One day, Ananda and the Buddha were sitting alone on a hill together, overlooking the plains of the Ganges. Having served as the Buddha’s attendant for many years, Ananda often shared his reflections and insights with him. On one occasion the Venerable Ananda came to the Buddha, with confidence and said that in his view half the spiritual path revolves around spiritual friendship, good companionship and comradeship.
“Not so, Ananda! Not so, Ananda!”
Ananda wasn’t expecting such a stern response. But the Buddha was offering a powerful teaching. He continued, “This is the entire spiritual path, Ananda.”
Yoga practice can be seen as a three-tiered process of Sadhanasang, Sastrasang and Satsang. Of these the first two are personal endeavors and the last refers to gathering in community. All of them however are understood as functions of a close knit family of people interested in Reality.
This is indicated by the root “sang” referring to sangha (community). Sadhana refers to individual practice, Sastra to studying teachings pertaining to that practice and subsequent realizations and finally Sat to Being/Reality which in the case of Satsang means being together and sharing perceptions/realizations so as to avoid becoming locked into any isolated point of view and to learn about the great variety of perspectives.
This is why we gather at Pür Joy. To learn about great variety of realities that we experience and to find common ground as humans living our individual and shared experience. We do this through various community events and our newest addition Philosophy & Tea with Paul Cabanis.
Paul will guide our satsang and we can not wait to welcome him at Pür Joy for our second Philosophy & Tea session. During our first gathering, we let the horses out of the barn as we entertained topics ranging from trauma all the way to karma. The community of inquirers felt free to express their thoughts without judgement.
The session began with a silent meditation and throughout the gathering folks were encouraged to participate as actively or as passively as they wished.
“There is something special about being at the Pür Joy space. Somehow time flies so fast when I am here,” said one of the participants. “I have been here for other workshops and events and this one really was at another level” said TJ.
Some things that we all valued at this Satsang was definitely the freedom to be however and whoever. Paul from the first moment set the stage that his role is not one of teacher or facilitator, but one of equal participant. This was very liberating.
Here at Pür Joy we value a few things at our community events and they are very much inspired from Jericho Brown’s The Tradition:
Hospitality: Pür Joy is an inviting and trustworthy space. Our intention is pür and the atmosphere we intend to create is more than the places where we host community events. How we shape the experience through intention, spirit and the boundaries creates what is possible. New social realities are welcomed and over time quality of relationships is encouraged inside and outside of the space. When in doubt, we practice hospitality.
Humility: This is not about getting small. It is about encouraging others to be big. We hope to carry a humility that manifests as tenderness in a creative interplay with power. We are always open to discovery, even if the facilitator comes with great knowledge or wisdom.
Surprise, Curiosity and Delight: We encourage beginner’s mind amongst facilitators and participants. We all know a lot about alot of things. However, how easy is it to get stuck in those ways. In order to challenge ourselves and our identities, we value this sense of openness to surprise and curiosity. Come with a readiness to be delighted.
Patience: This is challenging. Once we arrive with a commitment to move through the world as it is, not as we wish it to be, we arrive with the patience to see how it all unfolds. Human transformation takes time and if we can be kinder with the hopes we hold for the world, patience becomes a skill we continually cultivate together at our events.
Generous Listening: This is an art and a virtue. We invite folks to take space and make space. It is an art we must continually learn. Listening does not only mean to be quiet while others have things to say. It is about presence and receiving. It is about connection. Real listening is powered by curiosity, humility and love.
Finding Common Ground: Finally, we gather not to simply relay information or pass wisdom down, but to find common ground as we get to know one another as people. We believe that everyone has something valuable to share in our community.
We welcome you to come as you are.
We at Pür Joy are honored to host Paul and you at our space as we come together to converse, exchange ideas, and learn from each other. Philosophy & Tea with Paul is held every second Friday of the month at our little nook in Los Feliz.
Paul Cabanis has been teaching Yoga since 1991. After learning from the Iyengar family at their Institute in Pune, India, as well as many teachers in their lineage, Paul has immersed himself in the study of yoga thought and practice, and weaves the philosophical and somatic aspects of yoga into his classes.
Silence, sound, tea, and dialogue will be offered at Philosophy and Tea. Learn more about the event here.