“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community – a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth” Thich Nhat Hanh
A cohesive community does not happen automatically. This is especially true in a modern society where many of us have been raised outside of true community and are conditioned to value “independence” more highly than “interdependence.”
Here’s are some practices we’ve seen that work well in high functioning intentional communities. It depends on who is living with us, but we generally adopt many of them.
Pre-Meeting Check In. If there is a need to have a meeting, whenever practical we start with a quick personal check-in. We’ve seen this practice employed to positive effect in several long-lasting communities.
Eating Together. We generally share meals together and ask people to commit to regularly joining when able.
Stopping With the Bell. We have a clock in the house that chimes loudly every hour. When it does, we try to all stop what we are doing and take a moment to listen and breathe. It takes a little getting used to, but most find it a useful practice.
Meditation/Contemplative Practice. This is a personal practice, and if people want to build this habit, we usually meditate for 15 minutes at 6:30 am and at 9:00 pm.
Food Coop. We buy healthy, mostly organic, when possible locally sourced food in bulk for everyone under our roof.
Meal Prep. We rotate meal preparation and serving every 2-3 days with each adult taking their turn leading the preparation of breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone. Those days, the chef is also the “kitchen lead” which means they ensure the kitchen and dining areas are clean, tidy and sanitized after each meal. When someone makes something especially good, we write the recipe down to spread the knowledge.
Car, Bike and Ride Sharing. For those interested, and when practical, we share cars, bikes, rides and anything else we can. We are constantly looking for ways to collaborate and share more, helping all our members save time and money.
Morning Meditation and Exercise. This routine happens at least 5 mornings a week for those wishing to use the collective support of others to help maintain good habits for a healthy mind and body. We begin with meditation/instruction for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of strength and cardio exercises adaptable for everyone. This informal daily bootcamp tradition began many years ago in San Francisco and then Berkeley.
Coordinated Childcare. This is arranged by the parents of young children and for many is one of the greatest benefits of living in community.
Coworking Space. As many of us are not tied to a commute or outside office, we create and share coworking space on an as needed basis.
Workshop and Maker Space. We believe making stuff should be a bigger part of most people’s lives, and so we create the space and share the tools to facilitate this.
Performance Space. Shared space for movement, yoga, performance, theater, music and fun.
Quiet Space. For meditation, reflection, rest, and reading. Having a shared quiet place to go is of great benefit.
Outdoor Space. The shared communal decks, the fire pit, the play spaces, and the pool get us outside and together in nature.
Garden and Greenhouse. Growing as much of our food as possible is something most of us aspire to and a shared garden and greenhouse helps us make this happen.
A Recurring “Salon.” In the spirit of learning, we like the idea of regularly hosting small gatherings around a potluck meal, where we invite people to share knowledge and experience with the group.