Story by Susanna Starr
When we sign up for a conference, whether for a day, a weekend, or longer, we may be surprised at some of the extra experiences that might present themselves. Having just returned from a weekend at the SAND (Science and Non-Duality) Conference in a beautiful old part of San Jose, California, I found myself stimulated not only by the extraordinary array of noted speakers, but by the meetings with people from all over the world.
Hayes Mansion, site of this year’s conference, offered spacious accommodations, abundant food, large conference center and beautiful grounds. Having perfect weather was a bonus. It provided just the right environment for people from everywhere sharing an interest and/or background in the study of the mind, the role of quantum physics in our understanding of our universe or contemplative practice and interspiritual dialogue, to come together. The talks were inspiring, informative and provocative, with many different venues to choose from.
Meeting interesting people, spanning all age groups, who signed up for this very special conference, was also memory making as was listening to the presentations of noted neuro-scientists, mathematicians, interfaith leaders and other presenters. Maurizio and Zaya Benazzo who organize, oversee and produce this event each year put forth a huge amount of time and energy in bringing it to fruition. It clearly is their passion and we who have had the opportunity to attend are truly the recipients of an extraordinary opportunity to share their vision.
When I arrived back home I realized just how much I had been inspired by the talks and presentations as well as the various exchanges with so many different people. Finding myself talking non-stop for three hours was certainly a clue as to the impact the conference had. But it didn’t stop when the conference was over. I now need to investigate some of the topics and speakers who I never had a chance to listen to, get books and videos about the guest speakers and continue to explore the wealth of information they provide.
What is the function of the brain, where does consciousness come from, what are some of the breakthroughs being made in science and medicine, how do we begin to understand the quantum connection of mind to physical processes, how can important spiritual teachings help transform the grief from the burning fire of loss, how do we open our heart to channel compassion? Ultimately, we each find our own way but in attending something like the SAND conference, we are given the unique opportunity to plug into some of the best guiding lights to help us on our way.
Susanna Starr is an entrepreneur, photographer, speaker, artist, writer, and traveler and holds a degree in philosophy from Stony Brook State University of New York. Susanna has over twenty years experience in the hospitality business as owner of Rancho Encantado, an eco-resort and spa in Mexico. She lives in Northern New Mexico and has lived in and traveled throughout Latin America. She is a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) Susanna is the author of the book: Fifty and Beyond: New Beginnings in Health and Well-Being. Her blog is here. Her new book, Our Interwoven Lives with the Zapotec weavers: An Odyssey of the Heart, can be seen here.