First chapter of proposed book “The New American Kibbutz Movement: A Manifestation of Spiritual Democracy.”

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Chapter 1 Why Bother?


“It is not good for man to be alone.” This is the passage in Genesis referring to the creation of Eve, a “help meet.” While this passage is
literally speaking of the relationship between a man and a woman, I don’t think
it is too far a stretch to broaden the view. I believe that we were created to
live in community with one another – in villages rather than cities. Most if
not all major religions make some reference to this. Christianity says, “Where
two or more are gathered together….” Buddhism teaches, “Happy is the unity of
the Sangha (community).” Judaism proclaims, “Separate not yourself from the
community.” Islam explains, “Believers are to one another like a building whose
parts support one another.” Etc., etc., etc.

Early Christianity survived and grew as a community. Israel became a strong
nation in large part because of the spirit of the Kibbutzim. So as many of us
look towards a better world filled with decisions based on love not hate,
compassion not judgment, charity not greed, then these people and ideals should
be supported and nurtured within community. The idea of “rugged individualism”
will never bring lasting peace to our planet. “The hand cannot say to the foot,
what need have I of you?”

Community creates a power base stronger than any single member. Community
polishes and perfects its members like a stone polisher by constantly rubbing
stones together to bring out the hidden gems. Community enables each member to
have their needs met far more cheaply than a single member could do. Community
provides ongoing practice to make spiritual growth permanent within each
member. Community utilizes the strengths of each individual to make a more
powerful whole. Like love has been described, Community is patient, community
is kind, and is not jealous; community does not brag and is not arrogant, does
not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take
into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but
rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things. This is what I truly believe a community of
spiritual beings having a human experience can do – for each other and the
world.


I often hear the argument that communes have been tried before and they never worked. Even if true, does that mean we stop trying? But there are communities
begun in the 60’s that still exist today. The Kibbutz, although not as strong
as in the past, still exists. It can and must be done. There is an urgent cry I
feel not just from myself but from many people to help them find peace and
happiness in their own lives and in their world. Community, if structured
properly can be just that.

So what would it look like? We’ll look at this in more detail later, but here
are a few things that might give it a greater chance of survival. A new political
paradigm I call Spiritual Democracy, individual space; spiritual but
non-religious development; strong meditation program; community areas for
socializing, playing, teaching, healing and eating; financial counseling and
assistance; strong health and wellness provisions; community decision making;
shared ownership with dues and membership fees adjusted for individuals;
conscious business development programs; active external community help
programs; spiritual based education programs for adults and children in home
schooling environment; shared duties and responsibilities; strong social
function planning; space for farm animals and gardens and parks; and conscious,
healthy and delicious food preparation.


The following is a meditation that I have taught in the past to stretch our thinking to what our world might look like.

“Close your eyes if you’re comfortable doing so and clear
your mind as much as you can. Focus on your breath. Hear it fill you and hear
it leave you. Focus on your chest rising and falling with each breath. In and
out. Rising and falling. Like waves lapping against a quiet shoreline. Focus
and relax. I am going to ask you to take a journey with me. Some of you may be
able to actually see the places I will describe and some of you will only be
able to hear the words and imagine the place. Either one is OK. Just relax and
listen and imagine whatever your mind allows you to.

Imagine that you are the first exchange student to the
planet Kyoara. You have just arrived and you are looking around at the
beautiful landscape. There are beautiful crystalline structures that radiate
vivid colors in the sunlight that seem to dance all around you. The people here look very much like we do
except they always seem to smile as if they know some wonderful secret. No one
is in a hurry, and almost everyone who passes you stops to chat and treats you
as if you were a very special person. The clothes are all very simply made,
loose and flowing. But they are not all the same. As a matter of fact, each
person seems to have his or her own color and pattern. The air seems to be
filled with a very faint hum that is extremely pleasant and peaceful. The
smells seem to combine light floral and earthy scents. Everything seems so vivid to the eye and soon
you realize that there are no shadows.
As a matter of fact there is no sun that you can see, and yet the sky is
bright and alive with colors and everything around you is illuminated. You ask
your guide how this is possible. Listen for the reply. Remember it.

Now you are in school, but, like everything else, it is
nothing like you’re used to. Everyone is excited to be here, and each one takes
the time to meet you and make you feel welcome. You may choose your classes, but
regardless of what you choose the emphasis will be on how that subject can help
you to live a happier life. There are no grades and no tests and no
competition, but everyone attends because here is where they learn to care for
and understand themselves and others. There are only two levels roughly
translated as lifeview and spiritview. The transition is usually, but not always
made at age 13. The first level is
slightly more structured, but the goal is not to learn what others dictate, but
to learn from yourself who you are, where you came from, and what your goals
are here. Almost incidental to the process, but still accomplished through it,
are communication skills, life skills, and discovery of the world around them.
The one class that tends to carry over into both levels is Dreamwork. Dreams
are the recreation of choice here, and everyone recognizes their dreams as also
their greatest teacher.

Now you decide to visit the home where you will be staying
and again you are in for a surprise. Your guide seems to be thinking about
something and all of a sudden a bubble appears around you and lifts off. As you
travel over the terrain, you notice that there are no fences or boundary
markers of any kind. Nothing to show where one property begins and another ends.
When you ask about this, your guide tells you that nothing is owned here. All
building structures are made out of crystal, which is simply solid light. The
crystals can change colors at the tenant’s will. It can go from Privacy mode,
which is almost a solid black, to crystal clear in Open mode. Anyone who has
attended Spiritview has learned to
manipulate light in this way. Everything else that exists is invented or
created using materials that are freely supplied and freely shared with others.
There is nothing that is possessed individually, but everything is shared. The
bubble you are traveling in is also a light creation and it is powered by
thoughts. You are invited to take control of the bubble, and you do. Now
imagine that you are traveling all over this new world. Imagine some of the sights. Remember.

Throughout your stay here, you can’t help but think that you
have other questions, which you cannot ask, but mostly you are having too good
a time to worry about it. All of your senses are heightened here. It isn’t
until you are almost home that you realize that you never asked about crime or
violence. Again you are in for a surprise. The surprise is not that there is no
crime or violence, but rather that the reason you couldn’t think about it is the
same reason we don’t think about breathing until we lack oxygen. We are
normally surrounded by oxygen and so we generally don’t imagine not having
it. Positive energy and thoughts
surround Kyoarans, and there is no place where that doesn’t exist there. Consequently
the negative thoughts or images just don’t exist. When the light is on,
darkness is off. If the light is bright enough there are fewer shadows,
especially if the light is radiating outwards. The last question you have for
your guide before you are returned here is: How can this happen on my
world? Listen to the answer. Remember.”

 


What I have never told people before regarding this meditation exercise is that this is a place I have been to. As a young child of
about 8 or 9, I was given the assignment of writing about a fictional place and
this is the place I saw in my mind. This was the start of my passion for
community. When I was 12, I was taking a drafting module at my school and given
the assignment of designing my dream home. It was a structure about a half a
mile in diameter and housed over a hundred families. It had a study, exercise,
recreation and dining areas. It was built in the mountains and had a self-containing
bubble that could be raised over it and was situated on a hydraulic lift that
could lower it if it needed to hide beneath the earth. It was a fairly
meticulous drawing that I tried to save but has been lost over the years. My teacher
was amazed and impressed and since I was in a Catholic school at the time there
was some talk that it was divinely inspired. All I know is that the fire for
community has burned inside of me for many years.

 


I believe if we are to ever achieve such a world, it will be through the effort of small communities leading the way. It is the village not
the city that will hold our future. Cities are a reflection of a world in need.
The Industrial Revolution created the need and greed perpetuated it. It is time
for another revolution. This will be a Spiritual Revolution to deliver us from
the bondage of this needy world. This world that teaches we need to possess. We
need to own. We need to control. We need to consume. And we need to look out
for number one. This is the legacy of Capitalism.

The basic meaning of Capitalism is a system allowing private
ownership and control of products, goods and services and the motivation is
always that person’s profit. In and of itself, this may seem like a good thing
and so many would still argue that it is. The problem is that for Capitalism to
work not everyone can profit. And as Capitalism evolves the natural evolution
is to fewer people who own and far more who are owned.


One of the commodities in Capitalism is always the laborer. The less this laborer is valued the more
profit that can be made until eventually Capitalism degenerates into a Plutocracy
where there are the rich who rule and the poor who work. The middle class gets
squeezed out. This is a simplistic explanation, I know, but the evidence of its
truth surrounds us. Wal Mart’s goal in coming into a community is to eliminate
its competition. This competition is the Middle Class operated businesses. The
irony is that this elimination of the Middle Class creates a greater market for
Wal Mart who primarily sells to those with less income. Pure genius since the
most often heard defense of Wal Mart is that it provides goods for the less
well off and jobs for the unemployed. Yes, that’s because Wal Mart has created
this situation. You can see this to varying degrees in all corporations. We can
also see this in our political system. It is virtually and maybe completely
impossible for someone without wealth or access to wealth to run for a
political office.

As these increasingly fewer numbers of wealthy owners of
Capital grow in power, they must also be able to control the production and
distribution of money. If you study the history of the banking industry in
England and Europe and their securing power in the newly formed American
Colonies and what is happening today, you get a pretty clear picture of how
important and powerful these banks have become. They have literally created
situations that produce recessions and depressions in order to secure a labor
force for business that is willing to work for less and thereby creating more
profit for these wealthy corporations. Do you doubt this? Watch the video, “The
Secret of Oz” and check the facts.

 


Since politicians exist on the kindness of the wealthy, there is little hope for help from them. We must turn within to see that hope.
This is the power of communities. They enable individuals to come together to
create a place that restores the dignity, self confidence and self love that we have lost along the way. It begins
with a few people who pull themselves out of this vicious cycle and join
together for the common good of all. Here is a place that allows individuals to
once again know their worth and their power. Here is a place that can truly
say:

“….We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted
among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be
changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath
shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than
to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new
Guards for their future security.”

 


Community becomes that new Guard for the future. It is a peaceful revolution, but a revolution just the same and the end result is to restore the
greatness and truth that our nation was founded on.

I intend to show in this book the pervasive lure of
community, also called Utopia, in the past. It is a myth whose roots are deeply
ingrained in mankind’s subconscious for what I hope to show is a very good
reason. We have been given the key to our future rooted in our past and in
ourselves. I will discuss the Kibbutz movement and show why it is still the
best model we have for a successful community and new economic paradigm. What
began as a Karl Marx form of Socialism has evolved to more modern form,
although I believe in some instances has thown the baby out with the bathwater
in that evolution. I will present the philosophy that surfaced so strongly in
the 60’s reawakening our inner desire for community. I will give examples of
several communities begun in this time and since who have proven it can be done.
And I will attempt to introduce a new form of Socialism (there really is
nothing new under the sun) called Spiritual Socialism. This is the heart of my
community proposal. And we will then try and put “meat” on our bones idea to
paint a picture of what could be.

 


One of the communities that will be highlighted here is Ananda World Brotherhood Village. Their website is Ananda.org. Anyone who
believes that none of the commune experiments started in the 60’s worked should
check them out. This group began and continues as a great example of
intentional, sustainable community. They now have five communities around the
world providing an economic and spiritual model that works. J. Donald Walters
the founder of this community and a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda has
written several books on the subject. In “Cities of Light” he says,
“May the day come when people everywhere realize that it is possible for
them to live in joy and harmony, and that the cities they construct verily can
become cities of light.”

Walters also makes a great point to those who argue that this has never worked.
He says that humanity has been building communities for a long time, but they
have been centered around economics and we need to learn to change that paradigm.
He says, “The usual question asked when setting out in life should be
changed from, ‘How do I earn enough money to be happy?’ to ‘What are the
conditions of happiness?’ Only then will people be ready to ask the second
question. ‘How can I sustain these conditions?'” He also has proven over
the last 30 plus years of Ananda’s existence that people are happiest when they
are able to give of themselves to help others and least happy when they have a
me first mentality.


The Ananda model is there. As is the model of The Farm in Tennessee and the Kibbutz in Israel. I intend to learn from these models as well as many others
and propose a workable vision.

 


So sit back, relax and get ready to experience a new world. The train is in the station and it is almost boarding time. I’ll meet you on
the Observation Deck.

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