Michael Divine


Mind is a terribly unreliable narrator. It is hero, villain, victim, confidant, so many stories it retells itself over and over. We can train our minds to create a more focused narrator, but, even then, it is hard to be an objective observer.

We don’t know when we are off our rockers. It can be others who notice when we are out of alignment long before we notice it ourselves. Our inner narrator is full of stories, reasons, excuses.

I think this is the value of community, that sangha we surround ourselves with. It is our closest friends who see us in our ups and downs and see how we comport ourselves in the world, the changes we make over time, the nuances of our speech, the way we relate, the levelness of our gaze. Sometimes those friends know us better than we know ourselves. If we surround ourselves with people who also want growth, vulnerability, & openness, then there’s a trust we can surrender to them: that they have our best interest in mind even when our own inner narrator thinks otherwise.

People go see a therapist and, even then, they are only self reporting. There are masks yet to be stripped away, ways of being that only those closest to us know. This isn’t to disparage therapy, but there’s a casualness in friendship that only our friends see and in that casualness, there’s the coarse edges, the shifting sands of our beings.

So I think vulnerability within our friendships is important. Just sharing ourselves and being open. Without that, how do we grow? How do transform ourselves?

We can train our minds and unravel the knotworks of our hearts but how we relate to others is the real test of all that work. It takes courage, I think, to present ourselves openly to others without the baggage of the fear of not being loved.

With our close friends there is the sense of being able to relax completely and just be ourselves. We are mirrors of each other and those mirrors we surround ourselves with can either hinder us by reflecting back only that which we want to see or help us by reflecting back the same vulnerability and open sense of self on a path of growth.

We are in it together. So we roll up our sleeves and dig in together.

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