This dissertation inquires into the experience of self-transcendence that results in compassionate living. This awareness engenders a sense of belonging, a cosmological vision in a social narrative in which individuals are members of the community and become caretakers of the ecosystem. I suggest this ethos bridges religion and science, leading to an integrated psychological experience of an ecological self, what I develop as my thesis on the ethics of belonging.
Compassionate living, social justice, pro-sociality, and a commitment to freedom and equality are foundational principles in the ethical code of awakened societies. Today, we see a global uprising of civil unrest due to the continuous threat to social well-being from systemic inequality that manifests as racism, abuse, brutality, and restrictions against our basic human relatedness—touch and presence—that leaves marginalized populations at impending higher risk. The individual and collective sense of identity and responsibilities become brittle and grief arises as the predominant emotional experience. Our sense of belonging dissipates, and life shows itself fragile.
Research has shown plenty of empirical evidence on the impact of contemplative practice on physical and psychological well-being. However, the capacity of these practices to help achieve the higher resolve of ethical and ecological goals like the ones mentioned above is still understudied. I suggest that contemplative practices within the context of spiritual development are centered in an ecopsychology of balance. Indigenous traditional wisdom asserts that spiritual emergence is a social ethos in practice in which a sense of conscious responsibility guides wise action for self, community, and environment. Their practices validate the subjective experience and prioritize the realization of spirit awareness and ecological belonging and encourage psychological integration of the inner world (psychic experience) and outer world (ecosystem). This is a liminal ecstatic arrest in a self-transcendent experience of reverence that reestablishes a sense of ecological connection and belonging through collective creation and embodied ritual narratives. They offer the possibility of reorienting our connectedness through meaningful presence and solidarity in a dialogue of inclusivity and diverse ways of knowing.
|Commitee:||White, Dana, Keltner, Dacher|
|School:||Pacifica Graduate Institute|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Comparative religion, Psychology, Native American studies|
|Keywords:||Compassion, Contemplative studies, Cultural psychology, Indigenous studies, Mythology, Self-transcendence|
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