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ERIC Number: ED530228
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 228
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-0660-3
Understanding the Nature of Spiritual Experiences: A Qualitative Study
Gandhi, Punita
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
The study uses qualitative methodology to understand the "nature" of spiritual experiences that resemble self-realization or oneness, and the linguistic structures and representational knowledge used to comprehend and communicate such an experience. It draws upon Habermas' theory of communicative action to explain the nuances of communication as it relates to a very personal and indescribable spiritual experience. Four participants who had spiritual experiences resembling self-realization were selected for the study. The data was collected using two comprehensive and detailed open-ended interviews with each participant. Preliminary reconstructive analysis was used to analyze data from the two sets of interviews, which included drawing out implicit meanings and linguistic structures such as metaphors, paradoxes, analogies, stories, examples, and implicit theories from the interviews and making them explicit. Each participant was encouraged to offer feedback on their analysis chapters and provide member check to ensure accuracy of data interpretation and analysis. Results show striking similarities in insights from the spiritual experience across all four participants regarding core aspects of spirituality such as absolute certainty and incommunicability of spiritual experience, indescribable nature of the Essence, the principle of oneness, and experience of the Truth as a paradox, among others. The analysis also showed differences between participants in the linguistic and symbolic representations they used to communicate their experience. In spite of varied experiences and diverse symbolic representations of the experience, the essence of spiritual understanding was similar across all participants. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A