MSc course

Secular Spiritual Awakening


In this optional area of study, we examine spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. Awakenings often occur in a secular context, to people who don’t consider themselves religious or even spiritual. What are the characteristics and challenges of secular awakening?


This optional area of study examines spiritual awakening outside the context of spiritual or religious traditions. In contemporary western culture, there is a shift in spiritual expression, towards a secular context. Research suggests that many people’s ‘awakening experiences’ – moments of oneness, intense well-being and revelation – occur outside the context of spiritual traditions, in the midst of everyday activities, to people who may not even have knowledge of spiritual traditions or practices. 

The same applies when people experience ‘wakefulness’ – an ongoing or permanent state of wakefulness (equivalent to what some spiritual traditions refer to as enlightenment). It is often interpreted in the context of religious or spiritual traditions, but can also exist outside them. 

There is a strong emphasis on the students’ own experiences. We will look at the challenges that secular awakening brings, particularly in terms of understanding and accepting awakenings in materialistic cultures which do not value or support spirituality. 

Accordion Content
  1. Meditations.
  2. Discussion of students’ own (temporary) awakening experiences, and the triggers or activities associated with them.
  3. Discussion of gradual/ongoing process of awakening (or long-term spiritual development).
  4. Discussion of the relationship trauma/turmoil and awakening.

Option tutor

Dr. Steve Taylor

Senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and author of several books on psychology and spirituality.

Enquire now for February 2024

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