Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Moved to tears by divine presence: Sacred experiencing, transference, and self-development
by Iverson, Ronald Lloyd, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2009, 670; 3447666
Abstract (Summary)

The primary focus of this dissertation is a theoretical analysis of the experience of weeping in the presence of someone perceived as embodying the divine from a depth psychological perspective. Theory is shaped by a qualitative analysis of data derived from the researcher's own experience and unstructured interviews of 19 individuals who had such experiences in the presence of an Indian guru. The methodology is hermeneutic phenomenology, influenced by alchemical hermeneutics, heuristic research, and intuitive inquiry, which require a self-reflective and transparent involvement of the subjectivity of the researcher.

Preliminary hermeneutic lenses, conveying both perspective and content of the researcher's predisposition toward the topic, were developed in an intuitive, imaginal process prior to immersion in the interview material. Lenses were modified afterward on the basis of thematic analysis of data. Key themes include: both pain and/or bliss; gratitude; unselfish heart; removal of psychological constrictions; healing of wounds; activation of developmental processes; enhancement of security and faith; Self love; incarnation of Self; palpable Presence; sensory refinement; softening of self/other boundaries; fusion of known and unknown; foundation in unified field; and sacred union.

From a unified Jungian and psychoanalytic perspective, the weeping experiences are seen as part of a non-pathological, psycho-spiritual process of incarnation and stabilization of the Self. Sacred experiencing is viewed on a continuum from painful yet numinous selfobject experiences to a fulfilling direct immersion in the unified field of consciousness. The unfolding of new capacities for loving enhances the capacity for the experience of an expanded, universal Self. Presence becomes palpable based on refined apperception of quantum field effects, which may be enhanced in the collective transference with a guru. It is postulated that the transformative experiences may be the result of a synchronous emanation of the objective psyche, which has been activated in the transference field.

Psychotherapists would deepen the spirituality and potency of their work by cultivating awareness of activated transference field effects and the capacity to hold idealized projections of patients. Gurus and devotees would benefit from depth psychotherapy to facilitate and understand the transformative psycho-spiritual processes activated in the transference field with the gum.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Corbett, Lionel
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Adult weeping, Guru, Hermeneutics & phenomenology, Sacred experience, Self-development, Transference, Weeping
Publication Number: 3447666
ISBN: 978-1-124-52081-0
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