My little girl Isabella and I just spent the weekend at a gathering at the Providence Zen Center, the head temple of the Kwan Um School of Zen, where I meditate.
There were five or six other kids there and from the moment we arrived Isabella ran around having fun and paying almost no attention to her dad. (She’s only four. I thought I wasn’t supposed to get the cold shoulder until she was thirteen or so. Sigh!)
The entire group helped take care of the kids. Meanwhile, we ate our meals sitting on the floor with friends, took walks in the woods, and caught up on lots of good conversation.
Then, tonight, on my way home, a certain sadness settled in. I just wasn’t looking forward to my little family’s living situation back in our isolated apartment. I mean, we have a great life, but this weekend I had an intimation of what it could be like to live in a community, a village.
And I can’t help thinking that if people in modern cultures had the satisfactions of access to community–the connectedness, the shared responsibility–then maybe we wouldn’t have to spend our lives chasing after stuff–the consolation prizes–and wrecking the planet.
It points, I think, to a more satisfying way, a way that might just be better for the planet and better for us.
PS Great quote I heard: “Though it is reflected in a thousand rivers, the moon itself is only one.”