… Around thirty people gathered just after sunrise to listen to a woman speak about the unceasing creative flow that is each of our individual lives, the spontaneity and ease of living in service of a purpose beyond ego. What is this feeling that brings tears? It is coming home. Finding the others whose life work is to reveal a vision for a more beautiful world, where love is free from fear, individuals are held in community, and humans live naturally on a thriving earth.
Disconnection is the pathology of our time. Work and life, nation and enemy, nature conservation and human settlement, each of these ideological separations are artifacts of a schism woven throughout the entire fabric of modern society. Tamera is the physical manifestation of a community’s shared purpose to expose and heal the collective psychological root of this divide.
People around the world mostly know Tamera as an ecovillage of ~160 people in southern Portugal, 300 acres of cork and olive trees that were quickly turning to desert. In only ten years, this valley has transformed into an eden of fresh water lakes and fruit trees. Yesterday, watching bass lazily floating in one of the upper lakes, I could imagine the ecology of the earth restored in a single generation. We are in the anthroposcene: humankind has dramatically altered every surface of the planet, and the many-layered crisis of energy consumption, access to fresh water, climate change and political upheaval and violence is a wake-up call to enter into a new relationship with nature. We have the knowledge and means to make this transformation reality.
But this ecological vision is actually not the core of Tamera’s work, though it is the most physically obvious conclusion. Putting a bandage on the global symptoms of imbalance will not address the core human causes of unnecessary suffering. Instead, Tamera is a community that organically emerged from the realization that love, sexuality, and partnership between humans carries such trauma and violence from our past and current society that no global healing is possible without a culture of truth and trust.
These words seem to have become mundane from misuse, and I would like to unpack them to illuminate the profound implications for how our world looks when reimagined from a different set of first principles.
The themes seem to be percolating up as thoughts in people all around the world. Eating fresh food with people you love. Uniquely crafted homes in community. Continual deepening rather than simply maintaining relationships. Rituals that support healthy gender roles, birthing and dying well, rites of passage to sanctify life’s transitions. Daily interaction with elders, adults, children. Meaningful livelihoods. Education that embraces our innate excitement to learn.
What is the human foundation of a world designed to include these elements? Trust is created by transparency and vulnerable mutual expression, and each of the social and physical structures of healthy culture follow when we live in this field of truth.
This is the core work of the project that gave birth to Tamera. Each physical and social structure possible is designed to encourage a positive feedback loop between trust and truth, from which whole grounded human being, action, and thought can emerge into the world. Tamera’s purpose is to discover and be a model for a new culture.
Free love, free sexuality, and free partnership are hot topics. I am a young man, and have loved a woman as profoundly as it is possible to know. We touched a liminal space beyond what we were taught was love, a more profound connection that does not include possession, jealously, fear. Love is the fabric that exists beyond the individual self.
And yet even in this fleeting state of realization, the world’s antibodies destroyed our relationship that had grown through the years. There were no role models, nobody to show us how to overcome our societal conditioning and fear of loss, how to communicate honestly and risk the pain of hurting our partner. In our individual traumatic breakdowns, my love was unhinged from the object it typically attached to and spread to the whole of existence. I could not bear to feel the repressed loneliness and fear on the faces I saw every day, buried so deep beneath daily life that nearly everyone denies this fundamental pain of separation. But it is there.
Love needs to be held in community. The fairytale of modern society is that the projection of all the needs of child-rearing and family, sexuality, work partnership, and companionship can be held by a husband or wife on the basis of jealousy as proof of love, possessiveness, and fear of loss. We need a container to heal our individual and collective defensive patterns, and to nurture the emergence of a new generation with a social contract that allows the expression of truth in love.
Authentic sexual contact between men and women embodying their delicious innate archetypal polarity is somehow vanishingly rare in a society inundated with objectified sexual imagery. Trust between the sexes has been the victim of the countless traumatic acts of violence for millennia. Until we establish a container of trust between men and women, conscious men and women cannot embody their dark sexual intensity and give honest outlet to the explosive exchange of life energy. Last night I was with a woman who rose to meet my coursing embodied energy of Shiva, a quality of exposed and vulnerable contact that cannot exist where there is not a field of trust.
Embodying love free from fear is not merely an individual journey to solve our private loneliness, but an act of peace work to heal trauma globally. In this space of radical trust between beings, an opening for a more fully coherent vision of ecological restoration, regenerative economic systems, and wise political engagement may emerge.
Tamera is a work in constant progress. To live on the edge of cultural innovation, continually inventing the processes that guide the community’s own evolution, is not without incompleteness and controversy and misunderstanding by the world at large.
It is easy to write off communities that are willing to reimagine the social fabric as just another free love commune whose shadow of power dynamics is never acknowledged. But the peace movement that birthed Tamera seemingly has retained its fundamental principles of truth and trust. The residents seem to relish an opportunity to expose their vulnerability and conditioned insecurities, to press their most excruciating pain points around money, sex, and power in formal forum circles. In the articulated theory of the Tamera community, as well as almost every spiritual tradition ever, we grow and heal into our own exquisite unique natural human expression through our de-identification with the individual ego and thoughts, and emerge into a space of identification with the whole. Little of this process in practice looks like neo-vedic yoga/meditation spirituality or any other particular religious tradition, but is instead a very precise shared language and a level of meditation, flow, and service in totally regular human activity from construction to gardening.
The Tamera leaders envision a global impact, but any truly revolutionary community needs a strong boundary to protect the inherent fragility of new ideas that challenge our conditioning and demand growth and self-awareness to overcome. For guests, there is a clear physical and energetic boundary between the education campus and the village itself. During the last week this came up in our guest group process, an intense triggering of each person’s desire for belonging. The sentiment: Finally! I’ve found a community that has true mutual support, belonging, love and sexuality free from fear! And, fuck it, they won’t let me join! –feeling of rejection-
A dear new friend provided a deliciously accurate metaphor for this during lunch today. When a woman lets us touch her breasts upon first meeting, we would be frustrated and disappointed if the level of contact didn’t deepen. And yet the quality of contact that Tamera offers its guests in the first week is so much deeper than any similar community introduction I have experienced. As in any intimate contact, it takes time to build a space of trust and begin to co-create, rather than consume culture. Perhaps clear boundaries have allowed Tamera to protect its core while so many other communities have faded.
I recently attended the introduction week as a gesture of respect for these key boundaries, to learn about the community while watching and sharing my own judgments and interpretations as they come up. If you resonate with their vision of community, I can confidently recommend the process.
This writing is my honest observation and extrapolation from a mere week of interaction with the land and people of Tamera. I needed no convincing for the theory: love free from fear, a biotope that serves as a acupuncture point for global healing, sexuality and group process and shared work to connect with source. Where questions still lay, both within the community and within myself, is how to translate these convictions and research conclusions into practice within my own region, and to provide the tools for others to engage in the same work.
Last evening I sat with Benjamin von Mendelssohn watching the reflection of the moon on the rippling surface of the garden valley lake, sharing and attuning the visions that have been rising through each of us. There is a beautiful synchronicity in being here now, a convergence arising from a time when my individual role has been parallel to the peacework at Tamera.
What is being called into existence? The Institute for Global Peace will be on pilgrimage in America this fall, participating in a healing water walk through California and hosting a Love School near San Francisco. The Bay Area is a potent exporter of culture, an incubator of worldwide trends in entrepreneurship, inner human work, and social and economic justice. With grounded humility, courage, and deep empathy, the creative energy of this region can be a powerful node of the emerging culture of our time. What is the greatest purpose of these gathering of kindred spirits? How to we bring individuals out of their individual narratives and into a global perspective?
The San Francisco Bay Area needs a village for full-time cultural revolutionaries to serve as the container for the birth of a new relationship between humans, nature, and self. The upcoming fall gatherings of kindred spirits are opportunities to coalesce the theory and values into physical community. Ecological, economic, and political systems should reflect out deepest values, which will only arise in a held space of mutual trust, dedication to truth, and service to purpose beyond the individual or group. Various centers near San Francisco have held the torch of this movement in the past, but there is a prevailing sense that a radically new space is needed. It is time for this village to form.
This fall, a new gestation space nestled between ancient redwoods near San Francisco is forming. Chrysalis will be home to a community of full-time peace workers committed to creating a field of mutual truth and trust as the seed of a new culture on earth. Email our core team at firstname.lastname@example.org to make contact.
The Future of Community Peacework
The core of peacework is holding a space of trust and truth from which a new culture can emerge organically, not about immediately fixing the physical symptoms of global imbalance. Our journey of co-creating a new community will be one of deep interpersonal sharing, entering into identification with the whole, and making contact in love, sex, partnership, and friendship to identify and work on our individual conditioning. There will be many opportunities to contribute your energy and skillset in practical and logistical activities throughout the entire process, but the most essential participation is in the honest commitment to this work as a way of life wherever you are, to joyfully engage in social processes that will challenge every assumption and pain point. These pain points and patterns of thought are located in your individual body and mind, but they are the product of our inherited culture and experience and environment. They are collective. They are ours to work on together in community.
Stories and Living Naturally
I can remember the pure meditative vitality of being four years old, dreaming into existence a world of saturated green forest, sacred fresh springs, and love and belonging not yet associated with the pain of relationships in a harsh world.
A man spoke at the Friday political café after dinner, and mentioned some indicators of a successful community: survival longer than two years, children born and raised, and people staying on the land to die in old age. I would like to add another level of success to extend the time frame beyond a single generation. Stories have been transmitters of culture between generations for millennia. They do not have to be analyzed and explicated to seep into the core of our being. Our human brains are uniquely adapted to the metaphor and poetic complexity of stories, and seemingly every ascendant culture has developed a tradition of stories that seem to spring from the land itself. Tamera is but a cultural infant, trying to recreate an entirely new paradigm from the ground up. This community has yet to find the stories that are not adopted from prior traditions or other world regions. When the water, the plants, the animals, the sky, and the everyday human experiences of this land begin enter the collective poetic memory, that will be a profound sign of cultural maturity and longevity.
Stories speak to a way of understanding that even a four year old can grasp how to live a natural human life. Seeking truth is at the core of this community, and I am excited for the time when the intellectual understanding of the political theory and the mechanistic focus of the trained western mind will be balanced by a language layered with material and mysterious levels, and an entire generation with patterns of thinking that reflect an implicit recognition of our universal connection. Humans living naturally as the foundational structure of society.
Let us help that vision emerge onto the earth.
May you rest in natural great peace.
Yes! How can I be involved?
In the US, email our core team at email@example.com to make contact.
Sign up for event updates at: //eepurl.com/btvQ-P
Events and Links
Love School – //www.tamera.org/what-is-tamera/visitors3/events/global-love-school-2015/
Walking Water – //walking-water.org/the-pilgrimage/
Natural Great Peace – s//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvo-CCtC3Zs
A Pattern Language – Christopher Alexander et al
Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun – Martin Prechtel
San Francisco, CA