Our Values

For us at Mind & Life Europe, it is important to work and act upon a shared set of values. In interaction with our different stakeholders, as well as amongst ourselves, these values can support us in putting our goals and plans into action. Through a constructive and inspiring co-creation process including Association members, staff and Board members, we explored the heritage and founding principles of Mind & Life Europe to allow the most important aspects to emerge for the creation of our common future.

Be of Service

Support and empower each other with an altruistic mind.

Ethical know-how develops our capacity to recognize and welcome others onto the common path we lay down in walking.

– Francisco J. Varela

Ethical know-how, acquired through our progressive acquaintance with the impermanence of self, develops our capacity to recognize and welcome others onto the common path we lay down in walking.

Invite Joy

Seek the underlying happiness in all and oneself.

Happiness is closer to wisdom than it is to reason.

– Francisco J. Varela

Happiness is closer to a perception of what it is to be joyful rather than a rational evaluation of the way we should lead our life in order to find happiness and well-being.

Happiness is a skill that resides in the progressive familiarization with the idea of impermanence, the virtuality of the self.

The means of transforming mental constructs into wisdom is intelligent awareness, the moment-to-moment realization of the virtual self [‘selfless self’, non-dual mind] as it is empty of any egoistic ground, yet filled with wisdom.

Open Space

Keep an open heart and a clear mind and creativity will burst forth by itself.

We must avoid the trap of certainty … and cultivate our inner flexibility.

– Francisco J. Varela

The world is in constant flux and transformation. Trying to stabilize the world with dogmatic or inflexible attitudes is a trap, given the inexorable fluidity of the world. It’s important to accept that the fluidity of the world cannot be dealt with by trying to stabilize or check its dynamic. We should, rather, focus on developing our own flexibility, which is given to us through our physiology and our experience. Education should focus on cultivating our capacity for flexibility rather than on learning x or y content. Learning how to change is a new discipline.

Radical Candor

Give honest and constructive feedback always from the heart.

Communication is constitution: it is being who you are.

– Francisco J. Varela

Seek Clarity

Practise directness and purity in thought and action.

Clarity and insight arise in the gap between thoughts, the open ground of Being.

– Francisco J. Varela

At a point in your process of being aware you let go of something and allow something else to arise. There’s a creative discontinuity. We usually think consciousness is continuous, that it’s a solid thing, but it’s not. The creative process and the spiritual one are about learning to be much more light about what’s happening in our minds: just let it go, put it down. At that moment there’s a break, a discontinuity, a gap, and within that gap, there is an open ground which is Being and this space is the eternal source of novelty and insight. In fact, insight happens in the gap.

The illusion exists that there is pure rationality. Emotions and rationality are always an emulsion. Science at its living core is pure contemplation.

Stand at the Edge

Dare to welcome the unknown with open mind. Expect surprises!

Interdisciplinary work is the best antidote for the arrogant ego.

– Tsoknyi Rinpoche for Francisco J. Varela

In our world of extreme specialization, we are masters, but often only in the confined territories of our expertise. But given the complexity of the world today, this type of limited mastery, in order to be relevant, must recognize itself as part of a bigger world. Paradoxically, we must give up some of the pleasures and power of our expertise in order to participate effectively, and powerfully, in the bigger picture.

Stimulate Dialogue

Welcome the other and hold space through deep listening and open communication.

This world is our dance together – not my projection, nor yours; it’s something we do together, and what we do changes what the world is like.

– Francisco J. Varela

Three stellar (dialogical) moments in the history of consciousness:

  • Coupling: the sensori-motor loop makes us able to engage with the world and to create meaning;
  • Plasticity: the capacity to change makes the system capable of modifying itself with experience, through its own history;
  • Language: the invention of language permits not just interaction with the world but also and above all coordination of action between members of a species.

Take Care

Consciously recognize your own and others’ needs and actively offer support.

Authentic care resides at the very ground of being and can be made manifest by a sustained, successful ethical training.

– Francisco J. Varela

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