In Buddhism community is a crucial part of spiritual practice.
There is a concept known as the three jewels through which Buddhist take seek guidance and take refuge. The three jewels are known as the Buddha (the ideal plain of spiritual enlightenment), the dharma (Buddhist teachings and scriptures) and the sangha (the Buddhist community).
I have found that I lack balance in the three jewels, I often take refuge in the Buddha and the dharma but I have yet to find a sangha in the Spokane. There is a void in my spiritual heart. To fill this void I have turned to my friends and my family. They have given me the gift of contentment, they fill my moments with happiness and they surround me with love. Even with these amazing people around me, they are not a sangha. They do not share my spiritual beliefs, and they don’t join me in my practices. In my spiritual life I am alone, and I believe that this solitude stunts my spiritual growth. Human beings need community for growth and support, without that our progress is retarded and our failures are that much more devastating. In times of need community lifts us up, and while there is definitely virtue in working to help yourself there is also great virtue in accepting the help of those around you.
When I search for community I try to take the most that I can from the people around me, while they may not share my spiritual beliefs they do walk on the earth with me. They know suffering and they know joy and I have much that I can learn from each of them. Their experience, empathy and aide have helped me grow in ways I have previously found unimaginable. While I lack a sangha, I am not alone.