Soul and Synapse: The Integrated Self

dan-siegel-160A leading neuroscientist, psychiatrist and New York Times bestselling author, Dan Siegel, M. D. is a member of our board and a key advisor and presenter for our education and climate change initiatives.

Siegel’s work advances the evidence-based view that the human mind is not just embodied inside the skull.   Transcending the delusion that Einstein called the “skin encapsulated self,” the mind exists both within and between people.  It’s a “me” and a “we.” In a keynote address at our education symposium, Siegel defined the mind as “an emergent process that arises from energy and information flow, both within you…and in your relationships with other people and the planet itself.” 

In his recent Psychology Today blog “The Self is Not Defined by the Boundaries of Our Skin,” Siegel describes how the awareness of the self as interpersonal offers the benefits “of living authentically and cultivating connection with a deeper and wider sense of self.”  “Imagine a world in which we cultivated empathic joy instead of aggressive competition,” he writes.  “We could offer the skills of insight, empathy, and integration—what I call ‘mindsight’—to develop the strength to feel other’s pain, mobilize collective resources to help relieve that distress, and all benefit.”

That spiritual and scientific insight is potential game-changer for educators, caregivers, environmental advocates and anyone interested in achieving and imparting health and well-being, whether personal, organizational, social or planetary. 

From April 25 – 27, Siegel will lead a public retreat at the Institute, called “Soul and Synapse,” on applying this insight. Over the weekend, Siegel will address these and other questions:  “Why does feeling a part of ‘a larger whole’ matter so much? What are the scientific insights that reveal why a spiritual life is ‘good for you’? What does the science of spirituality reveal about how we can cultivate such well-being in our own lives?”

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