Yogi Bhajan spoke a great deal about the importance of community – the importance of gathering in sangat. The word sangat is often heard in Kundalini Yoga communities and has its origin in the Sanskrit word “sangh,” which means company or fellowship. You might also hear people use the term sadh sangat, which can be translated to “fellowship of seekers of truth.” These words have been used since the time of Guru Nanak, the first Guru in the Sikh lineage, who lived from 1469-1539. The use of the word and the image that is conjures up remains especially potent today. Gathering together – as people of love, compassion, and respect – is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves, our families and our communities.
Sometimes each person’s load can only be taken collectively. Collectively we can pull the weight. We have a collective strength in us, hand in hand, in friendship, in the love, and in the affection. Do not keep things to yourself and say, “I cannot.” There is nothing you cannot do. – Yogi Bhajan, October 5, 2001
In the 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, author Robert Putnam says that the greatest social epidemic in American life is loneliness. This statement may resonate with all of us, who – at various times in our lives – may have felt alienated, lonely, and depressed, and have attempted to fill the void with social media, television, substance abuse, or overeating.
What then, can help heal this epidemic? What is the opposite of loneliness?
The most courageous, and pious act of a human is to be with another human, because we are like stars in the sky, born at one time and space, to be ourselves. Everybody is our neighbor. All we have to do is say, “I am with you.” When you start being one with everybody, then you are actually with God, because if you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all. – Yogi Bhajan, from Success and the Spirit
One of the most important things in a person’s life is the people we connect to. However, we are constantly presented with messages telling us that we can do it all on our own. And, simultaneously, that we must do MORE and do it BETTER. The epidemic of loneliness and the disease of busyness go hand-in-hand. After the time and energy required by our work, our children or other demands, we start to feel like we don’t have enough time for relationships and for spending time in community. But we need to make the time.
The opposite of loneliness is belonging.
Because as humans, we need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world.
Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.
Belonging is a psychological lever that has broad consequences. Our interests, motivation, health and happiness are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations.
How can you connect to community – and it turn connect to yourself and your truth – today and each day moving forward?
We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: There are multiple ways to find connection within your Kundalini Yoga community.
The first might be to find a class in your local community. Find a Kundalini Yoga Institute certified instructor here.
Are there no teachers in your local area? Consider taking a Kundalini Yoga class online! Kundalini Yoga U offers a variety of classes, with master teachers and incredible musicians – such as Snatam Kaur, Krishna Kaur, Gurmukh, Jai-Jagdeesh, Ajeet Kaur and many others. When participating in a class, you’ll have access to a dynamic community forum, where you can connect to other individuals also participating in the class.
And, if you’re looking for a transformative, joyous and divine experience with your Kundalini Yoga community, consider traveling to Sat Nam Fest or 3HO’s Solstice Sadhana Celebrations. These festivals are amazing opportunities to immerse yourself into the practices of Kundalini Yoga, sacred chant, seva and community.