Ways of knowing: can I find a way of knowing that satisfies my search for meaning?

  • Joan Walton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


My enquiry starts when I experience the suffering of young people in care, and realise I do not have the knowledge to help them. I find that traditional ways of knowing in western culture – Christian theistic religion and classical Newtonian science – do not provide me with the knowledge required to resolve this ignorance. Intuitively, I feel there must be more effective ways of knowing. This thesis records my search for a way of knowing that enables me to find meaning in a world where such suffering is possible. This search has taken me to many places. Intellectually, my sources of theory and information include the social sciences, philosophy, depth and transpersonal psychology, eastern and western religions, quantum physics, and a science of consciousness. Professionally, I have moved from social work, to education, and then to the development of my own business. In engaging with an ‘experiment in depth’, I develop a meditative and journaling practice which connects me to a sense of a loving dynamic energy with limitless creative potential. I realise that over time, through being ‘true to myself’, my connection with this source provides me with a spiritual resilience which enables me to retain equanimity within life’s challenges. The hypothesis that feels meaningful and makes most sense of my experience is that I am involved in an evolution of consciousness, where the story of humanity is the story of ‘self-disclosure of spirit’ (Ferrer 2002). My experience of synchronicity provides evidence of a principle of interconnection and integration between psyche and matter, inner and outer, theory and action, science and spirituality. Through telling my personal story, I offer an emergent methodology that includes both narrative inquiry and action research. I generate a living theory which offers ‘spiritual resilience gained through connection with a loving dynamic energy’ as an original standard of judgment.
Date of Award1 Feb 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAndrew Whitehead (Supervisor)

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