In the 60’s and 70’s Shantena worked as a theoretical physicist on the foundations of quantum physics and on black holes at the University of Milan and at the University of California. Longing for a more transformative personal and social practice, in 1976 he left the academic world and with a group of friends founded a spiritual-ecological farming community in Tuscany. In the late 80’s and early 90’s he worked as translator and consultant for the Italian publishing house Red Edizioni, travelled extensively in India, and he practiced and taught various meditation techniques. In 1991 he got involved in the Eranos I Ching Project and in the organization of the Eranos conferences. (Eranos is an international East-West research center located in Ascona, Switzerland, founded by Olga Froebe Kapteyn and C.G. Jung in 1933). The work on the I Ching at Eranos, together with the Dutch sinologist Rudolf Ritsema, produced two innovative translations: I Ching: Il libro della versatilità, Red Edizioni, Como, 1996, and The Original I Ching Oracle, Watkins Publishing, London, to appear in April 2005. Shantena regularly leads seminars using the I Ching as a tool for introspection in Italy, Switzerland and Scandinavia.
While walking this winding path through various involvements and endeavors, Shantena never completely lost sight of his initial interest in the philosophical aspects of physics. He occasionally lectured about these topics in Italy, Switzerland and the USA, and he kept reflecting on the interface between mind and matter, consciousness and the phenomenal world and wondering at the marvel of life in this mysterious universe. He feels that this kind of investigation is not the exclusive domain of the specialist, but concerns us all and is intimately connected with the longing for beauty and for making the world a better place for all living beings. Since 2002 Shantena is involved in the Pari Center for New Learning, where many of his essential interests naturally converge.