Thrive with Tribe: Community, Health & Awakening.
Health is not something we do alone. It’s not something we can create or maintain without the support of our friends and family. Instead, personal health is a community effort.
Imagine yourself alone in a desert. With enough skill you may be able to create shelter. You may even be able to forage for enough food to keep you alive. But can you thrive? Can you truly find holistic health of body, mind and spirit alone?
Many of us feel trapped in just such a desert. Sure, we can find an abundance of food in the grocery store and then take it back to our home which provides shelter. But food and shelter are only the most basic of our needs. Community support and love from friends and family are fundamental pillars of our ultimate need, which is a spiritual path to awakening.
I hesitate in using the word need, for what we truly need is minimal… food, water, shelter. But these are our primal needs. Once our primal needs are met, our journey becomes not one of survival, but one of awakening. Each of us carries a deeper-seated need to transcend the ego mind and transcendence can only be achieved with a foundation of love and support from our community.
The lack of support most of us feel for a spiritual path is made starkly clear to me when I help facilitate transformational retreats. During these experiences a community is created amongst the participants that is rich and alive. I marvel as I observe a group of strangers come together to live in harmony for weeks at a time. During these retreats unbreakable bonds are created of love, trust, acceptance, and support. At the conclusion of our retreats, many participants (who have become family) are sad to go back to their homes because they don’t live in the environment of love that is needed for transcendence.
hile I feel for my newly found family, I also feel joy for the town in which I live. In my home, on the shore of the beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, there is a community rich with life and love that supports me on my journey, that encourages my awakening. In our village the day starts as the first rays of sun pierce the morning air, triggering the symphonic alarm clock of song birds. Many people go to the shore to watch the spectacle of Taita Inti casting his first rays of light upon the shimmering lake, watching the myriad of colors reflect off of the surrounding volcanos.
I bow to my fellow meditators, nobody speaks, nobody willing to break the perfection of silence. Upon returning home, I await the call of the goat herder who passes my door every morning, who fills my jars with milk straight from the udder… “leche!” he cries. I brew a cup of coffee from beans grown in the hills above the village. I make eggs that were sold to me by a little girl who’s best friends are her chickens. Sauerkraut was fermented locally using bacterias from the air we breathe. The sour dough bread, too, is made from fermented dough leaving it gluten-free and mouthwateringly delicious. My community supports me, even in my morning meal.
Days in my village are never boring nor understimulating. My mind is excited by the rich conversations held in the local tea house. Impromptu gatherings are held in the alleys where we share our thoughts and ideas. Quieting my mind is supported too with many offerings around town ranging from Tai Chi, various styles of meditation, breath work, ecstatic dance, yoga and much more.
Health and community are interconnected and inseparable. Here, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, we are not alone on an island or trapped in a desert, but part of a web of life that sustains us. Can you find the support you need in your community? I am not writing these words to encourage you to move to Guatemala, but as a genuine challenge to turn off the television, shutdown your computer, and walk out your front door. Go meet your neighbors, engage with your tribe who live all around you. You are not in a desert of desolation but in a jungle of love. It is time to step out of our comfortable bubble and engage with the world… only love awaits.
While traveling abroad during university, Coby met a Peruvian healer who liberated him from the material realm. "Now that you have entered the spiritual world," she told him, "You'll never have to concern yourself with money or materials, they will manifest effortlessly. Your new path is a spiritual one wrought with its own challenges."
Coby took this belief to heart, starting a spiritual journey that took him several times around the globe. He spent many years in Latin America reconnecting with the Earth, a connection often severed in modern suburbia.
He sailed the Caribbean, learning just how deeply one can relax. He led groups of teenagers through dozens of countries and across five different continents. He spent much time in India where he lived 'Baba Life', renouncing material comforts and exploring the boundaries of meditation.
But between each chapter of his story, he would always return to his Shamanic teacher in Peru for study and guidance. Coby’s deep rooted interest in Shamanism found its perfect complement when he married Yogini, CJ Ananda. Their combined passion is to find harmony in the combination of these two ancient healing traditions.