Toward a Spiritual Research Paradigm

Exploring New Ways of Knowing, Researching and Being

Edited by:
Jing Lin, University of Maryland
Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland
Tom E. Culham, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

A volume in the series: Transforming Education for the Future. Editor(s): Jing Lin, University of Maryland. Rebecca L. Oxford, University of Maryland. Vachel W. Miller, Appalachian State University. Amanda Jane Fiore, State Department.

Published 2016

Spirituality and spiritual experiences have been the bedrock of every civilization and together form one of the highest mechanisms for making sense of the world for billions of people. Current research paradigms, due to their limitation to empirical, sensory, psychologically, or culturally constructed realities, fail to provide a framework for exploring this essential area of human experience. The development of a spiritual research paradigm will provide researchers from the social sciences and education the tools and abilities to systematically explore fundamental questions regarding human spiritual experiences and spiritual growth.

A spiritual research paradigm requires an ontology that considers all reality to be multidimensional, interconnected, and interdependent. It requires an epistemology that integrates knowing from outer sources as well as inner contemplation, acknowledging our integration of soul and spirit with the body and mind. Three additional aspects are useful to a spiritual research paradigm: axiology, methodology, and teleology. An axiology concerns what is valued, good, and ethical. A methodology is the appropriate approach to systematic inquiry. A fifth and less frequently mentioned aspect is teleology, an explanation of the goal or end (telos) to which new knowledge is applied, such as gaining wisdom and truth, touching the divine, increasing inner peace, exploring hidden dimensions, or improving society. This book takes the first step to develop such a research paradigm. We draw from world spiritual traditions as well as scholarship that has arisen from contemplative practices. We also attempt to build a bridge between science and spirituality. Spiritual research is not necessarily opposed to scientific research; in fact, each can shed light on the other.

Dedication and Acknowledgements. Introduction: The Urgent Need to Develop a Spiritual Research Paradigm, Jing Lin, Rebecca L. Oxford and Tom Culham. Knowing the Unknown: Transcending the Educational Narrative of the “Kantian Paradigm” through Contemplative Inquiry, Oren Ergas. “Out of the Everywhere into Here”: Rhetoricity and Transcendence as Common Ground for Spiritual Research, Anne W. Anderson. Using a Spiritual Research Paradigm for Research and Teaching, Ramdas Lamb. Prolegomena to a Spiritual Research Paradigm: Importance of Attending to the Embodied and the Subtle, Heesoon Bai, Patricia Morgan, Charles Scott and Avraham Cohen. The Enneagram: A Spiritual Perspective for Addressing Significant Problems through Research, Robert London. The Embodied Researcher: Meditation’s Role in Spirituality Research, John (Jack) P. Miller. Developing a Spiritual Research Paradigm: A Confucian Perspective, Jing Lin, Tom Culham and Rebecca L. Oxford. Exploring the Unity of Science and Spirit: A Daoist Perspective, Tom Culham and Jing Lin. Creation Spirituality as a Spiritual Research Paradigm Drawing on Many Faiths, Rebecca L. Oxford. Paradigmatic Dialogues, Intersubjectivity, and Nonduality in Qualitative Inquiry: Considerations from Hinduism's Advaita Vedanta, Edward J. Brantmeier and Noorie K. Brantmeier. Seeking Collective Wisdom: A Spiritual-Dialogic Research Approach, Sachi Edwards.