Theoretical Bases of Spiritual Psychology

Have you ever wondered who you are and why you are here? What is it that keeps you going? For many of us, the answers to these questions are rooted in spirituality. One might be an atheist, but they still require something to make meaning of the world around them. Do studies show that having a sense of purpose relates to positive well-being?

Theoretical Bases

Levin's (1994) work by creating a paradigm with seven distinct explanatory processes, or pathways, that lead to positive health outcomes. The paths discussed below have some degree of overlap, but each process provides a different theoretical explanation. Finally, emphasis is placed on the results closely related to the explanatory process under consideration.

Health Promotive Behaviors and Lifestyles

Spiritual practices can encourage healthy lifestyles and habits. There are proscriptive and prescriptive behavioral injunctions. Regarding the former, alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs, for example, are generally discouraged. One of the clearest empirical links in the literature, according to Gorsuch (1993), is the finding that those who practice spiritual traditions with strong anti-substance abuse standards consume drugs and alcohol less frequently.

Thus, alcoholism is quite uncommon among people who follow the Muslim religion, which forbids drinking alcohol. Like recommended activities, well-being practices are frequently encouraged in areas like food, exercise, hygiene, rest, etc. Both the Christian practise of treating one's body as a temple and the Buddhist practice of allocating time for meditation serve as examples. These behavioral requirements are becoming increasingly ingrained in people's daily lives as they strive to deepen their relationship with the Ultimate. Although these lifestyle choices have a wide range of positive impacts, they may be most closely associated with lower rates of morbidity, mortality, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD).

Spiritual Development

English (2000) advocated for three aspects of real spiritual growth related to adult learning. A strong sense of self is the first step in spiritual development, and such spiritual self-awareness entails knowing one's values, beliefs, and commitments. Adults who participate in contexts that support continuous or lifelong learning frequently form ties with other adults in the same setting. Adult learners can acquire a deeper sense of self, which is important to spiritual development through these rich interactions.

Additionally, as adult students form close bonds with their teachers, they frequently experience a sense of value, strengthening their sense of self. Learner builds a firm foundation for themselves with a strong sense of self, enabling them to grow and take chances confidently. This strong feeling of self is described as a lifelong process of individuation and as the development of the full individual, indivisible and yet separate from the overall collective psyche. An upward path includes individuality, honesty, and transformational learning. When adult learners are honest or true to themselves, they recognize their unique values and beliefs. They then start the transformation process, leading to more authenticity and yet another round of individuation and change.

By claiming that personally relevant and meaningful learning is essentially anchored in and is generated from the adults' emotional, creative relationship with the self and the larger social world, they linked spirituality with a sense of self. Adult learners frequently display significant emotional reactions when participating in diverse educational environments. Adults who return to the classroom frequently use terms that express feelings like anxiety or dread to describe their experiences. This shows that moods and emotions greatly impact how adults learn and feel about themselves. As a result, as relationships and emotions are important components of spirituality for adult learners, they also help their spiritual growth.

The second aspect of spiritual growth is compassion, outreach, and care for others. The capacity to show compassion has been identified as a key component of spiritual growth. Spiritually developed people understand that all creation is interrelated and accept responsibility for caring for both others and all of creation. As adults give of themselves to support and affirm others, their lives get better. Spiritual growth is enhanced through supporting, sharing knowledge, and affirming one another.

Spiritually developed adults become aware that there is something more than themselves, and this understanding influences their decisions and dedication to the common good. Adults are motivated to reach out to others to serve their local communities, society, and the larger globe for the benefit of all people due to this awareness.

The construction of meaning and understanding is the third aspect of spiritual growth. Adults constantly create meaning via their relationships and diverse life experiences. Adults learn that life is bigger than sphere of influence and that future is connected up with that of others as they get a deeper awareness of their lives. Adult learners have a significant chance for further spiritual development when they participate in meaning-making since they know they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This is what Zohar (2005) referred to as holism, which includes the comprehension that each person is a component of the global system and that what each person does, thinks, values, and feels has an impact on the entire planet. As a result, each person is responsible for playing their part in the global system.

Why is it Relevant?

Spiritual psychology is related to people's everyday life in several ways. Some of how spiritual psychology can have an impact on people's everyday lives include

Emotional Well-Being − By helping individuals to develop self-awareness, inner peace, and a sense of purpose, spiritual psychology can help to promote emotional well-being. This can include reducing anxiety, depression, and stress and increasing feelings of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.

Physical Well-Being − Through spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation, spiritual psychology can help promote physical well-being. These practices can help reduce chronic health conditions' symptoms, improve cardiovascular health, and promote overall physical wellness.

Relationship − By encouraging individuals to develop positive traits and emotions such as compassion, empathy, and forgiveness, spiritual psychology can help to promote healthier and more fulfilling relationships with others. This can include fostering more positive and supportive connections with friends, family, and romantic partners.

Mindfulness − The practice of mindfulness, which is emphasized in spiritual psychology, can help individuals to be more present in the moment and more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Mindfulness can improve focus, attention, and self-regulation, positively impacting everyday activities and work performance.

Purpose and Meaning − Through a deeper understanding of oneself, spiritual psychology can help individuals to find meaning and purpose in their lives. This can be accomplished by studying spiritual beliefs, values, and practices and cultivating positive traits and emotions. Having a sense of purpose and meaning can make one feel more fulfilled and motivated to strive for their goals.

Spirituality − By exploring one's spiritual beliefs and practices, individuals can deepen their connection to something greater than themselves and cultivate a sense of inner peace and connection to a higher power. This can positively impact one's mental and emotional well-being and provide comfort and guidance in times of crisis and uncertainty.


Integrating these different perspectives can provide a comprehensive understanding of the human experience and spiritual growth. It is important to remember that spiritual psychology should not be limited to any one perspective and should take a multidisciplinary approach to understand the human experience and spiritual growth fully.

Updated on: 06-Feb-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started