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Exemplarity as commitment to the self: insights from spiritual healers

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

Publication date2013
Host publicationMoral saints and moral exemplars
EditorsMichael Schwartz, Howard Harris
Place of PublicationBingley
Number of pages35
ISBN (electronic)9781783500758
ISBN (print)9781783500741
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameResearch in Ethical Issues in Organizations
ISSN (Print)1529-2096


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.

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.

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.

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