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The Heart Way of Knowing: A Narrative Review of Contemporary Mystical Experience
- Author / Creator
- Heather Mattson McCrady
Mystical experiences are often dismissed in the western Christian tradition, where objectivity has taken precedence over personal experience of union with the divine. This research explores the questions: “What is the experience of spiritual seekers today of the ‘heart-way of knowing’? How does mystical experience impact one’s ‘knowing’, faith, and personal expressions in the world? Through a narrative form of inquiry, the contemporary spiritual experiences and journeys of four women and three men were explored. Key elements of their experiences and resulting impacts on their faith journey were synthesized from personal interviews. Allowing these key elements to resonate with the mystics of the past and current authors has provided a unique opportunity to witness and bring to words the contemporary nature of what I have called, ‘the heart way of knowing’. Mystical experiences, while uniquely personal, are similar across time. They are transformative moments resulting in significant personal shifts in understanding of self, relationships, faith, commonly held beliefs and societal constructs. Faith communities are challenged to grow in their capacity to recognize and nurture the personal, communal, social and cultural nature of mystical experience. Having these experiences validated and allowed to resonate in our lives is important.
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- This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.