Become a Resident
The Abode of the Message was established as a spiritual community for the purpose of promoting the spiritual teachings of the Sufi Order. Although all are welcome to apply, preference in available residential opportunities is given to initiates of the Sufi Order.
The Abode of the Message warmly welcomes people from all walks of life to join our diverse community on a short-term or permanent basis. Living at the Abode enables you to commune with other spiritual seekers in the continuing evolution of a conscious community.
We balance vibrant social activities with quiet reflection and spiritual study. Residents live in buildings created by the Shakers about 150 years ago. These buildings are part of the Lower Campus. In addition to residential rooms and apartments, the Lower Campus also includes a communal kitchen and dining room, a library and a meditation hall. Residents can enjoy exploring the 340 acres (1.3 km2) of forest which are part of the Abode’s grounds. Walking to the Mountain Center provides a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. Residents are invited to begin each day with morning prayers led by a member of our community. Classes and meetings in healing and esoteric studies convene regularly for those who wish to participate. Universal Worship Service, led by ordained clergy called Cherags, is offered each Sunday, followed by a community meal.
View The Abode Residency Printable Flyer (pdf)
Who should consider residency?
The Abode welcomes people of all ages interested in community life and sustainable living to visit on a short-term basis but only people committed to a spiritual path are qualified to be considered for long-term residency. We define commitment to a spiritual path as working with a guide, maintaining a daily personal practice, and participating in the spiritual life of the community.
Categories of Residence
There are three categories of residence at the Abode, and each has its own responsibilities. All three categories must participate in community work. An admission committee reviews and discusses with potential residents their moving to the Abode to ensure that they understand and welcome our community goals and are a good fit for life at the Abode.
1. Full Fledge Membership: We need dedicated members who wish to fully participate in all aspects of the community and spiritual life of the Abode for a period of time. It could be for three months or it could be for twenty years. Our community needs the help of all kinds of people to function: from cooks to gardeners, from marketers and writers to carpenters and nature lovers. Diversity makes us thrive but a common goal of upholding the message of Love, Harmony and Beauty in a community setting binds us together. Members are expected to pay for room and board and participate in community work. Members can attend certain community programs with a discount and lead community activities. And there is always someone to have meals with!
2. Work Exchange: People can apply to temporarily live at the Abode in exchange for room and board in one of our work exchange programs. The Abode welcomes Khidmat (Work-Study) and Hands and Heart participants all year long. We look for about 15 participants in the spring, summer and fall to help with the kitchen work, housekeeping and help in our Mountain Center. Participants are chosen for their skills but also for their dedication to spiritual life and ability to function harmoniously in a community setting.
3. Khidmat: People can apply for this Work-Study program offering the opportunity to study the Sufi path for 10 hours a week and work 28 hours a week in exchange for room and board. At its core, this program is a training in esoteric study and in learning to live everyday life according to the spiritual teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
4. Hands and Heart: People can also apply for this Work Exchange program named in honor of our site's Shaker heritage. They put their hands to work and their hearts to God to help our community. This program is normally reserved for people already on a spiritual path who can offer special skills needed by the Abode. We provide room and board in exchange for 30 hours of work per week.
Living in Community:
The essential goals of the Abode community, as stated by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, are:
• To offer instruction in the esoteric school through sacred readings, meditations, classes, and personal guidance.
• To offer accommodation and guidance for individual and group retreats.
• To reflect the Message through the various activities offered by the Sufi Order International: Universal Worship, Kinship, Healing, Ziraat, and the Prayers of the Confraternity.
• To host programs which reflect authentic mysticism and the unity of religious ideals.
• To live as a Sufi community, supporting each other's spiritual enfoldment and together cultivating a rich culture expressing the ideals of Love, Harmony and Beauty.
• To be the hub of the Sufi Order International, housing the Secretariat offices and welcoming as brothers and sisters Sufis of all nationalities. To positively respond to inquirers, graciously receive guests, and reach out to the larger society with altruism and optimism.
• To act as stewards of the land and its myriad creatures, communing with and safeguarding our natural environment.
• Adab (manner of respect) is expected of all Abode residents, guests and visitors. Treating each other with kindness and respect, considering the needs of others, listening with a non-judgmental ear, trying to see from another’s viewpoint, and giving others the benefit of the doubt is considered good Adab.
There are restrictions at the Abode about the abuse of alcohol and the use of any recreational drugs. The Abode Lower Campus is smoke free and fragrance free. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 8 am. Before making a commitment to join the Abode, please discuss our requirements with us to ensure that they are in harmony with your lifestyle.
Apply online to become a short-term or long-term resident of the Abode. Click above to learn more.
WORK IN PROGRESS FOR FUTURE RESIDENCY PROGRAM
One-Month Residential Retreat
Those searching to resolve life’s most important questions recognize the need to periodically step out of their daily routines and turn all of their energy toward the vital concerns of their existence. At Zen Mountain Monastery, present-day seekers have an opportunity to discover the profound benefits of residential training. Delving deeply into the wisdom tradition of Buddhism, residents practice within a carefully crafted training matrix, working closely with the teacher and a staff of experienced monastics. The Monastery’s One-Month Residential Retreat is a unique and rich introduction to the intensity of residential training.
The month begins with grounding in basic Zen teachings during the Introduction to Zen Training Retreat and orientation sessions with senior monastics. Then you dive into the training, following a monastic schedule that offers intimate contact with every facet of this vital practice. You’ll have the opportunity to work with the teacher as a provisional student and receive private interviews, and you’ll be able to participate in some of the retreats that take place during the month, usually at no extra cost. The month concludes with a Week-Long Sesshin. Each week also includeshosan, one to two days off the formal training schedule when you can explore the woods and trails of Tremper Mountain or visit the nearby community of Woodstock. Throughout residency you are encouraged to ask questions, face obstacles and practice your daily life.