Yes, I have a friend. Actually, I am blessed to have so many wonderful and Noble friends. But today I have one precious friend in particular that has taught me something extremely important. Which is not to minimize in any way the valuable lessons that so many other friends have taught me and continue to teach. I could write books about the blessings that so many have bestowed upon me by their wisdom, kindness, generosity and beautiful example of loving-kindness and friendship.
The friend that I speak of today happens to be a very successful business man, loving husband, great father, as well as a Noble friend to more people than I can count. It is even more likely that so many people truly have no idea of how Noble a friend he has actually been to them. He has a special gift of being able to help and encourage people without being noticed. Quietly, mindfully, he puts wheels in motion that will benefit others while asking nothing in return. The joy of seeing others hopes and dreams coming true are his fuel and inspiration. I often think that this is truly what gets him out of bed in the morning!
While this may seem to be lesson enough for me, there is another one that has escaped me for a very long time. This is his example of terrible multi-tasking. Yes, he is one of the worst I have ever known at doing several things at one time. Which might lead you to think he would fail at a lot of things, but the opposite is actually the case.
And I must admit that, in the past, I have been critical of this behavior. Sometimes finding my friend to be unresponsive in the timely fashion that I would expect. At other times, he is even unreachable at all for days.
So you could easily wonder, what kind of friend acts like this?
But for whatever reason, today it became crystal clear to me that this is a very powerful form of mindfulness. I see that he could not be successful or beneficial to anyone if he were focused in several places at the same time. He understands that he cannot take care of himself with loving-kindness and friendliness if he does not take care of his own peace and practice. And he has demonstrated this in so many ways, so many times, throughout our time as friends. I have seen clearly that when his focus turns toward me, it is complete and focused. It is filled with compassion, goodwill, and skillfulness. Whether it is a 5 minute phone call, or an hour-long discussion, he is totally present. And my friends, I am here to tell you that I cannot profess to doing this myself very often with anyone. Too many things on my plate, too many responsibilities, and an attention deficit formed by my own delusion that I am a good multi-tasker. And trust me, there is no such thing as a good multi-tasker.
I hope that today you will ask yourself the same question that I ask myself. “How present am I really?”. Would you rather have a friend half listen to you, or be totally and completely focused on you? Understanding how precious this is to you, perhaps like me, you can learn to offer that gift to others. For me, I know this will take some time. It’s a long-standing habit that for years I believed was a tremendous benefit. But thanks to my dear friend, the bubble has been burst. It’s time to come back to the very tip of my nose, the present breath, this moment and living being that is right here and right now. Right now I am grateful that I have a friend.