Mindful Living and Service Program Summer 2017
The Mindful Living and Service Program (MLS) is an invitation for friends to offer their support to the building of Morning Sun Mindfulness Center through service projects, 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 ample time for personal meditation, yoga and reflection; all while in the sanctuary and beauty of the forests and ponds of MorningSun.
This program will be a good fit for friends who are enthusiastic and interested in cultivating community, while at the same time have a good degree of independence and self-direction.
We are looking for people who are 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.
We are also looking for people who are enthusiastic about working. We are excited to develop our gardens which will include building garden beds and preparing soil, as well as the planting and maintaining of the gardens. We may also take on a building project.
This program is an opportunity for people drawn to have a working retreat experience, being close to and working on the land, and cultivating their practice in the quiet atmosphere that MorningSun currently offers.
For a sense of the weekly schedule see the sample schedule attached below. Our schedule will be subject to changes based on the needs of the community.
Overview of Logistical Arrangements:
- The program requires a commitment for the full three months: May 1st through July 31st, unless specific arrangements are made in advance.
- Accommodations will be “simple living”: in the yurt (men) or the First Light cabin (women). 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. Tenting is possible. Room rentals are also available in resident homes (Please ask about this 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 food ($240-360/month (sliding scale). There are no other costs to the program. Please contact us if the financial aspects are challenging so we can discuss this aspect together.
- Independent work may be able to be arranged with resident homeowners to put towards food cost. This would be in addition to community service work. (See details below.)
- 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 MorningSun. 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.
- MLS participants are expected to maintain the same commitment to the vision and practice of MorningSun as resident members do, expressed in the Practice Aspirations and Commitments of MSC. (see below).
- While in MorningSun, we all do our best to support the collective practice energy by attending Sunday Days of Mindfulness, weekday sitting meditations, and other classes/discussions.
- During special retreat times (eg:weekend retreats and Summer Opening), MLS participants are expected to attend the retreats and contribute as staff. During these times work responsibilities will be different and specific to the needs of the retreat.
- If additional practice activities are organized by the community during the program, MLS participants are welcome and encouraged to attend.
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, and a 12 hr/week work contribution to specific work projects in the community. Additional work contributions are welcomed but not required.
- Work projects will be overseen by the Community 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 changes.
- Work projects are many and varied and may include tasks like: landscaping, gardening, trail maintenance, light construction, 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: May 19-21, June 16-18, July 7-24
Regarding Independent work on site:
- Independently arranged paid work, that could be used towards food cost, may be possible during free time. This would be “paid by the hour” work, arranged with resident homeowners at MorningSun. It would include jobs like: firewood splitting/stacking, lawn mowing, gardening, painting, and household chores. A resident member will help to arrange this work with you if desired.
Commitment of the Community:
- Morning Sun Community will do its best to support your mindfulness practice and community life. We will provide guidance and resources to facilitate work and try to arrange accommodations and meals that meet your needs. We are aware that we won’t always be able to be perfect, and we’re committed to communicating about any concerns and challenges.
- A representative from MorningSun will meet with each MLS participant twice a month to see how things are going, and to review and evaluate the program concerning practice, community life, work and accommodations. At any time during the program, if things are not going well, their participation in the program can be re-evaluated.
- Most of Morning Sun residents currently have work off site, and will be joining in with MLS part time as they are able.
- Fill out the simple application form and a short written statement (see below for the Application) :
- MSC will review 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.
- Determination of acceptance into the program will be made within 2 weeks of application.
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.
MorningSun Community Agreement:
From the Declaration of Covenants Easements and Restrictions of MorningSun Subdivision
- COMMUNITY AGREEMENT: The Community Agreement is at the heart of MorningSun. It is an expression of both the aspiration and the ongoing practice of the community.
- All Members and Lot Owners agree to support the life and growth of MorningSun through ongoing and regular practice of mindfulness, meditation, and simple, sustainable living. This includes, but is not limited to:
- The cultivation of an awareness of the sacred in Life through the practice of kindness, joy, compassion and peacefulness;
- Fostering an attitude of openness and inclusion, with a willingness to learn and grow through all of Life’s challenges;
- Showing courage and humility in order to be open to the insight and constructive feedback of others in the community regarding one’s behavior;
- Bringing the practice of mindfulness into all areas of life, including in one’s home, with one’s family, with other community members, and in one’s work;
- Attending, as much as is reasonably possible, the scheduled meetings, gatherings, and meditation events organized by the Mindfulness Center and the Association;
- Maintaining interpersonal harmony within the community through the support of and/or participation in conflict resolution practices;
- Abiding by all the articles and obligations set forth in this Declaration, its Covenants and Restrictions, and the supplementary guidelines referenced herein.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MLS PROGRAM APPLICATION