The leaders of religions and spiritual paths have always recognized the importance of community, the spiritual sangha. They understood that the aspirations and life practices of spiritually motivated people differ greatly from the materialistic lives of the general population. Therefore, committed spiritual seekers and their teachers tended to segregate themselves from the society in which they lived in order to pursue a more dedicated and focused lifestyle, one freer from distraction and, frankly, worldly temptation.
Today it is not generally possible for spiritual aspirants to retire to the proverbial mountaintop. The great majority of us must pursue our spiritual work in the midst of society. We have jobs, families, and networks of relationships that are important to us, as well as responsibilities we cannot shrug off. Since our spiritual evolution must take place in the midst of our ordinary life, an aspirant’s progress can be greatly augmented if she has close connections with other people who are also passionately pursuing their spiritual calling.
Women are communal beings, and it is important for them to have a body of people with whom they can intimately share their lives. It is difficult for someone who is not spiritually inclined to understand fully and be open to communications from a person who is fervent about their spiritual work. It is therefore a great benefit to have close friends who are on the same or similar spiritual path, or if they did not all originate as intimate acquaintances, that they soon get to know each other deeply and develop a bond of love and support.
Because of this, on my path we organize the students into sacred “goddess circles,” small teaching groups of women who are at a similar stage on their spiritual journeys. This provides ample space for conversational sharing and emotional support. Participation in a circle also builds intimate relationships among the members, which then establishes a foundation for mutual support in all aspects of their lives. Their combined energy can result in a very powerful field of spiritual energy that can propel the members in a way that would not be possible if they were alone in their practices.
The support of spiritual sisters can be an invaluable aid to your spiritual progress. Their mutual support and assistance can buoy you up when your interest flags. Their trials, tribulations, and triumphs can be inspiring examples of spiritual commitment, and the growing depth of their love for you a true comfort as you face the challenges of spiritual growth.
Every week, I witness this gift that my students give to each other. I hope you will be able to find a similar committed sisterhood on your path. You can be each other’s most cherished partners.