I’m hoping this is an appropriate topic for this setting. I’m curious how do you find spiritual community? I’ve been on a spiritual path for decades but I’ve rarely found anyone to connect with in real life at least since my path diverged from the Christian one in the early 1990’s. Since then it’s been consistently what Ram Dass might have called an “Eastern Trip” and compatriots have been hard to find. So much has gone on within which I’d love to have been able to discuss with someone who understood but I’ve found few. I have a couple of old psychedelics veteran friends who get some of it but not all. Online community can be okay but for me, in my 50s, it’s not the same as a conversation where you can look someone in the eyes. Tell me your thoughts and experiences.
I totally agree!
I live in Germany’s south on the countryside which is conservative and catholic. To find people for spiritual exchange, face to face is pretty hard. Not really many around here I could talk to about experiences in meditation or thoughts on mindfulness, awakening, Buddhism without getting a weird look
I find so few people today who even consider their spiritual lives. I think it’s a part of the times but I find myself out of sync with my culture. It is my journey but connection is nice. Maybe what I find here can be more than I’d think.
Hi Jeremy! I can really relate to your question…I live in Idaho, which is generally very conservative and not incredibly diverse in population. While the people around me are wonderful, kind individuals, they have no interest at all in spirituality or talks about consciousness. I’m afraid I sound a little crazy to them when I try to broach the subject.
Of course, now I understand better how important it is to meet people where they are, but it still leaves me feeling rather out of sync, as you mentioned. And a bit sad not to have anyone next to me to share my excitement with. I’m in no financial position to go off to retreats or gatherings where I might meet like-minded people. I’m actually a little stunned that as I was contemplating ways to meet people, somehow without spending tons of money, an invite from LFRF for a FREE Ram Dass course with a message board came into my email’s inbox. How wonderful! As much as I would love that kind of eye-to-eye conversation, I’m very pleased to know there is a community for me, and it’s okay that I might just get to enjoy it from behind a screen right now. Thank you for asking your question; it resonated with me.
I have a few ideas for myself that I am slowly doing. I need friends that I can share this journey with. Currently, im at the point where when i talk about what I’m learning and experiencing, the conversation just dies.
I’m trying to get to know people at The Center for Spiritual Living, but it is a slow process because i live a ways away from the closest church.
I am part of a few Facebook groups and have started reaching out to people that are near me. Haven’t met with them in person yet, though.
I’m glad that you’ve found ways to at least attempt in-person connection. I certainly know how it is when bringing up spiritual matters kills the conversation with many people. I have a good friend who has done quite a lot in the way of psychedelics and he has seen many of the same things as I have yet we diverge in our understanding of exactly what we’ve seen. He’s great for conversation but even with him mentioning some aspects of our similar experiences stalls the conversation.
This is my attempt at the online route but a screen will never quite fill the bill for me altogether. That’s the rub, satsangs and sanghas are crucial to our development yet there are so few of us and so scattered that it’s hard to come by. I hope you find great success in your attempts to build your community.
I got the same invite and that led me to this. I’m hopeful and making the attempt at online community. I mean sometimes that’s all that offers itself. I am hopefully that maybe it can grow into something more meaningful and sustainable than just a screen. I think we flourish and grow much more in community and sharing than in isolation (although that can also have certain benefits as centuries of hermits can attest).
All my best hopes are with you in trying to build your own community.
Greetings all. I can also relate to feeling out of step with the dominant culture. I rarely encounter folks who are familiar with the teachings of RD and find the desire for a spiritual community weaves itself throughout my days. I’m thankful for this community.
Jeremy, you have brought up a great point. I have also been struggling looking for community with like minded people in real life. Unfortunately it seems online is the way to go now. For now. Im going to keep searching. Best of luck
Hi Jeremy and everyone else!
I am in a bit of a different spot, as I just graduated from college a few months ago and there I felt I had a community of people to talk with about our meditation experiences in a group that did morning meditations a few times a week. Now, however, I have been traveling and missing the stability/community I had, and really miss the ability to just share thoughts and get pearls of advice/ideas for practice and seeing the world around me. I am definitely looking to find a community and a teacher when I’m back home and have some more stability in my life, but for now am excited to be a part of this group online and share with/learn from you all
Hello everyone, I’m a little late joining this conversation, but I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughts.
Thank you for sharing. Recently, I have been fortunate to meet a new friend who is herself on a spiritual path of some sort. We often trade insights. But, generally, I’d agree, there are many around me who are just not there yet (I don’t mean that in a derogatory way) in terms of even giving consciousness a second thought, and so raised eyebrows and the shuffling of feet to move away - and the silence - are all things I know and understand.
For me, I find it hard to engage in conversation that isn’t on a deep level. I try and I still do, of course; I talk about the weather and good films, but I am often quiet about the things that matter to them that I just can’t be enthusiastic about.
So I guess it works both ways.
I understand a lot of the things that seem important to other people my age (approaching mid-life), the things are capitalist society deems as critical to happiness, and I can empathise and make the right noises, but I’m not fully there, and that can make it difficult to develop lasting friendships. I guess we’re just not on the same page.
Luckily, I enjoy solitude, and I have my husband who is supportive and curious, and a few other friends that are on their paths (mostly from my yoga teacher training), and to be honest, what with my children (my most powerful teachers) as my priority, I have very little time for high-maintenance friendships.
So I am grateful for the connections that I have. They are enough. In fact, they are plenty.
@DannyGold I definitely understand that and reflecting upon my own college experience I think those kind of deeper connections were also easier for me then. I think there is just a greater openness amongst many college students and the idealism of youth is also strong then. It does seem to be common to humans to solidify our views as we age and when this occurs we tend to search less for new ideas and experiences because we think we already have all the answers. It happens to most of us but to varying degrees. I think it’s key to be aware of this tendency to help us stay open.
I see you will be starting a career in NYC soon. That may be a huge benefit to your continuing practice. Larger cosmopolitan areas like New York offer so much diversity and opportunities as far as sanghas, satsangs, and various trainings and retreats. There is a greater openness to “foreign” ideas and practices there and that’s a great thing. May you find the places you need to be and the people who help you progress on whatever chosen path you follow.
I’m glad you have found that one friend. I find that even one or two friends with whom you can have meaningful conversation can make a huge difference. It’s also excellent that you have a supportive spouse. Those foundations of our daily life are very important. I also connect deeply with your comment about your children. I have a number of children myself from the ages of 9-31 so parenting presents so many different situations through which I can learn and grow. That karma yoga of everyday life in all its forms is valuable if you use it for growth.
I also love the deep conversation and have often struggled with small talk but have found that I have gotten better at it as I have aged. I work with the public daily and have found that just having simple conversation with people can both build relationships as well as ease the suffering of many people. I encounter many people with whom a little listening reveals they are just lonesome or sad or have no one to discuss anything with. I see it as part of my practice to ease these bits of suffering wherever I can.
May you see community in your life wherever it exists.
Keep your eyes and heart open and hopefully you will find those people in-person, too. Just one or two make a big difference in your life.
Thank you. You too!
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to people and I find they are drawn to me because I listen, and I care. I can handle small talk. I’m not above it. I very much see and value the sense of service involved. It’s a privilege.
But it’s things like gossip, or lusting over the ‘latest must-have’, and general conversation about things like heavy drinking, complaining about a spouse or wanting to loose weight… those sorts of things, that make me go quiet.
In terms of finding a sangha, it requires a deeper level of communication, doesn’t it? And that’s what I am talking about here.
So, I am grateful to have a few whom I feel I can commune with on that basis, as well as being quite happy with my own company, and, of course, the network that is available
to us all via the internet. Which has brought us all here, having this discussion. Many blessings.
Hi @Jeremy , I have had a lot of companions on my journey, since I kind of realised how things really are, that we are here and there and that we are all here to allow us to experience a physical life but six years ago we moved to Dordogne in France from the UK and so lost a few of those connections and spaces. There are people everywhere who are curious and learning and expanding and my community is now developing here in France but it’s a weird thing, in that there seems to be less free and flowing and connecting in and dancing and more rigid ritual and people feeling they still need to follow this rule or that book or that teacher, rather than just sitting with it, allowing the connection and communication and feeling it and playing with it and not taking it all too seriously. Friends into psychedelics and get what they are experiencing, are probably my best outlet for the real conversations here and also other people who have experienced grief in a way that it has opened them up and changed them and made it imperative to BE here in connection every day. I am really excited to be part of this group and course and hope we can have the real conversations about our real experiences that we wouldn’t or couldn’t have with other people without them considering us quite mad.
Hi Mandy, I love that: without considering us mad! I’ve long considered moving to France. We have family in Brittany.
Hi @Louisa_Flynn Ah it is such a beautiful culture We are in the south west and love it here but Brittany is also amazing. The way I chat to other people about experiences with awakening has changed dramatically over the last sixteen years, since my first big whammy Back then I wanted to show everyone what I could do, what I could help them to experience and it is so cringeworthy, I was like an excited little kid. I did that for about a year and then learned more from the connection and realised I needed to stop that nonsense and just take the intuitive nudges and show up when those opportunities present themselves. This helps with the flow of conversations and people not thinking I am mad . My husband freaks out a little at times but in a gently and happy way. I would really recommend a move to France Louisa, it is definitely my spiritual home.
I’m glad you are finding new people to connect with. I think what you are finding in France as far as people being more concrete, perhaps for lack of a better word, is just a part of the prevailing culture. It’s the same here in the US there are localized and regional cultures which differ tremendously in politics, lifestyle, religiosity, and openness. Obviously, it’s not a different species of human beings just a clear demonstration of how much our environment determines how we live. In Zen Buddhism we talk about Causes and Conditions making us exactly who each of us is. Causes are the effects of karma both from this life and past and Conditions represent all our environmental, genetic, cultural and experiential influences. When people all come from a very similar area and culture they tend to behave in certain ways. The good news is that there are always outliers in any place. They just tend to take longer to find but as you are your own outlier there you are likely to attract some.
Psychedelic veterans are often a good starting point. Even if the spiritual trip may not be exactly the same you both tend to come from a similar perspective. It’s a perspective that says everything is not as it appears and that there is far more to our human existence than just what the prevailing culture wants you to believe. I know that my closest friends have all done psychedelics along the way and my very closest have done them with me and that shared experience has bonded us despite other areas where we may see things differently.
I am glad you are here. Admittedly, online is not like in-person but may you find connections and understanding which help you here.
@Louisa_Flynn We keep looking until we find. For what the internet is worth, you have friends here.