Psychologists examine spiritual transformation within the context of an individual's meaning system,[need quotation to verify] especially in relation to concepts of the sacred or of ultimate concern. Two of the fuller treatments of the concept in psychology come from Kenneth Pargament and from Raymond Paloutzian.
Pargament holds that "at its heart, spiritual transformation refers to a fundamental change in the place of the sacred or the character of the sacred in the life of the individual. Spiritual transformation can be understood in terms of new configurations of strivings" (p. 18).
Paloutzian suggests that "spiritual transformation constitutes a change in the meaning system that a person holds as a basis for self-definition, the interpretation of life, and overarching purposes and ultimate concerns" (p. 334).
One school of thought emphasises the importance of "rigorous self-discipline" in spiritual transformation.
- Israela Silberman (2005). Religion as a meaning system: Implications for the new millennium. Journal of Social Issues, v61 n4, pp641-663. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2005.00425.x
- Robert A. Emmons (1999). The psychology of ultimate concerns: Motivation and spirituality in personality. New York: Guilford.
- Kenneth I. Pargament. (2006). The meaning of spiritual transformation. In Joan D. Koss-Chioino & Philip Hefner (Eds.), Spiritual transformation and healing: Anthropological, theological, neuroscientific, and clinical perspectives (pp. 10-39), Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7591-0867-6
- Raymond F. Paloutzian. (2005). Religious conversion and spiritual transformation: A meaning-system analysis. In: Raymond F. Paloutzian & Crystal L. Park (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (pp. 331-347), New York: Guilford. ISBN 1-57230-922-9
Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi; Stephen Hirtenstein (June 2009). The Four Pillars of Spiritual Transformation: The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed (Hilyat al-abdal). Mystical Treatises of Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi. Oxford: Anqa Publishing (published 2009). p. 2. ISBN 9781905937325. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
[...] in all true spiritual traditions rigorous self-discipline is part of the training, be it by way of retreats, fasts or other kinds of abstentions.
- Solomon Katz (2008). A brief history of the Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Program The global spiral. Metanexus Institute, Accessed 9 Nov., 2009.
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