As I acclimated into my new life in Dallas, TX, I remember feeling my first sense of community, and it happened very unexpectedly.
A number of us were new to Dallas, as the company was hiring many new people from out of state.
I developed a good friendship with a couple of my co-workers. There was a gym across the street from work and the company subsidized our gym memberships.
Three of us at the company started lifting weights after work, and we started to develop a workout routine.
But as spring turned into summer, the sunset timings were getting later. I knew that Agnihotra would come in the middle of the workout, and I would have to inform them that I couldn't make the workouts.
This was common for me, in the sense of me informing people of my meditation schedule and the need for me to break away from the group, whether it be friends or co-workers. I always made it a point to not impose my spiritual schedule on the group, and break away when needed to maintain my spiritual practice.
In that sense I had felt like a loner on the spiritual path, because people would come and go, but I would always break away to ensure I would maintain my practices.
When I told my coworker about Agnihotra timings (he joined me for Agnihotra a few times, so he was aware of it), and that I wouldn't be join him for the workouts we had set in the evening.
I remember he looked up and thought to himself. I was taken aback by his response. He said, "Okay, we'll have to figure out a new time to workout."
I had to take a moment to process what he had said, because I was expecting him to continue working out with the other coworker.
I realized that he was willing to adjust to my schedule to accommodate for Agnihotra, so we could continue our workouts.
That was the first time in my life someone was willing to adjust their schedule to accommodate my spiritual practice, specifically with Agnihotra.
What I enjoyed was that he enjoyed joining me for Agnihotra after our workouts.
It was a small gesture, but it made me feel that I wasn't alone on my spiritual journey. These were the seeds for me to experience spiritual community.