Sangha - Companions in your journey
Seeking the company of spiritually oriented is the first step in our journey toward self realization and liberation. - Sri Adi Shankaracharya ( taught to me by Dr.Shivaram Prasad).
If the journey of understanding who we truly are is mostly individualistic, why do we seek company of others? I go back and forth constantly about sharing my thoughts, sharing my revelations as they are premature and my work is still in progress. But when the doubt arise and still share my thought, I am approached by another spiritual aspirant agreeing or contradicting my ideas. The contribution from my fellow traveler ignites my curiosity and help open new doors.The path of spirituality is exciting because of its uncertainty and our collective willingness to seek answers. These fellow traveller form a Sangha.
Indian and Buddhist culture has always understood the importance of a community which are called Sangha. Sangha brings together people with similar intentions to support each other in their endeavors. When we start on a journey of exploration, we seek support and guidance in our work or our path. Why is it important to belong to a Sangha? So , we can stay on our path. There are just too many distractions as we are loaded with information and choices. The things which is suppose to make our life richer begins to feel like a web closing in on us. Sangha attracts others who are on a similar path so we can support each other. Personally I lack that self motivation to keep going at it.I need to be in touch with MY KIND of people. I am shameless in that regard . I will be the first one to approach people to be on my team , I welcome others to join and we make this a fun journey. Sometimes we get along, sometimes we challenge each other but we always support each other to keep our journey interesting and joyful.
When I started my Yoga practice there were changes happening within me which were hard to explain to others. I started practicing yoga asana to heal my weak body and stuck to the practice because I had a friend doing this with me. We were both Indian women who knew how to stretch a penny. If we paid for the monthly membership, we showed up everyday to make sure we were justifying those $100. Having a buddy helped to complain about our soar quads and rejoice that we experienced less back pain ( common theme as we delivered few babies).Then slowly my yoga circle grew as my practice shifted and changed. Thats how I started building my community of yoga practitioners. Yoga is a path and a discipline to find ones true self. I did not know that !!. I knew in theory as I have lived around these philosophy all my life growing up in India but as an adult to experience those philosophy to be a part of my life changed everything.So, as with everything when we start a new journey we seek validation , we seek to share this new found wisdom with everyone we know with great enthusiasm as a new grandmother would with her grand baby pictures or new covert Vegan. People around us will go , “Can you just shut up ?”.May be not with words but usually something really important comes up which needs to be addressed that the very moment and they leave the room mid sentence . Sometimes we share this with certitude and sometimes in doubt. My husband who is not on the same journey as me can only listen to my headstand or the way we breathe or the realization in my meditation practice only so many times. Then he begins to nod or look at me with these glassy eyes as I probably lost him 20 minutes ago in our conversation. So, where do I share these revelations I have made about myself ?. I turn to another friend who is on the same journey as me. We both have similar doubts, questions and love for the practice. Even though Yoga is a personal journey , it takes years to find clarity in just the way we sit, the way our shoulders move when I reach my arms up, the way I respond to certain inquiries in Yogic texts . If I did not have that community, this journey would have been harder as they are so many other interesting shiny things out in the world. So, we all need a space to say what we want to say aloud, take our time processing those thoughts and do meaningful work.
So, How do you belong to YOUR kind of Sangha ? Here is a short video by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh as he explains how to start a Sangha. Between, you are always welcome to reach out to me to be a part of my Sangha .