‘Has engagement with online Sufi meditation improved a sense of mental well-being and spiritual connection under COVID19 and what are the social implications?’ The paper showcases a multi-cultural study across four countries (Belgium, France, Mexico & UK) between October 2020 to December 2021. The results contribute to the academic debate within sociological interpretations and definitions of the ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ dimensions of the personal sphere and the impacts of this in wider social life and wellbeing. The study and its data are contextualised against each individual country’s socio-political culture in order to draw inferences about emerging social change in secular or post secular society in the area of engagement with spirituality. This process is valuable because of the implications the results carry for the expression of spiritual interest and need in wider society and its connection to issues of well-being and spiritual connection. The study is informed in part by a previous psychological focussed American study on Christian engagement (Webb, Toussaint and Dula (2013;2014), building on the Allport and Ross (1967) and will see if this can usefully inform a sociological understanding of a multi-cultural and multi-national pilot study within Islam (specifically Sufism), and thereafter what this tells us about the real nature of post-secular societies who no longer have a determinant religious allegiance, but which may have large numbers of people engaging in spiritual searching. How are people now identifying their spirituality (theistic, ritualistic or existential?). What are the implications of this shift in society?
Lecturer, Politics and International Relations, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom Aide Abril Saucedo Medina
Latin America Research Director , Research Program, Bridging Spiritual Cultures UK , Coahuila, Mexico
SPIRITUAL ENGAGEMENT ONLINE, COVID19, MULTICULTURAL, MULTINATIONAL, SUFISM, ISLAM, POST-SECULAR SOCIETIES
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