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Dec 1

The Road Ahead II: How to Build a Spiritual Residential Community

Dec 1 7:00 pm PST • Dec 2 03:00 GMT • Dec 2 08:30 IST


Paramhansa Yogananda once said: “You don’t know what a terrible cataclysm is coming!” Are we living in that time?

The Road Ahead II: How to Build a Spiritual Residential Community is an on-going guest series focusing on all aspects of community start-up, development and growth.

The class is free, with a suggested donation of $15 for each class.

 

The Call for Cooperative Communities

“Yogananda repeatedly urged his listeners to band together in cooperative spiritual communities, to buy land together out in the country and there to live simply, close to nature and to God, guided by the twofold principle of ‘plain living and high thinking.’ Such communities, he said, would serve as models for the new age, when countless similar, self-sustaining communities will popularize voluntary cooperation over competition as the true key to lasting prosperity and inner fulfillment.” — The Road Ahead by Swami Kriyananda

 

Our guest speakers have been living in and thinking about community for many years. They have been problem solving and giving extensive thought to these diverse issues and will share their expertise. This will all be within the context of what Swami Kriyananda learned from Paramhansa Yogananda and his experience in building successful communities on three continents.

There will be opportunities to ask questions and express concerns about this radical departure from our society’s everyday way of doing things.

  • The vision for community
  • How do we get started? What can we do today?
  • Who will be able to live there? How is that decided?
  • What should I be considering when thinking about making such a move?
  • How are decisions made?
  • What about ownership and community finances?
  • Are the economics different living in a community?
  • What will be my daily experience living in a community?
  • What benefits and changes may come by moving into the community?
  • Will we have fun building this community?
  • Will our community be serving others?
  • What role or bigger impact may it have in the world at large?
  • How can communities help heal the disease of competition?

We are in the middle of a challenging situation. It is easy to get caught by fear, anger, restlessness, depression, and hopelessness. With solution consciousness, we can prepare ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually to help create a new reality and step into the next great adventure that Divine Mother has in store for us on The Road Ahead.

Let us create a Noble New future together.

 

The Noble New

Sing songs that none have sung,

Think thoughts that ne’er in brain have rung,

Walk in paths that none have trod,

Weep tears as none have shed for God,

Give peace to all to whom none other gave,

Claim him your own who’s everywhere disclaimed.

Love all with love that none have felt, and brave

The battle of life with strength unchained.

 

Songs of the Soul (1983), Paramhansa Yogananda

Speakers

  • Connector.

    December 1 – The Role of the Land and Mother Nature in Ananda Communities

    Zach and Hailey Abbey, directors of a no-till natural farm and Yoga-Nature Homestead on Camano Island in Washington State, share their perspectives on developing a spiritual community. Please join us in learning what this dynamic and inspiring couple has manifested and their uplifting view of the future.

    They will address the following questions and topics:

     
    • How should awareness & respect for the land (Mother Nature, Divine Mother) play into Community Consciousness?
    • What are your thoughts on the process of becoming partners with nature and following Mother Nature’s lead in all aspects of our lives, not only in agriculture?
    • How can we bring ourselves more into alignment with the natural forces which our modern culture obscures?
    • Can the commitment to growing food together for each other to eat together play a role in unifying and stabilizing a fledgling community?
    • Can you share about the basis for harmonious living and decision making in community?
    • Explain the process you went through in getting the farm and how it has grown and expanded (land and people) over the years.
     

    Zach and Hailey Abbey have been with Ananda Farm Camano Island since the beginning and have been over-joyed to over-see the farm grow into a beautiful community-homestead-ashram. In addition to supervising and inspiring the farming, they are active ministers at the Ananda Church of Self-Realization in Bothell.

    Zach is inspired by sowing seeds, grafting trees, and getting the little (and big) things done each day. Hailey is the engine that keeps the farm expanding with every season and is a wonderful mentor for the critters and farmers, alike. The neighbors look for her smile at the markets and among the flowers.

    Their no-till natural farm, homestead, and Yoga Ashram on Camano Island in Washington State is a beautiful 14 acres on the south end of Camano Island. Currently there are 9 full time human residents, 7 alpacas, 5 goats, 2 dogs, 4 cats, many chickens, and an ever- expanding life-scape of trees, gardens, birds and bees. It’s healthy, happy, and a bit wild looking!

    They participate in 3 farmers markets, provide a diverse array of herbal medicinals and body care products, and a line of textiles made from the fiber of our alpacas.

    The agricultural guiding light for Ananda Farm is Masanobu Fukuoka, who developed a revolutionary no-till agricultural approach called “natural farming,” and wrote the inspiring international best-seller, The One-Straw Revolution, first published in English in 1978.

    The amazing thing about One Straw is that it is not a book about farming – it is Revelation, about Life itself, and our true purpose as people on this planet. Prior to returning to Nature themselves, and realizing this apparent revolution founded upon a single strand of straw, neither Zach nor Hailey had ever considered a path of agriculture, much less a ‘natural life.’ One Straw changed everything. It awakened seeds in them, long dormant, but now ready for germination.

  • Connector.

    December 8 – Family Life, Work and Play in Community Living

    Badri Matlock has lived and worked at Ananda Village for over a decade and will share his experiences of being a husband, father and householder in a spiritual community setting.

    Badri will address the following questions and topics:

     
    • What do you see as key elements that make community life at the Village work so well? Can those things be adapted to a fledgling community?

    • What should people be considering when thinking about moving to an Ananda community?

    • Can you share some of your own process in making that decision?

    • What do you see as some of your joys and challenges of you and your family participating in community life?

    • Is it fun, living in community? What do people do for recreation so far from the city?

    • How is it to be a working parent? Is it easier in community?

    • With all going on in the community can you still have family time or is that just integrated into time with the community?

     

    Badri Matlock is an Ananda minister and lifelong disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. In the last decade Badri has served in many capacities at Ananda: in agriculture and construction, teaching yoga and meditation, directing the Ananda Village Internship program, and in community management where he now serves full-time. Badri’s wife Gita was born and raised at Ananda Village where they now raise two children of their own: Tulsi (age 7) and Jay (age 5).

    Badri enjoys the many challenges and opportunities of serving and living in community: balancing work, play, Sadhana, relationships, finances, music, self-expression, and more. But what he loves most is the joy of spiritual living: seeking God above all else, sharing and supporting one another on that journey, and creating community in that spirit as taught by our great guides Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda.


Past Speakers

  • Connector.

    October 13 – Building the Magnetism Required to Launch an Ananda Community

    Asha Nayaswami, Ananda’s Global Ambassador and a pioneer in the formation of Ananda’s two largest communities – Ananda Village and Ananda Palo Alto – will address the challenge of getting started: how to build the magnetism and momentum needed to carry off such a major project.

  • Connector.

    October 20 – Vision and Attunement: Keystones for Building Spiritual Community

    In this talk Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi will be addressing:

    • The role of vision
    • Appropriate attitudes and expectations of devotees beginning this kind of project
    • Attuning ourselves to Master as we work together as a group toward this goal
    • What should our priorities be as we begin the project?
    • What role does the social aspect of community play in the likelihood of the community’s success?
     

    Nayaswami Jyotish was working with Swami Kriyananda, Ananda’s founder, even before the first land was purchased for the first Ananda community in the late 1960’s. He has seen the Ananda communities develop since the beginning. He was manager of the community for many years in the early days (1960’s and 70’s) and has led the community with one title or another ever since. He studied with Swami Kriyananda for nearly half a century. Nayaswami Devi first met Swami Kriyananda in 1969 and dedicated her life to the spiritual path.

     

    Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi serve as Spiritual Directors of Ananda Worldwide. They worked closely with Swami Kriyananda for 45 years, and were personally trained by him to guide Ananda’s work worldwide. Jyotish and Devi received the Global Ambassadors Peace Award at the United Nations in 2017.

  • Connector.

    October 27 – Leadership and Decision-Making in a Spiritual Community

    In his talk Puru Selbie will be addressing:

    • What are the dynamics that drive community?
    • How should the community management be structured?
    • Spiritual leadership and consensus decision making
    • What does “cooperative obedience” look like in action?
    • Stories from his time in working in community leadership, managing group projects
    • Discuss how a community can be rallied when it is under pressure or in crisis
     
     

    Puru Selbie is highly qualified to speak about this subject as he has been in a variety of founding and managing situations in the world of Ananda communities. He came to Ananda in 1975 and helped lead the rebuilding of Ananda Village after the 1976 fire in which 21 of 22 homes were destroyed. Most of 1978 and 1979 he spent in Europe, based in Rome, building interest in starting an Ananda community in Italy; the community eventually took root as Ananda Assisi. Puru also started Ananda groups in Holland, Germany, and Italy. From 1980 to 1983 he served as Ananda Village Manager.

    Puru was spiritual director of Ananda Seattle from 1985-1992, spearheading the purchase and creation of the Ananda Seattle Community. He has also been the director of the Expanding Light, IT Director and head of Crystal Clarity Publishers—all the while raising four children together with his wife, Lakshmi.

    Puru’s book, The Yugas, is the definitive work on the subject and an important book that will may well revolutionize our view of history and how it is playing out.

  • Connector.

    November 2 – Ownership, Membership, Finances, & Working with Local Governments

    In his talk Atman Goering, manager of Ananda Village for the past 19 years, will be addressing:

    • Considerations related to the physical land
    • Making a community happen within the governmental, legal, and economic structures of a particular location

    • Who will live there?
      • The shared value proposition of the community.

      • People joining, people leaving.
    • Governance and ownership:
      • How are resources allocated?
      • How are things owned?
      • Individual vs group financial responsibility.

      • How are decisions made?
     

    Atman Goering has a varied educational and work background. He has degrees in Civil Engineering and environmental issues, energy and resources studies, and sustainable development from Princeton, Berkeley, and University of Grenoble, France.

    He has worked in environmental consulting in Washington, DC, and sustainable development in India. Atman has worked with the Ladakh Project and The International Society for Ecology and Culture. His experiences in Ladakh awakened an interest in spiritual communities. Together he and his wife planned to start an intentional community and visited many in Europe and America.

    In the early 90s, while working on his dissertation, Atman and his wife discovered Ananda Village. A short time later he decided to trade in theory for practice and gave up his academic pursuits in favor of dedicating himself to building and supporting a dynamic intentional spiritual community.

    During his 28 years at Ananda he has managed both the Meditation Retreat and the Expanding Light Retreat. For the last 19 years he has served as Village Manager overseeing planning, development and management of the Ananda community in Nevada City, CA. Atman spearheaded the multi-year effort to update Ananda’s Master Plan. Approved by Nevada County in 2017, the plan will guide Ananda Village’s growth for the next 25 years.

  • Connector.

    November 10 – How Land Informs & Creates the Community that Lives on It

    In their talk Nayaswamis Ananta and Maria McSweeney, who have served Ananda for more than four decades either as Ananda Farm Managers or the Spiritual Directors of the Sacramento Community, will be addressing:

    • What is the overall role of farming and land usage in an Ananda community?
    • How should awareness & respect for the land (Mother Nature, Divine Mother) play into Community Consciousness?
    • How important is it to have sufficient land to support the community’s food needs connected to the site where we live?
    • What are your thoughts on the priority of full-time garden workers vs a volunteer operation?
    • Should we be certain to have enough and appropriate land for an orchard?
    • What do we need to consider to be good stewards of the land?
    • How important is the potential to become self-sufficient in selecting a community site?
     

    Nayaswamis Ananta and Maria worked under Haanel Cassidy on the Ananda Farm in organic agriculture from 1976 until his passing in the early 80’s. They were married in 1979. With Shivani Lucki, they managed Ananda Farm until 1986.

    At that time Swami Kriyananda asked them to go to Sacramento to begin the community there. They acquired the initial apartment complex in Rancho Cordova in 1991. There they served for 23 years as Spiritual Directors and community managers. By 2009, Ananda Sacramento had grown to 53 units, 5 acres of land and had a temple that could seat 200.

    In 2009, Swami Kriyananda asked Ananta and Maria to come back to Ananda Village and restore organic food production at Ananda Farm and to direct the Living with Spirit Ashram and summer programs for people between the ages of 18 and 30. They currently live at Ananda Village where they continue to manage the farm. Ananda Farm now comprises 11 acres of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, totaling 53 varieties.

  • Connector.

    November 17 – Resource Development for Community & Family Life in Community

    In their talk Nayaswami Jaya and Sadhana Devi Helin, who are among the very earliest young people to have arrived at the farm (now Ananda Village) in the late 1960’s, will be addressing:

     

    Resource Development for Community

    • Stories and examples of the challenges you faced in those first years creating the Village.
    • The same for India and Pune if you had relevant experiences there.
    • What are the key considerations in land selection: water, topography, established roads or undeveloped, etc.?
    • What are other issues for consideration related to infrastructure and housing?
     

    Family Life in Community

    • What role does the social aspect of community play in the likelihood of the community’s success?
    • The world needs sustainable models of living. How do communities offer balance, harmony, and an integrated lifestyle that works better for many people?
    • What is it like to be a family, raise children in community?
     

    Nayaswamis Sadhana Devi and Jaya Helin were intimately involved in the development of the Ananda community from its earliest stages and have subsequently dedicated their lives to sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda in both America and in India.

    Born in Los Angeles, Jaya became a student of Swami Kriyananda soon after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968. Upon learning of Swamiji’s interest in spiritual communities,”Jayaji” joined him as a founding member of Ananda Village, now one of the most successful such communities in the world. For many years Jaya, served as the general manager of Ananda Village, overseeing the planning and development of housing and business clusters, roads, water and phone systems, and other infrastructure that supports the Village residents and guests.

    Jaya and Sadhana Devi shifted to New England in 2002 to help found an Ananda Center there and guide Ananda’s work on the East Coast of the United States. At Swami Kriyananda’s request, they shifted again to India in 2006, serving first in Gurgaon, then in Pune and then throughout India.

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