While “sangha” usually refers to a spiritual community associated with a particular tradition or religion, people who make up our sangha are from various backgrounds—Buddhist, Hindu, Christian. The spirit of our sangha is a mutual interest in the exploration of spiritual truth outside of the context of a particular tradition, religion, or teaching. There is an openness to it. These teachings seem to resonate with those who want to get to the real core of spirituality and are looking beyond exterior trappings for a more unencumbered expression of Truth.
Our sangha is, of course, made up of people who are interested in my teaching and the way it expresses itself. But my viewpoint is that I’m not really into me; I’m into the Truth. The teaching is pointing to a more universal Truth and toward an experience of sangha that is beyond all the particular expressions or forms that Truth can take. To me, real sangha is whatever is in service to the silence of the heart—wherever it shows up.
One of the most beautiful inquiries is, “What does my life serve?” This is a big question. It’s not asking, “What form is my service taking?” It doesn’t particularly matter what form our service takes when we are serving the silence of the heart. The only thing that’s important is, “What is my life really serving?”
All of us are servants, are we not? From the cradle to the grave, in some way we’re a servant of something. We can be a servant to many things: our minds, our desires, our fantasies, our ideas, our beliefs—and we’ve all been in service to all of those at some point in our lives. When we have some awakening to Truth—to what we actually are—then there is an opportunity to be a servant of that. When we realize what we are, we can serve what we are—instead of serving what we aren’t. To me this is what real sangha is.
What does it mean to be in service to the Truth right now? One of the most wonderful things about this sangha, and also one of the most challenging things about it, has been a continuous exploration of what it actually means to serve the silence of the heart—not only individually, but collectively. What does it mean to be in service of the Truth when one of your buddies woke up on the wrong side of the universe that day? What does that look like? It’s always asking us to put our realization into practice, into movement, into motion, into this world that will forever be perfectly imperfect.
Serving the Truth becomes our life instead of just an isolated event. It takes the abstractness out of spirituality. That’s the opportunity of real spirituality: to be in service to the silence of the heart.
Copyright © 2010 Open Gate Sangha