Open Learning

Secular Spiritual Awakening

Start date: February 2023. Length of study: 10 weeks. Tuition: £425


In this course, we examine spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. Awakenings often occur in a secular context, to people who don’t consider themselves religious or even spiritual. What are the characteristics and challenges of secular awakening?


This course examines spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. In contemporary western culture, there is a shift in spiritual expression, towards a secular context. Research suggests that many people’s ‘awakening experiences’ – moments of oneness, intense well-being and revelation – occur outside the context of spiritual traditions, in the midst of everyday activities, to people who may not even have knowledge of spiritual traditions or practices. 

The same applies when people experience ‘wakefulness’ – an ongoing or permanent state of wakefulness (equivalent to what some spiritual traditions refer to as enlightenment). It is often interpreted in the context of religious or spiritual traditions, but can also exist outside them. 

There is a strong emphasis on the students’ own experiences. We will look at the challenges that secular awakening brings, particularly in terms of understanding and accepting awakenings in materialistic cultures which do not value or support spirituality. 

Accordion Content
  1. Meditations.
  2. Discussion of students’ own (temporary) awakening experiences, and the triggers or activities associated with them.
  3. Discussion of gradual/ongoing process of awakening (or long-term spiritual development).
  4. Discussion of the relationship trauma/turmoil and awakening.

There are no formal entry requirements to join this course. Come and study purely for personal interest and enrichment … and get the same level access as our postgraduate students who will be studying alongside you!

Before each course begins you will be provided with a Course Outline which will list the reading materials, time-lines, and any activities required as part of the course.

This course features 2 discussion forums, experiential activities and several live webinars.

Course tutor

Dr. Steve Taylor

Senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of several books on psychology and spirituality.

Would you like to find out more?

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