Open Learning

Secular Spiritual Awakening

Study the phenomenon of spiritual awakening as a psychological phenomenon, outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. We will examine both temporary awakening experiences and wakefulness as an ongoing, permanent phenomenon. We will look at the triggers and contexts associated with awakening, and at the characteristics of the phenomenon, including difficult issues that may arise

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

This option examines the phenomenon of spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. We look at the triggers and contexts in which it occurs, as well as at the different types of awakening, and the characteristics of the ‘wakeful’ state. We will examine temporary awakening experiences, and ‘wakefulness’ as a permanent, ongoing state. We will further discuss the close relationship between awakening and intense psychological turmoil, otherwise known as ‘spiritual emergencies.’ We will examine why spiritual awakening sometimes causes disturbance and disruption, with some similarities to psychosis. We will also consider the cultural – and even evolutionary – significance of ‘secular spiritual awakening’.


Accordion Content
  1. Interpret spiritual awakening in a secular context
  2. Examine the phenomenon of spiritual awakening, its triggers, varieties and characteristics
  3. Explore the human experience of spiritual crisis (or spiritual emergency)
  4. Join live webinars, combining discussion and experiential work
  5. Discuss your own ideas and experience about self-transformation with peers and the tutor in interactive forums

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 leader

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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