Sanz, M. (2022). Into the mystery: A phenomenological study of the participatory research method Embodied Spiritual Inquiry (ESI) and its perceived transformative value for inquirers [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

Embodied Spiritual Inquiry (ESI) is a participatory approach to transpersonal learning, developed by Jorge N. Ferrer, proposing the integration of the multiple ways of knowing of our physical, somatic, vital, emotional, mental and spiritual attributes into research. Published studies highlight the theoretical framework of the method while the focus of this study is the dynamics of the experience and its potential transformative value for inquirers. Through six months of phenomenological research in applying the analytical procedure of Colaizzi (1978) seven individuals were interviewed providing for video, written and artistic data. Eight main themes emerged, four of which textural: transpersonal experiences (collective field; subtle communication; vivid dreams; shadow integration; enhanced states of awareness); intimacy; transformation in everyday life; serendipity, and four structural: inquiry container; inquiry tool; collaboration; enhancement of other practices. Investigation results present participant experiences in regard to intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal dynamics, suggesting that ESI may provide for evolutionary means of research in educational settings, supportive of surprising and comprehensive results as well as the potential for individual and academic growth for students. Though this study also presents some limitations, it may generate curiosity and encourage further research with the method as well as inspire ESI studies in educational settings and beyond, highlighting the potential implications of transpersonal research for the field of psychology and society.

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