At some point it is likely that everyone will ask the question – why am I on this planet? What is my true nature? And what is my relationship with the world? That is when we start shifting our gaze from the world of outside perception to a space within. For the answer lies there.

All cultures and religions provide guidance to help us introspect and generate self inquiry. Judaism holds that the self within—the soul—is far more important than the physical body which houses it. In Christianity, the soul is how we connect inwardly with God. In Ancient Greece, The Temple of Apollo in Delphi had two famous maxims inscribed: “Know thyself” (gnothi seauton) and “Nothing in excess” (meden agan).

Buddhism emphasizes mindfulness as a means of cultivating inner peace and maintaining awareness of the illusory nature of individual selfhood. Taoist alchemy uses certain practices and rituals to harness energies of the human body to boost longevity and even enable immortality. Confucius emphasized the importance of focusing on the world within by urging his students to reform themselves through constant self-reflection.

Brahmavidya or the spiritual knowledge in Hinduism reminds us that the atman or the higher self which resides within and binds us all is everlasting, but we get confused with the ego-self which is ephemeral. Recalibrating and sorting the inner world will automatically transform our relationship with the outer world – for the better. Using dhyana or meditation, we can rise above the disturbances of the mind to tap into our true nature which is innately divine.


“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
—The New Testament (Corinthians 3:16), Christian text


“The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.”
― Rumi, Sufi mystic and poet


“The goal of yoga science is to calm the mind, that without distortion it may hear the infallible counsel of the Inner Voice.”
—Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian guru


“That everything is included within your mind is the essence of mind. To experience this is to have a religious feeling.”
—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Buddhist monk and teacher



“Those who know others are perceptive
Those who know themselves are wise
Those who conquer others are forceful
Those who conquer themselves are strong”
—Tao Te Ching, Daoist text


“When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.’”
—The Analects (4:17), Confucian text

Art and Literature

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”
–Maya Angelou, American poet

“The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human modesty, in human responsibility.”
—Vaclav Havel, Former President of Czechoslovakia

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Knowledge acquired by human beings has been increasing at an exponential rate for over a century. However, we have yet to make commensurate progress in human flourishing. This is because knowledge has been getting increasingly fragmented and sits mostly in silos. The UEF believes that if we can integrate knowledge across the silos of time, civilizations, geographies and academic disciplines.