“For people who want to change the world, there are two streams”, Valerie, a yoga instructor and resident of the Twin Oaks community, maintains. “You can be an activist, which is great… But that’s an against energy. What I see us doing is the other stream: creating an alternative… We’re building alternative cultural structures.”
This quote, from Erik Reece’s Utopia Drive: A Roadtrip Through America’s Most Radical Idea, accurately explains what an intentional community does and why one might form. The purpose creating a community is not to work against the mainstream society or culture, but to work with society to show that changing the structure of life, collectively, is possible. MorningSun does this by housing 16 full time residents that practice meditation and community with an open invitation to the surrounding community. It exemplifies a growing community, MorningSun doesn’t have the accommodations and resources to fully provide food or jobs for all of the full time residents.
There are many regulars that attend MorningSuns day of mindfulness every Sunday that are considered part time residents of the community. At this time, the community is less intent on providing a completely alternate way of life, but is intent on being a place practicing a way of life that values peace, mindfulness, and compassion. The founder of MorningSun, Michael Ciborski, leads meditations and dharma talks (a Buddhist teaching) every weekend. Around once a month, there are retreats for a whole weekend, as well as different ceremonies to teach people about different methods to calm your mind, or to be more courteous, or how to be more sustainable in your life. Here is an example of a gathering of MorningSun members singing a song during a ceremony of compassion:
The MorningSun Mindfulness Center is a village located in East Alstead, New Hampshire. The residents that live there follow the Plum Village tradition of Buddhism, but welcome all forms of spiritual practice. The community is based around developing and practicing mindfulness, understanding, generosity, and joy. The programs are specifically built to help people work through peace and clarity within themselves so that they may bring that influence into the world. MorningSun is more so a resource for people trying to better the world by sharing spiritual practices than it is a strict way of living.
Reece, Erik. Utopia Drive: a Road Trip through America’s Most Radical Idea. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.