I’m somewhere where I haven’t been for a while, in the outside world. Also called sometimes as “The Real World”, which I find a bit misleading, since it’s based on mostly indirect communication and mixed messages. In my last visit here, few months ago, I noticed that I had managed to take my lessons of community life with me, and integrate them into relationships to my friends and family here. It felt extremely good, because before I have always had a certain degree of suffering connected returning to this home.
The first time coming out was the strongest. I had went to the community where I now live in during a liberal festival season, where everything is just accelerated to the maximum everythingness. Basically I was young and single and fell in love seven times in two weeks, plus found some sort of divine God connection that I had been craving for. Everyone treated me with loving acceptance, or if not I was too busy in blissing out to notice. I didn’t want to come back at all, and I had decided that I will not give in a single bit of this dream life that I had been living for three weeks. For a while I kept talking in terms of divine energy flows, using as a water bottle my baby bottle that one of these seven loves had given me during a sex festival, and wearing “in silence” badge in public transport when I wanted to be in a process and left on my own. Despite all of this the outside life crept in and I had a massive slow crash, mostly because I didn’t find anyone to share these life views with. When I look at it now, I see the division that I was making, rather than looking for similarities in what me and others believe in or how we would like to live.
This time being here has shown me more of the differences again, but more in a practical level. Even though many people would want to integrate more of the positive sides of community living into city life, it doesn’t happen very easily. People are so busy that the benefits need to be really clear, like in a car share or agreeing baby sitting circle with other moms, so that they find it worth their time to organise it.
To me there is a really obvious paradox happening here. People are pushed to achieve more, by themselves and the surrounding society, yet the way they have organised their lives is ridiculously insufficient from the perspective of someone living in a community. I thought before that I can’t live in a community because there won’t be time left to focus on my own creativity and career. Community life is a lot about building the community, otherwise it doesn’t work. When I make food I make it for minimum of 40 people, usually more, and then I do the dishes. But I do this only for one meal a day, and in a kitchen that is equipped in a way that I can do this sufficiently in five or six hours. On top of this I don’t need another job to pay my rent or food costs, because this is my part of keeping the community rolling. Working five to six hours a day can sound a lot if you want to focus on a personal ambition as well. In the beginning the rest of my time went to socialising with constantly changing interesting people and going to many amazing workshops that are offered to us for free. It took some time to let go of my fear of missing out and have some self discipline to take time alone to do what I really wanted to focus on. But I also learned to really recognise when I need time alone, and I’m not afraid anymore that other people might take it personally or think of me as antisocial if I leave the space when I want to. Now I can easily work also four to five hours a day on painting or writing or anything else, because I don’t use any time on transporting myself. Somebody else cooks all my other meals, cleans for me, and I meet most of my family and friends every day in shared meal times and other social activities like sauna and celebrations, if I want. It’s amazing how much time and brain capacity is saved when I don’t need to hang in social media to check where is which event, how much it costs, how do I get there and try to contact my friends living around to city to agree where do we meet and when. There is one big difference in my friends outside and in the community. People outside seem to have some kind of chronic scattered brain state. They burn so much energy on being slightly anxious of not doing what they want to be doing, and instead are doing something they feel like they should be doing. Not always, but sometimes, it’s hard for me to understand why they meet each other at all, since it’s happening in such unsatisfying level. Most connection is based on sharing anxiety about the lack of focus. Taking on your friends scattered brain state won’t make it any easier to get clarity on your own state. It is hard to confront my friends and family about this because I know that often there is subconscious assumption that I think that I’m better than them, since I chose to live differently and moved to a different country than where I was born in. I did let go a lot to live how I live, and I sincerely don’t think it fits for everyone. Often I see people come into the community very grounded and in a good place, and leave totally scattered and desperate to move on. It takes a lot to find your own boundaries and accept that in the end you won’t find happiness from other people, even when there is so many and they are so intriguing. What I’m still figuring out is why people in cities seem to suffer more collectively than people in communities. How could city life be more fulfilling, so that people would have more satisfying connections and feeling of purpose? In the end city is just a big community. It was told to me that human brain can only feel group connection in groups up to 200 people, but I think we are past those times. Most of us have more than 200 Facebook friends, and since the internet came our brain did learn to include new concepts of community that is not depending on geographic location or other more traditional building stones of community. How would the city you live in look like if everybody would live in it as active members of the community? How would life be if we would always leave a place the same or little bit better than we found it? How would our justice system look like if, in case of disagreeing with the current rules, we would have the integrity to say it out loud? We could come up with a better suggestion, rather than doing small crimes that cause more work for someone else. Maybe we don’t need to know every single person in our city to feel like we are alike. It’s more about shift in attitude and choosing to see the similarities, as well as not taking too personally other peoples differences. Lot of meditation practises are aiming for unconditional love and compassion, to indirectly change our daily behaviour and feelings towards ourselves and others. I think we can evolve by now to really comprehend bigger groups as our tribe,
if we really want to. The benefits of living as in a big community would be massive in personal level of empowerment and in maintaining a healthy society.
The second part is now published, you can read it here.