SACRED PLACES IN NATURE AS A CATALYST FOR SPIRITUALITY

SACRED PLACES IN NATURE AS A CATALYST FOR SPIRITUALITY -...

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SACRED PLACES IN NATURE AS A CATALYST FOR SPIRITUALITY How do sacred places in nature generate spiritual transformation? This pivotal question and related ones will be explored in a new field research project which is now in the preliminary development stage. The project focuses on a controlled comparison of individual experiences at diverse places in nature that are widely considered sacred and spiritually transformative. For each sacred site, detailed life histories will be systematically recorded for a sample of individuals who identify themselves as having experienced a spiritual transformation there. In turn, these life histories will be contextualized with geographical, ecological, cultural, religious, and historical background on the sacred place employing standard scientific methods including ethnography. In particular, this interdisciplinary research will seek to identify the factors and conditions that generate spiritual transformation in individuals from diverse religious, cultural, and national backgrounds. Potential study sites include Uluru (Ayres Rock) in central Australia, Haleakala volcanic crater on the island of Maui in Hawai`i, Mount Shasta in northern California, Sorte Mountain in central Venezuela, and in Thailand Doi Suthep in the north and Sai Khao in the south. The first three sites are considered sacred by indigenous and other individuals from a diversity of religious,
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