Is Community Needed On A Spiritual Journey?

I currently have ZERO friends (please, don’t stop reading here) who are on a spiritual path like me.

It can be kind of a lonely place. Though I have never minded being alone. ‘Alone but not lonely’ my parents would often say.

I have been on this journey for almost three years and I have not yet had one meaningful, live conversation about spirituality. This blog is pretty much the only outlet I have for  discussion of the metaphysical.

I do pass along the occasional tidbit to my wife, if I think it can help her through the turmoil of PPD. But outside of that she is not like me. Even if I did find ‘The Power of Now’ on her bookshelf, she doesn’t have the same hunger for truth or meaning.

From time to time I have forced a conversation about spirituality and they have always been tortured experiences. I come off sounding incoherent with somewhat of a loose grip on reality. I am convinced that the beliefs of the person listening to me affect the depth of the words coming out of my mouth. Eckhart Tolle has said that when he is asked a question the depth of his answer depends on the depth of the question.

My question is this, do I need a spiritual community to deepen my spirituality?

So far my spiritual quest has consisted of reading books, reading interviews, watching YouTube videos, practicing yoga, meditation, and contemplation. And as frustrated as I may get, I ALWAYS feel like I am making progress. My understanding grows in clarity with each passing day.

As a side note my favorite ritual, by far, are my daily walks to a nearby park bench which lies under two mature maples, overlooking the Rideau river. I sit for about twenty minutes in attempted silence, or I ponder the latest spiritual tidbit I have come across. Today was especially beautiful (see the picture below looking up from the bench).

Looking Up

I am actually dreading the coming winter and being robbed of my routine by the bitter cold.

On some level I believe I am afraid of seeking out a local spiritual community on the basis that they may challenge certain beliefs that are currently giving me comfort. One of my greatest concerns on this spiritual path is coming across someone who believes they are enlightened, but actually aren’t, and they say something that shakes the very foundation of my beliefs.

I often been tempted to attend one of Eckhart Tolle’s retreats, though they timing isn’t great now with two kids under three. I wonder what the experience has been like for anyone who has attended. Has it been transformational? They say meeting a guru can greatly expedite a spiritual journey.

For the moment I will hold my course as it has served me well. But I am very interested in hearing any opinions you may have to offer.

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Want Not

Here’s an exact transcript (excuse the language) of a conversation I had with myself this afternoon following an onslaught of unwanted negative thoughts.

What is the point of these thoughts?
What the hell am I supposed to learn?
I just want them to go away!
How come what I want doesn’t fucking matter!?!
Holy crap! What I want DOESNT FUCKING MATTER.

All of a sudden there was relief. It is the”I” that doesn’t matter because it doesn’t exist. It is just a jumble of fears and desires. The minute thinking stopped occurring in the interest of little old me there was peace. It was a beautiful moment of surrender. As Ramesh Balsekar said, the only thing you can surrender is personal free will.

The Seeker Is He Who Is In Search Of Himself

“The seeker is he who is in search of himself.  Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be.  Once the conviction: ‘ I am not the body’ becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active.”

This is an excerpt from chapter 67 of I Am That and it has been burning inside me since I read it. It is odd how often a quote will come back to me several days after it seems to have left my mind.

For the past two days I have been playing with the idea that there is no person that I need to act in the best interests of. That no situation has to be evaluated as if it is good or bad for me. Everything just is. In the absence of the idea of a person or personality there is no concern for events.

It is an odd sensation of being without fear or desire. Fleeting I am sure, but still very profound.

Initially the thought had occurred that if you are not always thinking in your own best interests you would somehow begin to automatically neglect your body, subject yourself to unwarranted risks, and ultimately not last too long. But this is so far from the truth.

There is a certain flow to life that need not concern itself with the needs of the individual, but also has already determined the best interests for all.