Have you ever thought about the company you are with? In terms of your social circle.
You have, right? We all have at some point.
Have you ever realised how important this actually is?
Well, I only discovered this on a recent trip to France this summer. A week away in France on a meditation trip, living in a forest and not knowing what the people were going to be like naturally did seem ominous.
On arrival I realised the scale of this retreat. Approximately 3,000 people in the middle of nowhere from all different nationalities around the world and all age groups. Literally toddlers to 70 year plus people. I was somewhat overwhelmed.
As I was setting up my tent in a pitch black forest I heard a voice behind me say “Satnam”. This means ‘truth’ and is a way people in kundalini yoga greet and close meetings with others. It was a girl from Russia, also on her first retreat. She asked if I needed a torch she was holding. I was thinking I don’t know you, your battery is probably draining on the torch that you will need for the next seven nights, why would you offer your torch to me? I was on guard!
The next day as I walked aimlessly not knowing where I was meant to be I tried the “Satnam” approach. I made new friends who not only directed and walked with me but they also offered me extra padding for support as they were worried my mat was perhaps too thin for the ground.
Where was I? Do these people think I’m some type of deity or Hollywood star to offer such hospitality?
At meal times, complete strangers would offer food to each other if anyone were short. If you have a question about something, people will greet you with a warm smile before answering.
One evening, I returned to my tent to find a note attached. I had completely forgot but I’d left my shirt on top of my tent to dry that morning. It rained in the afternoon and there was a note saying, “It started to rain. Hope you don’t mind but I put your shirt under a cover next to the tree”. No name was mentioned. It was only two days later that a complete stranger said, “I hope you found your shirt”.
Maybe this is what heaven feels like.
There are many stories and towards the end of that week I made some very good friends.
But I noticed something about my behaviour when I was there. I was obviously happy, but I felt more confident. I felt at peace. I could ask any question and no one would judge me.
People randomly told me my good qualities. Qualities I didn’t even know I had. They did this with others. I was doing it too. It was contagious to be nice to people.
“When you appreciate the good. The good appreciates”.
The word appreciate means two things 1. to value something 2. to increase in worth.
I realised as more people were being authentic and helpful it made me even more authentic and helpful. We were in a circle that I always wanted to be in..
It hit me when I was there just how important it is to be around good people. How it made me feel. The strongest memories are made of feelings.
It doesn’t mean you never disagree or get angry or disappointed. That happened too. What is important is how those emotions are channeled being around good company.
I came back thinking about the company I am with. Why do I have to leave that feeling in France? What if it could exist in my personal life at home and in my work life? Where we can make choices about the people we are with, that’s what I chose to do. I still have all my same friends but I am more careful when I spend my time. I am amazed at how different I feel. I knew it was important but never this much.
If you truly want to excel in your life, whether in work in your society or spirituality, stay in the company of good people.
Take time this week to reflect on the company you are with. Then make proactive choices to spend time in the company of the good.
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“Company of good people is like walking in to a shop of perfumes. Whether you buy the perfumes or not, you are bound to receive the fragrance”.