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Exemplarity as commitment to the self: insights from spiritual healers

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

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Abstract

Purpose
Moral exemplarity is a desirable but complex achievement. The chapter discusses the meaning of moral exemplarity and examines how the self, as a psychological and spiritual centre within a Jungian perspective, contributes to fostering moral commitment.

Methodology/approach
A narrative study was conducted amongst ten spiritual healers in New Zealand and France. Stories were collected and analysed interpretively to uncover meaningful patterns about spiritual healers’ moral stance and apprehension of the self.

Findings
Spiritual healers demonstrated a deep commitment to the self which clearly sustained a commitment to serve or help others. Commitment to the self was articulated around five core values: self-work, self-reflection, humility, self-integrity and love.

Implications/value
The chapter highlights the moral value of inner work. The self, in its archetypal sense, carries as potential an ‘innate morality’ that resonates in the heart and nurtures integrity and authenticity. To commit to the self requires undertaking a long and painful exploration of the psyche and integrating unconscious material into ego-consciousness. The participating spiritual healers, who had committed to their self and were well advanced on their psychological exploration journey, displayed moral qualities akin to exemplarity