Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finding a Spiritual Community

tree of life, spiritual consciousness, spiritual awakening, photography, nature picture
You will need support. Developing a spiritual practice is much easier when you have a like-minded community around you, and if you're in the fires of awakening, the support of a community often becomes essential to your continued growth and transformation.

What Is a Spiritual Community
Just to be clear, a spiritual community can be anything from a Buddhist meditation group to a Catholic church congregation. It just matters that you're drawn to the teaching and are surrounded by relatively open-minded people. In general, a genuine spiritual community will have these traits:
  • Be focused on love and kindness
  • Be open to everyone
  • Allow you to explore at your own pace

There are strange groups out there with other agendas. Unfortunately as lots of people get drawn to spirituality, not all of them are clean or without an ego agenda. Things to watch out for include:
  • A group that controls you and takes away your choice.
  • A group the focuses on fear or hate
  • A group that is exclusive
  • A group that devalues you and your values

There are some groups that have secret rituals, and that's not necessarily bad as they create space for the sacred that doesn't necessarily need to be viewed by the entire world. But by and large, you should always feel free to come and go as you choose and to feel supported in love.

Where to Find a Spiritual Community
Your options will vary depending on where you live. Christian churches are the easiest to find in the U.S., and if you're drawn to Christianity, I'd definitely recommend visiting a few churches on Sundays and probably some of their smaller prayer groups on other days. Ideally, a group at church studying Christian mysticism will suit you best if you're looking for an experiential path.

Buddhism meditation groups are springing up, as well as plenty of meditation groups without attachment to a religion. Some psychic groups may also be illuminating for you. Just about any group under the major religions will have an active spiritual community of some sort.

You're Not Joining for Life
Don't worry about making this group your life long commitment. It's not necessary. In my own path, I've been around dozens of spiritual communities, and I've learned a lot from each one. There's no need to make a long-term attachment unless it feels right to do so. In fact, you don't need to be part of a spiritual community if you don't feel called to do so. You must always develop your deeper inner-knowing, so if there are recommendations in this or any of my other blogs that don't work for you, then don't do them. This is all about creating space for you to get to know you. I have found that support from spiritual community is one of those things that has helped me, and that's why I now offer it to you.

Meeting Amazing People
Along the way, you're going to meet some amazing people. They will help you to open your heart and hold your energy vibration, especially as you move through difficult moments, karma, and internal issues. Your support of your spiritual friends will help them do the same, and you will start to see a new type of relationship in your life. So many friendships and relationships in general are fraught with jealousy, bickering, resentment, and so many unhealthy issues. Moving into these higher energy groups helps you to start seeing those issues when they arise and meet them with loving kindness. Things won't be perfect, but with these new relationships you'll have a better chance of working things out and permanently clearing the core issues than you've ever had before. You'll also have more opportunity for deeply and powerfully connecting with others. In the end, your spiritual community will be one of the greatest gifts that you may receive as you move into your spirituality.

Next blog: Read: Start Your Own Spiritual Literacy Project
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