Wu, Y. (2021). Awakening experience in Chinese adults – A heuristic inquiry [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

This essay studies a phenomenon called ‘awakening experience’ (AE) (Taylor, 2017), which displays characteristics of expanded and intensified perception, using a humanistic qualitative approach called heuristic inquiry (Moustakas, 1990). The aim was to study the phenomenology of Chinese individuals who reported having had such experiences. Purposive sampling was used to find a group of individuals who were born and lived in China until adulthood, and who felt that they had undergone such experiences, as defined by Taylor (2017). Seven participants were recruited through Chinese social media, except one, who was an acquaintance of the author. The participants were interviewed using a semi-structured format. The transcripts were coded, and an individual depiction was created for each participant. A composite depiction with 15 main themes across the participants was then elicited, and a creative synthesis was generated to illuminate the essence of the collective experience of all participants, as well as featuring the experiences of the researcher. Most of the findings resonate with previous studies and support previous findings that AE shares similar features regardless of cultural or spiritual background and is more a ‘spiritual opening’ with both psychological benefits and disturbances rather than being an equivalent to the popular notion of ‘enlightenment’ – a state of continuous peace and contentment (Tolle, 2001).

Alef Trust logo

Transpersonal psychology newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive updates from the world of transpersonal psychology, news, events and updates on new webinars, courses and programmes.