The San Diego Wake Up House was an intentional community where young Buddhists and Non-Buddhists, 18 – 35 years of age, inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, came together to live in harmony, support one another on their spiritual paths with the practice of mindfulness and to help sustain a healthy and compassionate society. We had a desire to live in a positive community environment that supported everyone in thriving in their heart-felt dreams, actualizing aspirations and deepening their commitment to walking a spiritual path. We enjoyed being part of a loving and supportive family of friends, who learned and grew together in life. We practiced deep listening and loving speech in order to support the flourishing of these authentic and loving relationships.
The seed for the house began receiving water, love and nourishment shortly after the Wake Up San Diego Sangha began solidifying in 2012. Some of the members expressed an interest in living together in order to feel more support in practicing mindfulness. The seed finally sprouted and broke through the surface of the Earth in April 2013 when the first group of wakeuppers moved in together. For about 4 and a half years, the San Diego Wake Up House grew and hosted the Wake Up San Diego Sangha. The Sangha met there weekly nearly the entire time, but has since moved to the Dharma Bum Temple (where it currently still meets weekly). The house included 6 youngsters committed to practicing mindfulness in every moment with all that they did including work, school, relationships, recreational activities, walking, talking, driving, eating, breathing, cleaning and much more. By living mindfully together, they created a beacon of love, support and nourishment for themselves and their surrounding community. Although there was no formal schedule within the house to practice, many residents practiced with one another regularly. They enjoyed mindful meals, sitting meditation, cleaning meditation, and were always trying to practice deep listening and loving speech. In addition to a monthly house meeting where problems were solved and structure was discussed, they also practiced beginning anew on a monthly basis to maintain the harmonious flow of loving communication and to build their bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. Towards the last year of the house’s existence, a monthly House Sangha Dharma Sharing gathering was added too. You can read more about the inspiration for the house and get more details on how it manifested into reality by reading this article written by one of the founders.
The house started off in Normal Heights and moved to a quiet neighborhood of San Diego called Linda Vista. On the property there was a back yard, a dozen and a half fruiting trees, a meditation hall, a composting area, a garden, onsite laundry, ceiling fans in every room, overhead lighting in every room, central heating and spacious/homey common areas. Since the house was a rental, all residents were required to sign a lease and contribute to rent and utilities. Rent depended on many variables, but was typically between $500 and $750/month including utilities.
Qualities for residency changed somewhat as the house evolved and lessons that were learned were applied. Some of the aspects that were particularly important for residency included:
- An aspiration to engage in the work of Sangha-building and nourishing others’ mindfulness practice while maintaining a regular meditation practice for oneself;
- Enjoying living a vegetarian, drug, alcohol and cable tv-free lifestyle/home-environment;
- The ability to support other residents as one would with family and in helping create a healing and nourishing environment for all;
- A commitment to the practices of deep listening and loving speech, and simple, healthy, sustainable, and hygienic living;
- Stability in practicing mindfulness or a strong interest to learn how to practice mindfulness.
- Emotionally maturity, which implies being able to care of strong emotions on their own with skill so as to maintain an atmosphere of safety, support and harmony in the community.
- An open mind, willing to use the five mindfulness trainings as a way to grow and transform.