“The principal admonition in the Great Tradition has always been: ‘SPEND TIME IN GOOD COMPANY.’ Although it is not really appropriate or even possible to reduce the Great Tradition to just one principle, we could say that if there is a most fundamental principle it is this: ‘Satsang – the company of the Realizer (or Guru) and the company of those who love the Realizer or who truly practice in the spiritual company of the Realizer – is the most auspicious association.’ Absorb that company. Imbibe it. Drink deep of it. Duplicate it. Do likewise.
Bad company is a poison. If you must associate with bad company, you must know how to stand free of it and know how to deal with it, how to relate to it. Otherwise, you will begin to do likewise yourself.”
Adi Da Samraj, Good Company, 14 April 1987
I have to admit, I am perpetually attracted to this piece of work by Adi Da Samraj. I must have read it less a dozen times and still cannot get enough that I actually have to write something about it. How come a simple essay could be a mine of enduring, priceless wisdom?
Now we know why we were so often admonished to avoid BI or bad influence by our own folks…this insight must have been pre-programmed in our brain and psyche along with kindness and love prior to our birth.
Peer pressure…who has not experienced it? It is almost impossible to say we did not meet this fella at one time or another in our life. Or that our action in the past or present has not been influenced by the majority that surround us. Drinking, smoking, cursing, gossiping, drugs…all these are by-products of that monster of bad company.
From the ordinary point of view, it is easy to understand why one would choose to be a “groupie”. Why not? A solid social circle gets you to places…provides you company and popularity…most of all, you are not regarded as strange or eccentric or an outsider. You are one of them. And it is the nicest feeling in the world to be accepted. We are, after all, social beings and we have need for belonging and connection.
Nonetheless, this kind of lifestyle should only be a phase in our life. When we are young, unsure of our direction, wants and personal values (whether to follow the lead of our elders or our peers), then maybe it is alright to experience some of the good and bad side of living. Mistakes provide lessons. Experiences are the best teachers. (Yeah…like when I smoked my first cigarette and suffered hard coughing, I swore to God I will never touch another cigarette again and that was why I did not end up a smoker. Or when a cousin of mine demonstrated that pouring water over a switchboard while your hand covers it could get you feel sooooo alive…damn, it was electrocution but I was a stupid kid and gladly followed.)
Well, we all have those bloopers. Yet, as we grow older we should be able to learn to discriminate and form our principles. We should be able to stand up for the things we believe in and stop succumbing, against all odds, to pressure. By that, kindly remember to distinguish between wisdom and folly. Surely, standing up when we are already proven wrong is plain and simple stupidity.
Not all people have a strong core, though. Hence, if we know we do not have the strength to resist what is false, then pray follow the wisdom of the old – Be In Good Company. Go only with people that do well and maintain positive vibes. And in turn, let us be good company for them as well. That means we act as adults – emotionally and mentally matured, responsible and useful while maintaining a healthy disposition. Adi Da said that “it does notmean we should always be grinning and gleeful; but that we must simplybe able to forgive and forget the wrongdoing of another or the mistake in the situation. Holding a grudge is like poisoning our own person. Let go. Changing the mind of other people will not make us happy. Forgiveness, he added, is a survival technique. It does not change our presumed enemy but it changes us, restores our wholeness and integrity”.
Yet, if we are not capable to forgive, then at least forget or be indifferent towards the offender or the offense. It will amount to almost the same thing. Rejecting the poison.
On the other hand, if we choose to be with people whose perspective, in this matter, extends to a different horizon, then we have to learn to maintain equanimity, patience and tolerance while not losing or compromising our own values in the process. Adi Da advised: “Do not ingest the poison. Do not return poison for poison. Do not become infected by association with bad company. Learn how to be indifferent to it, free of it. Learn to understand it. Learn how not to duplicate it.“
Ciao! And for those of you who are interested to read the whole thing, you can check it out at https://www.beezone.com/good_company.html. For other articles, check out https://harpingbyapixiecom.wordpress.com