The Concept: Cloud Hidden Hermitage
Vision: A space to withdraw into the quietude of nature, the stillness of meditation and connection with tea; to reflect, create, rejuvenate and illuminate.
To be hidden within the clouds has always carried the poetic notion of retreating up into the mountains, above and beyond the reach of cities and villages. And Tea itself also is a space of retreat from the world. Having a slightly more remote location for a tea space was always one of our mid term goals, however, we have a potential opportunity here in New Zealand we wanted to share with you. We are also inviting you to be involved in this ideation phase. We are tentatively calling this concept, Cloud Hidden Hermitage.
Cloud Hidden always aimed to aid in creating space for meditative stillness; existing to help people re-connect with their place in the world. We seek to evoke a feeling of deep retreat into a new world that carries the mystery of the ancient. For as long as humans have walked the earth, those seeking insight and vision have wandered into the wilderness. Be it in the forest, or the desert, the mountains or the sea; isolated in nature we strip back and re-connect with the simple truths of the world we inhabit. Seeing these truths and re-aligning ourselves with them, we enter a flow, a wave, that has been undulating through existence, since before beginningless time.
Cloud Hidden Hermitage is an active exploration of ways we can truly live and be in the world, while developing and cultivating deep insight. Living connected to nature, drawing inspiration from her, then expressing these inspirations to the world. Tea has always been a bridge between nature and society. Cloud Hidden Hermitage would seek to deepen this bond, creating a vessel to hold and nurture both. A place we can enter, surrounded by nature, retreat into, create within and emerge from with deeper wisdom to share.
The Connected Hut
What does it mean to live a balanced life? Humans are social creatures; there is no doubt in the benefits of connecting with others. But what about connecting with one self? What about solitude? And more importantly, what about finding the balance between the two?
Blaise Pascal said “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Such a big part of the issue with today’s world is that we are never really alone. In many ways, the world we live in has stripped our ability to have our inner space unaffected by others.
The concept of the “Connected Hut” was raised in relation to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Hut. People often romantically imagined that he was out in the wild, alone, watching the ice melt. In truth he was only 30 minutes from his home town and would often stroll in for dinner with friends. And yet it was there that he wrote one of his most influential and important pieces of work. It’s this ability to be connected to the silence and solitude within, living within a place that feels wild, and the ability to be inspired through social interactions that creates the ideal conditions for the human mind to be inspired.
Problem: Balancing Wild Solitude & Social Connection
The question comes, how do we authentically create this in a longitudinally sustainable way. People promote re-addressing the way we work with technology, building daily schedules that include time in nature and having structured solitude (meditation, yoga, tea, etc), which are all excellent ways to search for and create this balance. However, there is a piece missing here that I think is key to the success of really embodying and being able to actualise this way of living in a world that encourages its opposite.
Solution: Immersive Spaces
Immersive environment accelerates our learning process. If you focus on something in a space dedicated to it, surrounded by others doing it as well, you are more successful at it. So what about a space dedicated to creating this balance? A forest of ‘connected huts.’ A place of solitude, within wilderness, with connection with others and the world. This would differ from a retreat centre as everyone is still interacting in the world (if they want to be) and self directed in practice, but within the container of a new way of living. This means we can enter this space and refine how we want to live in the world and then re-enter it more seamlessly with deeper balance.
Practical: Location & Space
We have the potential to purchase 80 acres of forest, 45 minutes from Auckland, right next to a Buddhist monastery set on 140 acres. This would create a space of almost 250 acres of forest used for practice. The land has good access and two building sites, one at the top of the property for the office and public work areas with cell reception, fibre internet connection, power, water and parking. Walking down into the forest is another building site set with ancient New Zealand native trees. Here we would have the tea and meditation spaces. Individual huts would then be throughout for individuals.
This space might include:
- Separate hut with simple living requirements - futon, meditation space, tea space, writing area, etc
- Shared meditation hall
- Shared tea space
- Shared eating space
- A separate office space for connecting with the world and sharing - wi-fi, office hours, photography studio, etc
- Bathrooms and kitchen area
- Clinics / other shared space
This space could then be used in a number of ways:
- People could have the option to visit to work on a specific project - this could be writing a book, mapping out a thesis or starting a business, to name a few.
- You might visit for a period just to rebalance your life, continuing to manage your day to day life while retreating and re-establishing yourself in balance.
- Purchase a hut in advance and commit to a set period of time every year living this way.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Cloud Hidden Hermitage. Would this be a place you would like to visit for a brief or extended stay? Please connect with us to share your feedback. Together we can explore the possibilities.