We believe that creating a more harmonious world is not merely the project of rearranging political structures and altering material conditions, but of promoting a fundamental shift in human consciousness—a shift toward a more intentional and empathic way of being. The range of Inner Practices we seek to promote may help achieve this shift.
Our aim is to work strategically and build community around the shared interest of integrating Inner Practices (mindfulness/heartfulness/contemplative practices) into our respective schools and into the world. We believe that when individuals make intentional efforts to cultivate a connection with those inner aspects of themselves that feel neglected and crowded out by the chaos of contemporary life–to connect heart, body, and mind–they become more likely to make decisions from a higher and more inclusive intelligence, more likely to lead with empathy, and more likely to act in a way that will bring peace into the world. We believe that imbuing Harvard’s schools with these practices and values has the potential to be profoundly impactful on a global level.
We should also remember that this effort need not be viewed as a compromise with respect to the high standards of performance and scholarship central to the identity of Harvard University; indeed, it is well documented that the practices we espouse actually bolster them. But key to our project is remembering that we are concerned not with levels of achievement per say, but with the quality with which they are given life.
This group also aims to unite and empower those who may feel like outliers in their particular sectors– those who feel that their work in life is not an end in itself, but a channel to express their greater callings related to peace and the mitigation of suffering.
Immediate next steps:
- Assemble a group that includes people from across all Harvard schools
- Convene to (1) strategize about how we may integrate Inner Practices into our respective schools, (2) determine recommendations to that end, and (3) network in order to build enduring connections for future work