When I was a kid, my little brother and I used to play this game where we would try to send each other psychic messages – often as simple as “guess what color I’m sending you.” I was the “sender” and J was the “receiver.” I was always astounded that he could usually “get” what I was sending him. Sometimes we’d switch, and he would be the sender and I the receiver. Half the time I was able to receive as well as send my thoughts through the ether.
As I got older, this became a fun party trick when it worked with certain people, but I found that there were few who could really “play” this game. I had tapped into my own sensitive nature.
Later in life, I would sometimes “know” things, a cross-country friend had a fire in her house, a sense of the malific energies of neighborhood child molestors, and I am certain that at least twice in my life, I have encountered beings that could only be described as purely evil.
Getting a sense of how beneficial this now well-honed trait could be in my life, I was as giddy as Wonder Woman the first time she put on her bullet-proof arm cuffs: I had a super-power.
Over the years, it has served me well, when I have cared to honor my power – one that I not only think that most people have (particularly women) but that our culture teaches us to ignore. I can’t count the times I ignored my own sense of forboding about a given situation out of some sense of “manners,” only later to find myself in dire straights. Many hard lessons were learned, but now I never ignore my special intuition.
A few years back, I stumbled upon Aristotle’s theory of friendship.
In a nutshell, Aristotle describes three “levels” of friendship:
1) Friendship based on utility: These are the people that are friends based on there mere proximity or usefulness in your life — the friend you carpool to work with, who you swap babysitting with, or can help you get ahead in some endeavor.
2)Friendship based on pleasure: This one is fairly obvious, as it encompasses most of our childhood friendships, our lovers, and the people that we choose to hang around, chiefly because of how they make us feel. When our tastes change, the friendship is often let go of.
And finally, what Aristotle describes as the highest level of friendship,
3)Friendship based on goodness: Aristotle explains that the chief requirement for this level of friendship is virtue – which manifests as a deep caring for all that is good, and a strong desire to foster that good in another. In essence, I think it’s the people who really “get” you – your lifelong friends that you accept, warts and all, because you know and cherish the true essence of that person, and they you. These are the friends that force you to grow a little each day, and over the years, you shape each other’s lives. These friends are rare.
While I’m certain that most of us can claim to have experienced all of these levels of friendship, I think that what our soul craves is Aristotle’s ideal – the soul mate. And because of this awareness of mine, I have found that I have shed many of the lesser friends, as is natural in Aristotle’s estimation. Conversely, I have found it impossible to let go of people that I share that special soul-bond with. And I don’t think we’re supposed to let go. We’re supposed to grit our teeth and hold on tight to these soulmates – through all the longing, all the pain, all the growth — and mirror the goodness of each other’s souls for each other.
In my estimation, the longing for this connection with another, parallels our longing for God.