We believe the toxicity and polarization that mark our national affairs are the symptoms of a deeper, structural, and spiritual calamity.

Many of the systems that had long underwritten the pursuit of the American dream — social, economic, political, religious, and institutional — have eroded, and left us with a society that is less secure, more fearful, and more segregated across the dividing lines of race, class, political identity, and culture. In the absence of these systems, people feel unmoored, and left to tend for themselves in an increasingly hostile world. Such a people are acutely susceptible to alienation, indifference, violence, and cynical manipulation.

Yet, while this picture is dispiriting, we believe renewal is not only urgently needed, but also possible. Spiritual frameworks – of perspective, morality, meaning, and purpose — are essential, enabling elements of this work. By reaffirming humanity’s spiritual nature and our collective spiritual bonds, we can begin to repair the nation’s social fabric. And we must do this, since this social fabric forms a key informal institution of our democracy, on whose health much else rests.

  • What are the mechanics of successful spiritual movements?
  • How can we build an interdisciplinary community of leadership around them and design spiritually grounded, civil dialogues that can engage citizens across the various political divides in our country?
  • What is the role of retreat centers in the advancement of both those movements and how can we develop a new narrative in our country that is rooted in spiritually-grounded values?

With the generous support and collaboration of various partners, the Institute will explore these questions and develop key strategies and frameworks that can be used to catalyze and support transformational spiritual movements that foster living in a sacred relationship to Spirit, self, others, and the natural world.