"If we go into community to find perfect peace, we will likely be disappointed. But if we look at community as a place to mature our practice of steadiness, patience and compassion, to become conscious together of others, then we have the fertile soil of awakening."
~ Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
When I started attending Mile Hi Church--many years ago--I was a bit naive about spiritual community. In retrospect, I was projecting my view of how a spiritual community should be--how I wanted it to be-- onto the community itself.
I assumed EVERYONE was filled with peace; had all their stuff together; never got angry or jealous or judgmental; shared all my values; saw the world like I did, and on and on. You get the idea.
As you might imagine, this perception did not last long. Don't get me wrong--the Mile Hi Church community is an amazing community. But I expected too much. I expected the community to be filled with idealized versions of myself.
The truth is, a spiritual community--like any other community--is filled with people. Real, live human beings who are working on their stuff; who are walking the path of the awakening heart just like I am and just like you are.
As Jack has discussed in the book numerous times, some of those people are masters in some areas of their life and really struggling in others. Some people seemingly get it all figured out only to have some aspect of their life apparently blow up on them.
A spiritual community is a container in which people come together to do their work. And just like life in general, there will be moments and encounters of great joy and connection, and there will be moments and encounters that are quite challenging.
It helps to go in with an open mind; an open heart; a willingness to be tolerant, forgiving and compassionate.
Peace, blessings and joy.
Do you have a spiritual community? Are you engaged with it or do you just show up? When your path gets rocky, can you reach out to your spiritual community and trust that you will be supported?
If you're feeling a bit like a loner (which is fine) and perhaps feeling called to a greater level of connection and engagement, how could we--the Mile Hi community--support you? Are you aware of all the ways you can connect? If you're looking to go deeper, let us know. Leave a comment, drop me a line, reach out. We welcome pretty much everybody.