Creating community as a spiritual practice

The Temple of Ara is an international shamanic Wiccan spiritual tradition devoted to experiencing the divinity that dwells within Nature and in ourselves. It’s a spiritual path and a community.

And while most people think of community in terms of covens where people come together regularly for ritual, the Ara tradition has a deeper definition of community. Community is a spiritual practice.

As a spiritual community, all of us across the globe regularly practice together to bring about and to maintain awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.

Community as our roots

Our modern society, with its emphasis on individualism, creates so many people who are disconnected from the Earth and from the Divine that dwells within. If we look at the present in ourselves and our society, we can see much suffering—loneliness, alienation, division, the disintegration of society, the destruction of the Earth.

Most people are like trees without roots. A tree without roots cannot absorb anything; it cannot survive.

It’s no wonder that a majority of people who join our Temple do so because they are looking for a spiritual home, for something to belong to, to be with people who share their love for the Earth.

Our practice in the Ara Tradition is, therefore, to grow some roots.

The Ara community is a place to practice for the transformation and the healing of self and the Earth. Through our programs and by co-creating with the Ara community, you can restore your strength, understanding, compassion, confidence. And then in turn you can use that strength, understanding and compassion to rebuild society, to restore communion and harmony with Nature.

For us to grow roots, we need the kind of environment that can help us become rooted. Our spiritual tribe is not a community of practice in which each person is an island, unable to communicate with each other. No healing or transformation will result from such an experience. We regard our spiritual tribe like a family in which there is a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

You need a spiritual tribe

In the Ara Tradition, we learn that as individuals we cannot be overwhelmingly effective. That is whycommunity participating in our community is a very strong and important spiritual practice. Without being in a community, without being supported by a group who are motivated by the same values and practices, we cannot go far.

Although we can rely on the energy that is generated by our personal practice, sometimes it is not enough. Being in the presence of our community, whether in-person or online, is a wonderful opportunity to allow the collective energy of the tribe penetrate into our body and consciousness. We profit a lot from that collective energy. Even if you simply stop thinking and allow yourself to absorb the collective energy of the community, it’s very healing. Allow yourself to rest in community, and the energy of the community will carry and support you. Our community is there to make your spiritual training easy.

Because you feel supported in community, it becomes a powerful setting and environment for the practice of looking deeply.

Our practice then becomes “non-practice.” Being aware that we are in a tribe where people are mindful, where people are deeply living the moments of their days, can become enough. If you put yourself in such an environment, then transformation will happen more easily.

When you allow yourself to be in community the way a drop of water allows itself to be in a river, the energy of the tribe can penetrate into you, and transformation and healing will become possible.

So as we seek to grow roots, the community is the soil and we become the seed.

In this way our loneliness or our feeling of being cut off will disappear.

The key to practicing in community

If you are a beginner in the Temple’s practices, don’t worry about what is the correct thing to do. Many people who have just joined the Temple often get caught up in the idea that they have to stand in the right way, say the right words, and perform the right actions.

We encourage you to put all of that aside.

The right thing is to do whatever you are doing in mindfulness. Mindfulness is keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality. To raise your arms to greet the elements may not be the right thing to do if you don’t it in mindfulness. The “wrong” thing is whatever you do without mindfulness. You are the only one who knows whether you are doing it correctly or not. When you practice breathing in and out, if you feel peaceful, if you enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you know you are doing it correctly. Wherever you find yourself, if you feel you are at ease and peaceful, then you know you are doing it right.

The Temple of Ara community is made out of the work of individuals. When people approach our practices with honesty and openness, the tribe has more power to heal and transform. Therefore each one of us helps create the energy of the community. Our presence, when it is a mindful presence, contributes to that energy.

Remember that being in community benefits you, the entire tribe and even those outside of the community. When you feel more connected to the Divine, the whole area where you live profits. If we practice looking deeply, our understanding of inter-being will grow, and we will see that every smile, every step, every breath is for everybody. It is for our country, for the Earth, for the future, for our ancestors.

 

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