Dr. Oliver Robinson – Towards a Typology of Spiritual Feeling

Spirituality has been defined by many as the pursuit of particular kinds of higher feeling, or knowledge that is conveyed as a feeling or ineffable intuition. This talk will present a way of understanding spiritual feelings by categorising them into a set of five types, and then exploring what all five have in common. The five types are: eudaimonic, aesthetic, ecstatic, sublimeand unitive.Eudaimonicfeelings in spirituality pertain to the pursuit of happiness and overcoming suffering as central to the spiritual path; aestheticfeelings in spirituality relate to experiences of profound beauty and harmony and the feelings of spiritual profundity that these bring; ecstasticfeelings are exceptionally intense passionate experiences that are typically induced during trance states; sublimefeelings are those in which a sense of awe and numinous wonder brings a mixture of fear-and-trembling allied to reverence and positive feeling; and unitive feelings are feelings of merging with the absolute, often described, paradoxically, as a Love Beyond Words. Oliver will argue that spiritual development ideally involves cultivation of all these types of feeling, and their harmonious integration with thought, and present a model for how all five forms of feeling relate to one another.


DR. OLIVER ROBINSON is Principal Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, an amateur philosopher, and a committed spiritual explorer. As well as being author of Paths Between Head and Heart, he is the author of Development through Adulthood: An integrative sourcebook, and co-editor of A New Renaissance: Transforming Science, Spirit and Society. He complements his intellectual work with spiritual dancing, Bioenergetics, meditation, cooking, and occasional shamanic journeying, and this all helps to keep him sane, at least most of the time.

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