Skip to main content Skip to footer

The Blessing of Community

Why nobody reaches into Heaven alone.

Meditation seems like an alone path, but the opposite is true. Spiritual community is not only helpful, but essential. How everyone can find their own individual way to connect with like-minded people.

About this video:

I am not very good at remembering dates. And so I remembered only after the last video that already in a few days, next Saturday August 12, is the "Open Day" at the Place of Meditation. Spontaneously I made an additional video, simply so that I have an "excuse" to also talk and write about this place and this day.

The video is about community, something I haven't talked about before. It would be easy to get the impression that meditation is about being alone and disconnected from the world. It isn't.

Samarpan meditation is the tool that enables people to find the way inward, the way to Heaven, to God, and to do so while living in the midst of society, with job and family, with neighbors and friends. And while meditation itself is a letting go, a surrendering and an inward turning, it is only possible for us people in society to do this in community with like-minded people.

This is not a paradox. Jesus spoke of the same: he spoke of going within, of meditating: "put God first, everything else follows". And he spoke of community: "for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". He knew about the need for community, and Swamiji, my Indian Guru, also emphasizes the same thing over and over again.

But community is a difficult thing for many people and is fraught with disappointment and pain. In my video, I talk about what community is really about, and why without community, it is not possible to go to Heaven as a person living in society. 

Complete text for reading along:

Good morning.

This morning, I want to speak about community; about a subject I've never spoken before. And the trigger for this is that in in a few days, on Saturday August the 12th, there will be a day... how do I say this in English... in German it's called "Tag der Offenen Tür", "the day of open doors", where you can go and visit a place. There's a place in Germany near Frankfurt, it's called "Place of Meditation", and on Saturday they will have this Open House Day. Everybody can visit. Everybody can come together there, all the people who want to know about Samarpan Meditation, and all the people who already know the meditation and who want to come together. They can come there.

And if you know my videos a little bit, and if you know me a little bit, if you listen to me, you can get the impression that I don't like community. You can get the impression that I think you can do it alone and you should stay alone. And this is not so. And that's why I want to talk a little bit about this, about the subject of community, of coming together, about being together.

I mean, usually... I have very mixed experience with community. My experience is that when people come together, very very quickly gets very very messy and very very difficult. And this is true on any level of community. It is true when two people come together, for instance in a relationship, and also when many people come together. And usually, what happens is that people come together in a relationship or in a bigger community because they are looking for something. They feel needy. They feel lonely. They feel that they need the partner or the other people to be happy or to be safe, and that's the motivation, that's the reason why they enter a relationship, or why they enter a community, or why they become part of a group. And if this is the basis, if this is the motivation, it gets very very difficult very quickly, because, you know, all the other people come for the same reason. So, then you have people meeting, they are all empty-handed, it's like beggars meeting beggars, begging from each other.

That is the tragedy of normal relationship. That's why many relationships become so difficult so quickly. The one person comes lonely, lost, unhappy, thinking: "ah, this person, when I'm together with this person, then I'm happy. She or he, she's so amazing, he's so amazing. With him, with her, I can be happy". And the other person feels the same, just as lost as you, just as lonely as you, just as needy as you, thinking: "ah, with him, with her, everything will be different". And then, these two people come together. And it takes a while, a few weeks, a few months, maybe a few years, and then they discover: it's all not true. He deceived me. She deceived me. She's not happy. She's not so great. She's not so cool. He's an idiot. And then it's getting so difficult.

And the same is true with community on a larger scale. People who are lost in life, who don't find a place in the normal world, who feel unsafe in the normal society, who feel that this is not a way to live together, they come together in communities with great hopes, with great plans, with a great spirit. But all these lost people, all these people who have no place, all these people who are in a way desperate, they come together. And instead of finding a strong community, they are finding multiplied desperation, multiplied neediness. It gets very very difficult. It's tragic. It's tragic on a relationship level, it's tragic on a community level, but this is how it usually works.

I was traveling with my spiritual Master Soham for 20 years, and we were a small group of people, his crew, we were traveling with him, and we took care of all the practical work which had to be done. And usually, it was like this that the people from the outside, the Satsang visitors, all the people who came to Soham's Satsang when we were in in a town, they usually thought that us people from Soham's crew, from Soham's team, we are very special people. We are very... we have it made. First of all, we are very special human beings, really cool, we really have it together, and the belief, the common belief was that this group, this team, must be just wonderful to be with.

But this was not true. All of us team members were just as stupid and just as crazy and strange as everybody else, and naturally, us as a team, us as a group had the same problems like everybody else. It wasn't easier. We were just human beings. No problem. It's just the way it is when humans come together. But the belief was: when we come together, then it's something special. It wasn't like this. It was special, but for another reason, and I want to talk about that. But it was not because on a human level, it was easier or different.

I experienced it once or twice that a person wanted to become a member of this team and work for Soham, and I could... and it was pretty clear that they look for this kind of nourishing community. They look for a home. They look for other people who will support them as human beings. And then, when they became part of the team, in no time they found out that this is not the way it works; that we are just as stupid and as crazy as everybody else. And they were shocked. They were totally disappointed. They were totally disillusioned.

This is not what happened in this team. This was not the value of this kind of community. There's a saying of Jesus about community. He talked about this. He said: "when two or three come together in my name, I will be right amongst them in the middle". And that's what happened for me around Soham, in this team, but not only in the team, but also in the Satsangs, with all these people visiting Soham.

Every individual human being coming there or being there was just as crazy as normal people. When you come together with spiritual people, it doesn't mean that these people are in any way easier, quite the contrary. Spiritual people, when they begin to be on the spiritual path, when you begin to discover yourself, when you begin to turn inwards, you begin to discover things you don't like at all. You begin to discover that you are not this cool human being you thought you are. You are just very human, very very different than you think you should be. And then, sometimes, it gets really difficult.

So, it's not about finding people who it is easier to be with. But when you come together in the name of a common denominator, when you come together because you want to turn inwards, when you come together because you want to be with a Master or a Guru or a Jesus, then this being together establishes an energy which is not there when you are alone. So, on a human level, on an individual level, it's just as difficult as with anybody else.

But when you come together as meditators, as spiritual seekers, the one thing which becomes easier is what you want to learn. You want to learn to turn inwards, you want to learn to accept yourself, you want to learn to accept the moment, to accept life the way it is. You want to learn to say yes to the moment. Maybe you want to learn to surrender to Life, to God, to be here in the moment. These are all the things you want to learn. These are your challenges. And when you come together with other people who are in the same boat, who have the same goal like you, although on a human level it's no different with these people, they're just as crazy as you are, you have the same fights, you have the same difficulties, you get your buttons pressed...

But these challenges you face, these things you want to learn for yourself, they become easier when you come together with other people with the same goal. Suddenly, it becomes so much easier for you to meditate, to turn inwards, to become quiet, to not take the world so serious. Suddenly, it becomes easier for you to let go of your wishes and your judgments. Suddenly, it becomes totally clear for you: "oh yes, this is my way". You feel totally encouraged.

And when you are not in such a community of same-minded people, but when you are in the normal world, maybe at your job, at the company, maybe with relatives and friends, then this community of normal people also has its effect on you. All these people have a totally different direction. They worry a lot about everything. They are convinced that life is difficult and dangerous. They are convinced that they need to make sure that life goes the right way, that they are safe and secure. They believe you need to work on your future and maybe also on your past. They struggle, they worry, they are unhappy. And that's what they share, without words of course. So, when you come together with these people, your own tendencies to worry, to fight, become stronger. They get supported.

And it depends on the community you go into, which aspects of your own being get supported. And that's the value of community. If you look for support in your challenge to turn inwards, to meditate, then it is... that's what Jesus said: it's helpful to be together with other people who meet in the same name, in the name of Jesus, or in the name of whoever who is on that path, in the name of meditation, in the name of God. And then it becomes easier for you, inside of you, in ways you don't understand, but this is how it works.

Swamiji, who brings the Samarpan Meditation to us into society, he says: this community is essential for us, for us human beings who want to meditate while living in society. It is essential for you who lives in society, with a normal job, with normal people around you, with normal relatives, normal friends... For you to stay on this path, for you too to get the inner encouragement you need, it is essential that you have contact with people who look into the same direction like you. Then it becomes easier. That gives you the strength and the focus in the right direction, even when you live in normal society.

And that's why it is so helpful to be part of a meditation group. That's why it's so helpful for instance to read in Swamiji's books. Because then you're together with this kind of energy. In a way, when you read a book from a holy person, while you read this, you are connected to all the other people who think the same way, who read the same stuff, even when they are not around you.

The subject of community, I find, is a very delicate subject, because first of all, many people have very mixed or negative experiences with the subject; and also, because we tend to believe that we can do it alone; especially in the spiritual field, I see this very much, this: "I just turn inwards, I just forget everybody else, I turn inwards, I only need myself". But this is not what this path is about.

This path is not about turning inwards and discovering: oh, I can do it myself, I don't need anybody else. This is ego. No. It sounds very strange what I say now, but it's like: you turn inwards, you surrender to whatever, to your Guru, to your Master, to Jesus, to God, to Paramatma or to a stone, and you discover: I'm nobody. There is nobody. It's not that I am alone and I can do it alone and I can be happy and in Heaven by myself. No. There is nobody, that's what you discover. And you only can discover this with the help of somebody else, or with the help of a community which knows the same.

And meditation seems to be... it sounds like a contradiction. Meditation... when you meditate, it feels like you become really really alone. You forget all the other people, all your hopes, all your wishes, and you turn inwards. But what you discover then, there, is... you don't discover a very strong "I". No, you discover: in this letting go, this letting go of your wishes, this letting go of your identity, this letting go of your thoughts... in that you discover a connectedness to something you can't name, you can't really describe. And this energy, this is what you can perceive, this is what some people call God, this is what Jesus refers to when he says: when two or three are together in my name, I'm right amongst them, right there in the middle.

This is the energy of community, which you discover in yourself when you turn inwards, when you become alone. And you can support this also with community on the outside. And as I said: it's essential, simply because when you live in the society, the normal energies of the normal people pull on you. They pull you into the opposite direction. And when you meet like-minded people, who are on the same path like you, their energy pulls you into your direction, inwards, and make that easier.

It is very very common that people believe: I can determine what I think, I can determine what's important for me, I can determine what I want. This is a very common belief. Our whole society is based on this belief. For instance, we believe that we can decide whether we do good or bad things. Our whole justice system and punishment systems is based on that belief that every human being can decide what he wants, what he does, what's important for him or for her. And it's not true, as you can see in society: it doesn't work.

We are, as human beings... when you begin to discover this, it's really a shock. But when you begin to look into yourself, when you begin to meditate, very soon you discover: you have no control over what you think. You have no control over what you want and what you do. This is really an ego killer.

So, what is it determined by what I think, what I want, what I do? It's determined by the people around me. It's determined by the society, by the group, by the community I'm part of. If I'm amongst good people, I will be a good person. If I'm amongst bad people, I will be a bad person. If I'm amongst people who believe life is a struggle, and I must worry, and I must really take care all the time that nothing bad happens, if I'm amongst people like this, and this is the normal society, then I will feel the same. And that's your condition. That's why you think this way. Not because you're stupid, but just because you are raised and because you live amongst people who all think like this.

That's what Jesus said when he said: "the sins of the fathers are passed on to the sons". The way everybody else thinks and believes, that's how the next generation thinks and believes, that's how we are made. We are not independent at all.

I am German, I grew up in this country where Nazi Germany happened, where all the unspeakable things with Jews happened, where, in the Germany of Hitler, things happened nobody could have imagined would ever be possible. And I once was married to an American lady, and my experience was that Americans don't really know about these things in detail. And once we were together in a movie theater in Germany, and we watched a movie, it's called "Schindler's List". And this movie is about that time. It is about what happened to the Jews, and what people did and what cruelties were possible at that time.

And after the movie, my then-wife turned to me and said: "I'm so glad that you are not like these Germans. I'm so glad that you are a different kind of German". She was totally shocked what she had seen in that movie. She was really shocked about what was possible.

And I said to her: "you know, if I have lived at that time, in those times, in those situations back then, amongst the people who were there at that time, I don't know what I would have done. I don't know what kind of person I would have been." I know: I'm a product of my surroundings. I'm a product of the people around me. I'm a product of the situation around me. There's nothing own about myself. But most people don't know this. And this American lady, she was shocked when I said this. She believed I'm a better human being than those Germans. And I told her: no, I'm not better. If I'm in the right company, I'm capable of anything. The only difference between me and you is that I know this.

They are very interesting experiments which have been done where people were influenced for a short period of time, and they totally changed the way they thought. They literally became capable of anything, just because they were being fed a new set of thoughts, a new set of world view. And they changed the entire way of thinking. Normal people, good people, reasonable people turned into people who would have done anything against other people in the name of good.

And I tell you about these things to underline why the right community, the right group of people, can be so helpful for us human beings. We are not alone. We are never alone, even when you are alone in a room or in your life. You are not alone. And when you live in society, basically the only real challenge you have is that you need to maintain this wish to stay on this path. As long as you want to meditate, as long as you feel the desire to turn inwards, everything else will happen by itself. You just need to surrender to your Guru or to your Master or to God knows what you are doing, it doesn't matter, everybody has their own path. Just meditate, just do this meditation, and do everything else the way you want. That's all you need to do.

But to maintain this wish, that's the challenge. Then you come... you come in contact with a Guru, or maybe you come in contact with a funny guy like me and you watch these videos, and you know: "oh wow, that's true". You just know it. Maybe you think this guy is totally crazy and he's totally boring, but what he says is true, I can feel it, I know it, I always knew it. And then, a few days pass, you forget the strange guy, you are amongst the people you're usually with. They think totally different, they know nothing about meditation. They think you're an idiot if you don't have clear goals and wishes. They think you're stupid if you trust life. And before you know it, you think like them again, and you forget everything again. And then, maybe in a few weeks, you stumble across another video and you watch the video and you are reminded, and again you see: "yes of course, it is like this! How could I have forgotten this?"

And that's the power of community. We are not independent, strong entities. We cannot decide where we go. We can sometimes influence with whom we want to hang out with, and that will determine where our life goes. And that's why community can be very very helpful, the right community.

Now, the tricky thing about community is that everybody has to find their own way how to live this. If you know my videos, you know that I'm a loner. I like to be alone. I don't like to hang out with a lot of people. This, doing these videos, this is my way of being with people. This is my way of being with you. I feel totally close to you right now. I share. I share myself, and I share in your life. This is my way.

There are other people who do it in a different way. There are people who love groups, there are people who love celebrating together. There are people who love meeting, to sing and to dance, and this is wonderful. If you find people who are on the same path, like-minded people, and then you do things like that together, this is wonderful.

But there are also people who are not so happy in groups. They rather stay alone. But also you, you can find your way of being in community with others. Then it's about what you read; about the movies you watch. This is also community; this is also you connecting to certain kinds of mindsets and energy. If you read about Jesus, about Swamiji, then you are in community with all the other people who follow these holy people. This is also a kind of community.

I like to meet people, but I do it in homeopathic doses. I mentioned in the beginning that there will be this Day of Open Doors at the Place of Meditation near Frankfurt on Saturday, and I will go there, and I will enjoy it. I love to meet these people there. Some of them I know, others I don't know. And it's not that I go there and talk to everybody and hug everybody. I don't do these things. I really speak with anybody, and I rarely rarely hug somebody. Usually, I'm just sitting somewhere all by myself. But just being there, being amongst these people, is such a joy and such a support.

That's also how things like Satsang work. I was with my spiritual Master on the road for 20 years because he gave Satsang every night in all kinds of cities. And there, people come together, but they don't talk. There are 50, 100, 150 people sitting together, quietly, nobody says a word, Soham speaks a little bit. But just this being together of people who share the same energy, that is such a support. And Soham always said: "it's not about what I say here, it's about you being in my vicinity, and it's about you being amongst all these other people": He always said: all of you together, you create this energy which we enjoy here. And that's the magic of community.

And then, all you have to do is decide which kind of energy you want to share in. If you share in the energy of people who want to protest and fight, it doesn't matter whether it's for good or bad causes, you will become a person who fights and who is at war. And if you go to people who become quieter and quieter and who want to turn inwards, then this is what will happen to you, by itself. And that's why I like community. I just have to do it my way. I do it my way. And you'll find your way. You find your way to connect to the kind of community which supports you.

Swamiji says: we should meditate every morning alone, and that's what I do, every morning. I meditate alone. And he says: once a week, meditate in a group. He says: this is very very important. And the community the group, meditating together, it's important for two reasons. The one is: your ego gets scratched. When you're alone, you can feel really good about yourself. You can feel good about your meditation. You like yourself. And then, you come together in a group, and suddenly, meditation becomes difficult. All these other minds around you, all these other people with their thoughts and their worries, and then you notice: "oops, my meditation is not as stable and as strong as I thought." So, this is supportive. It supports you not getting an ego about your meditation.

And in the opposite way, it supports you and your meditation because there are all these people coming together with the same goal. It supports you in staying focused on your path. The meditation might be a bit more difficult for you. It helps you to become stronger in meditation. But it helps you to stay on this path. It helps you to remain focused in that direction where you want to go. And this is only possible in community when you live in society.

It's one thing if you live in the Himalayas in a cave, and for a hundred miles, there's nobody else around you, no other people who think, no thoughts, no worries in the air. Maybe... I don't know, maybe then you can do it alone. But if you are living in society, you are being influenced by the people around you, whether you know it or not, and whether you want it or not. You can't prevent it, and in that situation, community is essential, and so so helpful. Just find your way of how you can connect to community which works for you.

So, I will be there on Saturday, and if we meet, I would be delighted. And at that place, on that day, you can also get an introduction to the Samarpan Meditation. Maybe you don't meditate yet, then you can be introduced to the Meditation there. And if you're already meditating the Samarpan Meditation but you have not gotten an official introduction, then you can get it there too, on that day. There will be four different times throughout the entire day where you can participate in something like this. And other than that, it's just fun to be there. You meet all these people. They bring food and they bring coffee and tea and God knows what. Children can play games. It's great fun. It's a wonderful place and a wonderful day.

Thank you for listening. You know, this is my way of community. That's why I do these videos. This is my way to be with other people. I'm very withdrawn, but this is my way be with you, to hear from you, to have conversation with you: my videos, your letters, your questions, my answers, and maybe who knows what will happen in the future.

This is my way. And it supports me totally. It strengthens my path. It strengthens my determination. I need this encouragement just as bad as you do. And maybe, in turn, what I'm doing helps you too. This would be really wonderful.

And that's why I say: "thank you for listening". Because you being with me helps me.

Thank you for being here.

I love you.