What does it mean to bring your relationships onto your spiritual path?
FIRST WORDS FROM THE PODCAST
Students who are initiated into this tradition take a vow to keep dharmic company. So, I want to talk about what that means. It’s a question that people have, even when they are not initiated: Who should I hang out with? and, What happens as I’m practicing and I start to change how I look at things and how I experience things, but my old friends aren’t really changing in that way? What is going to happen? So what should I do?
First of all, dharmic company does not mean just people who are on the spiritual path that you’re on. So, there is nothing in this tradition that prescribes or recommends that you only hang out with people in your own spiritual community. That would be, actually, counter to the teachings of the tradition. The tradition says that your spiritual teacher and your community are gateways to having the same feeling for everyone. So you learn about your equality with the teacher, and you learn to open your heart and your mind to everybody in your spiritual community, and then you can be that way with everyone.
There is no sense in which enlightenment, or self-realization, is about you and a handful of your best spiritual pals. I mean, that would be ridiculous. So, the idea is that eventually you’re going to be able to relate skillfully and open-heartedly with everyone you encounter. And in that sense, the spiritual community and the teacher are like training wheels.