Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Windows to the soul: A heuristic inquiry into the use of the eyes as portals to innate presence
by Leiby, Jane Carol, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2014, 267; 3645149
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study explored the subjective experience of mutual eye-gazing functioning as a pathway to unitive consciousness through shared awareness. Research on the unitive consciousness is primarily viewed as an individual experience, rather than as two individuals engaged in shared awareness. In addition, eye-gazing is primarily viewed as eye contact using the physical apparatus rather than eye-gazing as a transpersonal occurrence. The participants of this pioneer study consisted of 12 exemplar spiritual guides who were recruited to explore the experience: 7 men and 5 women from 50 to 70 years old; 9 were from the United States, 1 from Mexico, 1 from Canada, and 1 from the United Kingdom. Based on the heuristic method, data were collected via semistructured interviews to obtain participant’s subjective experience of mutual eye-gazing. Qualitative thematic analysis was used for data analysis to identify common themes on mutual eye-gazing across the group of participants. Seven themes identified from the data set included (a) experience of shared awareness through eye-gazing, (b) interplay between thought and awareness, (c) hindrance of eye-gazing, (d) presence of divine nature, (e) dynamics of energy, (f) sensory experience, and (g) feeling of love. Results showed that mutual eye-gazing functioned as a vehicle for shared awareness, potentially leading to a higher state of consciousness in which the personal and Divine selves are realized as one. Transpersonal elements included transformational understanding of self and with other and reduced influence of the ego achieved by allowing for a broader perspective than a purely individual one. The most marked discovery was the emergence of a transpersonal movement towards unity that evolved into a 4-step process that could be used as a guideline for the realization of shared awareness. The shared process of mutual eye-gazing may be a useful spiritual application to anyone interested in psychological or spiritual well-being and transformation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Palmer, Genie
Commitee: Amorok, Tina, Judy, Dwight
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Eye contact, Eye gazing, Innate presence, Intersubjectivity, Shared awareness, Spiritual guidance, Transpersonal
Publication Number: 3645149
ISBN: 9781321337792
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