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The Company You Keep
Satsang is a Sanskrit word which means “holding together in the essence” or “holding together in truth”. Sat means truth or essence, sang is to hang or hold together. It is a common practice for people to gather with other like-minded individuals; it increases the enjoyment and potency of the experience.
Solitary chanting or meditating is a requirement on the spiritual path. You have to spend time alone to really know yourself. But it should be equally balanced by community activities of service and meditation in the company of other like-minded aspirants. Festivals like Kumbha Mela, the gathering every 12 years of sadhus and sages in India, celebrate the gathering of community in spiritual experience.
There is power in the collective. 100 voices create a stronger vibration than 2 voices. 100 positive healing thoughts have a greater impact than 2. When you want to create a healing vibrational structure for yourself or others, it can have longer lasting presence when many people continue to hold its vibration. Religion is a collective thought – many people believing in the same vibrational thought form creates a religion. Social change is a collective thought – when enough people believe something should change, it does. Affirmations are collective thought – in your own being, when 100 positive thoughts outweigh 50 negative thoughts, positive change occurs. The positive thought can be held by you or by others – it doesn’t matter. When you and the people around you think and believe it will be so, then it will be so.
If vibration is so important, then who you keep company with is suddenly paramount to your quality of life. If you are hanging out with friends who think you are a loser, you’ll be a loser. If you are strong enough to know you aren’t a loser, you’ll probably change friends. They can’t help you hold the vibration you want to keep.
The inner world works in the same way – as without, so within. If you keep company with thoughts of criticism and judgment, your life will have these qualities. Take a look at the books you read, these are the thought forms you consider friendly and interesting. Your bookshelf is a good indication of your tendencies in the thought realm. Your inner company (that is to say, your own mind) is just as important as the company you keep on the outside.
In chanting and meditation, and other spiritual practices, we often gather together to practice because the power of collective thought and action brings greater power to the practice. You want to surround yourself with thoughts, people, and vibrations which support your infinite expansion. Anything less than full expression falls short. Take your standard from nature, which continually evolves, renews and regenerates itself - in full expression, without apology or permission.
Spiritual leaders and teachers show us a standard for positive vibration. Their presence and manner of teaching give us an experience of elevated energy. The Dalai Lama, Ammachi and other great teachers transmit energy through lecture, physical contact and meditation. They teach by example. Keeping company with great saints and sages is a beautiful way to change your vibration. Your capacity for love and healing energy expands and your standard for everyday living changes to a higher frequency.
They say that spiritual energy increases exponentially – one person creates enough energy for one person, two people have the power of four, four people generate the spiritual energy of sixteen, and so on. This is why we gather. Some people say it’s inspiration they receive from the group gatherings – the support of the community, the sight of others practicing generating inspiration and enthusiasm. I think it’s the exponential increase of our attention which creates the positive effect.
The beauty is that a mantra is not a positive or negative thought. It is an infinite thought. It is open. The sound current is built in; it has been used by people for centuries to unleash infinite energy. The mantras attune to the cosmos, they attune your mind to the infinite. Keeping company with a mantra is an experience of all possibilities. It allows you your own expansion into Self.
Keeping company with positive, healing communities gives you access to healing energy, even when you can’t create it yourself. Even if you are so unsure of the outcome, so afraid of yourself, so despondent – you can still sing a mantra with some other people and your mind and heart will heal.
It’s not a battle of good and evil. It’s not a war between good thoughts and bad thoughts; it is not necessary that the good thoughts win. It’s a presence of healing energy which allows all possibilities in you and in the world around you. A mantra can attune you to infinity. A community, or satsang, can magnify it.
WAH! has spent a lifetime immersed in spiritual pursuit, beginning yoga and meditation at age 17, studying in Europe, India and Africa. Wah! has worked with various jazz, pop and world musicians to create trendy meditative music for the yoga community. Her much anticipated CD LOVE HOLDING LOVE from Nettwerk Records hits the stores September 30th. www.wahmusic.com