Into the Mystery
A phenomenological study of Embodied Spiritual Inquiry (ESI) and the perceived transformative value for inquirers
Keywords:Embodied Spiritual Inquiry, participatory approach, embodied transpersonal learning, transformative education
Can we gain spiritual knowledge by tuning into the body’s inherent wisdom? This paper explores such a possibility through the lens of Embodied Spiritual Inquiry (ESI), a participatory approach to transpersonal learning, developed by Jorge N. Ferrer, proposing the integration of multiple ways of knowing through physical, somatic, vital, emotional, mental and spiritual experiences. The focus of this phenomenological study was on the experience of ESI and its potential transformative value for inquirers. Seven individuals who previously participated in ESI research were interviewed. Findings emerged through eight essential themes: four textural constituents - transpersonal experiences, intimacy with self and others, transformation in everyday life, and serendipity; and four structural qualities - inquiry container, intuitive knowing through the body, collaborative research, and enhancement of other practices. Results reflected the intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal experiences of participants, suggesting that ESI may have a transformative value for researchers engaging with the method. While these results require further investigation in regard to their transferability, they may inspire future studies in light of the implications of transpersonal research in the field of psychology and beyond.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Marina L. Mecheva
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