I actually like to refer to Sanga as a group of "spiritually like minded people." I hardly think bowling club is a Sanga...
I participate actually in a handful of Sanga's. Some deal directly with my connection to the divine and worship of the divine inner self. Others reach to a "higher power" in the pursuit of recovery. Either way I find it would be difficult in life to navigate the world of spirituality without teachers, guides, brothers and sisters. We generally live lives, its tough to be able to council yourself on matters of spirit. Believe me the power of prayer and meditation and a personal relationship to what I call the "Divine Mother" is the cornerstone. Occasionally I need the help of my spiritual teachers, whos job it is to know the so called fine print. It helps to have the backdrop of knowledge and study that people have done for hundreds or thousands of years before we came along. So I listen to Thich, to Parmahansa Yogananda, to Depak chopra, and to my personal ministers. To the other fellowships I listen to the Elder Statesmen with years of recovery.
Some feel that its a waste of time. That "people that go to church all the time have no life". En Contraire, I have discovered more life within these people than I had running around on my own. Hey, I can't go to spiritual study all the time. Sometimes I'm just tired or want to go to the movies. Some Sundays I do want to go fishin'. That's why I have Sanga, my connection to spiritually motivated people, my opportunity to pray with them and talk about spirit is not limited to Sunday.
If you are agnostic or atheistic, that's great I still love you. Just know that something bigger than you or the universe made your life possible.
I once heard of a concept called Pascal's Wager. Basically a mathematician assigned believing in God and not believing in God mathematical values. I suppose he gave good and bad, sin and virtue like values. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming the infinite gain or loss associated with belief in God or with unbelief, a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.). My hats off to any one who lives a virtuous life, I only hope that they can commune with people of like mind and have them to offer support when life demands the company of others.
I have my faith of what will happen through and at the end of my life. If the chips fall the other way than so be it. The Universal Spirit I'm sure has given us many paths to follow to the gates of Nirvana or heaven or whatever. Maybe it's as simple as coming back again in a better Karmic situation, maybe one path or another is like the difference of walking or taking an airplane to God's house. I only know that I have a spiritual family that will take care of me, not judge me and always call me Brother.