Loch Kelly on Satsang as the Traditional Circle

Loch Kelly (www.lochkelly.org) is a Friend of InterSpiritual Dialogue. With a divinity degree, career as a psychotherapist and former chaplain at New York’s well known Union Theological Seminary, Loch has brought the eastern traditions of Advaita Vedanta and Dzogchen into his Natural Wakefulness ministry in the teaching lineage of Adyashanti. Below he speaks of one of the most fundamental reflections of circles-- the time-honored “satsang” of these traditions:

Loch Kelly (left) with Adyashanti (right)

“One kind of circle that I find very nourishing is the traditional satsang itself. “Sat” means truth and “sang” means gathering, group, or community. In the satsang, the truth that all beings gathered each have the same awake nature is the foundation and the invitation of the circle. One person, in the role of teacher or spiritual friend, invites awakeness to speak in the gathering. In metaphor, he or she is like an ice cube that drops into the waters of consciousness, and ripples out in a circular pattern. The circles of rippling awareness resonate with the other beings gathered, inviting them to drop like ice cubes into the still waters and meet themselves as both as same and as others. In this sense a satsang circle is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

Little wonder that the traditional “satsang”—whose nature is a pool for shared mystical understanding among those who take part—is still prevalent today as one of the most fundamental manifestations of the circle.