This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: I think that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not…we are all seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is toward happiness. Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama (1998) What do you think about what he says? RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, AND WELLBEING Cont. Cont. Spirituality – refers to the human tendency to search for meaning in life through self transcendence or the need to relate to something greater than the individual self. Religion – refers to a spiritual search that is connected to formal religious institutions, while spirituality does not depend on an institutional context. Therefore, spirituality is the more inclusive term for a search for the sacred, and religion refers to a search that is grounded in institutional forms of spirituality. Cont. Cont. There exists a fairly substantial number of studies that have looked at how religiosity and spirituality may have an impact on physical and mental health. People who are more religious & engage in more religious activities tend to be healthier, both mentally & physically. Greater participation in religious activities is significantly related to higher wellbeing, lower rates of delinquency, alcoholism, drug abuse & other social problems. Cont. Cont. One’s perceived closeness to God was the single biggest predictor of life satisfaction across all age ranges. During the first half of life, people may seek out religion in order to help with identity formation and to build social relationships. During the second half of life, people may need religion to help restructure life priorities and to help confront the reality of approaching death. Cont. Cont. The biggest predictor in the relationship between religiosity and wellbeing is “public religious participation” or active involvement in religious activities. It is also reasonable that religion should have a significant impact on how a person forms a sense of meaning and purpose in life. If wellbeing is measured as having a sense of meaning and purpose in life, then there is a stronger relationship between wellbeing and religiosity. Religiosity and Health Religiosity and Health The strongest predictor of how fast a person recovers, or if they recover from serious illness, is the use of religiously oriented coping strategies. However, there is evidence that neglecting medical services because of religious beliefs can be harmful. Prayer and Health Prayer and Health Herbert Benson, developed the Relaxation Response technique (a form of meditation), investigated prayer and found that prayer seems to help the immune system work better and can aid in healing. Research efforts in this area are just beginning and scientific evidence is being debated, however, currently nearly two thirds of medical schools in the U.S. now include course work that focuses on spiritual issues. Six Factors that Influence Why Is Religiosity Related to Why Is Religiosity Related to WellBeing? Religiosity provides for social support Religiosity helps support healthy lifestyles Religiosity helps promote personality integration Religiosity may increase generativity Religiosity provides unique coping strategies Religiosity provides a sense of meaning and purpose See detailed explanations text 199200 A SENSE OF MEANING AND A SENSE OF MEANING AND PURPOSE IN LIFE A common theme that runs through the research on religion and spirituality is the idea of finding meaning in life. Crystal Park and Susan Folkman define meaning as simply, “ perceptions of significance”. They argue that meaning gives life significance. In fact, we may have innate needs for meaning. The Needs for Meaning The Needs for Meaning Roy Baumeister suggests that the creation of meaning is a process of finding a way for our lives to make sense and be understandable. Four reasons why people need a sense of meaning: First reason is to help find a purpose in life, this refers to having goals in the future. Second, people need meaning because it can provide a sense of efficacy or control. Cont. Cont. Types of Meaning Two General Categories: 1. Cosmic Meaning or Global Meaning This refers to inquiries about whether “life in general, or at least human life, fits into some overall coherent pattern” It is an attempt to find the “grand plan” that moves and shapes the universe. Global meaning is composed of a search for both order and purpose. Third need is that meaning helps create ways to legitimize or justify actions. Finally people need meaning in their lives because a sense of meaning helps to foster a sense of self worth. Cont. Cont. The other type of meaning is the search for personal and secular meaning in life, or situational meaning. This type of meaning is associated with finding one’s purpose in life. Finding Meaning in Life Cult – a group of people who blindly accept someone else’s meaning system. Irwin Yalom notes that the sense of meaning and purpose usually changes over the course of one’s life. Common Avenues to Greater Meaning Common Avenues to Greater Meaning Greater harmony, coherence, and congruence among the various aspects of selfidentity and goals in life Development of a consistent life scheme Congruency of current situations with overall goals Service to others Dedication to a worthy cause Creativity Life lived as fully and deeply as possible Suffering Spiritual experiences. (details in text 202204) Religious Experiences Religious Experiences Elation and Awe – experiences of momentary joy that produce a variety of physiological and psychological responses associated with greater wellbeing. i.e. when people witness a spontaneous act of compassion or truly selfless giving, most report a warm feeling in their chests, a sense of expanding in their hearts, an increased desire to help, and a sense of connection with others. (elation) Cont. Cont. Awe – “deep appreciative wonder.” Normally, this is thought of as wonder at the immensity, beauty, and complexity of a phenomenon that takes on universal significance. Stimuli for these experiences include nature, art, and observing human excellence. Peak Experiences Peak Experiences Maslow’s description – saw them as those brief moments when people experience extreme joy, wonder, appreciation, or connection to a larger spiritual reality. Examples – Text pg. 206 Plateau experience – all aspects of the world take on a sacred quality or are seen as manifestations of a divine presence. Resacralization – or restoring a sense of the sacred to the ordinary world which was a process as an antidote to a new defense mechanism that he named desacralization. Pg 206 People who reported a neardeath experience also reported fairly dramatic changes in their orientation to life and their sense of meaning as a result of the experience. These changes included a dramatically decreased fear of death, decreased materialism, les concern with seeking social status or social recognition, increased meaningfulness to life, increased desire to be of service to other people, and increased orientation to spirituality. NearDeath Experiences NearDeath Experiences Comments on Religious Experiences Comments on Religious Experiences and the Creation of Meaning Positive effects of a neardeath experience may take up to eight years to be integrated completely into a person’s life. Developing a lasting sense of meaning and purpose in life is more than having dramatic experiences. The goal, is not religious experiences: it is the religious life. PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiosity Extrinsic – persons whose religious practices are used as a means for personal and social ends. Extrinsic religiousness “is the religion of comfort and social convention, a selfserving, instrumental approach shaped to suit oneself” Extrinsic persons might attend church in order to be seen by others, to raise their stature in the community, or to fit in with social expectations. Cont. Cont. Intrinsic religiousness, however, is a style of religiousness that is used for the sense of meaning and purpose that it affords the person, regardless of the social benefits that might accrue. Only intrinsic religiousness should be associated with positive mental health. CognitiveDevelopmental CognitiveDevelopmental Perspectives on Faith Faith –as a set of assumptions about how we are connected to others and to the world. Faith is the way we find meaning and coherence in our lives. Nihilism – the opposite of Faith – or the belief that life has no meaning. Psychodynamic Perspectives Psychodynamic Perspectives on Religion The basic idea behind these theories is that unresolved psychological conflicts can interfere with a person’s awareness of spiritual needs or religious impulses. Jung divided the unconscious into the personal and the collective. The personal unconscious holds memories and conflicts from childhood and repressed experiences of adult life. The collective unconscious contains psychological material that is more universal and is shared by all members of the human species. Cont. Cont. Archetypes – the main contents of the collective unconscious. Archetypes are innate universal tendencies to respond emotionally to certain stimuli from the environment. Comments on the Psychological Perspectives on Religion See Text Pg. 210 Eastern Religions are the oldest in the world. All Eastern religions are examples of contemplative religious or spiritual disciplines. Contemplative Spirituality –describes religious disciplines that seek to find a direct and very personal experience of God or whatever is seen as the ultimate force in the universe. EASTERN RELIGIONS: EASTERN RELIGIONS: IDEAS FROM BUDDHISM The Buddhist Perspective on Happiness The Buddhist The Reality of Constant Change Buddhism begins by stating what it considers the one irrefutable truth of life: life is constant change. Despite our wishes or attempts to change it, life always changes; we are born, we age, we die; pain follows pleasure or joy follow heartache as surely as night follow day (Rahula, 1974) Cont. Cont. The Desire for Security and Permanence (text pg. 211) Awareness and Detachment Detachment is the ability to “let go” and allow experiences to change without interference. Detachment means being open so that we experience each moment, bringing acute awareness to each changing moment and being willing to let each moment of awareness naturally change and flow into the next moment. Nirvana, Enlightenment, and the Nirvana, Enlightenment, and the Ideal of the Arhat Nirvana – to realize nirvana is to be released from all needs and desires based on greed, anger, and delusion. The realization of nirvana is accompanied by profound positive emotions. Enlightenment – a person who has realized nirvana. A person can have numerous enlightenment experiences, each of which may be deeper, with more profound insights. Cont. Cont. Word “Buddha” means the “enlightened or “awakened” one. One of the consequences of an enlightenment experience is that a person’s personality is permanently altered. Generally, this means that a portion of a person’s negative personality traits are permanently eliminated. Cont Cont In summary, in Eastern religions, a sense of wellbeing is fostered by accepting all aspects of life with equanimity and by finding a sense of meaning and purpose to life through insights into the nature of human consciousness. All these are achieved through the practice of meditation, which allows for experiencing the world and the self in fundamentally different ways and diminishes the need for goal attainment as a source of happiness because ultimate happiness is present in each moment. Healthy and Unhealthy Mental Factors of Healthy and Unhealthy Mental Factors of Buddhism (Chart on Pg. 213 in text) Stark & Washburn Eight Personality Traits of Spiritual Realization either Eastern or Western Contemplative Spiritual Discipline An adventuresome sense of life A sense of tranquility A frequent experience of bliss Nonattachment or the ability to let go of barriers and limitations The ability to bring presence and absorption to all everyday experiences Openness to experience High resilience A sense of spontaneity Cont. Cont. Research on Religious Experiences and Eastern Psychology Davidson and others have found that most for most people, meditation changes brain activity toward the patterns associated with positive moods. Studies have also shown that the practice of meditation and other spiritual disciplines can help increase factors associated with positive mental health such as empathy, creativity, and selfactualization. Comments on Religion and WellBeing Comments on Religion and WellBeing Researchers have suggested that a need for religiosity is innate and part of the human condition. It is also quite obvious that some of the world’s most serene, compassionate, and happy people are found in religious environments. Summary Pg. 214215 in Text ...
View Full Document
- Fall '07