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Satsang - The Importance of
Spiritual Community (Audio)
April 23, 2010
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
The path of spiritual awakening has often been called a solitary affair. And
it is. It is only through our own desire and a willingness to act that we
can enter the process of human spiritual transformation. Some have claimed
that enlightenment is spontaneous, and perhaps for them it seemed to be so.
But there can be no doubt that if at some time in the past (perhaps
forgotten) an individual effort had not taken place, there
would be little chance that Nature would do it for
us by Herself. That is just how it is in the matter of spiritual awakenings.
"The Lord helps those who help themselves."
Even so, no one can
become enlightened in a vacuum, though it might seem to be so. After all, in
our essential nature we are unbounded awareness, and all that we see in this
world is a reflection of energy playing in infinite empty space. That is
our infinite empty space. All we must do is realize this through direct
perception, and we are free enlightened!
Easier said than done.
We all need some assistance. With a little help from our friends, the
journey from limitation to infinite ecstatic bliss can be accelerated
dramatically. In the end, we find it is has not been so far to go. We have
only been traveling from here to here. But what a journey it is!
For the necessary assistance we have "satsang," which means,
"association with truth." Some have interpreted satsang to mean association
with a guru, or an enlightened one. It can't hurt. But does truth have such
a limited address? Truth is all around us. It is hard to escape from truth,
except by working hard to ignore it, which we all
have a knack for doing. We can find truth easily in nature, and in
people who long to unfold it within themselves. No one is excluded from that
company, for there is not a single person on this earth who does not long to
expand in happiness, and this is a quest for truth also,
no matter how well disguised. So satsang can also be seen in that broad way
of communing with the higher vibrations found in nature and in all human
seeking for the divine, whether it is called that or not.
One way or
another, we who seek the truth will be drawn to people and places that are
in resonance with that. And in doing so, an amplification occurs, an
upliftment that affects everyone involved, and also the surrounding
environment. So satsang means not only an association with truth, but an
expansion of its influence in seen and
As Jesus taught, when several are gathered in the name
of truth, then the divine is there also. This captures the meaning of
satsang, and the transformational power of spiritual community. It can occur
in many ways.
Most who have been in a
gathering, or any gathering committed to a higher purpose, have felt the
energy that is created. It is a mystical thing when we feel our inner
energies being quickened by our own desire (bhakti), amplified by the effect
of an uplifting environment we have placed ourselves in. The increase in
spiritual power created is exponential in relation to the size of the
gathering. There is strength in numbers.
The energy enlivenment found in spiritual communities is not only mystical.
It is practical. In such communities, access to spiritual tools and their
effective application can also be increased. The tools of human spiritual
transformation are down-to-earth, dealing with enhancing the functioning of
our inner neurobiology. Our access to spiritual tools is important for
moving forward on our spiritual journey. In the past, gaining access to such
tools has not been easy. In fact, finding them could involve a lifetime of
searching, and still coming up short.
Historically, satsang has often
had little to do with the application of spiritual tools. Association with
the wise was considered enough. But times have changed. It is no longer
enough. The dimensions of satsang have expanded to include communities
devoted to the widespread application of spiritual tools, and to supporting
the resulting accelerated unfoldment in many individual practitioners.
The rise of the internet and instant worldwide communications have had a
dramatic effect on spiritual seekers everywhere, providing many new avenues
for finding spiritual community, and practical tools for furthering progress
on the spiritual path. It has been found that distance is not a barrier to
spiritual energy and the upliftment it provides. There are many spiritual
communities that have formed through the internet that are dramatically
affecting the progress of many around the world. This applies both to the
energetics of awakening and healing, and to the practical business of making
spiritual techniques available, and supporting practitioners in managing
causes and effects in daily practice.
The internet is where AYP
started, and it has evolved into a
loose-knit global community of practitioners. For most it is an informal
association with others of like interest. Satsang is constantly occurring in
such a diverse community, providing inspiration for practice, and the
fostering of purification and opening on many levels around the world. Aside
from the mystical quickening that comes from a spiritual community, there
are many practical things that can be done, from the dissemination of
spiritual practices and assistance in their effective application to the
encouragement and support of programs for ongoing research, structured
education, global and local meditation groups, retreats, and so on.
What does it all add up to? While each of us may be a lone practitioner
sitting at home on our meditation seat before and after our normal daily
activity, we know we have access to a worldwide community of similar
practitioners for our mutual benefit and purpose. There is great power in
this the power to uplift life for each other and for everyone on the earth.
Spiritual community is important. This does not obligate anyone. Yet, it
helps everyone, even those who have never heard of a spiritual community.
That is the beauty of it. The awakening of inner silence
for one is the awakening of inner silence for all.
we are and whatever our practices may be, when the energies are dragging and
we are feeling a bit stuck, it is a good time to reach out to others of like
interest, whether it be in our local community, or through the many pathways
that now exist on the internet. And it goes without saying that if we are
overflowing with divine love, we can do much to help in any kind of
community, spiritual or other, and particularly where we are right now.
Spiritual radiance and sharing creates satsang wherever we happen to be. We
gain enlightenment by giving it away in each moment.
We live in an age when no one has to be isolated spiritually. Everyone is
entitled to choose their path and tread it as they see fit, knowing that
ample resources and community support are available as needed. Good things
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed discussion on building a
self-directed routine of practices, and how that relates our local and
world community, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book,
and AYP Plus.