One of the questions I hear very often is why hasn’t Damanhur failed yet? How come after nearly 40 years of existence, it’s still growing and thriving? Lots of communities are launched and then disband after a few years, five, seven, ten. 15 years is even considered a really long time to stay together as a community project. I’d say there are a couple of key reasons that as Damanhurians, we have been able to keep things together, growing and evolving.

1. We’re idealists. Damanhurians stay united through the highs and lows, joys and irritations of living as a community because we have shared spiritual ideals at the heart of everything we do. We see humanity as interconnected beings with a divine nature to reawaken and fully express, in harmony with the visible and invisible ecosystems we live in. We’re not only here to believe this and meditate on it, but to live it, demonstrate it, inspire others to do so as well, in connection to each other flowers and smilesand in relationship with our own inner sense of divinity. So when someone eats my blueberries or forgets to clean the bathroom, there’s a motivation for me to move beyond all these difficulties that for some reason keep presenting themselves in community life, to recognize and treasure the joys of the soul that we share.

2. We’re practical idealists. We built the Temples of Humankind. And lots of other things: schools, organic farms, houses, cooperatives. A daily newspaper. A complementary currency system. A University. Damanhurians do volunteer and humanitarian work. Having spiritual ideals is one thing. Translating those ideals into tangible actions that are of service to others is another. Translating our soul connection and sense of the divine into practical actions, it roots Damanhur in a matrix of material Harvesting Potatoessolidity. It gives spiritual values a concrete expression that withstands the test of time.

3. We’re practical idealists who constantly change things. We play the Game of Life. Damanhur was designed to transform and evolve and has done so continuously since the founding of the community. It’s gone from a small group of 15 to a worldwide network of over a thousand. It’s gone through different phases of political, economic and social organization as if it were an evolving nation, which in some ways it is, as a microcosm of a new society. We are ‘Viaggiatori’ intrepid travelers with backpacks by our bedsides ready to depart for journeys and adventures at a moment’s notice. If my nucleo community is getting too familiar and I need a change of environment, from Art&Culture in the town center to agritourism in the countryside, humble Sacred Woods dwelling to modern eco-housing, I can choose to move into one of many diverse nucleo communities while still staying a citizen of Damanhur.

One of Damanhur’s passions is to share this spirit of resilience, the practical tools and understandings of community life, with those who want to build and grow their own communities in their own unique way, in their own place. I’ve enjoyed the many friendships that arise from community courses at Damanhur, the sense of being a mini-community during the experience. If you could benefit from this learning and connection, I encourage you to check out the Damanhur University’s new Community School program and the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) program for 2014.