The Spiritual Benefits of Living in Community

Western living is increasingly isolated. Economic empowerment creates self sufficiency which is wonderful, but it also enables the family unit to operate independent of the extended family and deep social contact. Many people are so self contained and busy they don’t even say hello to their neighbours let alone know their names or what goes on behind their doors.

When I lived in Findhorn, a spiritual community and education centre in Scotland, I discovered the true power and benefits of community – it feeds the Soul! Engaging each person in a journey of personal growth, it asks you to go to new places in yourself in order to get on with everyone (challenging), discover how to be authentic when you don’t like certain people (eeek), decide whether to talk through conflicts (which are many, spiritual community or not) or ignore them – and more!

Before I lived in community (and yes for a good while during my stay) I avoided conflict and tricky encounters with all my being. If I couldn’t contain myself and had a tiff or run in I would shrink into my inner shell and hide emotionally. But by the end of my 3 years at Findhorn I had learned to manage myself into doing the opposite, and boy was it healing! Learning to talk through conflict and unhappiness with community members invited me to meet more parts of myself. But I was only able to do this because of the love and support of the community who offered me tools and encourage me as I took each tentative step. That’s the beauty of having deep community relationships.
If you wish to create a robust aligned connection with your Soul it’s essential that you engage meaningfully in community ie. get involved! The rich landscape of feelings that other people bring up are wonderful mirrors that when looked into offer you much more than company.  Deep dialogues and sharing create a sense of togetherness that speaks of the true oneness of all life.  Conflicts and troubles are in essence a call to greater intimacy -when embraced they bring intimacy with yourself. So look at your life today and make the steps to strip away isolating barriers. Step forward to meet more of yourself, stand in your centre and live aligned to Soul – in community!


A lovely idea but how exactly do we do this?
One way is to make sure that we keep our thinking expansive. Listening to CD’s and DVD’s of spiritual teachers, reading new books and being part of discussion groups are an essential piece in this work. Through listening to new and insightful ideas, our bodies are given the opportunity to take in and metabolise ways to be more. When this happens we automatically use the knowledge to make deeper connections with our Soul.
When I lived in Findhorn I got to attend some sessions by a German teacher, Thomas Hubel. His work had a remarkable effect on me, primarily because there was no bullsh*t or pretence. He offered a pragmatic and grounded perspective that I could apply in my life. Have a listen to what he has to say And if you don’t like his work, find someone else, but don’t slip into spiritual apathy! Go out and expand your spiritual horizons.

The Importance of Acknowledging all of Yourself

The search for our Soul is actually the search for wholeness. All too often people walk around with the notion of their Soul as Love and Light, not knowing that the energy stream of their Soul contains more than that.

Yesterday I ran a workshop to help people step into their power and align with their Soul.  In the afternoon I asked participants to name the qualities that define who they are at the highest level. Ideas such as healer, compassionate, teacher, light, joy were named. No one had put down such qualities as moody, selfish, aggressive, sexual etc.

I asked them to go back to the drawing board and list those ‘dark’ aspects of themselves too, and then talk about them with someone in the room.  Well! the energy and noise level in the room instantly rose, not a little bit, but by a gigantic jump!  There was suddenly a life force and presence in the room that hadn’t been there before.

This  shows how when we embrace the all of ourselves,  we say YES to a full flow of Life Force – and open up to  a full connection our Soul. Many people desire more energy, power and spiritual guidance  all the while trying to hide their dark side. Ironically the one thing that they don’t want to work with, is the one thing that holds the answer.

I am not suggesting that you actively create or desire ‘bad’ aspects to be active in your personality. The work of raising consciousness is the work of bringing a higher vibration to these very aspects. However if they are stashed away in the cupboard, hidden and sublimated, how could they possibly be transformed?

And, there is a part of us that belongs to the animal kingdom. Fact. We are more enabled if we stand in the place of acknowledging and owning this truth so we can consciously work with it. It’s when these aspects are denied that such energies can become corrupt, and end up being expressed in ways that are simply not ok.

This is a thorny issue. Even as I write I can hear a million reason why not to put these ideas on paper. Testimony to how conditioned we are not to look at this subject. However I am convinced that Soul asks this of us. When our willingness to see the totality of ourselves is held in the chamber of an open and loving heart space, then it becomes safe one for all.  And it’s important to know that the acknowledgement of our ‘dark stuff’ is not the same as acting on it. We can see it, own it and feel the energy of it. But directing it into the outside world towards people and circumstances can be pure projection and yet another form of denial.

I am a naturally aggressive person. Five years of living in a spiritual community turned into five years of trying to keep that natural aggression hidden. What happened? Not only did I a loose a vital and necessary part of myself, but I opened the door to illness. Only when I stood in my centre and welcomed the fact that my natural aggression is a juicy gift given me to help me fulfil my life’s calling, did I turn the health corner.

So here’s an invitation. Open your heart to hold the all of yourself. Welcome back the real you so you may stand in the full flow of Life and make a deep connection with your Soul, and success!