Teacher and Sangha
Today a dear student pondered, “Sometimes I wonder why I pay to attend a class where I come to rest”.
She paused for some moments and then shared.
“Community. I have experienced the importance of sangha”.
She shared that she appreciates sitting with like-minded (hearted) people who aspire to meet themselves in a sincere and profound way. The support in the room is palpable for her. When her curiosity fades or her attention ruminates, the collective energy of the group catches her and brings her back. She said that there is something unique about group energy that she does not feel at home. It strengthens her intention for practice, and she connects to a shared experience, something beyond herself.
A large part of meditation practice is in meeting the workings of the ego. Ego, as I use it here, is the collective pattern of thinking and perceptions that we take ourselves to be. This student also described that being able to surrender to the guidance of a trusted teacher helps her ego personality to rest. She no longer needs to be the one leading, planning and doing. Instead she can listen and feel her way back to what she “naturally” is and has been. These last words were beautiful, pointing to something beyond her ego and her person-ness; what many describe as spirit, being, presence, wholeness.
The dialogue continued for some time, and I listened as she uncovered her own answers. It was sweet to witness.
It is essential that teachers entrusted in these kind of spaces do their own work/practice; that they check their humanity and ego often so that space is held with integrity and clarity. While the ego can at times make it complicated, the teacher’s work is simple; to point the students back to themselves.
Alongside community, one’s home practice is also important so that practice continues even when circumstances change, as they will. Most of my practice happens at home, in solitude or amidst my family for now. And I look forward to retreating with two of my teachers in the new year; being held and guided, ego checked in and heart open.