The Spiritual Power of Toni Morrison’s Fiction: Mirjana Danicic
Mirjana DANICICUniversity of Belgrade, Serbia
An array of definitions of the word “spirituality” has been offered by various scientists and little consensus has been reached in spite of the overall agreement that spirituality involves multiple dimensions – social, cultural, psychological, behavioural, existential, etc. In Varieties of Religious Experience, William James defined spirituality as the “feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider divine” (42, my emphasis). The dynamic nature of spirituality is described in the italicised expression: spiritual feelings, acts, thoughts, and experiences relate to the development and existence of an individual, giving meaning to all the ambiguities of life. James’s definition was at the origin of the so-called “relational spirituality” which stands in opposition to cognitive behavioural models in psychology. The cognitive school of thought considers that individuals are not defined by, and do not only relate to, the sacred, but also to the profane, indicating that sacred and profane form a dialectic in human experience (Shults and Sandage 161).
Nevertheless, a relational view of spirituality can facilitate the understanding of spirituality and interpersonal relationships, since the ways in which individuals relate to the sacred can impact the ways in which they relate to others and to their community (for better or for worse). Likewise, relationships within a community can shape our representation of the sacred, as well as our spiritual formation. Additionally, a relational approach to spirituality integrates...
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