Transpersonal and Other Models of Spiritual Development

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International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

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This chapter focuses on exploring various models of spiritual development. It first addresses philosophical dilemmas underpinning the concept of spiritual development by questioning whether these can be addressed without metaphysical assumptions embedded in religious worldviews and thus understood in any consensual way across different historical and cultural contexts. Traditional models of spiritual development are then reviewed, drawing from indigenous, Eastern, and Western cultures. Integrative-philosophical and scientific models, including those from the psychology of religion, transpersonal psychology, and neurobiology, are then presented. The chapter concludes by noting the complexities involved in understanding spiritual development accompanied by suggestions on future directions for these models by highlighting their commonalities and differences and by providing some evaluative perspectives for thinking critically about them.