Home | about | CV | services | Search | Site Map | Contact | Donate/Buy

the experience of divine guidance

a qualitative study of the human endeavor to seek, receive, and follow guidance from

a perceived divine source

text | cine | photo | art | design | multi





With Mandala Art by Maja Apolonia Rode


Who moveth thee, if sense impel thee not?
Moves thee a light, which in the heaven takes form,
By self, or by a will that downward guides it.
 - Dante Alighieri (Purgatorio, Canto 17)


The Experience of Divine Guidance is a groundbreaking research study explores the common and unique structures of the experience of Divine guidance across spiritual traditions.




"...a real contribution to the field."

- Arthur Hastings, Ph.D. (Author of With the Tongues of Men and Angels)


This is a very impressive and highly original piece of work. Mark Allan Kaplan writes with clarity and brilliance. The research design is ingenious. The review of the literature is relevant and extensive. The co-researchers are diverse, impressive, honest, and insightful.

-  Carolyn Miller (Author of Creating Miracles: A Practical Guide to Divine Intervention)


"...extensive, informative, and interestingly presented. Thank you for this fine piece of work!"

- William Braud, Ph.D. (Author of Distance Mental Influence)



This research study examined the experience of seeking, receiving, and following guidance from a perceived source of divine wisdom. Nine advanced spiritual teachers (5 men and 4 women) from 7 spiritual traditions participated as coresearchers in this study. Coresearchers were North American or European born, predominantly Caucasian, California (USA) residents between the ages of 52 and 74. Coresearcher participation consisted of individual semistructured in-depth interviews. The questions and topics of discussion used for the interviews were developed through a process of researcher heuristic and spiritual self-inquiry. 

The results of a grounded-theory-based qualitative content analysis of the interview transcripts suggested that the experience of divine guidance, as measured in the current study, is characterized by a common structuring of the experience that includes general categories, factors, and patterns which appear to manifest into various particular and contextual forms depending on the individual person, event, and circumstance. The reported common structures of the experience included: The perception of a divine source of guidance; the experience of seeking, receiving, and following guidance from this perceived source; and various contributing, impeding, developmental, and mediating factors. 

Additionally, each coresearcher reported a unique metaphor of divine encounter that appeared to give them an archetypal and visceral way of describing and holding the experience. The researcher appeared to experience each of the coresearcherís metaphors of divine encounter through some kind of resonant learning or mimicking process. 

A Guidance Experience Template, Guidance Experience Evaluation Checklist, and Synthesized Guidance Practice were developed as aids to counselors, practitioners, and researchers exploring the experience of divine guidance. 

The findings of this study, and the development and implementation of guidance-related applications in this research, may advance the understanding of this common and historically significant human experience, and offer a valuable contribution to the fields of transpersonal psychology, spiritual guidance, and spiritual psychology.




View the PowerPoint Research Presentation:

Divine Guidance Research Presentation

Requires Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer


Visit the online extension of this inquiry at:

The Divine Guidance Project


The Divine Guidance Project



A dissertation submitted

in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
in Transpersonal Psychology
Arthur Hastings, Ph.D., Committee Chairperson
William Braud, Ph.D., Committee Member
Genie Palmer, Ph.D., Committee Member
Palo Alto, California
  © 2005



Back Index Next


text ] cine ] photo ] art ] design ] multi ]

Home | about | CV | services | Search | Site Map | Contact | Donate/Buy
All images and text on these pages © Mark Allan Kaplan.
All Rights Reserved. It is unlawful to reproduce these images or text without written consent.

BLOG   |   FACEBOOK   |   IMDb   |   LINKEDIN   |   TWITTER   |   VIMEO   |   YOUTUBE