Every day, the natural world presents us with a beautiful tapestry of stories—stories of change, growth, and deepening relationship. But change is hard—as everybody knows. It forces us to expand and develop. The seeds in our garden must break into shoots if they’re to participate in its thriving ecosystem; our chickens’ eggs must hatch into chicks if they’re to wander forth and join the brood; and we must till the soil and labor in the dirt if we’re to bring forth its fruits and celebrate our harvest together. Nature, it seems, is always pushing us to transcend old forms to attain new levels of interconnection and interdependence.
Today, as human civilization confronts the limits of its old forms, the world community must adapt to become more sensitive, holistic, and complex in its ways of thinking, feeling, and being. As our institutions, infrastructure, and ideologies reach their breaking points, we must learn to stretch our minds and hearts to reach beyond them towards more comprehensive visions of the world. As everywhere the narrowness of old perspectives conspires to stifle our individual and collective flourishing, we are called to push the envelope—and shift the paradigm.
To facilitate such crucial changes, we will need communicators, educators, artists, and others to showcase and propagate a more expansive worldview of complexity, relationality, and emergence that is already coming online. Founded in 2023, Sky Meadow Institute is an organization dedicated to this civilizational onboarding effort by promoting relational, processual, and systems-based perspectives on the things that matter most.
We believe that, precisely by becoming more conscious of life’s expansive webs of connection, we can outgrow the constricting limits of our older ways of thinking and assume the more expansive, integrative kind of vantage needed for the 21st century. From how we eat, live, and work to how we learn, grow, and worship, everything looks different from a view informed by relationality and complexity.
Instead of unsustainable monocultures, we can imagine durable permacultures. Instead of reductionistic quick-fixes, we can imagine holistic, whole-person health and development. Instead of linear methods of extraction and exploitation, we can imagine dynamic cycles of exchange and co-creation.
Most importantly, by learning the deep patterns and structures that Nature uses to complexify and grow, we can move beyond the broken ideologies of the (post)modern world, which see human life as alienated, meaningless, and absurd, to recognize ourselves for what we really are: participatory beings every bit as interwoven into the beautiful tapestry of change, growth, and relationship as seeds and eggs and soil. And to the degree our distinctly human nature does set us apart, this is to be seen as our gift (not our curse) for bringing deeper intention, rationality, and care to Nature’s cause of cosmic complexification.
The mission of Sky Meadow Institute is to articulate and promote this inspirational vision of sustainability, interdependence, relationality, and transformational flourishing. Drawing on fields as diverse as complexity science, plant medicine, process philosophy, permaculture design, evolutionary spirituality, and the arts, this vision is what we see emerging at the cutting-edge of culture. It is, we believe, the next chapter in Nature’s story of change and growth.
To help tell it, we welcome writers, artists, educators, philanthropists, visionaries, activists, designers, farmers, philosophers, and more to get involved!
The programming for the Institute is hosted at our retreat center here in Stannard, Vermont. Here is a glimpse at some of the initiatives and events we have in store for 2024:
In spring and fall we accept applications for up to 6 residents looking for a weeklong, quasi-monastic work-exchange experience. This educational offering focuses on body, mind, and soul. Over the week, residents will participate in vital homesteading activities (e.g., wood stacking, garden prepping, weeding, harvesting, animal husbandry, etc.) while residing in one of our cabins. Optional readings on permaculture and complexity will be offered with opportunities for discussion. Morning meditation in the hilltop gazebo will also be offered and highly encouraged, though not required.
Residencies are tuition-free, offering a deepening of knowledge and skill as well as a spiritually revitalizing retreat into the scenic beauty of Vermont countryside in return for much-appreciated help tending this incredible land. Residents should be ready to get their hands dirty and comfortable doing outside work.
Spring: April 25–May 2
Fall: August 29–September 5
Interested applicants should send inquiries to [email protected].
Beginning in 2024, the Institute will begin the regular publication of works by leading-edge thinkers making meaningful contributions to the emerging paradigm, specifically in the field of meaning-making and spirituality.
- Forthcoming (spring): Layman Pascal, Gurdjieff for a Time Between Worlds: Soulmaking, Remorse, and Pluralistic Spirituality in a Post-Postmodern Remix of the Fourth Way (Sky Meadow Press, Stannard).
The Institute’s flagship podcast, known hitherto as the Metamodern Spirituality Podcast, features interviews with leading thinkers on relational philosophy, science, and religion whose work helps articulate the significance of an emerging worldview based on complexity and emergence. Its goal is to help communicate relational wisdom to a wide audience.
Episodes can be found HERE.
The Institute is slowly growing a small research library specializing in metamodern thought which is available to residents and retreat guests.
April 25–May 2
June 5–9, 2024
“Recognizing Your Natural State”
August 7–11, 2024
“Obtaining the Natural State”
August 29–September 5
Metamodern Spirituality Lab
October 2–6, 2024
“Abiding in the Natural State”
More coming. Stay tuned…