Message from Sofia Stril-Rever, PhD, writer,
Spokesperson of the association Peace & Universal Responsibility
The meeting which took place on September 13, 2016 at the Paris Bar Association with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the issue of "Universal Responsibility, Law and Environment" was exceptional in more than one account. It was exceptional thanks to the presence of His Holiness, and of his guest, Mr Robert Badinter. It was exceptional to be welcomed by the President of the Bar Association, Mr Frédéric Sicard, by Mrs Patricia Savin, in charge of the Sustainable Devlopment Commission, as well as by all the personalities who were attending. It was exceptional for having aroused in the Dalai Lama, as well as in the particularly numerous lawyers, attorneys and senior judges, an interest in our exchanges.
The Dalai Lama having expressed on that particular September 13, 2016, during his lecture at the Paris Bar Association, his wish to see the beginning of our reflexion carried on, Mrs Patricia Savin, Mr Khoa Nguyen and myself are offering to start the Law and Consciousness Dialogue with a first cycle of 5 upcoming Seminars. In this message, I would like to express my motivation and my convictions as we are launching this innovative dialogue.
The first goal of law is to define the rules of a consensus so that social interactions are not subjected to the arbitrary and to the violence of individuals. The interaction between law and consciousness triggers the question of normative coherence, and aims at integrating the abstract and compulsory rules of law into one’s innermost being and consciousness.
Law points out to what has to be done. How can one do mindfully what has to be done ? This is the subject of our dialogue, at the crossroads of a legal reflection on great social issues on the one hand, and on the other hand, of the inner sciences of the mind that stems from a tradition of meditation backeded by the latest discoveries in contemplative neurosciences.
I am drawn by the firm belief that the interaction between Law and Consciousness can contribute to aligning social standards and inner humanity, thus allowing values of peace, tolerance, forgiveness, truth and justice to make their way into our lives. The exponential violence nowadays finds its roots in the worsening economic, social, and generation gaps. One can therefore wonder how the right to peace, and human rights in general, can become a shared reality and a commitment to peace with oneself, with the others and with the environment, instead of being pure rhetorics.
I am also drawn by the firm belief that inner peace is the safest path toward peace with others, and peace in the world, so as to fully take on our humanity. This is why I am proposing to introduce meditation on inner peace, along with breathing yoga, into the Law and Consciousness seminars, following the brief explanations given by the Dalai Lama who recommended it as a radical way to eradicate stress on September 13, 2016.
I also firmly believe that the Law and Consciousness dialogue may turn into a strong and major proposition for the evolution of our societies. For when faced with the great challenges of our time, we need to evolve towards radical mutations, be it on a personal level or on a social level. And the Law and Consciousness interaction is unusual in that it links collective commitment, which falls within the province of law, and individual commitment, which falls within a code of ethics and consciousness. The meeting point between these two commitments – which are in a critical phase nowadays as we are faced with environmental urgency – is in the double acknowlegment of our interdependence with all living beings, human and non-human, and of our universal responsibility. Each one of us is party to the ecosystem of the Earth and guarantees its protection, for the right to life of future generations depends on that. Taking on this universal responsibility, in complete mindfulness of the planetary issues at stake, has become today, according to the Dalai Lama "the condition for survival of humanity".
Reforms are altogether necessary and urgent, to go from a law as we know it – focusing on the present, and indivualistic – to a restrictive international law that aims at preserving the renewal of the terrestrial biocapacity. It is the only bastion against the collapse of the ecosystems, and the clashes that have already occurred and will be worsening, in a world in which experts predict that one out of seven persons will become a climate refugee by 2050.
But we know that the necessary reforms that are being worked out, however relevant they are, are nevertheless not sufficient. The legal transition has to go with inner transition to put altruism and peace in the center of our lives, to go from a culture of achievement, rivalry, and competition to a culture of sharing, justice, and solidarity.
By bringing together law and consciousness, I firmly believe that we are giving ourselves a chance to take on the common destiny of humanity in becoming, together and individually, the change we want for our world, in reference to Gandhi whose expression enlightens my life.
Thus it is with the strength of these beliefs, that I am happy to welcome you in the Law and Consciousness Seminar.