Every Thursday night I sit in a weekly men’s group. I’ve mentioned before the value that I get from sitting with this group, but of late I have been reminded of something else. Maybe it’s the same thing but I am just now finding words for my experience? It’s simple, common sense advice to “keep the company of good friends”. That is, the influence of those around me, rubs off on me. When that company is good, the effect can only be a win for me.

I originally came across the concept through my practice of Buddhism. Buddhism in part is about developing the mind - though you might see the Tibetans placing their hands on their heart when they say “mind”. So if I wish to develop my heart, it is helpful to me to make sure that those around you have similar aspirations, or live a life commensurate with that aspiration. Why? Because until my heart is strong enough, I can easily be influenced by the actions and thoughts of others. Striving for change requires commitment and is a whole lot easier with support.

And this is what I experience within my men’s group. I feel held. I can even have an evening when I am relatively quiet, but as a saying goes that I have heard in similar groups,

Through the work of others, I do my own work.

The group builds trust by strengthening its core. This is done through group agreements and accountability,

  • “Are you in accountability with the group agreements?”
  • “Are you in accountability with yourself, what you said that you would do?”
  • “Do you have a charge with any member of the group?”

In each case there is an opportunity to take a look at that which is out of accountability, or to look at that charge. These are each addressed with respect and trust.

Through seeing, hearing and experiencing the vulnerability of other group members, I find myself touching the vulnerability inside myself. With time, the example of good friends rubs off on me.