The hot spice (I'm Indian can you tell?) of the crucible of friendship can transform your life from misery to contentment, OR no matter how good your life is, to an even greater happiness.

Deep meaningful friendship is part of life's variety and spice; it is an essential part of good living, and loving, I contend.

7 simple points about why friendship is so important to me:

1 Of course you'll know I am a Buddhist by now. And it saved my life together, with therapy, 15 years of each

when I lived in Chapel-town as a single unemployed man, well it wasn't very good for me. I had left 6th form aged 19 but resisted people always saying your bright go to uni for a comfy job better life. I didn't stupid pride. I knew everything. I was partly right comfy isn't really living but its better than relative poverty. My pride stopped me learning a healthy or even more enlightened way to live. Friends told the truth with sensitivity and love. Friends give you what you need, not your foolish pride.

2 Friends give you what you need in hard times. They know you and thus can really love you. Know how to put things in the right way and sometimes the wrong way, because the hard truth cant be said with fluff protective fluff all the time. Materially if you need money, food a home coaching on how to get a job how to get and love a woman they'll tell you, and I mean men, and women have coached me. Women have said ''you're good dancer'' ''believe in yourself/ talents poetry writing playfulness,'' ''you don't mistreat women so be patient and nurture love.

3 Friendship save lives from suicide, whether you know this or not.

4 Friendships shared hobbies interests e.g. the art literature and culture depending on the individual and even blogging to increase health and well-being... enhance our lives to gratitude.

5 Along with the mutual, personal friends shared interest is being completely daft, have bad puns, wit, stupidity in daftness, frivolousness shared humour. Until you are sometimes crying with laughter you don't even know why you are laughing. Friends can tickle your heart, halve your woes

6 They do this like counsellors and co religionist practitioners, by listening, not perfectly but good enough, because natural empathy or trained empathy is not mind-reading. Friends listen well so cresting mutual well-being.

Compared to those 2 years 1984 to summer 1986 the period when horrible anxiety and despair depression set in. And became a crippling force for many years my life is far better, far far better not perfect . I still have despair but it does not take over my life as it used to there are no suicidal feelings now, very rare fleeting ones. That's normal psychiatrists say; do we need em to tell us that; if so that might be mental unhealthy dependency on authority?

It only took 2 years to establish a pattern of depression by unemployment and no lover, no unemployment militates against friendship partly through lack of money. Only 2 years. Compared to those 2 years life is good indeed.

I have felt more joy, and gradually of a realer kind: not manic elation/ drivenness but slowly, more joy with calm and contentment.

What do I owe to this slow gradual change: friendships of various kinds; they saved my life whether they knew it or not..

Friendship of my various person centred counsellors. 5 in all all were very good. The friendship of fellow Buddhist and 'fellowesses' too!

The real deep affection of Buddhist recommendations, choose your friends who share interests, hobbies who you feel comfortable with, go deeper in talking with joy and your despairs, expect less, its common sense? Yes but Buddhism builds on common sense, all the way to enlightenment. Because common sense and even though healing negative pain wont get you there, to enlightenment, that is.

7 This meditation-al and therapeutic joy via Buddhist teachers, friends the counsellor being a friend, non Buddhist 'ordinary' friends being a friend to the best in me, and them, has reached a revolutionary point for me years ago. A point of no returning back to despair. I would actually die for at least a dozen friends without hesitation, if thy were attacked throw my self in the way. ''There is no noble cause than to die for ones friend.'' someone once said. Have a guess who because my memory is so very bad middle aged 'old' mem-awry. I'd even die for good old Tez were he attacked in my presence if necessary; until then I prefer to do more blogs because they are therapeutic; and although I'd have no hesitation in defending any true friends life, tis better to do good things in non-emergency situations.

So, conclusion, - for better mental health cultivate friendship.

Milan Buddha Ghosh

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