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March 2012 Edition

Dear Jim:


This newsletter is my regular attempt to nudge you towards some of the things that I've found helpful in my own spiritual journey, and while you never have to do anything I or anyone else says, I think spiritual community is one of the more essential elements of the path. While there are some things that we have to do on our own, there are many others that cannot be done without community. Just look at my blog. Do you really think that that's come about purely because of me. Regardless of the writing that I do, I'm indebted to the Blogger service, the Internet at large, Google and StumbleUpon (two of my biggest traffic sources), and several students who have committed time to helping in one way or another with the blog. In that respect, the blog is already an achievement of spiritual community.

So before you swear off all relationships to sit in an ashram in a remote village, I encourage you to take a little bit of time to appreciate your interdependence with the world and look towards how you can connect with and cultivate spiritual community right where you are today.
Building Your Spiritual Community

I've written one blog about finding spiritual community, but I think many of you are actually spiritual community builders and leaders. I encourage you to embrace that trait if you have the knack for community and/or leadership.

And yet, many others of you will simply build small little spiritual communities to support you as you go. This can simply be your older brother with whom you can talk about spirituality, or perhaps it's a local meditation or prayer group. Really, it's about having someone or several someones to talk about and interact around spirituality. It's a great way to deal with issues and to practice new, healthy patterns of behaviors. In some ways, a spiritual community is a form of rehabiliation, which is why some types of rehab groups can end up be excellent sources of communal spiritual support even though they don't use "spiritual" terms.

So here's a few tips to help you build your spiritual community for as long as you need it, which will vary for each of you from a lifetime of support to perhaps a few days--and that's okay.

Tip #1 Talk About Spirituality. Just start talking about spirituality to different people. It's probably not going to be comfortable at first, but if you're already tuned in to your inner knowing, that'll help you to find people who will resonate with what you say. Even if you're not, both skills--talking about spirituality and using your intuition--require practice. Give it a shot. You may be surprised at who responds and naturally becomes part of your spiritual community.

Tip #2 Explore Local Groups. Many of you may have already done this, but perhaps not. I encourage people to check out everything from the prayer group at the local Christian Church to the psychic readings night at that funky little shop in downtown. You never know with whom you may suddenly have an amazing connection.

Tip #3 Have a Meditation Night. Start a meditation group and see who shows up. There are plenty of easy meditations to do together,  and you don't have to make this into a big deal. Good grief, if only spiritual stuff wasn't made into a big deal all the time, we'd all be better off. If you want tips on types of meditations to do in a group, you can message me.

There are, of course, many other ways to build your spiritual community. I've done a lot of that with the Internet and conversations that I've had over the last several years about spirituality. So one way or another, you've got all the tools to build a spiritual community. Don't get too particular about what it should look like. Instead, just look to the heart of the matter and the hearts of the people to whom you're connecting. It should be clear who feels right to be in your community and joining you for a little ways on your spiritual path.

In love and kindness,

Jim

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