A look at intentional community in a world who may be calling for a reimagining of collective actions.
Every intellectual had a “draft of a new community in his waistcoat pocket.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson
We have reached a new epoch in our planet’s history. Few can look at the increasingly authoritarian tendencies across the globe, the mass stress-fueled migrations, the degradation of the environment, the increasingly chaotic climate, and the fragility of systems exposed by the current Covid-19 without pondering upon what are authentic responses in these times. I would like to offer some observations and perhaps some questions regarding the role of intentional community in a world who may be calling for a reimagining of collective actions.
I have been part of a number of communities tied to independent schools and political and activist-driven movements. I want to look at three primary examples of communities that I believe are relevant to reimagining the ‘New Community’ and provide an insight into the taste of community.
The Abode of the Message
For many of us, the ideal of living in an intentional community was a vision that led to a quest for such. Personally, an early experiment lasted several years in the later 1970s at a Sufi community, The Abode of the Message, in upstate New York. Situated on 350 acres of a former Shaker utopian community and based on the idea of the universality of all religions, our band of just over one hundred individuals and families strove to put into practice the ideal of “spirituality in everyday life.” We farmed, baked, led retreats, and worked in a variety of jobs in surrounding towns. The Abode spawned the Omega Institute, a mechanic shop, a private school, and a fledgling computer business set in a former Shaker workshop.
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