We find in life many different types of relationships: Impersonal, where our interactions are with people we don’t know such as store clerks, bus drivers; Personal, where our interactions are with people where there is an exchange of feeling or commitment such as friends and family; and Community, where our interaction is with a group of individuals, generally in a work, living or common interest setting.
Each relationship we engage in has a different impact on the world around us and in community we can have a very powerful and profound impact. That which we each give in community reverberates visibly and this creates the cozy, warm feeling that we associate with belonging to a larger purpose. We can find the fulfillment of longing to belong on many levels and in many types of relationships but communities also serve a larger function of creating the structure to live or share our personal values within a group of like-minded individuals.
Within spiritual organizations the drive for community is very special, because it is joyful to find a place to share spiritual values and beliefs and to find people who share the same spiritual practices.
The Guru tells us that spiritual community is actually a necessary component on the road to our own awakening. Through spiritual community, we receive encouragement and understanding of like-minded people, who really “get” what we’re going through and can inspire us to keep going. Also – spiritual community can become a pressure-cooker, of sorts, where we learn to develop infinite tolerance and patience. And it is that patience, Guru Nanak tells us in Japji, that actually holds the world in place.
Communication, support, serving together, building community together – all are important ingredients to make spiritual community work. Dasvandh – giving one-tenth back to the place where you bow – is also a necessary ingredient. It provides the green energy, the earth element – that keeps the community alive.
Serve that spiritual community whose very existence serves your spiritual growth