The Experience of Spiritual Transcendence Through Centering Prayer

Amanda Blanchard & Christopher Peet

This study examines how Spiritual Transcendence (ST) is experienced through the Christian contemplative practice of Centering Prayer. Ralph Piedmont’s quantitative measure Assessment of Spirituality and Religious Sentiment Scale (ASPIRES) was adapted for qualitative analysis, arguing that the dynamic and nuanced experience of ST is not adequately recognized if viewed as a fixed personality trait as Piedmont proposes. ST can be defined as feelings of deep interconnection and the recognition of one’s existence within a greater context. The underlying essence of ST is interwoven throughout nearly every major world religion and is often made manifest through contemplative practices. Data collected based on semi-structured interviews with three Centering Prayer practitioners support our critical hypothesis, exhibiting ST as a dynamic and on-going process of transformation informed by the practice of Centering Prayer, positively adjusting the practitioner’s understanding of themselves, of humanity, and of reality as spiritually transcendent.

Oral presentation presented at the University of Saskatchewan Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, April 6, 2019.

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