Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-26-2020

Abstract

Embodied spiritual inquiry (ESI) is a radical approach to integral and transpersonal education and research offered as a graduate course at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Inspired by elements of participatory research and cooperative inquiry, ESI applies interactive embodied meditations to access multiple ways of knowing (e.g., somatic, vital, emotional, mental, contemplative) and mindfully inquire into collaboratively decided questions. This article presents the learning outcomes of an inquiry into the nature of human boundaries within and between co-inquirers, providing an example of how ESI is implemented in the classroom and can be used to study transpersonal subject matter. In particular, the study found that boundaries were experienced in terms of their dynamic effects rather than as static qualities, with a relationship between dissociation and overly firm boundaries, as well as a relationship between integration/merging and more varied combinations of firm and permeable boundaries. Other notable inquiry outcomes include the identification of (a) experiential qualities of the states of dissociation, merging, and integration; (b) a recursive relationship between fear and trust in the modulation of optimal interpersonal boundaries; and (c) the phenomenon of shared emergent experience between practitioners, which suggests the existence of an intersubjective transpersonal field.

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