Are you wondering why it’s important to gather in community (in person or online)?
If yes, well – this Blog Post is really for you.
In today’s Blog Post, I want to talk about why it’s important to gather in community that shares the same purpose, values and vision – for our personal and collective growth and development.
This episode is for you, especially if you want to transform a struggle you’re experiencing in your own life right now into empowerment. So from feeling disempowered, from something that it’s happening in your life, to feel empowered.
Because no, we’re not meant to live alone and face challenges alone- we are meant to gather in communities – and we are doing this since the beginning of humanity on Planet Earth.
What am about to share comes from mainly my research, but also from my experience as former a yoga Teacher Trainer, where I used to guide groups of people willing to become a yoga facilitators. So I used to guide them in this transformative process, from practitioner to Yoga Facilitator, where the group played a very important role.
Some of the point I will touch, they regards mainly gathering in person, but they can be applied – with some modifications – to online meeting.
Geometrical Shape of the Circle – Safety and Protection
Taking inspiration from the work I did during Teacher Training, the first point that I want to share is why it’s important to gather in community, specifically to work in person in sitting in circle.
Close your eyes and think about yourself sitting in a circle and look around: what you see is that everybody is at the same level. There’s nobody above or below us. There is no hierarchy. It would be completely different to sit together in the shape of a triangle. The point of the triangle would be the peak of the group (also in terms of attention and power).
When everybody is at the same level, everybody has the same right, to speak, to share and to contribute. When that happens, we nourish the quality of safety and equality. Regarding an an energetic point of view, when we work in circle, the focus and the attention stays inside, it’s not spreading outward and wasted. This aspect nourishes again safety and protection of what has been shared.
Everything that is shared in the circle, remains in the border of the circle and can be transformed from the energy of the group. And that is something that was incredibly powerful to observe: everybody was visible.
The last point regarding the geometrical shape of the circle is its own symbolic meaning.
In many ancient philosophies and religions, we cand find a lot of circle-like symbols:
The Yin Yang and the Celtic spiral to name a few. In our contemporary society, the symbol of the circle is still present in different and numerous forms, not exclusively connected to philosophies or religions.
Think about the symbol for recycling or circular economy.
It’s a very potent symbol because it represents the notion of totality, wholeness, perfection, the infinite timelessness, and all the cyclical movement. It represents the, the state of transcending of dualities. There’s no duality anymore.
It symbolizes perfection, wholeness of being complete.
This approach is slightly different when we meet online, as we can’t physically re-create the shape of the circle. However, with a nice dose of concentration and awareness, we can re-create the same principle of safety, protection and transformation.
The power of mutual regulation of our nervous system.
The second point of why is important to gather in community that I want to share with is an important aspect of the nervous system. We can learn how to co-regulate our nervous system with what it’s called mutual regulation or social effect regulation.
Before we dive deep, let’s talk about the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions, such as heart rate digestion, respiratory rate and urination.
It’s divided in two main categories: the parasympathetic nervous system (that calms the body down) and the sympathetic nervous system (that actives the body and get it ready to fight, flight or/and eventually freeze and fawn).
When we experienced a trauma in a form of threat, our sympathetic nervous system gets activated as a form of protection. The bad news is that chronic stress, for example, is considered from our own body as a form of trauma.
Practices such as Yoga, Somatic Experiencing and Psychotherapy are extremely useful to regulate our nervous system and bring it back to balance.
And when we are in a state of balance, our balanced nervous system can effect also the ones of around us. And this is what I called before mutual regulation or social affect regulation that can be defined as the way in which one person automotive autonomic nervous system interacts with another person’s autonomic nervous system in a way that facilitates emotional balance and physical health.
Have you have a met a person with whom you felt safe? Was his/her/* presence calming you down? If yes probably you were experiencing mutual regulation or social effect regulation.
Think about the potency of this tool, if applied in group. We can balance each other nervous system, when we know how to regulate it.
We are social beings that needs community and sense of belonging. Sense of belonging is a universal need at the base of any individual and collective wellbeing. And we’re not meant to live and especially grow in isolation.
Feeling safe to share and hear “me too”
The third main point of why it’s important to gather in community is that we can feel safe to share and express ourselves. And when we do that, we get out of isolation. We get inspired and seek support.
If you ever felt in that situation that you were struggling with something and took the courage to open up – hearing the sentence “me too” from another member of the group can be liberating. It’s a sense of relief because we really understands that we are not alone, we are not the only ones on planet earth experience in this. This is another form of empowerment.
When we share with courage, we can release finally shame. Shame is what normally and enabled us to be vulnerable.
The cycle of shame can be break in safe and like-minded community and be completely transformed by that. So never underestimate the potency of a group the shares, the same value, vision and purpose: together we can move mountains.
Recap and promise me something
To sum up, working in community is extremely powerful because we can create a safe and protected environment where we feel free to share, let go and find support.
Now, I want you to promise me something: next time you are struggling with something or want to embark in the journey of growth and self-development – please look for a like-minded, safe and protected community
Never, never underestimate the power of people gathering.
As I said before, we are social beings and we need each other to learn how to grow and to work on ourselves.
With deep gratitude,
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