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Embodying Spiritual Transcendence: An Investigation of Centering Prayer





This study examined how Spiritual Transcendence (ST) is experienced through the Christian contemplative practice of Centering Prayer. Ralph Piedmont's quantitative measure Assessment of Spirituality and Religious Sentiment Scale (ASPIRES) was adapted for qualitative analysis, arguing that the dynamic and nuanced experience of ST is not adequately recognized if viewed as a fixed personality trait as Piedmont proposes. ST can be defined as feelings of deep interconnection and the recognition of one’s existence within a greater context. The underlying essence of ST is interwoven throughout nearly every major world religion and is often made manifest through contemplative practices. Data collected based on semi-structured interviews with three Centering Prayer practitioners support our critical hypothesis, exhibiting ST as a dynamic and on-going process of transformation informed by the practice of Centering Prayer, positively adjusting the practitioner’s understanding of themselves, of humanity, and of reality as spiritually transcendent.

Student Researcher

Amanda Blanchard


Bachelor of Arts - Psychology, '20

Dr. Christopher Peet

Associate Professor, Psychology P: 780-465-3500 Ext. 8068
  • PhD, Psychology, University of Alberta, 2004
  • BA Honours, Religious Studies, University of Alberta, 1997