It needs to be remembered by prospective members that Nasalam is a spiritual community founded by the Order of Melchizedek. As is true of all monastic communities, it is not a democracy. It does not work by consensus, though the opinions of all members are considered.
Membership in the community of Nasalam is easier than some other communities and more demanding than some because of the unique work planned for the community.
As part of any initial dialog with the community, prospective members should provide their complete birth data (date, time, and place of birth) so that we can construct a birth chart as part of assessing a potential member.
New residents are automatically on a 90-day trial period during which their fitness for the community will be assessed, just as they will be assessing whether they want to be part of the community. During this time they will be expected to stay at the community as they remove themselves from the outside world and adjust to community life. This time can be utilized to examine past patterns, end habits and addictions, and prepare for a life oriented toward personal and spiritual growth. As part of that assessment they will be expected to understand the rules that govern how members must act in every aspect of their daily life.
At the end of this period they may be accepted as members of the community. Because this is a spiritual community, there are ritual observances involved - the first can be taken any time after moving in, the second upon being accepted as a member.
Members need not ever advance beyond this basic member status. But should they desire to enter into the spiritual structure of the community they can become members of the Priesthood. Over the course of their studies they will be given the opportunity to advance through the degrees of the Priesthood.
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Nasalam also has Associate Members, who are individuals living outside Nasalam who wish to have some sort of committed relationship to the community. For a minimum contribution of $100 annually they receive Nasalam's journal and may visit the community as a guest for one week. Contributions totaling $1000 makes the individual a Lifetime Associate Member.
And now the bugaboo of all communities......
Irrespective of the type of political organization and the method of food production, irrespective of whether society is socially stratified or unstratified, democratic or monarchical, or whether the food-economy is that of the food-gatherer, the hunter-fisher, the agriculturist or the pastoral-nomad, all aboriginal peoples accept the theory that every human being has the inalienable right to an irreducible minimum, consisting of adequate food, shelter and clothing. This irreducible minimum is an attribute of life on a par with the biological attributes of life. Being alive signifies not only that blood is coursing through a man's body but that he obtains the wherewithal to keep it coursing. Nowhere, let me repeat, does there exist a surplus of food or goods accumulated either by the community or by an individual with the specific object of disposing of it at a personal profit to himself, and nowhere have the essential and fundamental types of property developed which we, in our civilization, regard is inseparably connected with the concept of personal and individual ownership.
Paul Radin "The World of Primitive Man"
In both traditional monastic communities and many egalitarian communities it is the ideal that all property is owned by the community and all income received by members is shared equally with the entire community. That is an ideal that Nasalam has always believed in, but acknowledges it is an ideal that is beyond the reach of most in the modern world. So, this is our general philosophy relating to the financial obligations of members of the community:
Older members who are living on fixed incomes (Social Security, pensions) are expected to contribute half their income to the community. Some also perform light work to be more involved in the life of the community.
While it is not desirable to have members working outside the community, some members may need to work at jobs because they have financial obligations to meet. Because they are less able to work in the community, they are asked to contribute one-half of their net income (i.e., after all expenses are met) to the community.
Some members might have no source of income. They contribute to the community by providing the hard labor needed to maintain and grow the community - building, gardening, etc.
To sum up, people bring different things to community - some have substantial monetary resources, others have work skills; some have artistic ability, others are healers. Each individual is unique and brings their own special capabilities to the community. The Order of Melchizedek teaches that we accept them as equals and welcome their diverse gifts to the community. Each member has his own relationship to the community.
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