What society to choose for spiritual development?

Open Yoga Journal – Archive of articles


Humans are social beings: they create groups and communicate with each other on a regular basis. We have different feelings in different groups: in one of them we may feel discomfort, and another group can become “a second family” for us. How should we choose a group according to our purpose of spiritual development? What is the influence of society on us? How to learn the methods of effective communication in a group?

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule” Friedrich Nietzsche

On the instinct level, we have a core feature to blend in with the crowd: we can subconsciously surrender to its influence and perform deeds, which we would never do outside this group. It is important to consider choosing a group very carefully, as its conditions and rules can keep to specific ethics or be unethical. As it is known those who go against moral principles, create negative results for themselves.

If we have a high level of awareness we understand that some terms of being within the particular group could be unacceptable and we remain unaffected by the negative influence of the crowd. We can change the rules by becoming the leader of the group, or by leaving the group and finding another company, which will be more suitable and meet our interests.

What does yoga recommend in respect of choosing the group?

A group does not appear by itself, it consists of different individuals with related interests. We join a particular group according to our karmic background. Put it another way, if we are fond of drinking, spending time in a sports bar, talking about football, we will adhere to the same circle of people and feel comfortable within this group.

However, there are times when we join a group, which is not related to our interests, but due to some reasons, we have to be part of this group for a long time.

Yoga says that any event has its cause.

We can make a conclusion, that our actions in the past led us to this “unsuitable” group. As soon as we realize that this group is not helping our development, and we do not want to continue being part of this group, we can improve this situation by specific actions.

We can learn to communicate effectively in any group of people if we follow the principles of kindness and logic – the basic principles of all Yoga teachings. If we are kind to all members of the group and logical in our actions, we can join the group or leave it when we want.

When we are looking for personal development and spiritual growth, we can ask ourselves “How should I choose the group?” Yoga does not separate people by class, nationality or religion.

The only criteria to differentiate people is the degree of awareness.

According to yoga, society is divided into three categories by the degree of awareness:

  • the first category of people who are not far from animals by their degree of awareness – they behave like animals,
  • the second category overcame most of the animal instincts or fighting them actively,
  • the third category of people who not only defeated the animal inside themselves completely, but also developed their body and mind potential to the highest level.

Yoga recommends avoiding communication with “unwanted” people and seeking the company of those who encourage us to achieve our goals or at least do not stop us.

Evil communications corrupt good manners” Popular wisdom

The wisdom of yoga is as follows:

“Be cautious of stupid and lazy people – they will make you suffer! Be careful when you make new contacts and start interaction, as only you can decide with whom you should communicate.

Seek for the company of kind, calm and wise people, serve them, learn from them and you will become happy!

By choosing one group or another we choose the surroundings for our own development, and as a consequence, our destiny. Living among people with a low degree of awareness we will not develop, but degrade. On the contrary, being among those with a high degree of awareness will help our spiritual growth and evolution.

Make the right choice and be happy!

Article author: M. Mamontova

Editors: Kerigona, Mirra

Translated by: T.Sweet, A. OpenYoga

Project curator: Kerigona

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