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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the growing literature on spirituality. Spirituality is defined as a search for the sacred. The term search indicates that spirituality is a process, one that involves efforts to discover the sacred, hold onto the sacred once it has been found, and transform the sacred when necessary. Spirituality is a process that unfolds in different ways, depending on a unique blend of biological, social, psychological, situational, and transcendent forces. At its best, spirituality is broad and deep, responsive to life’s situations, nurtured by the larger social context, capable of flexibility and continuity, and oriented toward a life-enhancing destination. At its worst, spirituality lacks scope and depth, clashes unnecessarily with the surrounding social system, changes and shifts too easily or not at all, and misdirects the individual in the pursuit of spiritual value. Social scientists and health professionals have begun to develop spiritually integrated interventions, with some promising results.

Keywords: coping, culture, religion, sacred, spirituality, struggle, transformation

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