Essay: Dr. Lisa Miller and the New Science of Spirituality

Oct 6, 2023

Dr. Lisa Miller gave a compelling lecture on her research on the “Awakened Brain, The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life.”

Dr. Miller stressed that children are born with an innate sense of spirituality and is nurtured by family. She noted that Catholics who are formed in childhood continue with their spirituality, whether or not they attend Mass regularly. This insight can perhaps shed light on why young Catholics tend to be more spiritual than religious these days. She also stressed that it is parents who are the ones to guide children to partake in the weekly church or synagogue ritual.

Dr. Miller’s research states, “A person’s degree of spirituality is determined 29 percent by heredity, and 71 percent by environment. Our spirituality is substantially—roughly two-thirds—a factor of how we’re raised, the company we keep, and the things we do to build the muscle. But still a significant degree of our capacity to experience the sacred and transcendent—one-third—is inscribed in our genetic code, as innate as our eye color or fingerprints.”

Dr. Miller shared, “We can see our choices and the consequences of our actions through a lens of interconnectedness and shared responsibility. And we can learn to tap into a larger field of awareness that puts us in better touch with our inner resources, with one another, and with the fabric of all life.”

Interconnectedness and shared responsibility are also qualities woven through Ignatian Spirituality. Let us continue our own quests for an inspired life through this lens and journey together.

— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate