About Mind & Life

At the Mind & Life Institute, we bridge science and contemplative wisdom to foster insight and inspire action for positive change in the world. At this critical moment in history, we’re expanding our work to address individual well-being and collective flourishing through a lens of interconnection.

Our mission has evolved in response to a global crisis of disconnection: from growing anxiety and loneliness to deep social divides, our disconnection from one another is causing tremendous suffering for people and the planet. We believe that the human mind contributes to this crisis—and that the solution must include the mind as well. Through grantmaking, convenings, digital education programs, and strategic partnerships, we seek to foster healthy human connections.

For over 30 years, Mind & Life has forged a dialogue about how science and contemplative wisdom can break down barriers within us and between us. As we deepen and expand that work, our hope is to spark a global transformation toward a society where we embrace our shared humanity.

Our Roots

The Mind & Life Institute emerged from a number of auspicious meetings beginning in the early 1980s, culminating with the gathering of a small group of Western scientists and His Holiness the 14th Dalai at his residence in Dharamsala, India in 1987. What began as a private conversation evolved into an important ongoing dialogue and collaboration between two major investigative traditions—science and wisdom—with the goal of creating a better world.

Mind & Life’s founders understood that science was the dominant framework for investigating the nature of reality, and also the modern source for knowledge that could help improve life for people and the planet. And they wondered: what greater impact could science have if it were combined with the transformative power of contemplative wisdom?

While science relies on empiricism, technology, “objective” observation, and analysis, the Dalai Lama, Francisco Varela, and others were convinced that well-refined contemplative practices and introspective methods could be used as equal instruments of investigation. They saw the potential not only to make science itself more humane, but to ensure its conclusions were far-reaching. In 1991, the Mind & Life Institute was officially established to bridge this divide and advance human well-being.