VBT – Meditation 66.3

Friend As Stranger

Have you ever looked at your friends as if they are strangers? If you have not, then you have not looked at all. Look at your wife: do you really know her? You may have lived with her for twenty years or even more, and the more you live with her, the more is the possibility that you will go on forgetting that she is a stranger – and she remains a stranger. Howsoever you love her, it will not make any difference.

Really, if you love her more, the more strange she will look – because the more you love, the deeper you penetrate and the more you know how river-like she is, moving, changing, alive, every moment different. If you don’t look deeply, if you just stick to the level that she is your wife, that this is her name or that, then you have chosen a particular fragment, and you go on thinking of that particular fragment as your wife. And whenever she has to change, she has to hide her changes. She may not be in a loving mood, but she has to pretend because you expect love from your wife.

Then everything becomes false. She is not allowed to change; she is not allowed to be herself.

Then something is being forced. Then the whole relationship goes dead. The more you love, the more you will feel the changing pattern. Then each moment you are a stranger. You cannot predict; you cannot say how your husband is going to behave tomorrow morning. You can predict only if you have a dead husband: then you can predict. Predictions are possible only about things, never about persons. If some person is predictable, know well he is dead; he has died. His living is just false, so you can predict. Nothing is predictable about people because of the change.

Look at your friend as at a stranger; he is one! Don’t be afraid. We are afraid of strangers, so we go on forgetting that even a friend is a stranger. If you can look at the stranger in your friend also, you will never get frustrated because you cannot expect anything from a stranger. You take your friends for granted; hence, expectations and then frustrations – because no one can fulfill your expectations, no one is here to fulfill your expectations. Everyone is here to fulfill his own expectations; no one is here to fulfill you. Everyone is here to fulfill himself or herself, but you expect others to fulfill you and others expect you to fulfill them. Then there is conflict, violence, struggle and misery.

Go on always remembering the stranger. Don’t forget, even your closest friend is a stranger – as far removed from you as possible. If this feeling happens to you, this knowing, then you can look at the stranger and you can find a friend there also. If a friend can be a stranger, then a stranger can be a friend. Look at a stranger: he doesn’t know your language, he doesn’t belong to your country, he doesn’t belong to your religion, he doesn’t belong to your color. You are white and he is black or you are black and he is white. You cannot communicate through language; you don’t belong to the same church. So there is no common ground in nation, religion, race or color – no common ground!

He is totally a stranger. But look into his eyes, and the same humanity is there, that is the common ground; and the same life, that is the common ground; and the same existence, that is the root of your being friends.


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