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The Role of Community in our Spiritual Practice

These times require us to maintain a joyful, mindful practice of spirit to help ground us whenever we feel off-center. But apart from the practice itself, the extra inspiration and support of a loving and virtuous community will certainly go a long way in helping us move forward on the path.

The community is where we can apply, where we can live, our spiritual philosophies, concepts, and ideas. It’s where we can practice and check if we’re able to effectively apply what we are learning. Oftentimes, translating ideas into action is a difficult thing.

We learn so much not just from texts, sermons or lessons, but also from our friends and members of the community. Listening to them, asking questions, interacting with them, and sharing experiences are activities that lead to greater knowledge and inspiration. The community works to inspire us on the spiritual path.

The aspects of spiritual tradition that may not be communicated well in writing can be shared during community practice. For example, interactions among community members, rituals, the dynamics of the student-teacher relationship, and many more.

When there is a community, support is available—especially when we need it most. During challenging or confusing times, the presence of a spiritual friend can often make a big difference. Having wise, positive people on our side is very encouraging, indeed. It helps us push forward and inspires us to go for our spiritual goals. Even Thich Nhat Hanh had said that it is much easier to practice with a Sangha than to practice alone.

It also goes the other way: belonging to a community is a valuable contribution on our part. It’s an important opportunity to offer inspiration and energy to others. It is so wonderful to share one’s time and energy to make the community, our spiritual family, grow stronger.

We would like to share with you an opportunity to grow in mindfulness together with a community. This is an open invitation for all to join our community meditation practice, Mindfulness Thursday, which happens every week at 7:30 p.m. Please check here for the link to this online event. We look forward to having you there.

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