Education, Purpose and Human Flourishing Research Programme, Year 2
Seminar 5: 15 February, 2022

Professor Shehan Williams
‘Sri Lanka: Religio-cultural mental schemas and human flourishing’

Human flourishing in South Asia is integrally linked to its culture and values. Both culture and values are strongly enmeshed within different religious traditions that have evolved over centuries. The celebration of these traditions, inculcate in the individual a sense of historical belonging and community. The development of every child is in the backdrop of this huge elephant in the room; sometimes stifling, but at other times a constant reality that brings joy and is made use of meaningfully for self-reflection and growth.
This role of these underlying beliefs in developing resilience, meaning and flourishing in a setting where resources are scarce should not be underestimated. They contribute to a mental schema strongly determined by each individuals religio-cultural experience and background. This schema contributes to mental wellbeing amidst numerous uncertainties and traumas. As such, even psychological therapists have to understand these schemas to help individuals recover from mental distress.