Community and consciousness

Varun Gupta

Last Saturday, after school got over for the day, I stepped into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram to spend time with myself for a while. There I saw a beautiful quote by the Mother, “Whenever you face any problem you are doing, look within. You will find the source and solution of the problem.”

I read these lines very carefully and tried to think deeply about them. Yes, they seemed true, and upon meditating on them for a while, I felt that I could relate to them. It became easy for me to link Mother’s thought to my own life’s context, to the tasks and interactions that I have.

Thinking on this, nevertheless, gave rise to a query in my mind. What about for people who are at a stage where looking within isn’t possible as yet? I feel that until such a stage comes – and even afterwards – when we are able to look within, observe and make connections, we require support.

That support can come from a community, from the love and trust that we are able to garner from it. I have a strong view that introspection and community support are parallel strands in the evolution of life.

If a person does not have the support of a community and is only looking within, then there is a chance that he or she will get tired or frustrated. Similarly, if a person with community support doesn’t look within or reflect, then that community does not prove to be sustainable. In a way, community and introspection are complementary forces.

When I speak of community support, I do not merely mean to limit it to worldly help. A community is in itself that great love, empathy and trust which nourishes each of its beings. It’s that ethereal, magical strength which is present in everyone’s hearts and minds. It’s the interdependence and interconnections that create a feeling of oneness.

No matter what the conditions, if an individual has that kind of a community, he or she will not feel alone or get disheartened. They will know that they do not need to justify themselves. Instead, they will know that they are being listened to, are trusted and respected, and are valued and loved for being themselves. This is what gives them hope and the strength to carry on.

A highly dynamic community is sustainable only when there is sincere effort in all its members to look within and reflect. Only when we observe our thoughts, emotions and actions, look into the source of much of our behaviour and habit patterns, are we able to give meaning to our community.

As a human being and educator, I am realising the importance of community more and more each day. I am very fortunate to have the experience of a beautiful and soulful community. I would like to express my heartiest gratitude to that community and my mentors. As an educator, it will be my sincere endeavour to build such communities at my work place and in life.

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