By Robert Staedel Jr.

There is a group of geese in our yard who feed on the grass together, and as I Walk by them there is always one goose who stops eating and keeps an eye on me. This enables the other geese in the group to feel safe in a protected cluster of comfort so they can continue to eat. One day another group of geese came to the yard and started to eat upon the same grass as the first group, which produced some tension. Apprehension between the two groups started to ease as they began to trust each other. Soon they became one community eating and sleeping together. I saw in their community a harmony in bonding, a peace of being in one unit, and a sense of sacredness in many individuals coming together to live in a nurturing atmosphere. I’ve come to know that this example of a community is expressed in my life through two examples: one is a place where I’m able to go to with a group of people who come together for a shared expression of opening to the truth of ourselves, and the other example is a place where we meet people to share an atmosphere of open-ness to life transcendent of where we are.

I am part of a community of men who came together with the willingness to search deep within themselves to find the truth of who they are as individuals. We have formed a trust with each other by opening up to the rights and wrongs we’ve experienced in our lives. The bond of this community is tied to each one of us listening to one another releasing the demons and angels of our lives. By doing this together, there forms a sacred circle that protects the group while the work is being done. There is a communication going on that brings this community together as people who’s intent is to become better expressions of the goodness of humanity. And by finding the truth of our individual value of goodness, we are able to reach out to other men and help to show them there truth is goodness. By this the community extends outward to involve all people in the sacredness that life is about opening to the value of each and every person in the world.

The other way I feel community in my life is in the visiting room of the prison. Here I feel part of the lives of family and friends who live physically apart from me. As we meet together the walls around me disappear and I feel I am seen as someone who is a growing, loving person able and willing to contribute positively to the community. It’ s a place of freedom to express ourselves in whatever way we feel, shedding the walls insecurities the world puts on us. There is an atmosphere of sincerity and genuineness built within this community that enables us to let out what is real within us. It gives us a space to be real with each other and connect in a way that is heartfelt and substantial. We bring each other the atmosphere of harmony because we bond in the feelings of being valued. The deep love felt in this community is truly powerful, which transports us out of the prisons we’ve felt we are in and into the currents of healing and peace. And by coming together, we get a clarity that enables us to take this love and peace into the world and help transform the ugly beliefs resident within it.

So, to me, community is all-inclusive for the betterment of the world. Sacredness, open-ness, honesty, trust, peace, and love are the qualities offered to everyone, with an invitation to experience a bond and oneness that provides safety, comfort, and balance. Community welcomes the perfect freedom to find yourself, and a place to help others find themselves. It’ s an atmosphere of pure protection to express oneself, no matter what the world says. Some may call it heaven, a haven, a sacred circle, a house built without hands, or a place to work out from to build a world that is active in harmony, with the healing currents of what it feels like to be united with one understanding as a family.

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