In a time when social media and technology allow us to connect with people all across the world, it has also become a time of great isolation. Many of us spend all day interacting through our devices and yet still feel that we are lacking meaningful relationships. It has become so easy to school from home, work from home, text and email, that it has become difficult to connect face to face, much less feel like part of a community. It may even cause us to believe that having a community isn’t really that important.
While life is certainly a personal journey, having a community is not only important to our personal growth, but essential to our spiritual development.
Here are some of the powerful ways that a spiritual community can aid us on our path:
Sometimes we need a little encouragement to help us grow. Just like the players on a sports team support and motivate each other to play better, members of a community inspire us to work hard and keep going. It isn’t easy to do this on our own; we may get lazy or lose focus. A strong community helps to keep us on a path of bettering ourselves and the world around us in the process.
A spiritual community can provide an incredible support system in times of strife. Our community becomes our family, giving us love and compassion when we need it. A community is made up of many different people that all share a likeminded passion. With so many different perspectives, there is always someone who can relate to what we are going through or who can offer some advice. And in return, we are able to turn around and do the same for others who are struggling.
It is said that one person praying is like a candle burning in the dark. When people pray together, it is like a room full of candles – the power intensifies. Doing things as a community means coming together to accomplish something we never could do alone. We learn to overcome our differences and utilize each other’s strengths to build something meaningful together.
Everyone brings their unique experiences and viewpoints to a community. We may not always agree or get along with everyone, but we can always learn something from each other if we open ourselves to it. Other people help us to see the world in a new way and to challenge our own perspectives. This is how we grow. The beauty of having a spiritual community is the ability to see beyond our differences to the underlying unity that exists.
We often hear about the importance of giving back, whether that is volunteering our time or donating to a worthy cause. Sharing with others selflessly is a vital part of our spiritual growth. Having a community presents us with a number of chances to get involved and to share.
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There are so many valuable tools to use in our spiritual development – scripture, prayer, lectures – that it’s easy to forget how useful and necessary it is to have a positive community.
Through teamwork, compassion, and support, together we can help each other become better people and build a better world.