I am up early to write so I will keep this brief so that I can get to my other project. I am finishing up some writing about com,unity this morning. I hope to incorporate some ideas that Dad shared with me from the Judeo-Christian faith. After he read Yoga From the Inside Out he said that a lot of what I wrote about community sounded very similar to how he experienced community in the Christian Church. He calls it the Community of Believers. So I asked him some questions about his experience of faith relative to the Community of Believers.
One of the cool things that struck me about what he said is that he believes that God (Or the Divine, the Absolute, the Supreme, the Spirit, etc.) operates through community in a synergistic where "1+1 is greater than 2". That is really the essence of the kula path also. That we are more together than either one of us is alone. In Dad's language "Salvation would come to the group before individuals" and I think there is a similar idea in the path of the kula. That the guru function, which is the function of grace that is revelatory (Shiva, as the Absolute or as Grace, has five acts- creation, sustenance, destruction, concealment, and revelation) is actually said to exist amongst the kula.
While many of these traditions did have a figurehead or guru/teacher, the ideas was that a well-functioning group of practitioners would, between them, be the manifestation of Grace's revelatory power. Essentially then, the Seat of the Teacher was held within the kula or the Community of Believers. (Where two or more were gathered in His Name, so to speak.) I did not ask Dad this specifically but I think that is the idea within this idea of Community of Believers as well-that Jesus' teaching are kept alive and transmitted through the community. Seems like I remember that from some discussion at some point (yes, Pamela, we have pretty interesting dinner time talks occasionally.)
So even those member of the group who drive you crazy- the student in class who has the Darth Vadar-like ujayi or who has a particularly challenging personality for any number of reasons is actually functioning as part of Grace's revelatory power- showing us who we are in each moment, even if that is just a glimpse of our reactivity! It is a high calling to practice in such a way when we are faced with the difficulties of being part of a group but there is an opportunity to see frustration and annoyance as a higher invitation. Really, there is "one in every group" for a reason!
Actually a whole book on community as it relates to faith and spiritual practice would be fun. Okay, next year's project then!
Well, there is more to write but in a different forum. Have a great day.