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Bamboo Community: Living simply in solidarity and contemplation with others

15 July 2014

bamboo_reflectionBamboo is a community open to all people who seek to live a life of deep connection with others and all creation, grounded in the mystery that underpins people’s lives. Seeking to be ‘contemplatives in action,’ Bamboo affirms life, love and justice through a commitment to three foundational principles: living simply, solidarity, and contemplation.

 

Living simply

Living simply begins with an attitude of gratitude, reverence and care for all life. It is life affirming, recognising the beauty of the world and the healing effects of nature and speaks to the desire to be reconciled with all creation. It fosters creative engagement with reality, encouraging people to tread lightly on the earth and to strengthen the understanding of and practical connection with the natural world and each other. In addition to one’s personal lifestyle and actions, living simply might involve some collective activity with others in the network, initiating a local activity or joining others in their initiatives, such as arts and culture projects, land projects, community gardens, or environment groups.

Solidarity

Solidarity is an expression of people’s shared humanity and interdependence. Solidarity is expressed through an attitude of hospitality and loving service that permeates one’s daily life. It is given expression in the care for each other and prioritises those who are excluded or marginalised. It might include volunteering to serve those most in need, engagement in reconciliation initiatives, involvement in arts and cultural projects that promote justice, or engagement in community actions to address injustice.

2014_07_15_Reflection_Photo2Contemplation

A rhythm of contemplation fosters a spirit of gratitude, the capacity to both listen to interior movements and read the “signs of the times,” and a growing freedom to respond with love and integrity. The regular practice of contemplation, together with critical analysis aimed at promoting life-giving lifestyles at local and global levels, provides an opportunity to reflect on the foundational principles, specifically on how these are lived, people’s commitment to them, and how this is shaping people and the world.

Members seek to live as “contemplatives in action,” developing a rhythm of contemplation – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly – according to their individual circumstances. For some, this might be as simple as taking a short time each day to foster the capacity to live as contemplatives in action; for others it might involve a more substantial commitment to developing and nurturing the inner life. Some people might seek out opportunities to join with people from their own and other faith traditions to share one another’s wisdom and insights, to come together in silent reflection, or to develop new ways to express the shared unity. Others may participate solely on a personal level.

Who are drawn to join Bamboo?

Bamboo is for anyone who is seeking to live a life of integrity and purpose that aligns with Bamboo’s purpose and foundational principles and who wishes to connect with others in this endeavour. Bamboo can be for people:

  • who are looking for an integration in their lives between living simply, in solidarity with each other and those in need (locally and globally), and fostering contemplation to open themselves to the mystery of life.
  • people who are active in these domains, or wish to be, and want to connect with others striving to live similar lives. That connection may vary, from being part of an online community to initiating or connecting with a local group of people, or simply practising these principles in one’s own life.
  • people from various faith traditions or no faith tradition, who want to connect with a broad, diverse group of people living according to these shared principles.
  • people who have been influenced by the Ignatian tradition and seek to draw on this heritage to give expression to their beliefs and values in a way that responds to our current reality. This might include those who have a connection with the Jesuits or other Ignatian religious entities through an educational institution, parish or other organisation or activity.

Drawing from traditions

Bamboo is open to draw from a range of traditions that nurture the desire to live grounded in the mystery that underpins our lives – of deep connection and interdependence with every person and all creation. It has its roots in the Ignatian, Catholic, Christian tradition, drawing particularly on this tradition’s respect for life, its justice heritage, its commitment to solidarity with those most in need, the practice of discernment, and inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue.

The Ignatian tradition is one foundation that informs Bamboo. Some of the key treasures from this tradition include: appreciating the unity of all life, gratitude and loving service, discernment, a desire to be “contemplatives in action,” reading the signs of the times, using imagination, seeking the magis, going to the frontiers, being a “fire that kindles other fires,” and having companions.

Engaging and taking action as a community

Action is an essential component of Bamboo – putting the Bamboo principles into practice. Connecting with Bamboo can be through their website or through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the conversation. There is online registration if one wants to become a member of the Bamboo community.

As a member, one can choose how to engage, depending on preferences and current circumstances. There might already be many ways people are living out the Bamboo principles. Being part of Bamboo might be a way of connecting with others who share the same commitment and values or are seeking new ways to give expression to one’s values.

Bamboo is about our actions, how we live our lives, and it is about being a community. In a world that is often polarised, the urgent need for people of goodwill to focus on points of unity and interdependence is recognised, and to live lives that reflect this reality.

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