THE HUMAN YEARNING FOR
© 2004 Corinne
And yet, deep down, we know that life has to be better than what most of us are experiencing. We feel so fragmented; our personal life, friendships, and spiritual values are often so separate from our work life that we feel schizophrenic. We drive hours per day across town to get from home to work to shopping center to entertainment to friends' homes, to church. Our life is compartmentalized, not whole. We feel alienated in our huge impersonal cities, suffering from the pollution, the noise, the crime. We feel the grayness of urban/suburban life.
The way out of this is to create a spirit of community wherever we are. With a spirit of community, we can live on less income by sharing resources and "living lightly on the earth." At the same time, we can be doing something to heal the environment by reducing our consumption of energy and so care-taking the earth. With reduced living expenses, there is less need for work and more time for relaxation, hobbies, and self-development. Stress is reduced and personal growth is enhanced.
Community gatherings can be lively social events and celebrations, with people sharing music, dance, poetry with each other. Community can also offer a safe, supportive, and loving environment of friends. There is freedom from loneliness, and also more safety from violence and theft, as neighbors watch out for each other, and look after each other's houses when someone is away. With a spirit of community, neighbors take turns looking after each other's kids, and kids have a larger variety of homes and friends to visit.
Community living--sharing, and cooperating--doesn't come easily to most Americans raised in an individualistic, competitive society. It takes tolerance for differences, patience and practice. But those who have taken this road experience the deep, soul-expanding rewards of learning to live and work with others, and much can be learned by our world today from these community experiences.
(Excerpted from Builders of the Dawn by Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson.)
Corinne McLaughlin is Director of The Center for Visionary Leadership in the San Francisco area, and co-author of Spiritual Politics and Builders of the Dawn. She is co-founder of Sirius Community in Massachusetts. She can be reached at 415-472-9540; firstname.lastname@example.org. www.visionarylead.org.