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Excerpted from It's a Meaningful Life by Bo Lozoff. Copyright © 2000 by Bo Lozoff. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"At Kindness House, we begin and end each day with silent spiritual practice (meditating, praying, reading, doing yoga, walking in nature)."

Bo Lozoff, It's a Meaningful Life, Part 6

In the early 1990s, our rising mail load -- upward of fifty letters each day -- made it clear that our work could no longer be done as a mom-and-pop operation from the little shed-office in our backyard.  Sita and I now live at Kindness House, a spiritual community of ten to fifteen people who run the Human Kindness Foundation and all its projects.  Kindness House is our full-scale application of the principles of Communion and Community.  The third principle that guides our lifestyle here is simple living, as our response to the personal and planetary problems created by excess consumerism and debt.

At Kindness House, we begin and end each day with silent spiritual practice (meditating, praying, reading, doing yoga, walking in nature).  We construct all our own buildings, grow much of our diet, mill trees for lumber, build a lot of our furniture, and operate tractors and forklifts and all sorts of fun things that figure into an operation like this.  Carpentry gives me something especially precious.  For Sita, it's having her hands in the soil of our garden, or making beautiful stained-glass windows for our small, passive-solar cabins.

The steady stream of visitors who come to share our community life for a few days or weeks or months is another gift.  As one of our residents has said, "The world comes to Kindness House."  When I gaze around our dinner grace circle and see guests from Australia, India, Germany, or elsewhere holding the tattooed hand of a reformed murderer who spent many years in brutal prisons, in turn joining hands with my son and daughter-in-law, old rock-and-roll musicians, visiting meditation teachers or monks or nuns, retired schoolteachers, corporate dropouts, wealthy donors, or indigent wanderers, I experience an almost ecstatic sense of gratitude.  Gazing around the circle at such a bizarre mix of human beings, I can almost hear Jesus cheering at the top of his lungs, "Now this is what I had in mind!"

I am always struck by how strongly visitors seem to be affected by our simple daily practices -- group meditation first thing each morning, then a brief spiritual reading led by one person; silence until breakfast; then a focused workday of joyful service, not chatting while we work or during meal preparation; little things like that.  Small, enjoyable details to us who live here, but sometimes life-changing for the people who visit.  It became clear that a book focused on such accessible practices and ideas may be timely for many people who feel that their lives are either spinning out of control or simply not quite satisfying.

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