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The Experience of Divine Guidance: A Qualitative Study of the Human Endeavor to Seek, Receive, and Follow Guidance from a Perceived Divine Source
By Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.
This research study examined the experience of seeking, receiving, and following guidance from a perceived source of divine wisdom. Nine advanced spiritual teachers (5 men and 4 women) from 7 spiritual traditions participated as coresearchers in this study. Coresearchers were North American or European born, predominantly Caucasian, California (USA) residents between the ages of 52 and 74. Coresearcher participation consisted of individual semistructured in-depth interviews. The questions and topics of discussion used for the interviews were developed through a process of researcher heuristic and spiritual self-inquiry. The results of a grounded-theory-based qualitative content analysis of the interview transcripts suggested that the experience of divine guidance, as measured in the current study, is characterized by a common structuring of the experience that includes general categories, factors, and patterns which appear to manifest into various particular and contextual forms depending on the individual person, event, and circumstance. The reported common structures of the experience included: The perception of a divine source of guidance; the experience of seeking, receiving , and following guidance from this perceived source; and various contributing, impeding, developmental , and mediating factors . Additionally, each coresearcher reported a unique metaphor of divine encounter that appeared to give them an archetypal and visceral way of describing and holding the experience. The researcher appeared to experience each of the coresearcher's metaphors of divine encounter through some kind of resonant learning or mimicking process. A Guidance Experience Template, Guidance Experience Evaluation Checklist, and Synthesized Guidance Practice were developed as aids to counselors, practitioners, and researchers exploring the experience of divine guidance. The findings of this study, and the development and implementation of guidance-related applications in this research, may advance the understanding of this common and historically significant human experience, and offer a valuable contribution to the fields of transpersonal psychology, spiritual guidance, and spiritual psychology.
Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2005. 462 pages; [Ph.D. dissertation].United States -- California: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; 2005. Publication Number: AAT 3174544.
Index terms (keywords): Divine guidance, Guidance, Spirituality, Religious experience, Transpersonal psychology
Source: DAI-B 66/05, p. 2855, Nov 2005
Source type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Religion, Theology
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