Sangha

 

Originating in the Buddhist belief to describe a community of ordained nuns or monks but more commonly used today to describe a community of awakened beings.  

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As I write this I find myself feeling an immense amount of gratitude for my life and all those that have been placed on my path.  I consider myself blessed to be held by several different groups of Sangha today. It wasn’t until I started diving into my own inner work of self inquiry, TRUTH and COMPASSION that most of these beautiful beings were brought into my life.  ALTHOUGH my first Sangha surprisingly enough IS actually my blood relatives. My mother and grandmother are the very first awakened beings that I recognize as such-and this is a huge blessing and gift. The love and support that these two women gave me from as early as I can remember has contributed greatly to my path of a service driven life and my spiritual awakening.  As I’ve moved through my many different processes of suffering over the years, I have come to appreciate and understand many moments of “tough love” where I felt I was not being cared for. Now that I have a deep awareness of myself and others, I can see where “tough love” was actually just boundaries-and boundaries actually equal LOVE.

My mom always supported my uniqueness and encouraged me to write and use my imagination.  She taught me to be mindful of myself and others and then married an amazing man who took such great care of me despite not being my birth father.

My grandmother cared for all of the neighborhood children, teaching us to share and to love one another no matter our different races or religions and she always inspired me to be the best me that I could be. She volunteered at the salvation army and then later at the nursing home where my grandfather resided.  She baked for all of the nurses and ALWAYS showed so much gratitude to everyone who cared for him. These two women live from their hearts and overflow with compassion. My grandmother is no longer with us on Earth but her kind and gentle spirit will live on forever as I carry her teachings of LOVE to my family and community.

Seven years ago when I started to practice yoga and develop an awareness of the body, mind and soul connection, it all began to make more sense.  My awakening process began and my relationship with myself, others and mother nature unfolded to a beautiful feeling of ONENESS.

My community here in Los Angeles developed at my local yoga studio, The Yoga Nest.  The owner of the studio, Sara Falugo is an earth angel who’s mere presence and warm hugs have held me so dearly….. the same way that my mother and grandmothers unconditional love holds me.  From the moment I stepped foot in her studio I felt like a part of something big. I’ve met the majority of my LA friends in this space and have grown so much spiritually from the many different offerings that she has in the studio.  Over the years we have traveled extensively together and also experienced the intensity of joys and pains that come with relationships.

Alone we are vulnerable and afraid but when we walk this path together as a spiritual community, we can better resist the temptation to be overwhelmed by despair- and we then become more powerful.  

Within two months of living in LA, I met my now husband and twin flame.  We had a whirlwind of a romance and married shortly after meeting. I have struggled my whole life with attachment and letting go which are some of the most valuable lessons of  life. I thank my lucky stars for his presence and unconditional love which allowed me to finally receive these teachings.

 
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In January of 2018, three friends and I started teaching mindfulness techniques to children in several different schools and community centers around LA.  We met weekly to discuss our future goals for saving the world and eventually created our vision of Worthy Beyond Purpose as a non profit. It has been a pleasure to witness each one of us grow in our own unique ways.

 
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In May of 2018, I spent 21 days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with 17 other yogis where we healed through intense asana, meditation and study of the eight limbs of yoga.  We ate, played, read, swam, meditated, did yoga, sat in ceremonies and learned to love each other for three of the best weeks of my life. We would sit on the porch in the early evenings, with a glowing sun illuminating the sky as we listened to words of wisdom, love and compassion from our radiant teachers.  This is where I first learned the meaning of SANGHA. Learning to teach yoga was just a small by product of benefits I received from this teacher training.

 
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In July, my dear friend and partner Connie and I ventured to Jamaica for three weeks where we volunteered at a kids camp in a small Parish on the southwest coast of the island.  We taught mindfulness, yoga and meditation techniques to the children of the community and developed many lifelong friendships during this short time. It fed my soul to use everything that I had learned during my teacher training and translate it for children to understand and absorb.  Our days were filled with fun and games until 2 pm when the camp day came to an end and we would return to our cozy, Caribbean oasis at Moringa Ingadi Villa. This place is a little slice of heaven enveloped by the most stunning nature and infused with kindness and ONE LOVE by the owners and their staff.  There are no strangers at Moringa Ingadi Villas -it was as if we had all known each other for many years. Kittens running around wild as their mothers lazily watch, Nettie and Denise working tirelessly to keep everything neat and tidy. The owners, Jayne and Baba would periodically drop by and it was always such a treat to spend time with them.  Their infectious smiles and warm hearts keep you in a trance of happiness and joy. Their son, Skip who is a perfect blend of these two beautiful souls has the softest and kindest eyes-and extremely accommodating. Whenever and wherever we needed to go, his response was “Ya Mon-no worries mon.” We ended our stay in Treasure Beach with their Buddhist community chanting for world peace and our very own human revolutions!!

When I returned home to LA, I missed my Jamaica family so much.  The amount of Love that I experienced during this short stay in Treasure Beach expanded my heart and my capacity to give and receive love TREMENDOUSLY…...and I am FOREVER GRATEFUL.  

This is not an experience to keep to myself-I need to share this with the masses.  Imagine if everyone could feel this kind of love and connection with all of nature, the children and the many amazing humans who welcomed us with open arms so lovingly.  This was my immediate thoughts upon returning home. Within a few months I had my plan to share this with others and began manifesting my dreams into reality. What unfolded in those seven months was an outpouring of my heart and soul supported by my friends and family-MY SANGHA.  I followed my heart and listened to the voice of my soul and what happened was pure MAGIC. This was the birth of my very first spiritual retreat-ROOT TO RISE:Meditation to Manifestation Womens Yoga and Meditation Retreat. None of which would have been possible without the love and support of my dear sisters, Connie and Danielle who co-facilitated with me and of course my true inspiration- Jayne, Baba and the entire Moringa Ingadi family.  

 
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The way I see it …...there are only two types of people living on earth-those that are awake, and those that are asleep.   Today, I chose to live my life AWAKE and it seems that no matter where I go-my SANGHA is right there beside me.

 
Jessica Brown1 Comment