So what makes this community work? The values of Plum Village tradition that are adapted into the MorningSun community are designed to create a peaceful and reflective environment.
To be a member of this community, one must follow the shared values established. Each member follows the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. These fall in Plum Village tradition and set the standards for beliefs in this community. Recreational drugs and alcohol are prohibited in an effort to reach “stability, clarity, and capacity to live mindfully,” (Residential Community) and shared practice helps all members maintain commitment.
By upholding a lifestyle that is striving for peace, it becomes possible to better ones relationship with not only the community around them, but to the Earth. At MorningSun, at least six eco-homes have been built, “using different green building techniques, including solar power, straw bale and double walled super insulation.” This relationship does not end with housing. Members of MorningSun eat vegetarian meals with one another. This decision not only is beneficial for ethical reasons against animal abuse, but it has a positive impact on the environment. Meat production is one of the biggest factors of greenhouse gasses and it has many other destructive effects to the environment.
It is difficult to find out where this society will be in a hundred years. Intentional communities are a relatively new concept in mankind’s history- and the majority of intentional communities that have been studied have come to an end. As Erik Reece argued in his book Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America’s Most Radical Idea it is often difficult to maintain a society that differs from the norm. However, each intentional society offers something important to its members, and often the communities around it. Peace and mindfulness is needed in our society, and this perhaps could be why this community is received so positively. Reece discussed how a positive relationship between an intentional community and the community around it can majorly benefit the communities. MorningSun community has a successful relationship with the community around it, and although not everyone may live the same lifestyle, many people are affected as they learn about the programs and mindfulness training’s MorningSun teaches.
The dedication by MorningSun community to continuously practice their beliefs and to teach others has shaped their lifestyles enormously.
“The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings.” Plum Village, Mindfulness Practice Center, plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/the-14-mindfulness-trainings/.
Reece, Erik. Utopia Drive: a Road Trip through America’s Most Radical Idea. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
“Resident Community.” MorningSun, morningsuncommunity.org/residential-community/.