You know how they say, “it takes a community to raise a child.” They say things like: pulling together, working together, broad minded, community effort. All basically implying a concept of community.

The reality of community seems a rather broad definition. I think that a large part of the meaning of community is simply doing something outside of your-self. thinking of others. Doing for others. Shelving your needs, and putting someone else’s first.

It’s service, in a nutshell.

It takes a community to raise a Child (and having personally experienced it, I can say indeed it does, okay well maybe my child anyway!). So having raised my daughter in a community her whole life, she seems to understand this unique expression. She is one of a group of kids “raised in Ananda.” It is cool and also interesting to watch.

After moving to Portland, a much larger city and metropolitan area than where we were living before, there is this great stretch of awareness that happened. I could see her looking out at all there is to see! Meanwhile I am thinking this could be hard to contain for her. And yet Portland has this very strong underlying community-vibe.

Community is not just a place to live. It is a community of work. Or a community of spiritual practice. A community of team members. A community of like minded individuals that come together for a common cause or reason.

We are working with this slogan in Portland Ananda Community: 100%! No resident left behind! What it represents for us, is participation in inspired community service. Being inspired by living and serving in our community.

Many other innovative businesses and groups are doing much the same. Creating a stronger community by building relationships with one another. Deepening these connections daily.

And at the same time everyone has to be inspired to serve in the ways that make the most sense to them. In ways that fill us with light. Service in a community is wonderful opportunity to grow and reach for new understandings.

Yogananda’s words rang into the ether when he spoke them that day in the 1940s at the garden party in Beverly Hills. They rang again every time Swami Kriyananda shouted those same words. And yet again when our friend Sunjan (a nephew of Yogananda’s living in LA) spoke them in the reenactment, in the movie Finding Happiness, with power and conviction (and looking so much like Yogananda, I thought I was there!).

Well, Ananda has gone North, South, East and West building temples and centers of Sanghas to support the spiritual growth of our members. Building residential communities to continue this supportive environment for those that can. Communities of schools and retreats to open the minds and hearts of those who are willing. All of which create an environment that allow us to bump up against each other, buffing off those rough edges.

What I have realized over the years is, it is not really enough to just live somewhere. It’s too easy to get lost. To potentially isolate oneself, in living, working, even playing.

A true community is a group of people within a school, a residential community, a spiritual sangha that are all willing and able to assist one another. Wanting to offer support and aid those around them. Sharing the light, laughter, love and joy that they receive from being a part of all that is!

That is community.