Science and Religion
An effective Collaboration
Earlier this week, I was very kindly invited by fellow ACI member, Chuck, to share his ticket to Mind and Life Institute’s (MLI) first ever presentation in Singapore.
Inspired by a week of dialogue in 1987 between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, entrepreneur R. Adam Engle, and neuroscientist Francisco Varela, the institute was founded in 1990 to bring together insights from the world’s contemplative traditions and the findings of contemporary science. The mission: relieve human suffering and advance well-being.
The presentation in Singapore brought together a stunning panel of world renowned spiritual masters, meditators, scientists, and researchers. It was immediately obvious to all of us there that this distinguished group have worked closely together, with a common purpose, to find innovative new ways to help people while leveraging time-tested practices.
There was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the panelists, and of hope. We in the audience could feel this very strongly, as they talked excitedly about all the possibilities that the Institute’s work can bring. For example, we learned that science has confirmed that infants come into the world with a proclivity toward altruism and giving. This fact resonates well with the compassion and loving-kindness meditations many of us have been taught later in life. The Institute then explained how these insights can be integrated into completely new ways of approaching primary and secondary school education, to plant the seeds for a whole new generation of happier and healthier adolescents and adults.
The evening gave me a brief but inspiring glimpse into the power of interdisciplinary collaboration. When directed at a goal as important as MLI’s, one can sense how the mission can definitely succeed. Chuck also pointed out that even within one ‘discipline’ – say, the study and practice of the world’s enduring spiritual traditions – we can accomplish more by transcending boundaries and collaborating. I’m sure he’s right, and I hope ACI can play its part in that mission within Singapore.
(and the ACI Singapore team)
A Final Thought
~ Albert Einstein