Spirituality in Education and exploring The Awakened Brain with Lisa Miller
Listen to this episode: Duration: 63 min.
In this episode, Mirian Vilela talks with Dr. Lisa Miller about the role of spirituality in mental and emotional health, the importance of spirituality in education, and the connections between her work and the Earth Charter. Dr. Miller explains that while religion is completely environmentally and culturally transmitted, we are born with an innate physical capacity for spirituality. However, this innate spirituality is being socialized out of children which she believes is resulting in many of the emotional and mental health problems in today’s societies.
In response to this, Dr. Miller created the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education to develop spaces for spirituality in K-12 schools. She believes that the most important work for a parent, teacher, or caregiver is to strengthen children’s spiritual form by modeling this behavior. To foster spiritual growth, parents must both “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” equally.
In her book, The Awakened Brain, Dr. Miller discusses the need for awakened awareness. An obstacle to this is the transactional, achievement-oriented mindset that focuses on attaining more money, prestige, and material wealth. Instead, we must focus on the “deep in-and-of-itself of living”, spiritual value, and quality of life. Counterintuitively, this will lead to more outward success.
Dr. Miller sees the connection between her work and that of the Earth Charter because of the focus on the interconnectedness and oneness with the environmental, spiritual, social, and political. Her work at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute identifies a need for a spiritual voice in environmental protection and education. In Principle 14, the Earth Charter emphasizes the importance of moral and spiritual education which parallels her work with the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education.
Learn more about Dr. Miller’s work at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute and the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education at these websites:
Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode
- The growing problems of anxiety, depression, and violence, especially in urban areas, are proof that our societies are increasingly dysfunctional. Many people struggle with poor mental and emotional health. What do you believe are the root causes of these challenges, and how can we address them?
- With regards to the book, The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life, what is the awakened brain, why is it important, and how can we awaken our brains?
- Can strengthening spirituality decrease depression and other mental and emotional health issues?
- What is the relationship between spirituality and religion?
- How is the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education (CSE) fostering spiritual and moral growth in schools and what are the challenges?
- The Earth Charter places strong importance on the spiritual dimension of our lives and mentions the interconnectedness between the environmental, spiritual, social, and political. For example,
- The Preamble discusses the “mystery of being” and states that “the spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being”.
- Principle 12 highlights the importance of ensuring the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being.
- Principle 14 of the Earth Charter discusses the importance of moral and spiritual education for sustainable living.
With this in mind, can you comment on the connections you see between the Earth Charter’s message and your work in spirituality in education?
Spirituality in Education and exploring The Awakened Brain
Who is Lisa Miller?
Dr. Lisa Miller is a New York Times bestselling author, professor, researcher, and clinical psychologist. She teaches at Columbia University (New York) in the Teachers College in the Clinical Psychology Programme where she founded the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, the first Ivy League graduate programme and research institute in spirituality and psychology. Within the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, she also created the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education to promote spiritual and moral development within schools. Dr. Miller is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality and co-editor of the journal, Spirituality in Clinical Practice, and her innovative work has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed leading journals. Her work focuses on the science of spirituality and the connection between spirituality to health and wellbeing. Dr. Miller has also been featured as an expert in psychology and spirituality on CNN, Fox News, MSNCB, and the NBC Today Show.