Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Anne Harris

Abstract

This thesis explores the notion that a spiritual search for meaning can lead to the discovery of one's true nature, known in the Eastern tradition as Realisation of the Self. The necessity of a teacher to assist the seeker on this spiritual journey is also investigated. Three questions in particular are raised that will facilitate the analysis of this journey of discovery: 1) Is the longing for a sense of completeness, Beingness, awakened by a particular experience or is it in fact inherent in each human being? 2) Do spiritual seekers need to go out into the world to find meaning before the possibility of another reality is discovered in oneself? 3) The concept of a spiritual teacher to guide one towards Self-Realisation is integrated in the Eastern spiritual tradition but is it possible to discover one's true Self without such outside assistance? The methodology adopted is Moustakas' (1990) Heuristic Research Method because it emphasises the necessity of dedicated participation on the part of the researcher and offers the opportunity to engage in a personal process of enquiry. In heuristics there exists a distinct connection between a perceived outside reality and that which is within oneself in "reflective thought, feeling and awareness" (Moustakas, 1990:12). This entails that the use of the heart as well as the intellect is encouraged. This method of research is particularly suitable as the issues discussed in this thesis are of a deeply personal nature. In order to come to an understanding of the search for meaning of Self-Realisation, I compare the spiritual journeys of the contemporary mystics Irina Tweedie and Bede Griffiths with the search for my true Self. All three of us come from a Western cultural paradigm but have found the need to encompass Eastern spiritual traditions in our lives. This thesis therefore contains references to literature and scriptures from the West as well as the East and does not adhere to any particular religious belief. Douglass and Moustakas warn that "[The heuristic method] defies the shackles of convention and tradition" (Douglass & Moustakas, 1985:44) and by embracing this mode of research the thesis has become a process of discovery in itself.

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