ABOUT > MISSION
It is our mission to honor and nurture the ongoing exploration and experience of nonduality as a pathway to greater wisdom and well-being, especially in light of the unique challenges facing our 21st century culture. To achieve our mission, we:
• Heal the schism between science and spirituality while defining a new understanding of what it means to be human, inspired by the mystics and grounded in modern Science.
• Create a container characterized by authenticity, safety and respect for members of the community to communicate, explore and experience the interconnectedness of life
• Develop and share resources that facilitate the integration of this new understanding into daily life
• Celebrate the mystery of life!
SAND is inspired about creating and growing a community/movement of likeminded individuals believing that the time has come for the fragmentation of knowledge we have seen over the last four hundred years to give way to a newparadigm in which science and spirituality reenter into a meaningful dialogue with one another. Spirituality need not be at odds with scientific inquiry — a new kind of integration is possible. What is required for this reintegration is an empirically-responsible spirituality, one that is not beholden to dogma or authority, and a more humanistic science, one that is willing to consider the big questions of life.
SAND provides a model for this new reintegration by creating a forum for deep and respectful dialogue across fields and disciplines through conferences, media, online community and local gatherings.
Expanded mission statement
Since the Scientific Revolution, when empirical discoveries began to undermine religious doctrine, tension grew between those who sought truth through rational inquiry based on observation and those who accepted truths based on the authority of religious dogma. While the liberation of science from religion resulted in tremendous advances in science and technology, it also lead to the fragmentation of knowledge and to a science no longer engaged with the big questions: what it means to be human, to be conscious, to be a seeker of meaning amid the vagaries of life.
The annual Science and Nonduality Conference creates a unique forum to bring preeminent thinkers from various fields of science into dialogue with spiritual teachers and practitioners, and members of the public seeking answers to the big questions in life, with the goal of contributing to healing the rift between science and spirituality. We also support the emergence of a new kind of spirituality, one not entrenched in dogmatism, but which is responsive to the latest findings in physics, biology, neuroscience, psychology, and ecology.
In addition to the annual six-day conference, we produce a number of quality DVDs and web events featuring key conference presenters, thus allowing wider access to our work.
NONDUALITY IN DAILY LIFE
Nonduality has as many approaches as there are human endeavors.
Mystics describe the experience in many ways – as loving, open, and lacking any sense of separation. More than a feeling, the experience also conveys a deep and liberating insight into the truth of life, death, self and world.
Yet life happens and turns and each turning is unique and individual. To see the turnings from the perspective of these nondual insights is the beginning of a fuller, freer, happier life. It is the beginning of awakening.
Mystics and sages are not the only ones to claim and describe nonduality.
Philosophers speak of nonduality as the insight that reality lacks true multiplicity, suggesting that reality is actually free of the dualistic opposites so often attributed to it. That is, reality lacks such distinctions as mind/matter, subject/object, reality/appearance, self/other, substance/attribute, essentialism/nihilism, past/future, here/there, truth/falsity, good/evil, and other pairs of opposites.
In spite of having successfully used analysis (i.e. “taking things apart”) as a powerful tool for centuries, science is converging on the nondual. Cosmologists seek a first cause for the universe. Physicists look for the ultimate constituent of matter. Neurophysiologists attempt to correlate physiological observables with reported experiences of nonduality. Transpersonal psychologists investigate the effects of these experiences on human mental health. Deep ecologists explore the potential consequences of nondual understanding on long term global health. Mathematics practiced with love and devotion has been described as communion with the nondual Divine.
World religions teach nonduality in both their orthodox and esoteric branches, the latter including Jewish Kabbalah, Islamic Sufism, Christian mysticism, Hindu Advaita-Vedanta, and Buddhist Shentong and Madhyamika as well as Zen; also included are Taoism and many shamanisic traditions. Aboriginal and modern cultures explore the realms of psyche from separate ego-bound mind to transpersonal realms to nonduality using many methods, including meditation, altered breathing, music, dancing, and powerful plants/chemicals.
The arts celebrate and cultivate the experience of nonduality. From painting to filmmaking, music to typography, sculpture to found art, horticulture to cooking, poetry to digital media, ballet to tai chi, literature to architecture -- nonduality is muse, subject and symbol.
Now, the Science and Nonduality Conference opens up these experiences for further exploration. It places each attendee face to face with each other and with individuals living from the life-spanning varieties of nondual expression.
This gathering is also a celebration of the bottom-line truth of our existence: that in our distinct and individualistic arisings and turnings, we are truly not limited, bound, or separate.