Open Learning

Contemporary Spirituality

Study the the cultural implications of the shift into secular spirituality, where self-agency and self-realisation are the spiritual focus, while also examining the phenomenon of spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions.

Start date: February 2022. Length of study: 10 weeks. Tuition: £400.

Contemporary Spirituality covers two main areas

Part one

The first (led by tutor Ellis Linders) considers the cultural implications of the shift into secular spirituality, where self-agency and self-realisation are the spiritual focus. We will explore new spiritual expressions as a social trend, and how these fit into the tradition of Western Esotericism as a whole, and consider the moral implications around appropriation of spiritual teachings in the so-called contemporary ‘spiritual supermarket’. On a theoretical level, we’ll evaluate the spiritual models of perrenialism and the participatory approach. On a more personal level we will explore the development of spiritual identity, and critically question what a truly inclusive, unifying, and embodied spirituality means in our fractured world.

Part two

Led bu Steve Taylor, you will examine the phenomenon of spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. We look at the triggers and contexts in which it occurs, as well as at the different types of awakening, and the characteristics of the ‘wakeful’ state. We will examine temporary awakening experiences, and ‘wakefulness’ as a permanent, ongoing state. We will further discuss the close relationship between awakening and intense psychological turmoil, otherwise known as ‘spiritual emergencies’, and examine why spiritual awakening often causes disturbance and disruption and can be similar to psychosis. We will also consider the cultural – and even evolutionary – significance of ‘secular spiritual awakening’.

Overview

Accordion Content
  1. Interpret spiritual awakening in a secular context
  2. Explore the question “what is spiritual freedom?”
  3. Examine the phenomenon of spiritual awakening, its triggers, varieties and characteristics
  4. Explore the human experience of spiritual crisis (or spiritual emergency)
  5. Consider contemporary teachers and teachings within the context and history of Western Esotericism
  6. Join several live webinars, combining discussion and experiential work
  7. Discuss your own ideas and experience about self-transformation with peers and the tutor in interactive forums

There are no formal entry requirements to join this course. Come and study purely for personal interest and enrichment … and get the same level access as our postgraduate students who will be studying alongside you!

Before each course begins you will be provided with a Course Outline which will list the reading materials, time-lines, and any activities required as part of the course.

This course features 2 discussion forums, experiential activities and several live webinars.

Course leader

Dr. Steve Taylor

Senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of several books on psychology and spirituality.

Ellis Linders

Ellis Linders

MSc in Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University.

Student stories

Enquire now for February 2021

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