By taking refuge in a spiritual community, you become rooted in the experience, wisdom and consciousness of those who have gone before you. At the same time you, yourself become a perennial root for the flowering of all young people who will continue after you. Your life then becomes eternal. When I see a young person practicing mindful walking and breathing, I see myself in him, in her. I feel very youthful. I know that this person will continue the practice and will carry me in to the future. I know that I will climb the hill of the twenty-first century with all of my students. Together, we will go through the next century. My life will continue because I am going as a sangha and not as individual, separate self. Creating True Peace. Page 169. Thich Nhat Hanh.
There are points within this passage which if expanded upon would add depth the meaning…
1. What is the definition of a spiritual community within this context and how may we apply this to the outside world beyond communes and monasteries? Spiritual community directly relates to your interpersonal sphere of influence. Who do you spend your time with? They will assist you in growing and becoming a being of great understanding. Choose wisely your sphere of influence.
2. Separateness. This does not exist. If it does, it only exists as a false construct in our minds. Yes, we are individuals, but we are connected to the greater whole. Our existence is inter-relational.
When we maximise our sphere of influence and realise the importance of connectedness we bring ourselves closer to eternal truth. SS.