What are the principles that separates MorningSun as an intentional community? What are their foundational values?
Mindfulness is so important to the members of MorningSun because it allows them to stay present in each moment – being aware of what is happening in and around the community without bias or judgement. Taken from their website: “Mindfulness supports stress reduction, mediation and conflict resolution, anger management, and turns ordinary mundane moments into sacred and meaningful experiences”.
Understanding gives insight to ones own spiritual journey and inter being. It is important to understand your self in order to share compassion with the community.
Compassion is important so that the members of MorningSun work for the happiness of each other as much as themselves. The sustainability of the community, socially and ecologically, depends on the ability for the members of MorningSun to relate to one another harmoniously. “Your happiness is my happiness, and my happiness is also yours. Your suffering is my suffering, and my suffering is also yours.”
These values are held in the meditation and community practices for people at MorningSun so they can to develop their ability to work and live through mental clarity. Here is a video of founder Michael Ciborski elaborating on the purposes of their practice.
Whereas in a more strict intentional community, the principles of the community would be somehow enforced or required, MorningSuns members are left to balance their own practice in their individual lives, as well as coming together for four hours every Sunday. There are not stern regiments to follow for living at MorningSun, but it is expected that every member pays their rents, shares the duties of holding events, and practices mindfulness. This might be unique when looking at most communities, like New Harmony where the Rappites spell out their communities and abide by them (Reece, 99), but all members hold a deep relationship with their individual and collective meditation practices so much so that it is the center of their community. They are also a small community of 16 full time residents, so it is easier for them to communicate and follow their principles with one another.
In Rosabeth Moss Kanters book, Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective, philosopher Martin Buber concludes that “the real essence of community is to be found in the fact – manifest or otherwise – that it has a centre. The real beginning of a community is when its members have a common relation to the centre overriding all other relations” (Kanter 131). Kanter uses his words in a context to describe communities that are tightly controlled, but MorningSun doesn’t organize themselves around anything other than mindfulness practice, and although they do have founders and leaders of the dharma talks, the center is their relationships to the practice.
Kanter, Rosabeth Moss. “Issues in Group Life.” Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological, Harvard University Press, 2005.