Soul Friendship

A conversation between David Truman and Eva about the

healing and liberating power of committed relationship

Eva: I've been deeply touched by the things that happened lately, and by the things you told me about friendship. I felt very deeply how a real friend is a savior, a healer of people on this planet. I felt how friendship takes people away from all of the hurt, all the fear, all the separation. It lifts them up into a higher realm -- or gives them a chance for that.

Those things touched me so deeply, I felt like I was changed by seeing them. And I understood better who you are, and how you give yourself to the people in the way that you relate to them. You offer them yourself in this way. And I felt the seriousness of this whole thing. It's like, suddenly this whole relationship thing became more possible for me. It made so much more sense.

And now, when I attempt to go out and speak with people, I just can't forget what I've learned. I can't forget it when I look at them and feel them. I can sense what they have, and what they miss.

David: What they miss is commitment, loyalty. If there's a lack of commitment, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- will ever take seriously any relationship, or any person.

The heaven folk know that. They recognize the value of loyal friendship. That's why they've told me a thousand times, "You are not alone. We are with you. We will stay with you always." They went to such trouble to make the point over and over: You are not alone. We are doing this together. They know how important that bit of knowing is.

A person who feels alone and separate is demoralized in some profound spiritual/emotional sense. They are cut off from life, from hope, from the positive possibilities of life by the very fact that they consider themselves to be alone. It's terribly depressing to think you're alone, that you have to do everything for yourself, and that no one cares. It sure doesn't allow you to fly on spiritual wings. Every soul wants to fly beyond separation, beyond anxiety, beyond concerns, beyond despair -- beyond all the shit that ego is all about, and believes in.

And yet, fundamentally, what the ego is all about is separation. Irremediable separation. "You're born alone, and you die alone." "You've got to watch out for yourself, because who else will?" The philosophy of separation is the ego's stock in trade, its entire sorry way of thinking. Ego says, "You have to live this damned prodigal life, and look out for yourself at all times. Why? Because you are alone, and there's nothing you can do about it. Born alone, die alone." Depressing indeed!

Now look at the other side: When people fall in love or meet a new friend, they suddenly feel so different, so very different, you want to ask, "What's gotten into you today? You seem very happy. Unusually so." And they say, "Oh man, I met a new friend yesterday." They seem resurrected, and so changed and improved -- just the very fact that they met a friend yesterday. They don't feel alone anymore. And that did their soul a world of good.

So this isn't rocket science, you can see it everywhere. How the human being presumes themselves to be alone, and how if anybody can convince them that that's not the case anymore, they are resurrected -- NOW.

We is a word with a magic spell
Hearts open wide when you say it
Well sometimes they do
When we is bigger than me.

Eva: Yes, I feel the power of that. I feel the resurrecting power of friendship. And I see how you, as a bodhisattva, know that, and are offering that. Even if you are just there for a moment, you offer people your heart. And for that moment they feel what friendship really is.

David: Right. And if you will offer that love, that friendship for all time -- as a loyalty, rather than, let's say, as a one-night stand, or a nice moment, or even a peak moment, then you've made a much greater difference -- a difference that can endure.

Eva: Yes. I think that once you know what it takes to be a friend, it contains that intention of being that forever.

David: Yes. Exactly!

And it's not that big a deal. Just your commitment, your loyalty. But it's essential because, as you know, one can easily invalidate any kind of a peak experience or brief encounter. The feeling is, "Yes, good things happen, of course, but they don't last." So, even if you had a magnificent experience, you're back to being fundamentally alone.

People feel love poor, basically. They feel, "Yes, I got an inheritance, a windfall, but even so, I'm a poor person, basically. I got a thousand dollars, but as soon as I get this thousand dollars spent, I'll be poor again." Can you feel that? It's depressing.

What about this: "I'm a wealthy person." That's fundamentally different, obviously. And the change is at the most fundamental level. It's a change in the assumption about the way things are for you, what your life will be like on an ongoing basis.

That's why, if you feel, "I have a friend ongoingly," it's very different than, "I had a wonderful experience with somebody."

A little nurturing is good, a little comfort may be good -- but these things aren't very good. It's like this: I remember times when I've left a restaurant with my doggie bag full of extra food, but the first thing that happened was, we ran into a beggar holding a sign that said, "Food, money -- anything would help." So I go up to the guy and say, "We just came out of this restaurant and we have some fantastic food here. You want it?"

The beggar says, "Are you kidding? Of course I want it." So we give him this good food, and he sits there on the sidewalk and eats it happily. He has had a stroke of luck. Now he has some food in him, some nourishment -- and that's a good thing, as far as it goes. But you see, it doesn't go far enough, because it's only for this afternoon. He'll be starving again tomorrow.

That's what I mean by experiences. Experiences can make you feel very fortunate this afternoon. And yet you may still feel destitute, fundamentally, because you know yourself to be poor.

That's the beggar's problem. It's an ongoing problem he has, to be a beggar, to be someone who is poor and starving. We gave him a bite to eat for this afternoon, but how do we address that issue then -- the issue of ongoing poverty, ongoing starvation? That's our next challenge.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to give him a meal, but I'd much rather give him a life in which he could always have food. A life of ongoing nourishment and reliable sustenance.

Eva: But he would need to accept it, and work for it, wouldn't he?

David: Sure. It's a circle, there's no denying that. And obviously, I don't necessarily offer lasting commitment if I know for sure that the person is in no position to receive it. But still, if you are starving, the pain of starvation remains, even if you are starving by your own choice.

As long as a person is undernourished, that problem still remains to be solved someday for this person. Someday, his life must change for the better. Someday, he must be raised up out of that life of poverty. Someday, he must be relieved of the entire set of assumptions that is keeping him down. Someday, he must be freed of his conviction that he is emotionally poor, and that he will be undernourished in the future, because he has nothing and no one, no one truly loves him.

Perhaps he can live one day at a time, hand to mouth. Perhaps there will be people who occasionally give him a dollar, or some food, or a meal of love. And if he's like most people, that's about all he expects. Hand to mouth, it's probably the most he can expect of life, you know?

Eva: Oh God.

Exceptions only prove the rule

David: Now you know why I have limited enthusiasm for special moments, exceptional experiences, and all that. I realize they are exceptions, and you know what they say about exceptions: the exception proves the rule.

If you had an exceptionally good time with someone today, what does it mean that the experience was exceptional? It means that most of the time, your experience is lackluster, mediocre, unsatisfying. So, you better enjoy it while it lasts, because soon, your carriage will turn back into a pumpkin, and the coachmen will turn back into rats. You had a good time tonight, but tomorrow, you have to go back to reality -- and for you, reality is poverty.

In most lives, the short-lived good stuff is a tease, foreplay. It gets you going, but then suddenly stops, and lets you down. It breaks your heart to realize that this good stuff is only temporary.

Eva: Yes, emotionally that's terrible. It's terrible because it seems to prove that reality is poverty, and each experience is an exception which proves it.

David: Yes, that's how the ego would use the exceptional experience. There is a better use, a helpful interpretation. "If this happened once, it could happen twice. And if it could happen twice, it could happen a million times. It could happen forever."

So you see, the exception doesn't just prove the rule, it also shows something positive: that there are bright possibilities out there. Good things do exist. And that is nice to know.

So, when we have a positive experience, when it comes to the interpretation of the experience, we always reach a fork in the road: Either this experience proves the rule, or it proves that the rule doesn't need to be the rule.

A negative interpretation neutralizes the positive effects of the positive experience. But the positive interpretation can really change our life view, and through that, our entire destiny.

"Life CAN be different -- and this experience proves it. Wouldn't it be great to have a life in which that kind of experience was the norm? Wouldn't it be wonderful if this experience were the RULE, not the exception?"

So that's a fork in the road of interpretation. One hopes that the person will take the higher fork.

"You believe what you want to believe,
but you don't have to live like a refugee.

- Tom Petty

Eva: Yes, yes, I see that. I see that this is what you are actually offering to people. You are saying, "You don't have to be poor. You can have a steady flow of great experiences, high experiences, experiences of communion. But for that to happen, you need to support it. You need to have a positive assumption on an ongoing basis that supports and creates the higher life, a steady flow.

David: Exactly. I'm trying to awaken people to that fact. If all I can give someone is a dollar, one time, that's probably better than nothing. It's a start. A hint. It's like winking, or smiling at somebody as you pass them on the street. From that, hopefully, they think, "Wow, somebody smiled at me! That changed my whole day."

To that I would reply, "Great! I'm glad it changed your whole day. And if I could change your whole life, I'd be even gladder. That's what I would really like to change: your life. I'd like to raise you up out of your misery for good."

Eva: Yes!

Wearing down the mountain of distrust

David: And that's where your commitment comes in, Eva. Your commitment to Julie, for example. I'm sure you would like to change her whole day, but also, if you could, you would like to change her whole life.

Eva: Yes. But of course, she has a part to play in that, too. She hasn't responded much to my friendship, and I don't know if she will. There is a way that she feels very strongly about me. She sees me as a refuge from all of her other life, but still, she doesn't reach out to me much. She doesn't make room for me. She won't open up much.

David: Yes. She has the mentality we're calling The Exception. As she sees it, you are an exception that proves the rule. So she can only be a certain amount happy with you. You can't be taken too seriously as long as you are thought of as an exception that proves the rule.

As long as the beggar relates to donated food as being an exception, they may gobble it down hungrily, but they remain depressed. They don't think, "Great! Now I have food forever. Never again will I be starving!" They don't think that exactly. Certainly not at first, and not for a while.

That's why, as a provider of nurturance, you have to wear down the mountains. Mountains of doubt. Mountains of insecurity. Mountains of shame.

What if you went by the beggar every week, and every week you gave them food? Maybe after a long time, the beggar's psychology of distrust would begin to wear down. But it would take time. If a beaten dog has a strong neurosis from past trauma, it might take a long time to get him to trust you.

The same with Julie, or anyone else. It might take a long time to get them to trust you. You might need to maintain correspondence with her over years. But then maybe, bit by bit, she would come to trust you more deeply than she could at first.

So you see, that's where your commitment comes into play. It's important that you are willing to be there for a long time, to see if you can wear down a person eventually. Courting a broken-hearted woman is like that. If she is very very skeptical, and she puts up a lot of defenses, you start small. You'll need a lot of patience if you ever expect to win over a woman like that. She's not going to change fast. You have something to prove to her, something she absolutely needs you to prove: that you are there for the long haul. The fact is, if you don't prove that, there's not going to be any relationship. But again, if you have patience, you might be able to wear down her walls.

Eva: Well, we'll see. It's up to her.

David: Yes, it is.

Eva: I see how my part is to provide the steadiness and commitment you're talking about. I give Julie what I can, and she gets whatever she allows me to give her. My responsibility to her is to be there for her.

David: Exactly. That's your part. As they say, "The only person in this world we can control is ourselves," right?

So: I do the best I can with what I'm given to work with. That's my responsibility. I can't control their part, only my part. I do the best I can. I can sleep at night with good conscience, knowing that I have tried, I did what I could do. That's all you can do.

And sometimes people do change. Dirk, in my opinion, has changed. That shows that change is possible. It shows that a person can be worn down. A person can change their mind about fundamental facts of life.


Eva: Yes. Okay!