Religious spiritual communities
Religious and Spiritual communities range from long-standing Catholic monasteries and nunneries to the newest New Age groups. Some have a very unified practice, with all in the community sharing a single practice while others have members following a variety of paths. The main thing they all have in common is that they tend to use community as a tool to further their spiritual agenda, rather than as an end in itself. Being gathered into a community allows participants to separate from the temptations and diversions of the outside world, and provides more intense reinforcement for living the focused life of the religious aspirant. We can view spiritual community as a cauldron that creates an intense, focused heat not easily found elsewhere. Many spiritual leaders have recommended or even required that their followers live in a community of believers, as a way to deepen their spiritual life and promote the internal changes that move them closer to the ideal. If you choose to enter the life of a religious community, it is important that you accept the religious practice of the group, without thinking that it will be perfect once you get them to change one or several aspects you don't agree with.
- Spiritual Communities: There's More to Them Than Meets the Third Eye, by Mariana Caplan (2000)
- Spiritual Community of Many FaithsThe Challenge Is to Love, by Stevie Abbott-Richards (2000)
- What You Should Know About Christian Communities, by Joe V. Peterson (2000)