Building Sangha ( Spiritual community)

Building Sangha ( Spiritual community)

Monday, February 15, 2021 - 19:00 to Monday, March 1, 2021 - 20:30
Alternatives says: 
Until we reach a certain stage in our evolution not only do we need the support of others of like mind, we have a duty to seek that support. – Adapted from the I Ching

At this particular time in evolution, when there is so much chaos around us, there is a great need for the company of fellow pilgrims on our journey through life. We need to surround ourselves with people who truly meet us, who allow us to speak our truth. People with whom we feel safe, with whom we can be uncertain in our footing and stumble in our speech in the knowledge that we won’t be trashed. We need to fortify ourselves by making sure we choose friends with whom we feel aligned, whom we can trust.

For me, this is the essence of sangha. Sangha is a Buddhist term, and the sangha was originally a group of followers of the Buddha who renounced their worldly life in order to follow him around and assimilate his teachings. Thich Nhat Hanh brilliantly explains it in his Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities:

"Sangha is more than a community. It’s a deep spiritual practice. A sangha is a community of friends practising the dharma together in order to bring about and contain awareness. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see this in a community it is not a true sangha and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha."

The practice of sangha is about experiencing heart connection with others, with people who light our fire. We feel vibrantly alive in their presence. We rejoice in creative dialogue. Our conversations make us feel that everything is possible and that the trials that we endure have the potential to strengthen us. Sangha is about tuning in and finding those travelling a similar path (wherever they may be) and strengthening that connection.

But sangha is not just about being kind to each other. Rigorous challenge is the essence of a deep relationship – but challenge as opposed to criticism. We need people who compassionately and wisely call us into question when we are deluded. In our sangha, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.


Ultimately, we need places where we can take off our armour and be who we are. 


This is an experiential 3 part workshop to support you in creating, nurturing and sustaining sangha ( community ) in your life. 


Early Bird £67 extended until 1st Feb  (£87 thereafter)


Module 1 Feb 15th. 

The essence of Sangha

We will start to see where sangha already exists in our lives and how to strengthen it. We will be practicing the skills of authentic communication and reflective feedback. We will experience this group as a temporary sangha


Module 2 Feb 22nd

Deepening connection. 

We will be using meditation and peer reflection as we learn how to remove our armouring when in safe environments. We will learn to take healthy risks in showing up and practicing authenticity. 


Module 3  Mar 1st

Committing to healthy community and integrity.

We will come away in our last session together with tools for building structures that can weather the storms of life. We will make commitments to ourselves and be witnessed by each other in the journey towards healthy community.



About the speaker, Malcolm Stern

Malcolm Stern has worked as a group and individual psychotherapist for nearly 30 years. He is co-founder of Alternatives. Malcolm also teaches and runs groups internationally. His first book Falling in Love, Staying in Love was published in 2004.

Malcolm also co-presented the Channel 4 series on relationships "Made for Each Other" in 2003 and 2004. His third book “ Slay your dragons with compassion” (Watkins 2020) explores sangha in addition to other spiritual practice. 

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