Spiritual awakening and transformation in scientists and academics

Author: Marjorie Woollacott1, Anne Shumway-Cook2
1 Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, USA. Electronic address: mwool@uoregon.edu.
2 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, USA.
Conference/Journal: Explore (NY)
Date published: 2022 Sep 6
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2022.08.016. , Word Count: 254

The purpose of this study was to document both quantitatively and qualitatively the characteristics of spiritual awakenings and their transformational effects in scientists and academics who reported having experienced this phenomenon; it also aimed to explore barriers these individuals perceived to sharing their experiences with others within society. METHODS: An interview questionnaire was used to collect detailed descriptions of both the physical and metaphysical experiences of 54 scientists and academics having had a spiritually transformative experience (STE) (e.g., spontaneous energetic awakenings, awakenings occurring through near-death experiences (NDEs), and through spiritual practices). RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Participants reported the STE as a mystical experience involving feelings of expansion (including conscious awareness leaving the body), energy rising up the spine, a sense of being enveloped in light, love or part of a unified energetic field. Principle triggers for these experiences included concentrating on spiritual matters, the presence of a spiritually developed person, and intense meditation or prayer. Transformational changes in participants included increased sensory sensitivity, creativity, and changes in beliefs, including a desire to serve others, a sense of unity with all, and the immortality of the spirit. Effects on career ranged from incorporating their new worldview and spiritual insights into the way they interacted with others within their current career, to radically changing their career to focus on questions related to the fundamental nature of consciousness or to serve others from this new perspective. Among barriers to sharing experiences, participants noted their concern that they would be misunderstood or ridiculed by others.

PMID: 36100544 DOI: 10.1016/j.explore.2022.08.016