August 11

The Closest Friend Is the God Within

To a real spiritual seeker, God is the only buddy. All the other friends are equal. There is no, “She is close to me,” or “He is my best friend.” Spiritual seekers don’t form cliques. That’s all in the mind. A spiritual person should be above these discriminations.

The closest friend is the One within: Your God, or your mantra. If you still want a closest friend in human form, then there’s your teacher. Otherwise you are alone. You can have other associations, but watch for the result. Ask yourself, “Am I getting the benefit of becoming more rooted in my spiritual life? Is this association helping me, or is it shaking me? Is it creating more attachment and confusion?”

We always have to think in those terms. “This is my path. I want to lead a detached life, a serviceful life. Not a self-centered life.” So your friendships should not be personal friendships. Your friendship is because he or she happened to be here and you are working together. Yes, friends. But not personal friends. A renunciate doesn’t have anything personal, because that person is already gone. The minute you put somebody or something as personal, attachment starts to come and that confuses the mind. So spiritual life is like that, not having anything as personal—whether you are a monk or a householder.

You can be a householder and also live like that; then you are a renunciate in the house, that’s all. There’s no personal relationship, but we are duty-bound. “My position is this, ‘Yes, I am the husband, I am the father of this house. I have a duty to perform to my wife, to my children, to take care of them. Other than that, I love everyone equally. Because I have some duty to the immediate family, I seem to be showing more love to them.’” But that doesn’t mean that you are not showing your love to others. It’s not your change of name or change of dress that makes you a renunciate. The lifestyle and mental attitude toward things and people makes you a renunciate.

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