Sunday, November 19, 2006
Nada Brahman; The First Word:What is Community?
What is Community?
I am just coming off of a three day retreat with my ten person intentional community in the woods of West Marin, and have been pondering this question lately. "What is community?" A slippery question to which there is no absolute answer. In our current neo-tribal reality, 'community' is pervasive. Most loosely it is those who live in my neighborhood, to those who are in my circle of friends, to those whom i actually live with. The latter is how i would define community, but with a 'focused intent'. We live together not because we love each other, (that has come secondarily) but because we are choosing to live in the grand experiment of learning about ourselves and each other. In this case, "community"is a concept as well as a multi-dimentional entity.
Perhaps "community" is best defined through the process of deconstruction, or defining what it is not.
To me, 'community' is not waking up, going into the kitchen to find that your housemates have made you vegan/spelt waffles, gogi berry juice, and mate for breakfast.
Its waking up to a smattering of sleepy smiles, as they parade through the kitchen, vie for boiling water, run out the door, sit at the table, and struggle with what it means to be human another day on the planet. Small breakfast talk is optional, but dream sharing is encouraged.
'Community' is not harmonizing with every one at every moment, fully loving and understanding each other's needs and acting accordingly..
Its understanding that to be in relation with each other is an opportunity for growth. And whenever i am judging or defining someone, i am making someone else 'smaller' than what she/he is capable of, and in the process i am also narrowing my own perspective of what is possible for myself.
Community is not all parties, and birthdays, (although if you live with over ten people it gets to be almost a birthday per month to celebrate in addition to parties and holidays)
Its staying up late holding space for someone crying from a long hard nigh or a process session, when you have to wake up early the next day for work.
I choose to live this life in 'intentional community' because i think it is the greatest opportunity for conscious evolution that i know. The technology is there. We have all of the tools within us. To be open, with a group of people who are also loving and open to growth is a gift and a miracle in an age which does not value cohesive integrity.