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Spiritual Life in Education: The New Ivy League

04/23/2015 02:18 pm ET | Updated Oct 06, 2015

During an interview with the world-renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, we spoke about the intentional focus the news media gives to violence and tragedy committed on the planet. While these negative occurrences seem to be more and more prevalent, it may be that the worst aspects of humanity are emphasized on the nightly news. Tolle commented, "It is important to realize that a large percentage of what we hear or see on the news focuses on those places where there is violent conflict ... It gives us a slightly or very distorted view of what is going on because there are many other parts of the planet where there is no violent conflict, but that is not on the news."

Although the violent happenings in our world appear to be increasing, Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, states that, more importantly, there is a shift occurring simultaneously -- a new collective consciousness arising -- one that embodies love, compassion and understanding. "At the present time, the dysfunction of the old consciousness and the arising of the new are both accelerating. Paradoxically, things are getting worse and better at the same time, although the worse is more apparent because it makes so much 'noise.'"

While the worse seems to be making "noise" in the media, it appears this might be changing, as the emerging consciousness makes its way into the mainstream. There is a new generation of professionals given to service who converge at the new Spirituality Mind Body Institute (SMBI) at Teachers College, Columbia University for a foundationally spiritual Ivy League caliber education. Its founder and executive director, Lisa J. Miller, Ph.D., also author of The Spiritual Child, was recently featured on the Today show's week-long series on spirituality, "Do You Believe?" as well as Time.com and New York Magazine.

The mission of the center is grounded in the science of spiritual life-promoting inner work for outer change. To bring this conversation into a larger arena, SMBI now will host its first, groundbreaking spirituality and psychology conference titled, Spiritual Life: Growth and Learning Across the Lifespan -- Personal and Professional Development Conference. This innovative seminar will explore the intersection of science, spirituality, psychology and education, integrating spirituality through practice, to develop new ways of teaching, learning and communicating. This platform provides the opportunity for this emerging consciousness to be expanded upon and shared. We are all interconnected. The shift includes all of us. Tolle states, "As each human being is an integral part of the collective human consciousness, they affect the world much more deeply than is visible on the surface of their lives."

The conference marks a shift in education by creating a bridge between academia and the community at large in order to address the needs of a rapidly changing world. It offers a cutting-edge spiritual platform that brings together world-renowned scientists, educators, healers and spiritual leaders to inspire conscious conversations focused on social connectedness and constructive resolutions to contribute to the good of the whole planet.

The keynote speakers, Dr. Larry Dossey and Dr. Lisa J. Miller, are leading authorities on spirituality and well-being. Dr. Lisa J. Miller, author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving and the Founder & Executive Director of the Spirituality and Mind-Body Institute and Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College is the world's foremost expert in the relative study of psychology and spirituality. Dr. Miller has more than two decades of experience leading scientific research in the field of spiritual awareness in children, adolescents and mothers as well as spirituality in mental health.

Dr. Larry Dossey is a pioneer in the field of spirituality in healthcare and is the author of nine books, his most recent being One Mind: How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why it Matters. Deeply rooted in the scientific world, Dr. Dossey has become an internationally influential advocate of the role of the mind in health. He brings the experience of a practicing internist and the soul of a poet to the discourse, offering panoramic insight into the nature and the future of medicine.

The happenings at Teachers College, Columbia University are examples that the new, collective consciousness is accelerating. While the negative energy in our world may appear to be on the rise because of the "noise" it generates, it is merely contrasting something much greater that is unfolding -- a new way of being in the world based on love, compassion and understanding.

For more information about Eckhart Tolle, please click here.

For more information about the Spiritual Life: Growth and Learning Across the Lifespan -Personal and Professional Development Conference, please click here.