Grassroots Spiritual Networks: Simple but Efficient

Grassroots spiritual networks are all around us. And they are very effective at knitting the spiritual but not religious movement together. Yet it is often said that spiritual but not religious is not a religion because it does not have a structure to hold it together. This usually means it doesn’t have a brick and mortar meeting places. It’s schedule of comings and goings are not “set in stone.”

This may be true but does that mean it is not collaborative? Not connected? Not powerful?

I decided to write about this (again) after stumbling on the TruthSpace blog. The authors of the site say “We created it, to serve and support the many spiritual teachers around the world, who teach Truth, Love and Beauty, in the form of writings, recordings and meetings.”If TruthSpace was an isolated example there wouldn’t be much point writing about it. But the reality is that thousands of such sites exist. They are what power the SBNR community and keep members connected. They provide resources and the ties to build bridges with others who share the same spiritual outlook.

The spiritual but not religious movement is powerful because it is not tied down to a specific time and place. It’s fluid and that makes it adaptive.

I keep a collection of flyers and business cards for alternative spiritual services. They range from the ordinary–things like massage, meditation, and acupuncture–to the more esoteric and bizarre. This might include tarot readings, sacred geometry workshops, clairvoyance training and pet communication. I find these things in every city I go to, usually in coffee shops, health food stores and cafes. One I picked up recently is for Meridian Shiatsu massage.  The therapist promises “balance, harmony, integrity and peace.” Pretty common fare in these circles. But what caught my attention was her bio. She had lived in Japan for many years studying spiritual disciplines including martial arts and monastic Zen practices. In 1983 she studied Oriental medicine.  In 1985 she left for San Francisco and London for interim practice, and then off to New Zealand to teach workshops for several more years. Then back to Canada, first to Ontario and now Victoria.

While moving around the world probably didn’t help grow her practice, what is worth noticing is how freely she globe trotted with this career. For thirty years she has been traveling and connecting with SBNRs around the world. This freedom is only possible because there are networks and communities to support such a journey.

So the next time you pass a bulletin board full of announcements from spiritual teachers, trainers and seekers, remember, you are looking at the institutional markers of SBNR.  People in this community know where to look to get their needs met. It’s grassroots spirituality at its finest. And strangely–it works.