The Importance of Community – All for one

by Šárka Vojáčková |
November, 2024

Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion. With freedom from delusion, one feels the changeless reality.
Experiencing that changeless reality, one attains liberation in this life. I-AM is the ocean of awareness. Realizing this, one feels, “I am not the body and mind, although I have a body and mind.” Realize Govinda, realize Govinda, realize Govinda in your heart, O wise one!

~ Translation & Commentary by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati

Sequoia trees are the biggest trees in the whole word and many of them are older than 100 years. How can they still be alive when they grow in muddy and unstable soil (environment) and their tough the roots don’t go deep? There is a secret behind that… Sequoia trees stretch out far and wide and intertwine with other sequoias. They grip to one another and, in this way, every tree is connected and supported by the others.
Even the smallest tree has the support to grow. They stand together united, indestructible – all for one!

Everyone wants to be a part of something. It is deep down in our nature. Everyone feels that we ARE part of something. We are a part of unity! As Sharon Gannon says:,, You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state.” In other words, we are Yoga (unity), but at some point in our lives we have disconnected from the whole. Advaita Vedanta explains this disconnection as living in maya (illusion) when we (atman – individual soul) have forgotten that we are a part of the whole (Brahman – the Ultimate Reality). The moment we realize it, we become jīvanmukta – liberated while living. And a good community leading and supporting us in the right direction is essential on our spiritual path to come back hOMe.

Our mind is like a clear crystal. What surrounds us is reflected in the crystal. In our mind. That is why it is so important to be careful with those we spend our time with. There is a really good quote which says:,, Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are.” The crucial question is: What do we want to achieve? As David Life says:,, Banana or Nirvana?” It is up to us. And according to that we should choose our community. So, by choosing a community which wants Banana we will want more and more bananas.

But in a community that wants Nirvana we reach non-attachment to Banana. By means of this non-attachment we realize that we have been living in an illusion. It’s like having had bad vision for years and suddenly putting on glasses. We see reality more clearly, we see the changeless reality.

The uplifting community of people searching Yoga is called satsang. Sat meaning ‘truth” and anga meaning “attachment,” so the word satsang means “to be attached to the truth”. Satsang is like nurture and care for our mind, just like a sprout that wants to grow needs these for its growth. The first important step is to find our sanga giving you spiritual strength through which, ultimately, you will be able to see the divinity in all beings because the next step is to Love everyone, as Ram Dass was advised by his teacher Maharaji.
And Loving everyone can be the biggest task on our path.

Patanjali gives us suggestions on how to handle negativity and those who want Banana instead of Nirvana (which can be described as citta-prasādanam – A mind of equanimity filled with non-dual love and compassion for all beings) in two sutras. Cultivate karuṇā – compassion with others who are not happy and upekṣāṇāṁ – an attitude of neutrality toward those who appear to be negative or crue (YS 1.33). Because each individual person perceives the same object in a different way, according to their own state of mind and projections. Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it (YS 4.15).

According to their own traumas. We don’t know what is behind someone`s behavior. Maybe they see the same object in such a different way because they have had a very difficult time which we cannot even imagine. Keep this in mind and do not judge anyone. We should be careful because it is easy to puff up our spiritual ego and think about ourselves as a part of a “higher” community. In the end, it is not about being separate. One and the other community. This separation has always only brought war. It is about being One.

Try to find what we have in common not what separates you from others. Respect all beings which means to look and look again, to really see someone. See the world through your heart, not through your mind and, as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, be humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree and always offer respect to others until otherness disappears.

In the book Scar Tissue Anthony Kiedis shares his life as a singer and leader of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band was really popular and had many concerts. But once, when Anthony was going through a difficult time, he did not come on stage and stayed locked in his hotel room. Can you imagine how the rest of the band felt? A completely sold out concert and the lead singer was nowhere. After two days, someone knocked on his door. When the knocking continued, he opened the door expecting the band members to hate him. But when he opened the door, they stood there with open arms and asked:,, Can we help you in any way? We are here for you.”

Ask yourself: “What can I do for others?” We are here for each other. Despite our differences, our strength lies in nurturing and caring for each other. But include everyone! Every being. Human being, animal being, tree being… Remember: “The way you treat others determines the way others treat you; the way others treat you determines the way you see yourself; the way you see yourself determines who you are.” (Sharon Gannon)

Teaching Tips

  • Include everyone in your class. Not only the first line.
  • Be there for everyone also after a class
  • Try to remember your students` names. Everyone feels more included while someone remembers their name.
  • Do at least one satsang a month for free.
  • Teach partner exercises when students can support each other.
  • Teach a concept by rooting down you rise up (standing poses into backbending).
  • Explain the word Yoga
  • Teach YS 1.33 (maitrī karuṇā mudito-pekṣāṇāṁ-sukha-duḥkha puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam – To preserve the innate serenity of the mind, a yogin should be happy for those who are happy, be compassionate toward those who are unhappy, be delighted for those who are virtuous, and be indifferent toward the wicked.)
  • Teach YS 4.15 (vastu-sāmye citta-bhedāt tayor vibhaktaḥ panthāḥ – Each individual person perceives the same object in a different way, according to their own state of mind and projections. Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it.)
  • Share what the Jivamutki yoga community means to you with your student
  • Read from the book The Overstory by Richard Powers (an excerpt of the book: “You and the tree in your backyard come from a common ancestor. Your paths diverged a half billion years ago. But even now, after an endless journey in different directions, the tree and you still share a quarter of your genes…”)
  • Encourage students to care about others in some way (human being, animal being, tree being, flowers being..)
  • Encourage students to observe the nature. Let the nature teach us.
  • Chant Om at the beginning of a class as attunement to the same vibration
  • Chant Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • Share suggestion by Saint Rúpa Gósvámi on how to take care of a spiritual relationship (find it in the book The Journey Within by Rádhánáth Svámí) with your students:
  1. Reveal your mind to those closest to you with confidence
  2. Listen to your loved ones
  3. Be generous and give gifts to people and accept gifts with gratitude
  4. Prepare sacred food (prasad) for your friends and accept sacred food from them
  5. Cultivate mutual love