Some intuitions

How can a culture of freedom resist discriminatory ideologies, rigid religious beliefs, the pervasive commercialization of everything, self-centeredness, alienation, and loneliness?

At the House of the Beloved, we tackle these challenges by designing and embodying alternative ways of being together and being present. We are a contemporary, experimental, monastic community that supports people of all ages in discovering and embodying their own way of being human. We gather on the basis of shared practice rather than shared belief. All journeyers, regardless of their philosophies of life, traditions, religions, gender, or sexual orientation are welcome.

Through workshops, residencies, podcasts, mentorship, a school, and a research center, we provide a diverse framework for personal development.

Our approach is to embrace diversity as the cornerstone for community building and self-development.

Our mission is to be different together.

These seven intuitions structure our togetherness:

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Calling to Authentic Presence

In the face of death, what is worth living for?  Regardless of your impact, after a while nobody will remember you (How often did you think about Alexander the Great today?). Your loved ones will all pass, and any tangible impact you made will fade out (Do you know the name of the grandmother of your grandmother?). When you accept that everything changes and nothing lasts, what is still worth doing? Authentic presence goes beyond a life’s mission or a self-chosen purpose. It is a way of being available, without project, following an intimate intuition, not expecting, not seeking. Accepting and welcoming things as they are, inside you and in the world. Without assumption or judgement listen to what is there. Without fear or preference allow it to break through from within. So that through your body and mind, a life may be revealed. (Alan Watts, Gautama Buddha, Eric Baret, Jean Klein, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson).

Also listen to our podcast “Authentic presence: a way of being different together”.

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Love

Love is the will to extend yourself for the purpose of allowing yourself and others to express your/their own way of being human (definition inspired by Scott Peck). To accept and welcome everything. Not to shape someone around your own needs, but like a rock yields to the chisel, make yourself porous and absorbent to their touch, being so intimately vulnerable that it will cut away your dead flesh. In a constant flux of change, trust that what is cut, is not you. It was dead already, and only ballast. (Iris Murdoch, Judith Butler, Alain Badiou, Rainer Maria Rilke, Khalil Gibran, Scott Peck)

To know more, also listen to our podcast “A case against love”.

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Death

To die means to let go of all qualifications, of all stories about yourself and the world. It makes fears and preferences become groundless, because without stories, nobody is there. It opens the gate for a deeper calling: that a life may be revealed through your body and mind. A skillful death brings life. You learn to live life dangerously: fearless and in complete surrender to love. And when you are finally summoned, pregnant with aliveness, you can fall backwards into Death’s warm embrace, fully satisfied and without regrets. (Jean Klein, Gilles Deleuze, Osho, Marie De Hennezel)

Also listen to our to our podcast “A case against safety”.

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Immersion & Play

To harness the conceptual mind’s full potential without succumbing to its dominance. To revel in our collective exploration and comprehension, without confining life to the boundaries of language or logical expression. Going beyond verbal truths, and instead, orchestrating events that reveal reality. Prioritizing shared practices over shared beliefs. Immersing ourselves so deeply in the intense experience of being alive that the pursuit of meaning naturally fades away. (Karen Armstrong, Joseph Campbell, Gilles Deleuze, Martin Heidegger, Abhinavagupta)

Playing means following beauty and pleasure. There exists neither future nor past; there is only complete availability to the immediacy of the moment, captivated by the miraculous display of colors, shapes, and sensual pleasures. They all appear and disappear, leaving no trace, akin to writing in water. There’s nothing to change, nowhere to go, no needs to fulfill, and no projects to accomplish. It’s the absolute simplicity of being both nothing and everything, and from that absolute openness, singing and dancing the world into being.

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Useless

In a time of populist indoctrination and commercial manipulation, it is increasingly difficult to stand still, just be with what is, without the need to change anything. It requires resisting the societal pressures to conform, consume, perform, produce, be healthy and be happy. We make ourselves vulnerable to these pressures by self-imposing instrumental (economical) reasoning: “How is this useful? What does it bring me or us?”. It kills all creativity that doesn’t make a demonstrable contribution. Instead, we propose a sanctuary for uselessness. Protected from outside pressures, it allows for activities and states that have no other value than their intrinsic, esthetic, and/or sensual pleasure. No added value, no performance indicators, no evaluation; just the sheer joy of expression (Charles Taylor, Brian Massumi, Erin Manning)

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Where extremes touch

At the frontier of an intense desire, when carried till an excess of fulfillment, it loses its enticing spell, and its emptiness is revealed. On the other hand, pre-emptive moderation can prevent you from digging deep enough to connect to a vital source, or from rising high enough to overlook your life’s maze and gain new insights. Beyond good and evil, we try to capture the vitality of intensity and excess, seizing the productive tension between erupting extremes.

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Enabling constraints

The freedom to propose your own way of being human is not guaranteed by the absence of external restrictions. When you are unaware of outside influences and internalized conditionings, an apparent freedom of choice leads to alienation: you freely choose a life that doesn’t fit you (think about the high prevalence of proudly choosing to work towards a burn-out). Perversely, the freedom of choice forces you to identify with that “chosen” life, as if it were you, thereby pushing you further away from and obscuring the origin within. Constraints can protect you. Fasting and abstinence can reset the senses, thereby intensifying subsequent pleasure. Solitude can bring self-recognition, thereby making deeper connections possible. Not getting what you think you want, helps you cleanse the conditionings and dullness at the inside, paving the way for a real choice. (Michel Foucault, Carl Jung, Brian Massumi, Erin Manning)