Gratitude for Sangha
Some of the things that have most inspired me over the past few weeks are the ingenious ways people have found to remain connected even as we have to stay physically distant. Whether it be playing Zoom games, the socially-distanced picnics, the parades of cars with balloons honking a birthday greeting or the ubiquitous 'Quarantini' happy hours, people are finding new, quirky and fun ways to be together.
But even with all of these we are all missing the closeness of family, friends, colleagues and fellow travelers. As the old saying goes, you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
In the Buddhist traditions the idea of community is front and center. The notion of Sangha - the community of those on the path with us - is one of the three 'jewels,' along with The Buddha and Dharma (the teachings or path).
I like to define 'Sangha' slightly differently, as the group of people who don't think you are crazy when you tell them what you are struggling with. When you put it this way then Sangha becomes a very precious thing.
Inherent in the idea of Sangha is not just those who are traveling with us right now but also those who have gone before. The teachers and mentors who help us on our way, who have already experienced what we have experienced and who have already made the mistakes we are making - and learned from them. One of the wonderful things about living in this time is we have easy access to some wonderful teachings through books, audio and even YouTube videos. That is something to be extremely grateful for.
Whatever path you are on there will be those who you see as fellow companions. Be grateful for them for, as I say, they are precious. And be grateful for those who have gone before, especially those who have mentored you or helped you with their teachings.
Being grateful is a spiritual practice in itself, and is an excellent way to open our hearts. I would like to encourage you this week to spend some time acknowledging your community and those who have gone before. Reach out if you can and share your appreciation. You will find that as you do so your own feeling of contentment and well-being grows, even as things around you are hard.
The audio below is a fully guided 30-minute meditation on being grateful for your Sanhga, whoever they are. As always you can listen at any time, but a group of us have committed to pressing 'play' together at 7pm PT on Sunday May 17th. You are welcome to join with us at that time if you wish. Whether you choose to listen or not, you are part of our community, and we welcome you and thank you for being with us.
If the above player doesn't work for you you can click here.
Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash