We all want it: connection, community, our ‘tribe’, to feel like we belong. One of the most common things people tell me they long for, is a sense of spiritual community. Not only finding a belief system they resonate with, but being able to share it with others. And why not? I have found that some of the most intense and profound experiences I’ve had with other humans has been in a shared spiritual context.
But if you aren’t into organized religion, how do you find a group of like-minded people to have spiritual connection with?
In this article we are going to discuss some of the most common pitfalls that keep us from the community we crave.
Don’t assume it will just come to you.
Just like getting a date, finding a job or finishing a project, this isn’t going to just happen on its own. You will have to put some hard work and commitment into finding your community. Put yourself out there, find classes, meditation groups, or gatherings where you are likely to meet others that share your beliefs. Test the waters. Forming community takes time, and a willingness to engage. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask your spirit guides for help, or say a prayer for what you want, it just means that you are also going to have to take some human action.
Don’t be too picky at first.
When you are first getting started don’t rule out opportunities just because they aren’t an exact fit. That goddess group may not be exactly your cup of tea, but you may meet some folks there who feel the same as you. Go with an open mind however, don’t go just to trash an event, or talk shit about it afterwards. At the same time don’t stick with something that really doesn’t resonate with you. See if you can find the balance between trying new things, and being honest with yourself when it’s just not for you.
Don’t propose on the first date.
All too often we are so eager and thirsty for spiritual community we go in looking to form commitment before even getting to know someone. If you find yourself going to meditation groups, classes, or public rituals for the sole purpose of finding people to form a group with, you may be coming on too strong, and missing the gifts available to you. You would never propose marriage on the first date, so why would you expect someone to commit to a deeply intimate connection with you on the first meeting. Test the waters, go slowly, get to know people before proposing you all form a coven and become blood sisters.
Don’t assume that having spiritual commonality will protect you from human drama.
We would like to believe that when we are dealing with folks on a spiritual plane that we can bypass all the petty shit that gets in the way of normal friendships. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In my experience, our vulnerability increases dramatically when engaging in spiritual activity with others, and often so does our bad behavior as we sometimes seek to cover for our weaknesses by acting out. Before joining any group, or forming one of your own, ask yourself how well you know the folks involved. Are you likely to be supported and treated kindly when your shit comes up? How well do they deal with their own shit, and are they willing to take responsibility when they act out?
Don’t try to control the process.
Unless you are trying to form a cult, you will need to relinquish some control over how things unfold. You may have the perfect idea of how best to form community, or make commitments with others, but you don’t always know best. True community is based on a shared value system, where everyone is honored for their unique gifts. In my practice we have a belief that each person present in the group is holding a very important piece of the puzzle and that we wouldn’t be complete without them. This ensures that everyone’s perspective is valued and no one person has all the authority. Trust that when others show up, they are there for a reason, and when they can’t be there it is also for a reason.
So how do you do it?
Put yourself out there, meet other people and then start slow. Invite folks over for a casual solstice dinner, or new moon ritual. Don’t get too heavy or too deep at first. See who sticks around, who do you have commonality with, who does it feel like you can trust. Don’t take it personally if folks aren’t ready, just find the ones who are. Also recognize that no one person needs to be everything to everybody. Certain folks may be great for a causal dinner, but not the types you want to book a weekend meditation retreat at the beach with. Other people may be the type that you can spend hours going incredibly deep with, but they don’t get along with your other friends. It takes all kinds of people to form community.
In what ways do you struggle with finding spiritual community? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share this article on Facebook and Twitter if it resonates with you.