“Devote yourself to the community around you.  Devote yourself to something that gives you purpose and meaning.”  Mitch Albom

Community Culture Influencers

This is a work in progress and sort of a depository of random ideas, but it seems helpful and of interest to some to share what many of our influences have been.

1) Community Building

Some might see us as a blend of the Plum VillageSirius, and Findhorn communities.

2) Major Influencers

We’re thankful to M. Scott Peck for helping us understand how to build true community.

Marshall Rosenberg and his work with Nonviolent Communication seems like a must for any aspiring communitarians.

Ray Dalio has shown how to use “radical truth” and “radical transparency” to create a high functioning “Idea Meritocracy.”

  • For more on his approach to building a community culture, scroll down on this page to the two videos entitled “Company Culture and the Power of Thoughtful Disagreement” and “Culture of Openness.”
  • Other informative videos are here (you’ll need to register your email for access to videos 3-6): Video 1Video 2Video 3Video 4Video 5Video 6.
  • His Ted talk is here.

Diana Leafe Christian has helped us identify best practices and along with others grasp why most communities fail.

Christopher Alexander for his deep insights into physical spaces and why quality and beauty matter.

3) Thich Nhat Hanh – Poet, Author, Zen Master, Teacher

TNH On Building Community.

TNH On Navigating Modern Life.

4) Mindfulness Practices

While we are non-sectarian and embrace diversity, many of our mindfulness practices come from the Plum Village community founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, and Western meditation centers such as Spirit Rock and the Insight Meditation Society.

We’re also heavily influenced by Ajahn Chah and other Buddhist Masters who taught a large number of currently active Western meditation teachers.  The Dalai LamaD.T. Suzuki, and Eckhart Tolle have also informed our views.

Robert ThurmanDaniel GolemanDan Siegel, and Dave Richo are also key influencers.

5) Child Rearing Influencers

Dan Seigel’s Mindsight Institute and No Drama Discipline book with Tina Bryson

Zigfried Englemann – Very thoughtful and proven techniques for teaching reading and math.

Kipp’s focus on character traits.

Panayaden School’s 12 Wise Habits.

Plum Village’s Two Promises for kids.

Plum Village’s Five Mindfulness Trainings.

Yoguitos and their whole child approach to education (they participate in our summer and after-school programs.)

Martha Wright’s Mindful Music Program

Joe Reilly and his great work.

6) Education Influencers

Wake Up Schools Initiative and here.

Khan Lab School vision of school articulated in The One World Schoolhouse

Sal Kahn on teaching for mastery and a why he’ll never tell his son that he’s smart.

Carol Dweck on the importance of a growth mindset.

7) Misc Notes (in no particular order)

We aim to create an inclusive community that feels open and accessible to all and that has practices that do not trigger or scare people who may be wary of “religion.”

In Buddhism, there are “The Three Jewels” – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.  We see how the first two are held within the third, the Sangha.

We see living in community as a great way to support healthy habit building.

We see ways to expand by having prospective community members look for housing options within a short walking distance of the community hub.  We see that living in close proximity can work well and is a case for denser, more urban locations.

We recognize we are creating something new, and doing so generally requires committed leaders, not only willing helpers.

When building community we think about creating a Team vs creating a Family and finding the right balance between the two.

Thoroughly, as possible, we try to understand why communities fail so that we may learn from others.

We strive to keep it real, identify elephants in the room, and be aware of our tendency to avoid conflict, rather than work through it.

“On the abstract level, I have turned the belief in my own fallibility into the cornerstone of an elaborate philosophy. On a personal level, I am a very critical person who looks for defects in myself as well as in others. But, being so critical, I am also quite forgiving. I couldn’t recognize my mistakes if I couldn’t forgive myself. To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognizing my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.” George Soros

The parenting dilemmas raised, regarding balancing modern influences on children, in the Captain Fantastic film resonate.