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Science and Spirituality—Our Foundational Need to Belong

Our need to belong is fundamental to who we are. It’s physical, it’s psychological, it’s spiritual.

How we experience being human and how me make sense of both our belonging and our othering, are deeply connected with our physical selves, as well as our political and social communities.  Research shows us that belonging is deeply tied to mental and physical health. We know that isolation and loneliness are worse on people than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. And in studies of people who live over 100 years, one common denominator across all groups was they were part of cultures who were in deep social relationships—they belonged to communities of belonging.

While many people are attuned to the notion that belonging has roots in spiritual concerns and in the scientific arena, this breakout session will take a look at both of these in conversation with each other to explore the interconnections and dynamics between the two. What are the implications of understanding these connections —in our ourselves, in our communities, and in our project to advance a politics of belonging?

By understanding the unique and fundamental aspects of how both our beings and our brains are deeply interconnected with other people and the living earth, we are better able to understand the possibilities of creating belonging.