"If I had the chance to live my life over, I'd do things a little different... I'd have more friends." -- Ty Cobb
Like many others who spend more than a little time on the computer, I've also been pulled into the vortex of the Facebook phenomena. Facebook, as an online social networking website, allows individuals anywhere on the planet to connect with old and new friends. When I say new friends, I mean a whole lot of new friends. There are currently over 800 million users on Facebook and it's growing daily. One of my computer geek friends refers to it as "viral" because its popularity has spread so quickly. Even my 90-year-old dad managed to get on board and now he's making new friends all around the country and loving the opportunities it presents.
The question that arises for me is, what is it that makes Facebook (and other such websites) so compelling for so many people? No doubt, there are many people who are using Facebook for business networking. The Internet is the way of the future for marketing one's products and services; however, I believe it goes far beyond that. I believe Facebook is such a popular phenomena because people are hungry for connection. Every person desires someone to witness their life. People want to know that who they are matters and that their presence on the planet makes a difference. Who among us does not long to be acknowledged, appreciated, well-received and supported by others? Facebook offers an amazing forum by means of which that realization may be achieved, not only with ease but also in a fun way.
I believe there is a spiritual component to this desire for connection, even if we are not consciously aware of its presence. As my friend Caroline Reynolds puts it in her wonderful book, Spiritual Fitness, "We are each driven by a deep urge to form an intimate connection with the world around us and most of us do this through relationships. If you take a soul look at this, you will see that your need for relationship actually stems from your basic human need to overcome your earthly sense of separation."
I can see the wisdom in her words. Something quite extraordinary happens between ourselves and others when our lives intersect at the soul level. When we interface with our friends we are connecting not with just a physical body, a personality or a name -- we are connecting with the energy of joy, love, satisfaction and peace that comes in knowing we are not alone on our journey through this life. To share our journey with others is what life is really all about -- that's why there is more than one of us on the planet. I have long defined "friend-ship" as a vessel in which two or more souls journey toward a common destination -- the realization of our oneness in God. This is where the journey and the destination really become one in the same as all pretense and sense of separation fall away, revealing what is real: the sacred space where who we are spills into each others' "being."
I rather like Ty Cobb's words at the top of this message. I don't want to wait until the end of my life to understand the importance and meaning of having shared my life with friends. Why? Because every new friendship becomes a bridge to another person's soul -- and with it the opportunity to witness the greatness of who that person is and, in the process, to be reminded I am never alone. At the end of the day, friendship really is what it's all about. If you are currently on Facebook and we have not yet connected, let's do so because the journey is far too good not to share it with like-minded souls!
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