October 27    

Today's quotation:

Community, then, is an indispensable term in any discussion of the connection between people and land.  A healthy community is a form that includes all the local things that are connected by the larger, ultimately mysterious form of the Creation.  In speaking of community, then, we are speaking of a complex connection not only among human beings or between humans and their homeland but also between human economy and nature, between forest or prairie and field or orchard, and between troublesome creatures and pleasant ones.  All neighbors are included.

Wendell Berry
The Art of the Commonplace

Today's Meditation:

It would be wonderful if we could build healthier communities, and many people are trying to do so.  Healthy communities would actually help to preserve this planet and the life on it; they would create environments in which people could help each other and other living things, and we would be able to see tremendous drops in issues like suicide and depression.  We wouldn't eradicate these things, of course, but so much of how we feel about the world is very strongly influenced by the ways that we interact with other people that the effects of healthy communities would definitely be overwhelmingly positive.

We tend to build places to live rather than community-oriented spaces.  We build boxes and then furnish the insides to our taste and spend most of our time inside them, which is rather unfortunate.  It would be so nice for all of us if we were able to live among other people and animals and plants with mutual respect, if we were able to interact with everything regularly rather than sporadically.  What I notice in most of our living spaces is that many people avoid eye contact and greetings, and things seem to be getting worse in these days of the portable screens that demand so much of our attention.

In most of our communities, we also avoid taking responsibility for the plants and the animals who share space with us.  We develop everything for our convenience, but very few things for the convenience-- or even survival-- of our fellow inhabitants of this planet.  If we're truly to be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us, then it's important for us to include all in our idea of community.

Communities can be beautiful.  They can be inspiring and uplifting, and they can contribute in positive ways to the physical, mental, and emotional health of their inhabitants.  If they aren't that, then they aren't really communities at all-- rather, they're simply places where people live.

We can't despair, though.  It is possible to develop community, and most of our truly significant changes are started by one or two individuals who do their best to positively influence their environments.  I can do all I can to contribute to creating a true community where I live, and to recruit others to help me to do the same.  The benefit would be a much healthier place for all of the community's inhabitants, including ourselves.  So what are we waiting for?

Questions to consider:

How might you contribute today, tomorrow, or this week to your community as a whole?

How does a strong community benefit its inhabitants?

What are some of the reasons for which so many communities aren't truly healthy?

For further thought:

Community is composed of that which we don't attempt to measure, for which we keep no record and ask no recompense.  Most are things we cannot measure no matter how hard we try.

Dee Hock
One from Many

more thoughts and ideas on community



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