The Metta Earth Institute is a contemplative ecology center located in Lincoln, VT. Last summer, I spent 15 days at Metta Earth for an experience called the Metta Earth Leadership Training Program. It was a truly life-changing experience, and Metta Earth continues to have a profound and lasting impact on my life. On Sunday, April 6th, I had the pleasure of returning to Metta Earth to interview Gillian Kapteyn Comstock, Co-Director of Metta Earth and one of my most valued mentors. Gillian and I walked around the land, visiting the yurts, house, garden, and animals I had lived with and cared for during my time there. We discussed a wide variety of topics, from homesteading to animal care to ecovillages.
Gillian’s background involves teaching and living close to nature. She has practiced yoga for over 30 years, and takes time out of each day to meditate and focus on her practice. She is a certified yoga teacher and an original founder of the Green Yoga Association. Gillian received her bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology, which has led her to practice holistic psychotherapy for over 20 years. She also holds a masters in Human Ecology, which has enabled her to live a life of connection to nature while also teaching and working with others.
As we walked through the woods, we took a moment of quietude, and as I looked at the mountains that surround the valley in which Metta Earth sits, I realized how truly incredible this place is. Gillian’s warmth and wisdom only adds to the mindfulness and beauty of the location. As we walked down to the barn, Gillian explained the plans that she and her husband, Russell Comstock, have for the land. They hope to one day have an ecovillage on the property, and have already started this process by building one house that Russell’s parents currently live in. The house is a net-zero, carbon neutral home powered by renewable energy. Gillian explained that they hope to build more net-zero homes and start a community that is centered around homesteading, ecological practices, and mindfulness. They believe that an effective community will be centered around cooperation, permaculture, and gardening.
Finally, we reached the barn, where newborn lambs greeted us with loving and inviting eyes. Just 24 hours before my visit, these lambs were born. As I held one of them in my arms, I realized that I wanted to be a part of this contemplative community and create an ecovillage around the values that Metta Earth holds so dear.
(photos taken by Amelie Rey at the Metta Earth Institute and are not to be used without permission from the photographer)