Over time we have created an interconnected world of systems, but are increasingly trained to function in a world of specialized separations and clear boundaries where boxes describe jobs, lines chart relationships and roles and policies described the limits of what each individual should do and who we expect them to be. Professional disciplines are highly specialized, and it is not easy to understand the connections and interrelationships of large scale issues and problems.
Especially western culture has become skilled at describing the world with these arbitrary and unnatural separations. Mind & Life has spearheaded an exchange between science and contemplative practice since the 1980-ies to help bridge the gap between separation and interconnection. In recent years, contemplative science has matured and developed into a full-fledged field of scientific exploration: Mindfulness, Compassion, and other contemplative practices have been taken up by neuroscience and clinical sciences in the hope to better understand the underlying brain mechanisms and personal benefits of meditation. However, in the traditional context of, for example, Buddhist practice, meditation and contemplative practices were not understood merely as clinical or management interventions for personal benefit; they were also directed at creating a supportive social network and society towards deep transformation and flourishing as a whole.
There is an urgent need to fill in the current shortcomings. If we want to take the apparent benefits of contemplative practice seriously in a world profoundly challenged by a spectrum of challenges, we need to look at the following questions: what is the next frontier of contemplative science? How can we benefit such a complex world?
With the second European Symposium “BEYOND CONFINES – Integrating Science, Consciousness and Society”, Mind & Life Europe (MLE) aims at bringing together diverse and complementary traditions of knowledge to fill in the gaps in order to support the growing community of contemplative scientists, invite new audiences and changemakers and encourage people to engage themselves.
We will initiate an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, open up spaces for dialogue, and present inspiring findings in different fields of science like politics, nutrition, education, neuro-phenomenology, contemplative science, east west anthropology and caring economics.
We envision that through presentations, poster sessions, workshops, dialogues and break-out gatherings, all participants will engage in the vibrancy and potential of a collaborative, interdisciplinary and creative enactment of integrating science, consciousness and society – beyond their usual confines.
This Symposium is aiming to build a community of experts together with people willing to join this field of contemplative science. We look forward to welcoming you!