Meaningful connection to others is often a key part of a spiritual path. Likewise, life purpose is rarely found without a meaningful connection to others.
Relationships offer deep insights and a way to practice spiritual beliefs.
How do relationships do this? Consider this example:
Your teenager is late coming home with the family car that you need to get to an appointment. You are becoming increasingly irritated as you think about how self-centered and irresponsible your teen is being. But if you stop to reflect on how you would want to be treated in his situation, you realize that you would want to be questioned calmly. Further, you see that you are only making the situation worse by blaming him without knowing exactly why he is late and that you could better spend the time relaxing with the paper while you wait. This realization leads to compassion and forgiveness, practices common to all spiritual paths.
Often the gifts we experience in personal relationships motivate us to give to our community and to wish the same for the world-leading to a sense of purpose.
A spiritual or religious community can provide help and support. Communities can help people ask the right questions, and provide guidance and encouragement.
A spiritual community can be any group that has some continuity, provides a sense of freedom to express one's true self in good times and in bad, and is concerned about meaning and the big questions in life. The group needs to keep confidences and support the whole person.