IONS October: Mary Mansfield

Austin IONS Meeting: October 27th, 2009Mary Mansfield, contemplative psychologist, spoke on Seeking the Balance: my dance between spirituality and science. Drawing from her own life experiences, she will share how she sought ways of creating a balance between her spiritual and physical worlds, especially in times of trials and tribulations.

Short bio:

Mary Mansfield has lived many incarnations in her present life, and has come to the realization that life continually gives you what you need, within the many realms of existence, in order to help you move forward and to grow.  Austin, Texas called to Mary in February 2003. She paid attention to it’s calling and moved from Boulder, CO a few months later. She currently works as an Executive Assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Natural Sciences. Also, her love of wine has brought her to conducting wine tastings, and writting several articles for the Texas Food and Wine Foundation’s on-line publication Plate and Vine.

And, Mary Mansfield’s first words where “ What’s that?” Her questions became deeper and by the age of 12, she began questioning her religious background in Catholicism. A synchronistic meeting with a family friend would steer Mary into the direction of Mythology, Eastern Philosophy, Astrology, Numerology, and The Power of Positive Thinking. After a near death experience, with the birth of her first son at 17, her thirst for spiritual knowledge deepened. She studied Mind Psi-Genics and Transcendental Meditation, which was her first introductions of the mind, body and spirit connections, and throughout 1970’s Mary acquired much of her knowledge reading the limited number of books available in her fields of interest. During this time she also began her 30-plus years of dream journaling and interest in symbolism.

Mary met Dr. Michael Shermer (founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist in Scientific American magazine) when she enrolled at Glendale Community College in 1986. In Psych 101, her interest in the brain and hard science was sparked. She became a member of Dr. Shermer’s “History of Science” study group. For several years she considered herself as an agnostic, until life provided Mary with a series of very difficult circumstances. She needed more than scientific data to help her thorough.

Living in Los Angeles, she had access to The Philosophical Research Society, where she was fortunate to attend lecturers by Manly P. Hall, who talked about integrating philosophy, religion and science, without boundaries.

In 1992, Mary and her three sons moved to Boulder, Colorado. At the age of 40, she left her very successful career in Telecommunications and became a full-time student at Naropa University, a Buddhist College. There she received her B.A. in Contemplative Psychology.

One evening, inside a small church in September 2002, an elderly Spanish nun gave a talk (as she did every night) to the pilgrims who were traveling along the Santiago de Compostella, the place of spritual pilgrimage across the mountains of Spain into Portugal.. She explained to Mary and her fellow pilgrims that this was the halfway mark on their 500-mile trek and at this point many were contemplating the question, “Why am I doing this?”  She explained that the Camino had called to them because they were all seekers.

Manly Hall: artist-scholar- philosopher of mythical symbolism said:     “Love rules the sphere of the wise. Those who have learned to love life in its deepest and most mystical senses have escaped from bondage of fear and dwell in peace with all things.”