Fantasy (April 1995)
Fantasizing is seen by many experts to be a harmless
and even perhaps a positive thing to do. However, the intense focus on the creations of intellect can encourage
the individual to become removed from reality in a way that can only lead to more and more desensitization.
There is sometimes a fine line between vision and fantasy and at
times it can be difficult to tell them apart. This is especially true if fantasy has played an important part in
an individual's life and if it has fulfilled a specific function. In this case, to remove fantasy by recognizing
reality can leave rather a hole in one's life. This of course is easily remedied, particularly if there is the
strong desire for a vision to take its place.
Emptiness or a void is after all, only a product of what an individual is doing to inhibit a natural love of life and an open spirit. Emptiness is not something
that is inherent. Therefore an illusion exists. When something is removed, it can seem as though a void is left,
when in reality, the void is being created by the individual, effortfully. The reason for its creation is to tempt and persuade the individual to return
to the fantasy or whatever has been dismantled, because there it seems, one may find satisfaction. However, this
satisfaction is not genuine. It is a facsimile of satisfaction and is unlike genuine satisfaction in every way.
Knowing that this void is effortfully created can be most useful, because if you know you are creating something
you can also stop creating it. If it seems that the void is there with no input from you, then it is very difficult
to remove. So then, if you experience a certain void left by breaking down the structure of fantasy, you simply
must remember that the void is being created to hold back from what is naturally there and all you need to do is
to stop the creation of the void.
If you are able to do this you will have proven that you have strong desire to be able to separate fantasy from
vision and to pursue something real and fulfilling. You may also find that, as a result of desire, you seem to
create difficulty for yourself in succeeding with this task. Not so, setbacks are not what they seem. They are
an opportunity to make a strong statement about what you want. They are an opportunity to state, with feeling, that you will do anything
to have what you want, despite how things seem to be.
Perhaps it is time to commit yourself to what you want and to trust that whatever occurs in your life, is not there
to hold you back, but is there to coax you forward toward new and greater experiences.
Fantasy and the pursuit of it in all sorts of situations has various damaging effects on the life of an individual
who wishes to head for greatness.
Firstly, fantasy sets an ultimate standard, which is both unchanging and inflexible, thus inhibiting the individual's
ability to recognize something different to the fantasy as being desirable and to go for that instead. Secondly,
fantasy can rob an individual of the ability to actually experience his or her life as he or she is living it. While pursuing fantasy the individual
is not in the now
and therefore, life passes them by. Also, should the individual find themselves in the position where something
they have fantasized about is actually happening, the fantasy has been so dominant, the individual cannot help
but draw comparison, dwell on the fantasy and once again, interrupt the actual experience of it. This can all be
done without the individual even really being aware that it is happening. For fantasy can become habitual and can
then influence the way that individual reacts in other situations. For example, thinking becomes such a compulsion
that enjoyment can only be had by thinking about things and the individual can think
they have enjoyed something that they have not, in effect, even
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Friendship (July 1995)
Friendship, ideally, should be dynamic and progressive.
At the very heart of a friendship maturing and growing is the willingness of all parties to be themselves and to
allow this in others. Attempts to cling to a friendship and impose limitations on it, will always lead to its downfall.
Friendship, it's a word we use all the time, yet do we ever really
consider the implication of what a friend is or should be? Friend is a term which is applied, often quite loosely,
to even the most fleeting acquaintance at times and yet perhaps a fleeting acquaintance can be just as much a friend
as someone we have known all our lives - perhaps even more so. In society it is commonly accepted that our first
friends are our family. It is even thought that no one can ever really come close to the kinds of friendships that
exist in families and yet a blood relative has no more special potential to be a friend than anyone else in our
lives. The important common denominator is of course, ourselves. It is how we are that determines whether we are a friend and whether other people are our friends. And in the pursuit of
our friendships, being ourselves is all important.
is something that cannot be set down in writing or carefully defined as a set of certain behaviors. The individual
can only identify it themselves and that individual must of course be open to perceiving how they really are at
any one time in order to do this. For there are many ways of being that could masquerade as being oneself, but
only one true state of being that typifies this. Of course, when we are ourselves we must be open to response.
We cannot expect to close off to the world and remain being ourselves. Being oneself means that we are open to
what is happening around us and are ready to respond to our world, to be spontaneous and to be honest. We can experience
a range of emotions but let none of those emotions lead us in the direction of identity. We are able to recognize
our own power of choice in a situation and we are able to draw on our natural strengths in order to achieve an
ideal, a direction, say becoming happy.
It is important to remember that when we are being ourselves we are not in some robotic state of monotone. Being
ourselves does not mean that we do not feel emotion. Being ourselves is a heightened state of being, where our
senses are heightened and our intellect is heightened.
In being ourselves, we are more aware of what is happening around us and within ourselves. We are more attuned
to the natural harmony in our immediate environment. We are able to recognize rightness, to feel it and to go the
way of it. And because being ourselves is a vulnerable state, we are liable to experience feelings of exhilaration,
joy, even anger with intensity. We might for example, respond to a situation where we feel fear for a moment. Being
ourselves and being open, the fear is transformed into exhilaration and we are acutely sensitized to the surging
of hormones and to the specific physical responses that create the sensation of exhilaration.
As soon as we shut down, as soon as we stop being ourselves, we are more likely to feel fear. There is a difference
between fear and exhilaration - between being oneself and not being oneself and it can be recognized by the willing
observer. When we are being ourselves, there is a feeling that we will go on being ourselves no matter what. There
is no fear, only determination. And if we feel something like exhilaration, we are aware that the allowing of it
within ourselves is pushing us forward. There is a kind of implied sense of moving forward when we are being ourselves.
A sense of being propelled in a direction. At the same time, there is a sense that this could bring challenges,
we may even experience a sense of threat, but because we are open, this sense of threat is not experienced as fear.
It is instead experienced as a natural sense of thrill. It is experienced as a kind of rush of energy, a heightened
sense of being alive. We are at this moment willing to go on, even if it means experiencing this sense of threat
When we are not being ourselves, the feeling is different entirely. Exhilaration cannot be experienced and thus
we turn it into fear. And the predominant sensation linked with fear is a feeling of being stuck. It is a feeling,
not of moving forward, but of being completely restricted. There is no sense of thrill, no sense of acute awareness
as our hormones are unleashed to wreak their own marvelous havoc within our body. Instead, not being ourselves
is characterized by a noticeable shut down of sensation. We can, if we wish, experience an intense feeling of holding
and tightness that can be there for many hours, without our being particularly aware of it.
But probably the most significant difference between being ourselves and not being ourselves is that when are being
ourselves, there is nothing we would not do or say. When we are not being ourselves, our consciousness is aware
of all the things we will not
do. Being ourselves is represented by a spirit of freedom - not being ourselves, by a heavy sense of restriction.
Being ourselves is absolutely crucial within a friendship both from the point of view of being a friend and also
to distinguish friends from not friends.
All genuine friendships accommodate risk. For a challenge is not a challenge without risk. And a friendship is
not a friendship without its challenges. If there is not risk in a relationship between individuals, then those
individuals must be holding back from being themselves. For if an individual is being themselves, the implication
of moving forward, into the unknown, is always there and always producing new challenges. A relationship where
there is no sense of this movement, no challenge, no risk, is not a genuine friendship. It is static. Static relationships
have nowhere to go nothing to gain. The individuals in these relationships have to effortfully restrict their own
natural tendency toward progress in order to maintain a static relationship. Limitations and boundaries over which
no individual may cross, if the individual wishes to maintain 'the friendship' also characterize these relationships.
Often these boundaries are consciously agreed upon, sometimes they are implied or non-verbal. However, in this
kind of relationship each individual knows exactly where they stand and the point at which they cannot go beyond.
When we try to cling to a friendship and to have it stay the same, this is the trap we fall into. We demand these
boundaries so that the threat of change cannot destroy what we have. But in doing so, we must shut down and therefore
any genuine friendship becomes something else.
Genuine friendships allow for change within the individuals. Not genuine friendships or identity friendships, depend
on the individuals staying the same - that is, on the constant perception that nothing has changed and that the
individuals have not changed. Change brings threat to the identity friendship. Genuine friends allow one another
to change and to grow and for the nature of the friendship to change without a sense of loss. In a genuine friendship
there is nothing to lose, the relationship can only grow and gain. Similarly, in a genuine friendship, forgiveness
is not an aspect of friendship because with true allowing, there is nothing to forgive. Forgiveness implies guilt
and guilt is not a judgment made by a true friend. Allowing transcends forgiveness in every respect.
It is necessary to understand the subtleties and differences between allowing and the sense of silent agreement
that is produced by not being ourselves and by effortful holding back from being ourselves in the company of others.
A desire for quality in the friendship ensures that we must be prepared to be ourselves and that we must be prepared
to demonstrate who we are in what we say and in how we respond to others. There is a difference between allowing
another person and not being prepared to make a stand for quality in the relationship. If there is something we
are not prepared to say to our 'friend' or something we are not prepared to do for the sake of quality in the relationship,
then we are not being ourselves and we are not prepared to be a friend. This is where trust has relevance in a
If we have trust in the relationship, then we are prepared to be ourselves, because we know that if we desire it,
and if the friendship is of value, then the friendship will endure, but not only this, it will become stronger.
If the friendship will not endure one person being themselves, then it was never a genuine friendship. If we are
afraid to be ourselves because it might jeopardize the friendship, then what is that friendship really worth?
It is worthwhile recognizing that a friendship relies on the parties forming an agreement based upon a common direction,
a common goal or passion. It is possible to be a friend, but to not have a friendship with someone.
For example, if we are always ourselves, then we are a friend to all we come into contact with. But if the other
party has no desire for a friendship, does not share in this direction, or is not willing to be themselves, or
indeed if they are looking for an identity relationship, then the friendship cannot exist. There is no basis for
sharing. The greatest form of sharing in a friendship is the simple pleasure of being ourselves with someone else
who is also being themselves. If the other party is not willing for you to be yourself or if they insist on obligations,
compulsion, observance of boundaries or wishes to pursue a relationship of identities, then there cannot be a friendship
and we must be prepared to leave that relationship behind us - for the sake of progress and of moving on to something
greater. If we cannot have quality, then there is no value in the relationship.
True friendships will always endure, identity friendships will fall away if we are in pursuit of a life of more.
Of course it is important to realize that if all we want is to have an identity friendship with someone then there
is no requirement for the pursuit of quality. There is no requirement for change. We are not exposed to risks and
However, if we have a vision for a life of more, then we will be naturally inclined toward having genuine friendships
and more fulfilling relationships with others. We will be less inclined to compromise ourselves for the sake of
hollow associations, we will be less inclined to want to cling to a relationship of no value. And we will motivated
to pursue quality, with a passionate sense of trust in those relationships that are based upon common direction.
In being prepared to lose that relationship, we make ourselves strong and we secure our ability to pursue quality
without compromise. And if the relationship should crumble, then we have not lost, we may go on to something greater.
All of this being said, building and developing a genuine friendship is a process, just as dispensing with those relationships that are solely identity based is.
We must have ideals and we must have a vision for something great in desiring friendships. However, we must also
be prepared to build strength upon strength, without relying on perfection right away. For the challenges that
we will face in the pursuit of such a goal will be perfectly tailored to the level of our ability at any one time,
while still providing the requirement for increasing strength. And thus, there may be some things that we may wish
to achieve that rely on other intermediate changes first taking place. And we must be at peace with those intermediate
stages and appreciate the gradual change, while still feeling passionate for the ultimate ideal and being motivated
solely towards it.
It is self-defeating to have a goal to achieve something intermediate. Motivation comes from looking toward something,
an ideal, an end result (although perfection is a direction, rather than something attainable in this instance).
We cannot feel desire for something that is merely a requirement. If, for example, we desire to have an apple that
grows at the top of a tree, we are motivated by the desire for that apple. The fact that we have a requirement
for climbing that tree is of little relevance. It is not necessary to feel desire for the climbing. We climb it
because it must be done and it will get us to where we want to go. At no time does our desire deviate from that
apple at the top of the tree. We are unlikely to settle for an apple on a lower branch if it is not ripe. It is
the juicy ripe apple at the top that drives us on as we climb. If we were to only desire to climb to the next branch,
we would feel considerably less inspired to climb and our intention would be less meaningful. So, while we must
be allowing of the process, we must always aim to achieve the ultimate and to have it now. Desire it for the future
and we compromise our motivation to achieve it.
And the same can be said for a great friendship. We must be prepared to desire the ultimate now and to deal with
the challenges that face us along the way. But at no time should we settle for an unripe apple if we desire something
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© John & Melody Anderson, 1995 - 1999. All rights reserved.
Friendship 2 (February
We look at friendship again and identify the necessity
for challenge, if the friendship is to prove itself.
The notion of friendship is an interesting one, for while simple
at first glance, things tend to complicate friendships in ways that result in the contradiction of the friendship
itself. The true test of a friendship is the capacity the individuals have for compassion. Many friendships exist in good times and diminish in bad. Rather in the way
of openness, the measure of a friendship is how it withstands threat. Openness for example, cannot exist in an
environment where there is no temptation to be closed. Openness in a non-hostile environment can never be truly
described as openness.
Similarly then, friendship in a non-hostile environment has no genuine value. Only when the friendship is tested
can its quality be assessed. Many friendships do not aspire to becoming relationships of quality because they are
dependent on the existence of agreed limitations and conditions. Should these limitations and conditions be contravened
then friendship is withdrawn. When they are maintained, friendliness returns. While this may be acceptable to a
good many people, it would not be the hallmark of a person who aspires to having more in life…
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Friendship 3 (March
Here we examine the spirit of friendship and recognize
the importance of how we are within our friendships.
Friendship, like many things in life, demands persistent vigilance
for it to continue on a genuine basis. For like these other areas, individuals are changing and flexing, circumstances
change and flex and therefore, the situation demands changing and flexing responses. In other words, for the friendship
to prosper it
must not fall victim to rigidity, it must be allowed to breathe.
And so the friendship can only be defined by how the individuals are, not by what they do. Attention only to what is done according to an agreed standard is not enough
to sustain the friendship, for an individual can adhere completely to what must be done, yet their state of being
could communicate non-friendship all the while.
It is very important then that you become used to assessing your friendships not on what you do, but how you are.
This must become the most important thing in your relationships. For deeds are worth little if not done in the
spirit of friendship.
This spirit is the ultimate defining factor that denotes a genuine friendship. It is a non-tangible thing and can often be misinterpreted, however,
when it exists in a relationship, the quality of that relationship is such that all others pale by comparison.
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Friendship 4 (July
Another dissertation on friendship, this time with
the emphasis on the very natural manner in which friendships occur and a reminder that genuine friendships are
founded on honesty and upon feeling, rather than intellectual similarities.
Friendship is a much-misunderstood institution in today's society
and indeed genuine friendship is much more difficult to define than one might think. It seems that friendship is
rather a complicated matter, however, the simple way to define a friendship is through feeling. Feelings, if honestly acknowledged,
do not lie. If we are prepared to genuinely identify and listen to feelings, living life becomes a more straightforward
business. When we choose to misrepresent feelings, misinterpret them, or try to simulate them with intellect, life
then assumes much more complexity and certainly less fulfillment.
Mostly, friendship is something that tends to be defined through thinking. Generally, many people choose friends based upon similarities
in identity, common likes and dislikes, impression, image, false perception etc. Indeed choosing friends is in
itself a contradiction. For friendship is something that describes a response, the notion of choosing friends contradicts
the very nature of friendship itself. Therefore then, friendship emerges, friendship offers itself up to the individual
by way of that individual responding to another individual in a certain way. Friendship
in a sense chooses itself.
When an individual feels friendship then the friendship is genuine. And obviously, friendships can be demanding,
because of the nature of what it is to be human. For a friendship to be enduring, it must be allowing.
All of these factors provide cause for consideration, but it is interesting to observe that if we do not feel friendship
for even one person, we must call into question what we are doing to prevent responses of friendship from taking
place. Feelings of friendship are natural, they can of course, occur as a result of even a fleeting encounter,
or they can be more permanent in their nature. Whatever the circumstances, openness is a key component of genuine
friendship. Without it, friendships cannot exist.
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