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Spiritual Pathfinders _ Identity and Transformation in Contemporary Alternatives to Institutionalised Religion

Linders, E (2021) Spiritual Pathfinders _ Identity and Transformation in Contemporary Alternatives to Institutionalised Religion. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

This doctoral research thesis aims to provide a comprehensive depiction of contemporary spiritual engagement outside of religious tradition. Existing research is primarily contextualized within the areas of sociology and religious studies, and an in-depth psychological evaluation of those who self-define as spiritual but not religious (SBNR) is underrepresented. Using the qualitative method of heuristic research, the experiences of twenty participants with long-term involvement in self-directed spirituality are explored. The core-activity of consistent psycho-spiritual engagement is referred to as “spiritual pathfinding”. Whilst the pathfinding journey is found to be a highly individual experience, the research uncovered themes across participants which are explicated in this report. The data reveals that spiritual pathfinding is characterized by the supplementation, hybridisation, and re-evaluation of both traditional and new spiritual pathways in synthesis with psychological inquiry and process. Further findings concern an emphasis on intuition and somatic signals to navigate the spiritual path. Choices are based on resonance with personal process with the aim of self-transformation, understood as an awakening to - and integration with - a multidimensional or transpersonal selfhood. This denotes the changing meaning of transcendence in contemporary spiritual engagement as an alignment with an inner spiritual core beyond the everyday self. The transpersonal selfhood is understood by participants to interconnect with a collective field of consciousness, experienced as a personal responsivity and responsibility towards the whole. More research would be required to determine if spiritual pathfinding is a consistent core-activity - or represents a subset in the SBNR. Results however indicate that contemporary spiritual engagement reflects a distinct psycho-spiritual orientation involving challenge, complexity, and commitment. The current report thereby supports findings from sociological research that SBNR constitutes a viable alternative to religion and atheism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Keywords: Spiritual but not Religious (SBNR), secular spirituality, contemporary spirituality, transpersonal psychology, individuation, self-realisation, self-transformation, transpersonal Self.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2021 09:33
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 09:34
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00015822
Supervisors: McIlroy, D, Lancaster, BL and Malinowski, P
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15822

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