When I first started practicing I found a group that met twice a week. It was my first real experience with working with a group. I would go twice a week for a couple of years. I made few new friends and had the opportunity to learn from a teacher who had more than 40 years’ experience. It was an excellent experience I was very grateful for it. However sometimes I still felt like I was on the outside looking in but I stuck with it because I was learning so much from them. I also felt as if a lot of people who were attending were trying to fix themselves and others were collecting knowledge, and for some it was even fashionable. I felt that those people missed the point of what the Buddha taught. Yet they needed to be there maybe even more than me.
While this was going on for them, I was finding out that I am fine the way I am, and by meditating I learned that life is an experience, and there is no separation from the experience and my perception of it. My focus was being present and just learning to observe my thoughts without judging or becoming attached to them. For me this was an amazing revelation while for others it was not enough they continued to practice but still looking for something. I understand that seekers need the practice and to learn the teaching more so they can understand. I felt I had moved in a different direction than the rest of the flock, I was a man who could see and feel freedom. I was a man without a Sangha!
I didn’t need a Sangha, or teachers, because we are all each and every one of us already completely free and perfect. Then one day the Sangha went on retreat and did not hold its regular practice. That week I realized that all living things are my Sangha, not just a small click Buddha hippies. I also realize that life or the experience of life is the teacher not a person, not even the Buddha. That was the moment that I really took refuge, refuge in the wonder of life, and the opportunity to have this experience, and learning to let go so the next moment can be…. Well as Kurt Vonnegut would say “So it goes.” .
Thanks for reading,