought we were crazy.
Oliver’s lady friend was a nervous and wild tabby that used to gaze longingly and suspiciously when Oliver entered our house. Then Sweetie, as we named her, noticed that Oliver was never rejected, and was free to come and go as he pleased. Next as a trial run, petite Sweetie sidled into our kitchen, hidden by Oliver’s bulky body, to tuck into his plate of food. Later after Oliver’s demise Sweetie eventually claimed our quiet, spare bedroom as hers, even though she had her preferred home elsewhere.
So a garden has first taught us about true friendship with other gardeners. It has also taught us about non-judgemental friendship between garden and plants. Then a series of alley cats have taught each of us how to become “a garden named friendship.” When you evolve from being a friend to being friendship itself, you are on the way to knowing and radiating universal, unconditional love.
THREE TIMES REJOICE…………….by David Brittain
If yesterday you stumbled
Through a star-less, moonless
If today your life is filled,
With self-confidence and,
With joy and sunshine…
REJOICE AND REJOICE.
If tomorrow you long
To heal the broken-hearted,
And all who despair in darkness,
REJOICE, REJOICE, AND REJOICE.
Because your yesterday,
Gave you an insight.
Into his or her tomorrow.
This poem is included in ‘Food for Thought on the Ascension Path’ a book of published articles and essays written by David and Yvonne Brittain.
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