Company

Company

written by: Mark Janssen
by: Mark Janssen
Blue flower Blue flower

There has been much made of the phrase that life is a journey. It's been popular for many years. Life may be a journey, but not much stock is placed anymore on the company we keep. That was long a central idea that we heard from our parents, grandparents and at school. Preachers preached long and loud about the value of keeping good company. In a time and world where electronic toys have become our best friends, how can we either keep good company or make a valid journey to live a better life? Going through life alone can be treacherous. I have met hermits. Some of them were clearly disjointed from spending too much time away from human contact. It was unhealthy for them. With others it was impossible to discern that they spent any more time away from society that the rest of us. For more than a rare soul, the best thing in life is for us to live our lives among others. That doesn't mean we have to spend our whole days and nights in the midst of the melee. Our souls crave healthy amounts of time with emotionally and spiritually healthy people. We are the only ones who can give ourselves that gift. To be out in society, whether for work or socializing, enlivens our souls. Interacting with others of our own species helps us stay mentally alert and spiritually whole. It doesn't matter how much we may love to be out in nature, surrounded by our pets or drinking in the splendor of solitude and silence. A short period of privacy is always a good idea. It refreshes our minds and souls. Living apart from human society can be more of a challenge to our ability to live spiritually healthy lives than is healthy for us. Choosing the right people for our spiritual companions is absolutely necessary to remaining spiritually sane. We must be able to discern, to make good judgements about what people are good for our spiritual sanity and who are best avoided. All of us need to learn how to make healthy, well-formed and spiritually inspired decisions. We require good training during childhood as the precursor to wisely choosing adulthood friends who feed our souls just as we help feed their souls. Each of us gets to listen to our angels tell us the things we need to know to live well. Sometimes we are so bound up in our own thinking, so caught up in ourselves that we block out the sound of the angels' voices. At times like these our companions can come to our rescue. The spiritual friends we have are just as important, maybe more so, than our other friends. There is a difference between a spiritual friend and a spiritual teacher. Having the teacher is useful in learning more about the form of religion or spirituality we follow. Having companions means friends who are searching alongside of us. For several years I had a spiritual director who, in certain respects, was a very good choice. He had been a Catholic priest for many years. He spent years in prayer and study. Before we met he had spent several years living alone in a mountain cabin. Unlike hermits, he was busy every day with people scheduled to come to him for spiritual direction. He also made the effort to get off the mountain to discover the world around him. In many ways he was a good spiritual director. He guided my spirituality forwarded where otherwise I might have been stuck. In other ways, he simply had no idea on how to help move my spiritual life forward. Indeed, he held me back until I simply decided to work around him. The man quite foolishly thought he could talk me out of being a mystic. Far too many clerics and gurus of all stripes have the nonsensical notion that if they tell somebody that he cannot see angels, then he will stop seeing angels. Having been through all of that nonsense as a child, any time he tried to bring it up I waved him off or changed the topic. Then there were my spiritual companions. Rather than saying anything patently false or silly about my ability to communicate with God and spirits, they asked questions. They told me their experiences. They helped guide me forward with my spiritual life. Teaches are useful. They can truly guide us forward with our spiritual lives. Just as angels walk on one side of us, our spiritual companions walks on the other side. Listen to your angels as they tell you how much we need our companions.

"Blue Flower" by Valentin Arrellin

written by: Mark Janssen

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