It is often said that living in community is so difficult that it is virtually impossible. There is a profound paradox at work here.
We long for companionship, for intimacy, yet we are so very afraid of losing what freedom we have that we separate ourselves one way or another, in so many ways in fact that we live virtually in emotional isolation.
As small children, we are so bound up with our parents, usually but not always most closely with our mothers, that we have no choice but to surrender to their care and control and learn to cope with its strictures.
Puberty brings the drive to individuate. A flood of new hormones washes away our willingness to be compliant, affectionate, recognizable children. In our hierarchical cultures, we haven’t been prepared for this transition. We have been told how to behave, even how to think. When the storm of adolescence hits us, we are more often than not severely shaken or even cast adrift. Such foundations as we have are not strong enough to build on. We are not properly self-referred, but try to present ourselves as we think we should be or want to be rather than as we are inside.
Our insides and outsides are separated by a frightening gap, which is populated by demons, by the unknown, by a desperate need to belong to something to replace our dependence on the parental nest. We think we are gaining our freedom while we struggle out of one prison into another. Just as we couldn’t be honest with our parents about what we really thought and felt, so we can’t tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth to our new companions.
Our deepest hopes and fears are a mystery to others and largely to ourselves. We’re not terribly conscious of anything except the immediate concerns of post-childhood survival. Drugs often become primarily important. Many of us start with alcohol and nicotine and progress into substances that offer increasingly vivid escape from normal reality. Computer games and virtual reality are newly available technological wonders which are increasingly capturing the attention of more than two thirds of the adult population. These addictions are increasingly blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy.
Depending on our circumstances, we might go traveling abroad, go to university, get pregnant and even may start earning big money as pop or football stars. Whatever we find ourselves doing, we are likely to have certain things in common. We don’t really know how to think for ourselves, having never been allowed to do that. We assume that what we think and feel is who we are and how we are, with little awareness of the reality of the programming and conditioning that we have experienced since the day we were born.
The fact that most of our thoughts are implanted has been withheld from us. The racism , sexism and all the varieties of elitism that is institutionalized in our cultures has set up home in our brains. The power and control mechanisms go on affecting us long after we are not contained in some kind of school every day.
Living in community may be the only available possibility of healing this mess. People with money spend fortunes on therapists and fabulous tantric retreat experiences in the desert or on tropical islands. You and I and most of us don’t have that choice. Designing and implementing real eco-communitarian environments, could open us up and allow us to come out of our emotional isolation, together with others. In so doing, the control mechanisms which have taken up residence in our brain, could be laid bare, in and for the group. to heal the wounds. Not only do we long for healing, but we would have the chance to experience more love, joy and freedom. As the huge amount of energy previously used to suppress our true thoughts and feelings is released, it becomes available for creativity. As the community serves the individual and the individual becomes stronger and more creative, so the individual can better serve the community, which then becomes stronger and more creative. This free flowing feedback process allows for an explosion of creativity and abundance, which everyone can enjoy, participate in and propagate.
The challenge of creating and sustaining eco-community, clearly challenges our deepest conditioned realities. We can project this as being difficult and even virtually impossible, or we can move into it with a quality of excitement and anticipation and adventure similar to our ancestors feelings when they set sail into the unknown.
The inward and the outward journeys are undertaken simultaneously when we create the environments to live in that we really deserve and need.