An Encounter with One’s Deeper Self and Energy: A Phenomenological Study Among Spiritually Engaged Individuals in the Netherlands

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Abstract

Natural environments are the setting for spiritual experiences for people from all over the world. Interpretative phenomenological explorations of such experiences are scarce, even though the method suits the topic. We conducted field interviews with 18 Dutch visitors of a Dutch spiritual festival on how they (1) describe spiritual experiences in natural environments and (2) see the role of different natural attributes in these experiences. Principle descriptive concepts for spiritual experiences were a deeper self and spiritual energy. Aspects of nature facilitating such experiences were wilder sites, open spaces, sacred sites, sites remembered from childhood, old trees, animals, water, and fire, each adding a quality to the experience that resembled its innate properties. Participants agreed on the positive impact of these experiences on their well-being, mentioning different degrees of long-term benefit. Key Words: Connection to nature—Ecotherapy—Interpretative phenomenology—Spiritual experience—Well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
JournalEcopsychology
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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