Contemplating our recent two weeks in Ireland, the most unexpected teaching received was the Irish people's warmth and friendliness. At first, we thought it was just the hotel staff, but soon found the gracious, patient Irish people to be imbued with both the passionate fire and loving warmth of friendliness.
While on the lookout for a dark chocolate delectable, the shopkeeper, hearing our accidents, asked us what places we've seen in his town. He shared his favorite place – "the most spiritual", as he described it. When he found out that we didn't have a car, he offerred to give us a ride when he closed his shop. Another time as we were taking a picture of Malahide's goddess of the sea sculpture one of the three goth looking teens sitting at the base offered to move out of the way.
Our hearts were touched and opened by this consistent friendly intimacy. We felt so welcomed! Friendliness is a medicine needed in the world. For many of us this quality of intimacy, caring, and thoughtfulness was lacking in our families of origin, our schools, and the culture that now surrounds us. This archetypal connectedness exists in each of us, a seed waiting for the right conditions to grow and flourish. To honor the Irish people and the wave of love we received, we offer the following practices to cultivate friendliness in and through our lives.
To plant the seed of becoming the friend we offer the following mantra of Ya Wali (Ya WA leey) from the Sufi tradition. Chanting the divine names is a powerful meditation practice in most spiritual systems. The vibrational nature of the mantra activates different energies that exist in the quantum field of the universe and our psyches. Ya Wali signifies “the nearest friend, the one who realizes a deep, intimate and loving relationship with everyone and everything.” It is a remedy for a lack of intimacy, loneliness and alienation. If you have a mala or rosary try chanting one cycle of your prayer beads for yourself, one for friends and family, and lastly one for our world. Or, for a shorter practice, chant Ya Wali 11x each for yourself, friends and the world.
As a plant needs sunlight, the practice of recognition, bringing the light of conscious awareness to this emerging quality furthers its growth. In the evening, review your day and journal or remember 5 moments of giving and or receiving friendliness.
Raphael Rod Birney MD and Suzanna Yahya Nadler, MEd