Science and Nonduality (SAND) aims at fostering a new relationship to spirituality, free from religious dogma, based on timeless wisdom traditions, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in direct experience.
Perspective and purpose
With the Scientific Revolution, empirical discoveries began to undermine religious doctrine, and tension grew between those who sought truth through rational inquiry based on observation and those who accepted the authority of various religious dogmas. While the liberation of science from religion resulted in tremendous technological advances, it also led to the fragmentation of knowledge and to a science no longer engaged with the big questions of what it means to be human, to be conscious, and to seek meaning and purpose.
If our civilization is to be saved from its own excesses, it is urgent to answer the longing of those with a deep spiritual intuition who cannot find their way through a religious world so alienated from the contemporary mind. It is vital to give birth to spiritual paths which are 100% compatible with a modern view of the world.
SAND honors and nurtures the exploration and experience of nonduality as a pathway to greater wisdom and wellbeing in the context of the unique challenges of the 21st century, and seeks to:
- Heal the schism between science and spirituality while forging a new understanding of what it means to be human – inspired by the mystics and grounded in modern science.
- Create a safe and authentic container for exploring, experiencing and dialoguing about the interconnectedness of all aspects of life.
- Develop and share resources to facilitate the integration of this experience into daily life.
- Celebrate the mystery of life and the love that emanates from it!
SAND is inspired to develop a vibrant community of individuals who share this vision, believing the time is right for the fragmentation of knowledge that has occurred over the last four hundred years to give way to a new integrative paradigm in which science and spirituality reenter into meaningful dialogue – bridging an empirically responsible and non-dogmatic spirituality with a humanistic science willing to consider questions of context, perception, meaning and purpose.
SAND provides for this reintegration by creating a forum for deep and respectful dialogue across disciplines – with conferences, media, online community and local gatherings.
Nonduality Across the Disciplines
Nonduality has as many facets as there are human endeavors. Mystics describe the non-dual experience in many ways, as loving, expansive, blissful and unitive, lacking any sense of separation. More than just a feeling, the experience conveys deep and liberating insights into the truth of life and death, self and world. Yet life continues to happen, things change and turn, and each turning is unique. Viewing life turns through the lens of these insights creates a fuller, freer, happier life – the beginning of awakening.
Mystics and sages are not the only ones to assert and describe nonduality. Philosophers speak of reality as unencumbered by the dualistic oppositions we so often get lost in; a reality lacking such distinctions as mind/matter, subject/object, reality/appearance, self/other, substance/attribute, essentialism/nihilism, past/future, here/there, true/false, good/evil – all binary pairs that cause fracturing, and suffering. Scientists, after having successfully used analytic reductionism (“taking things apart”) as a powerful tool for centuries, are now converging with the nondual view, seeing the whole as more than just the sum of its parts. Cosmologists seek a first cause to the universe. Mathematicians describe their pursuit of truth and beauty as a practice for communion with the Divine. Physicists look for the ultimate constituents of matter. Neuroscientists attempt to correlate physiological observables with reported mystical experiences and psychic phenomena. Transpersonal psychologists investigate these effects on mental health. Deep ecologists explore the potential benefits of nondual perspectives on sustainability and global health.
World religions teach nonduality in their esoteric branches, including Jewish Kabbalah, Islamic Sufism, Christian Mysticism, Hindu Advaita-Vedanta, Buddhist Shentong, Madhyamaka or Zen, and Taoism. Many indigenous and shamanistic teachings are also nondual in essence. Aboriginal and modern cultures alike explore the realms of psyche – from separate ego-bound mind to transpersonal realms to nonduality – using methods including meditation, altered breathing, music, dancing, drumming and medicinal plants or substances.
The arts celebrate and cultivate the experience of nonduality. From painting to filmmaking, music to typography, sculpture to found-object art, horticulture to cooking, poetry to digital media, ballet to Tai Chi, literature to architecture – nonduality is muse, subject and symbol.
We hold the space for further exploration by bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds together to deepen the experience of various modes of nondual expression, contributing to the overall health of the global community.
The SAND gathering is a celebration of the core truth of existence – that in our distinct and individualistic arisings and turnings, we are truly not limited, bound, or separate.