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Much of our lives involve thinking and feeling about being with, loving, missing, needing, even hating or fearing others. The others involved are humans, pets, trees and all that we perceive as life around us. Friendship is one type of connection. Perhaps friendship is just that, someone we like and all the reasons.

For instance, I often think of my best friend Asher. We’ve been buddies for decades - since 5th grade! For many years, we’ve called each other on our birthdays - we reminisce and laugh our heads off. During the covid lock-down in 2020, my dear friend suffered a massive heart attack. While he recovered all alone in the hospital, except for the staff, I heard very little for months. This was a tough time for all of us, but one day, Julie , his wife, called to let us know he was going home and that they would call soon.

Soon it would be November - time to wish him a happy birthday again. As we talked on the phone, he said the recovery was going well, he was in good spirits and we talked long about what was going on in the world. At a certain point, my friend began discussing some false narratives that he believes in as to why stuff is happening. His shift struck right at my heart. It was like a dagger, a denial of all that I am, all that he is. I thought, how could he say this? Can he really believe this stuff ? I knew he was conservative politically, but we were best friends. Why did I feel betrayed and couldn’t wait to get off the phone?

That call was on his birthday in 2021. He called me for my birthday in December, but it felt weird. I had not let go of something. I only stayed on the phone for a short time, making up some excuse about why I had to get off. Now we are a year older. This year, I did not call him on his birthday. I felt bad, but I just could not do it. I could not pick up the phone and call. The day before my birthday, my wife took me out to celebrate. On my birthday, we went out again and the next day as well. The following day, my best friend called me to wish me a happy birthday. The moment I answered, a feeling rushed into my heart and soul, like sunshine pouring in and the words “happy birthday” resounded in my ears. I was a block of ice melting as I felt his love in my heart and my Soul remembered. Yes, my soul remembered that our deep friendship cannot really be just a fleeting friendship; there is so much more to it. While this is platonic friendship and not romantic relationship, the heart is the communicator here. This relationship my friend and I share is a heart-ship. When I think of this friend and the others with whom I have a heart-ship, my heart responds, their image lighting up inside me as golden light. From this place of the heart comes the tears to wash away the sadness and the ecstatic expressions to release the Joy. Heart-ship means I speak to your heart through my heart. In this way, the words don’t really matter; it is the feeling of my love for you; and your love for

Here is a practice which may help you be better aware of your heart-ships. Look into a mirror, smile and gaze deeply into your eyes, as you sense the vibrations in your body and the feeling of goodness that may rush through you or just fill you up gradually. When you are done, you may find that you are feeling more than just a taken-for-granted friendship with some of your friends. Some friendships are heart-ships; all I know is when my heart is open, it is easier for me to recognize them.

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