Mindful Living and Service Program Summer 2018
The Mindful Living and Service Program (MLS) is an invitation for friends to:
- offer energy into creating a source of peace and healing in our world through working to build Morning Sun Mindfulness Center
- to grow their practice of mindfulness and meditation, and
- to practice living in community and simplicity with the other MLS participants.
It is a wonderful opportunity to live and work alongside others, cultivating a spirit of kindness and community balanced with time for personal meditation, yoga and reflection; all while in the sanctuary and beauty of the forests and ponds of Morning Sun.
This program offers an opportunity to be of service, and is focused around work projects that help build the Mindfulness Center and offering programs there. We are looking for people who are enthusiastic about working.
MLS participants also need to be motivated by a strong desire to deepen their spiritual life, so that their presence will become part of the building blocks of our shared practice life at MorningSun.
Thus, MLS is a good fit for friends who are enthusiastic about work, practice, and cultivating community, while at the same time have a good degree of independence and self-direction.
During the two months at Morning Sun MLS participants will have the opportunity to participate in, and be support staff for, a day of mindfulness every Sunday, and for three residential retreats. In June there will be a 3 day retreat called The Heart of Plum Village Practice, which will offer in depth explanations and guidance on facilitating many of the core Plum Village practices. In July there will be a four day Wake-Up Retreat for young adults ages 18-35ish, and a four day All Ages Retreat for adults and families. This is a rich and nourishing time of concentrated teachings, practice and community.
During our practice sessions we will explore how to apply the practice in daily life and grow spiritual friendships, learning from each other and drawing from the rich experience of the staff who have lived in the Plum Village monasteries and centers, and from teachings found in the 14 Mindfulness Trainings and the sutras.
The MLS program operates independently from the life of the residential community at Morning Sun. Most Morning Sun residents will join in MLS program activities as their personal life and work allows.
A core group of Morning Sun staff will coordinate the program, guiding the daily meditation practice and work projects, and offer an opportunity for personal check-ins every few weeks.
For a sense of the weekly schedule see the sample schedule below.
Overview of Logistical Arrangements:
- The program requires a commitment for the full two months: June 1st through July 31st, unless specific arrangements are made in advance.
- Accommodations will be “simple living” and we spend most of our time outdoors. Most MLS participants will camp. (There may be beds in the yurt or the First Light cabin – these spaces have no electricity or running water, they are heated with a wood stove and use an outhouse.) There are sinks and hot showers at the MorningSun campground shower block. Room rentals may also be available in resident homes, at additional cost (Please ask about this on the application and during the phone interview if you are interested).
- MLS participants will have a daily work rotation. This includes community service work, meal prep, clean-up, and inviting the activity bell.
- MLS participants are asked to contribute toward the program costs on a sliding scale of $600/$1200/$1800 for the two month period, based on your means. The $600 level covers basic food costs for the two months, above that goes towards other costs of running the program. We would like the program to be available to everyone despite financial considerations, so please contact us if you need financial assistance in order to attend.
- MLS participants are responsible for their own:
- Personal medical and dental care.
- Personal living expenses (for example: clothing, toiletries, outside financial responsibilities).
- Transportation to and from the community, (local ridesharing with community members can usually be arranged easily).
Regarding Practice and Community Life:
- MLS participants need to have a familiarity with the Plum Village style of mindfulness practice, meditation, and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. They are asked to bring the practice of the Five Mindfulness Trainings into their lives while at Morning Sun. This includes the following: No meat cooked or served in our central community spaces. No consumption of alcohol or recreational drugs. We are encouraged to practice moderation in our consumption of media (phones, computers, music, video, etc), recognizing that what we take into our mind will affect the energy we bring to our practice and the community. We train ourselves to cultivate non-judgment and kindness in our thinking and speech with others. When conflict arises we are committed to using the practices of beginning anew with ourselves and one another.
- While in Morning Sun, we all do our best to support the collective practice energy by attending Sunday Days of Mindfulness, weekday sitting meditations, and other classes/discussions that are a part of the MLS schedule.
- During special retreat times (eg: weekend retreats and Summer Opening), MLS participants will to attend the retreats and contribute as staff. During these times work responsibilities will be greater and specific to the needs of the retreat.
Regarding Community Service Work:
- The MLS program provides an opportunity to offer energy into creating a source of peace and healing for our world through working to build Morning Sun.
- An integral part of MLS is the work rotation, which includes meal prep, meal clean-up, activity bell, as well as daily community work periods.
- Work projects will be overseen by the Work Coordinator. MLS participants are expected to serve in a wholehearted and responsible way, and be flexible and adapt to changes in work responsibilities and schedule.
- Work projects are many and varied and may include tasks like: carpentry and construction of barn, landscaping, gardening, trail maintenance, cleaning, administration and organizing for special retreats.
- During special retreats, work hours and responsibilities will change in order to support the retreat. Special retreat times are: June 14-17, July 11-29
- Fill out the simple application form below. There is a small $25 application fee.
- Morning Sun will review the application and contact you to set up a phone or skype interview, to further determine compatibility, clarify questions, explore potential work projects, special needs or concerns.
- After your interview a determination will be made.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MLS PROGRAM APPLICATION
MLS Sample Schedule:
The Five Mindfulness Trainings:
- Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.
- True Happiness
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.
- True Love
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
- Loving Speech and Deep Listening
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
- Nourishment and Healing
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MLS PROGRAM APPLICATION