Four Reasons to Live in an Intentional Community

by: Sara on 08/20/2014

Today's post is from Douglas Stevenson, author of the recently released book, The Farm Then and Now, A Model for Sustainable Living. Douglas has been a member of The Farm Community, the world's best known intentional community, for 40 years. For all of us who have dreamed of the communal life, today Douglas shares four reasons to live in an intentional community.

1. To achieve a rural lifestyle with an active social life

It is no accident that most intentional communities are located in a rural area. An intentional community’s ability to survive and endure is enhanced when it is able to maintain some degree of isolation.

Urban-based communities are constantly pitted against unlimited distractions, which can cause their members to become less focused on the community and the relationships within.

Many people are drawn to intentional community, in part, because they desire a closer connection to nature. A lifestyle surrounded by nature puts one in better touch with the seasons and natural cycles of life. The peace and tranquility nature provides is absorbed, relieving and in many ways eliminating the primary sources of stress that takes over the lives of so many people.

At the same time, human beings desire and need social interaction. The isolated homesteader on their rural farm can grow hungry for the activities that give life its flavor, things such as music, art, theater and the simple joys we find in basic human contact.

Intentional communities can deliver both, a lifestyle immersed in nature combined with daily social interaction. Embedded in their fabric, intentional communities facilitate the development of deep friendships and healthy relationships.

2. As a tool providing greater leverage for living your ideals and nurturing your spiritual values


In spite of the fact that most city dwellers find themselves surrounded by thousands, if not millions of people, the urban lifestyle can be one of isolation and a sense of powerlessness. In the dog eat dog, every man for himself, daily struggle to survive, our sense of self can become lost and relegated to the daily grind as a small cog in the big machine.

Intentional communities are steeped in the reality that you are part of something larger, that the energy of everyone working together creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, what futurist Buckminster Fuller called “synergy.”

Living true to your ideals, finding personal satisfaction through work that you love, surrounded by people who care about you and you about them...for most of us this is a big step in the right direction, one that allows you to find true spiritual fulfillment.

3. As a way to recreate the extended family

One of the primary shortcomings of modern life is the fragmentation of the family. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, often find themselves scattered across the nation, even the entire globe.

The built-in support system that has enabled families to endure for thousands of years has all but disappeared. Intentional communities are a return to our tribal nature, a framework that nurtures the human spirit, as old as humanity itself.

4. To facilitate passing your ideals on to the next generation

Sustainability is about much more than building energy-efficient homes, living off the grid or learning how to grow your own food. It is about passing on your values to the next generation, that they may be able to carry forward the greater goal of making the world a better place.

It is about giving our children and grandchildren the tools they will need, not just to survive, but prosper in abundance, both physically and spiritually.

Intentional community can be the core element that empowers this transmission, allowing you to be directly involved in both formal, and perhaps even more critical, the informal education of teaching by example.

Everything we create manifests when we set an intention. Community happens when the broader expression of our personal vision is aligned with others who share similar goals. I can tell you from personal experience…it’s a good life!


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