Jordan Bates has a fascinating story. For three months he lived in a rural commune in Quebec, Canada. After finding a cabin to rent for $500/month on AirBnB, he moved out to a 480-acre patch of forest where it was situated.
Now, the word commune may conjure images of poison-drinking cults or bands of hippie vagabonds. But this is far from what Jordan was seeking. Rather, he was searching for what he calls a “high-autonomy” experience, in which he could assert his own independence away from the demands of bosses, high rent prices and endless working hours.
At the time of writing his article (which is linked to below) he had only lived in Boldairpur for 26 days, but here are four things he learned in that time.
1. You don’t need dogma to be spiritual – Though he experienced a strong spiritual presence in the Canadian countryside, very few inhabitants followed any strict religious path. Assuming that one religion is absolutely correct implies that the others are wrong, whereas in reality they all have something to offer. Similarly, the constraints of organized religion can often hinder, rather than aid, an experience of the divine.
2. Not having the internet can foster creative space – Because there was no internet in his cabin, Jordan was given the opportunity to spend lots of time without the kind of on-screen stimulation that many dominates life. What he found was that his creativity skyrocketed. He once wrote 3500 words in the very early morning, a time in which he would usually have his nose buried deep in reddit or Twitter!
3. Being away from grocery stores means weight loss! – Because he couldn’t buy unhealthy food, he lost weight. Though this might not apply directly to our own lives, there are lessons in it (simplifying food choices, shopping less etc.).
4. True silence is hard to find but incredibly valuable – Living in the city means an ever present hum just at the edge of hearing. Making room for silence, as Jordan found, meant less anxiety and a deeper connection with both himself and the natural world.
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