The renowned Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thick Nhat Hanh, wrote:
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 things we can do for the survival of the earth.
Hearth, clan, bonded relationships—are a basic human need; and for someone without the conventional construct of children, family or traditional relationship at this time, it takes on a different expression. As I approach 50, this fundamental desire has become even more pressing. Where are “my people” with whom I can reveal my most natural self? Who can really see me? Who can I really count on, especially as I get older? Where and how will I live?
For the last 8 years I have lived by myself. In some respects it has been great but I have come to realize that it is not good for the soul or mind to be alone for long periods of time. You get into lazy habits and it becomes easy to hide. If you truly want to grow as a person in communication and love you must be part of and contributing to something larger than yourself–to a community.
One of the great-unarticulated sorrows of our present age is our collective loss of recognition of the psychological necessity of such roots. Families break up, people leave their friends and take jobs in other states, and connections end. How do we go about establishing meaningful community after our working and parenting years are over? Do we just lie down somewhere exhausted and discover we are not with the people who really “get us,” hold us, love us?
This project takes on exploring and re-inventing a working model of hearth and home in this often lonely modern world. Donna and I feel charged with the drive of discovering and re-creating that which we have lost: the simple joy of lasting, unquestioning love that binds us.