Today we look at satsang, or like-minded community. We all know that, when we’re trying to build new habits in our lives, it can be helpful to interact with others who are working on the same things, and the yogis realized this is every bit as true when it comes to growth. In satsang, we are actively cultivating time with others, sharing challenges & insights, as well as supporting one another in the practices that we have in common. The benefits of satsang include:
- Reinforcement of our greater ideals & values
- Less distraction from activities that don’t serve us
- The opportunity to learn from the experiences & wisdom of others
- A chance to offer encouragement & insight
Satsang is in & of itself quite simple. It can take a variety of forms, but the most important part is what could be thought of as “active cultivation.”
You might start by asking yourself what areas in your life are the ones for which you would most value support. Perhaps you could use support with concrete practices, such as meditation, chanting, or study. Or perhaps you would value support in exploring how to bring higher values into your work-place or with your family.
Once you have an idea of where you’d value receiving & giving support, the next step is to look for an opportunity — you might look for a group affiliated with your yoga studio, your spiritual community, or any other community of which you’re a part.
Of course, it’s often hard to find a group which matches our particular goals, in which case it can be a wonderful opportunity to explore creating such a group. You might begin by talking with like-minded friends or others from the communities mentioned to see if others who would enjoy support in working on the same issues.
If you decide to create a group, you’ll probably find it easiest to start small — perhaps four or six — in order to build some momentum, with the knowledge you can always expand if desired. Frequency can also start on the gentle side — perhaps an hour every couple weeks or once a month, with the understanding that you can always increase as commitment grows.
It’s also worth noting that satsang doesn’t need to be big or complex — it can be as simple as a regular tea with a friend or two. Likewise it can be as structured or as casual as might serve — some groups meet with a clear focus, for example meditation or bringing Yogic principles into our community relations, others are more purposefully open, allowing participants simply to share with others a bit about their current work. The main thing is to find the style & structure that suits both your temperament and your goals.
So consider exploring this powerful principle — again, you might be surprised to find a group already working toward some of your goals, or your inspiration might be the very thing that provides support & encouragement to others. And perhaps, as Swami Vivekananda suggests, you too will find this to be an excellent way to move toward your greater goals….