By Brian Kane,
What is a friend? According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a friend is: one attached to another by affection or esteem. It seems to me that friends are something we need in life in order to get by. Friends can give us advice, help us in difficult situations, and just be there to comfort us through both good and bad times. Hopefully they make us laugh a lot too.
But not all of us desire to make new friends or even have close ones. Why? I remember when I was a kid, I heard Rusty Willoughby of Flop croon in the song “Regrets” “…I haven’t got no friends, shit is a better companion…” It always baffled me when I heard those words at age 16. I loved my friends and had a lot of them, relatively speaking.
But then I got older. Many of my closest childhood friends do not even speak to me anymore. Stuff went down, sometimes on numerous occasions, which tested my friendships and in some cases ultimately dissolved them.
I suppose an anecdote is prudent at this point. For instance, one of my closest childhood friends, we’ll call him “Mike,” used to constantly talk bad about me behind my back. This didn’t really surprise me since he used to talk to me about other people all the time as well. One day, at a friend’s house I was looking for the remote control. I found it in a table drawer along with a piece of paper that had quotes on it. I dismissed it at first, but upon further inspection I noticed that the quotes were things that I used to say quite often. Brian Kane verbal idiosyncrasies if you will. Stuff like “Whatever man, I don’t even care anymore,” “Can you Drive?” and mannerisms like, “Poor a perfectly good beer down the drain and say it was mostly backwash,” “Always cancelling plans to hang out with friends and instead always be with his current girlfriend” et-cetera. Basically, the list was sort of poking in fun of some of my quirks or things that “Mike” found irksome.
The list was mostly composed by my supposed best friend, “Mike.” Now this really hurt me and I called “Mike” up to chastise him. His excuse was basically, “Well you know when you hang out with someone a lot and some of the stuff they do bugs you? I just had to get that off my chest.” But you had to make a list about me with another one of my friends? That seems very deranged.
In retrospect, I believe this was a lame excuse and just one of the many reasons that I am no longer friends with “Mike.” At the time, I forgave Mike and we remained friends. And if that was the worst of what he was capable of doing to his supposed, “friends” then I would most likely still be friends with him today, even though he can be a extremely insensitive and abusive. However, some of his later actions are simply unmentionable, and I just simply got exhausted trying to remain friends with him.
Coincidentally, this character now lives right behind me in a cozy condominium with his new wife. I have had recent conversations with him and he has not changed much: He still talks smack about people we know or knew and acts like a complete buffoon in public, usually embarrassing everyone around him. The sad thing is, he is not inherently a buffoon, but his insecurities make him act stupid in social situations, with absolutely no decorum. I look at it like this, Mike’s good side is great (he can be smart, caring and funny). His bad side is horrible and outweighs any part of his good side (he is vindictive, spiteful, jealous, selfish, condescending and rude.)
There is an old saying: Small minds talk about other people, large minds talk about issues, and even larger minds talk about ideas. When I saw “Mike” recently, he was still using only half of his brain–gossiping and bashing others. Needless to say, it only validated my choice to not want to ever be his friend again.
So this brings us to friends and forgiveness. It is inevitable that your friends are going to hurt you. I think that the question is not whether you should forgive them (you always should) but whether you should remain friends with them. I consider myself an extremely open minded person and try to get along with everyone
For instance, in my senior year high school yearbook, someone wrote: “I think I’ve known you since Jr. High! Northshore…the prison school, right? Anyway, you’ve always seemed like a really cool guy to me who is just nice to everyone. Good luck in the future. Have a good summer.”
It probably seems hypocritical of me to me talking about one of my old friends, but I do it to create an example of how we should forgive our friends no matter what. And I am not trying to be self-righteous, but that is one of my favorite yearbook inscriptions that I have ever received. I guess I look at it as self-confirmation that I am a decent person and always have been. I am far from perfect, as most of us are. But one thing I have always tried to do is be kind to people. I always felt that I had a part of me that was like everyone else, even the jerks that we all must encounter.
By studying Yi Ren QiGong and tai chi, most notably Level III, I have gradually begun to see more of the universality of human existence. One thing I have noticed more and more is that when I hang out with a person long enough, even for just one evening, my inner voice and even decision making process takes on the characteristics of the person I hung out with. I can even close my eyes and imagine how one of my friends might look and what he or she might say and act like being in the same situation that I am in at any given moment.
For the most part, for me, this is a good thing since I consider most of my friends super intelligent and wise. However, for instance, when I hung out with “Mike” I said and did some really ignorant and hurtful things to people. “Mike” was having a detrimental influence on me. The reason I still hung out with “Mike” is that I am very loyal. However, I now know that you must forgive those who have done you wrong. This releases any bad, draining energy created by holding an infantile grudge. However, one should never feel obligated to remain friends with someone. People change: sometimes for the worse.
As I mentioned in the last blog, practicing the Level III Extraordinary Meridian Exercise along with the level II Lung/Large intestine exercise is an amazing way to let grudging feelings go and forgive yourself and others.
One lady in the last Level III class I attended said that by attending Dr. Sun’s recent Level III seminar on May 21st and 22nd she has begun to realize more and more how we are all connected to each other and to the universe. She was very excited and said that since that seminar, she has been much more at ease and clearheaded. YiRen QiGong teacher Brendan Thorson, lead us through some of the same exercises that Dr. Sun had lead at the seminar, and after class, I felt very calm an introspective. I thought about my life and my friends in it. I thought about something a friend did recently that hurt me. But I did not get upset. I just smiled and forgave that person. The burden on my back felt much lighter after that. Hopefully one day that burden will seem weightless. Forgiving friends is definitely a start.