Paper presented to
CCPE, London - October, 2001.
© Dave Hiles 2001
Heuristic Inquiry and Transpersonal Research
Dave Hiles(Psychology Department, De Montfort
University, Leicester. LE1 9BH. UK.)
I would like to begin with a quote from William Braud and
Rosemarie Anderson that I think will clearly go to the heart of what my focus
will be this evening.
Braud & Anderson (1998, p.3)
"Many of the most significant and exciting life
events and extraordinary experiences - moments of clarity, illumination,
and healing - have been systematically excluded from conventional
Usually, when I introduce the course that I teach on
qualitative inquiry, I begin by defining research as an addition to
knowledge, and I also point out that we undertake research because we
care and want to make a difference. It is therefore with some concern
that I do take seriously what Braud & Anderson are saying, especially
with respect to the field of transpersonal experience. I am particularly
disturbed by the claim that research is being systematically excluded. It
would seem that we are being actively prevented by other scientists from
adding to our knowledge of some of the most significant and exciting aspects
of human experience. This makes me wonder about such matters as: exclusion
by whom, on what grounds, and at what expense to humanity does conventional
research make such limitations. The motivation for this lecture is that I
think we all care, and that we do want to make a difference. While I will be
mostly concerned with the heuristic inquiry approach to research, what I
will be saying here is particularly relevant to these wider issues raised
What seems to lie behind Braud & Anderson's comment is
that some areas of human action and experience are thought by some
scientists to be too difficult to study, or even to be unsuitable topics of
empirical study. However, it is my view that these topics are too important
to be ignored. Problems of measurement, and lack of appropriate methods of
inquiry, have often been the stock excuses offered for the exclusion of
these areas of study. I want to argue that such excuses are no longer valid,
and we should begin to take notice of an expanding range of methods of
inquiry now being made available, and that we must take seriously the
research findings that are beginning to emerge in these areas.
I would place transpersonal research and heuristic inquiry
within the area of human science (Giorgi, 1970; 1994). It is
especially relevant here to draw attention to the following point made by
Polkinghorne (1983, p. 280-1)
"Human science seeks to know the reality which is
particularly our own, the reality of our experience, actions, and
expressions. This realm is closest to us, yet it is most resistant to
our attempt to grasp it with understanding. Because of the success we
have had knowing the world around us, the human realm has expanded its
power to such an extent that we can act to create wellbeing and physical
security and comfort and to inflict untold suffering and destruction.
Serious and rigorous re-searching of the human realm is required."
Polkinghorne's plea for a serious and rigorous "re-searching
of the human realm" is exactly the point I wish to make. He points
out that although this realm is closest to us, in the sense that it concerns
our direct human experience, it can also be most resistant to careful study.
He warns that the imbalance between our efforts in the natural science
approach, at the expense of human science, may be a contributory factor in
the untold suffering and destruction that seems to be ever present in the
modern psyche. I remember that Carl Jung expressed very much the same idea
when he observed that "the future of humankind is held by a single
thread, the human psyche." There is no more urgent topic to
research than the human realm of experience, action and expression,
especially the significant and exciting life events and the extraordinary
experiences these can entail. I want to examine the role that heuristic
inquiry can play in this and its relationship to transpersonal research.
2. Heuristic inquiry
Heuristic inquiry is an extremely demanding
process, involving disciplined self-commitment, rigorous self-searching and
self-reflection, and ultimately a surrender to the process. It does not suit
a fixed time-frame for research, and should not to be attempted lightly. In
essence, it is a research process designed for the exploration and
interpretation of experience, which uses the self of the researcher. It is a
research process that reflects Clark Moustakas' basic philosophy that "in
every learner, in every person, there are creative sources of energy and
meaning that are often tacit, hidden, or denied" (Moustakas, 2001).
I will begin by discussing heuristic inquiry within the context of my own
For many years now, I have been engaged in a research
project that could be said to have almost taken over my life. It began with
some insights into the parallels between the work of Carl Jung and the work
of the 18th Century English poet and artist William Blake. These
insights particularly related to understanding the processes of
transformation that can be involved in the experience of human suffering. I
especially wanted to apply these insights in my practice as a counsellor and
therapist, and also engage in research that would bring some form to these
insights that could then be shared with others in the field.
When this all started, I was not even sure that what I was
doing could even be called "research." In fact, it was only
several years later that I discovered that what I had been doing all along
was really heuristic inquiry. Coming across the work of Clark
Moustakas (1990), I immediately recognised the phases of engagement,
immersion, incubation and illumination in my own work. I have reported some
of the methodological issues involved in this work before (Hiles, 1999,
2001), and I only will briefly summarise here the essentials of Moustakas'
method, together with some of the insights that I have gained about the
nature of heuristic inquiry from my own direct experience in using it.
Heuristic inquiry was developed by Clark Moustakas (1990;
see also Douglass & Moustakas, 1985), and bares some striking
resemblance to the idea of lived inquiry developed by John Heron
(1998), and mindful inquiry developed by Bentz & Shapiro (1998).
The heuristic inquiry paradigm is an adaptation of phenomenological inquiry
but explicitly acknowledges the involvement of the researcher, to the
extent that the lived experience of the researcher becomes the main focus of
the research. The researcher really needs to feel passionate about the
research question (West, 1998a; 1998b). Indeed, what is explicitly the focus
of the approach is the transformative effect of the inquiry on the
researcher's own experience. This is often achieved by a process that I
think can usefully be called discernment.
|Table 1: Summary of Moustakas' core processes of
(Moustakas, 1990, p. 15-27)
| Identify with the focus
of the inquiry
The heuristic process involves getting
inside the research question, becoming one with it, living it.
| Self dialogue
Self dialogue is the critical beginning, allowing the
phenomenon to speak directly to one's own experience. Knowledge
grows out of direct human experience and discovery involves
self-inquiry, an openness to one's own experience.
| Tacit knowing
In addition to knowledge that we can make explicit, there is
knowledge that is implicit to our actions and experiences. This
tacit dimension is ineffable and unspecifiable, it underlies and
precedes intuition and can guide the researcher into untapped
directions and sources of meaning.
Intuition provides the bridge between explicit and tacit
knowledge. Intuition makes possible the seeing of things as
wholes. Every act of achieving integration, unity or wholeness
This refers to the conscious and deliberate process of turning
inward to seek a deeper, more extended comprehension of a quality
or theme of human experience. Indwelling involves a willingness to
gaze with unwavering attention and concentration into some aspect
of human experience.
Focussing is inner attention, a staying with, a sustained
process of systematically contacting the central meanings of an
experience. It enables one to see something as it is and to make
whatever shifts are necessary to make contact with necessary
awareness and insight.
| Internal frame of
The outcome of the heuristic process in terms of knowledge and
experience must be placed in the context of the experiencer's own
internal frame of reference, and not some external frame.
Moustakas has identified a number of core processes (I have
summarized these in Table 1). Moustakas also outlines six basic phases
involved in this approach, although he clearly indicates a seventh phase as
well (I have summarized these seven phases in Table 2).
|Table 2: Summary of Moustakas' phases of heuristic
inquiry (p. 27-37)
| Initial engagement
The task of the first phase is to discover an intense
interest, a passionate concern that calls out to the researcher,
one that holds important social meanings and personal, compelling
implications. The research question that emerges lingers with the
researcher, awaiting the disciplined commitment that will reveal
its underlying meanings.
The research question is lived in waking, sleeping and even
dream states. This requires alertness, concentration and
self-searching. Virtually anything connected with the question
becomes raw material for immersion.
This involves a retreat from the intense, concentrated focus,
allowing the expansion of knowledge to take place at a more subtle
level, enabling the inner tacit dimension and intuition to clarify
and extend understanding.
This involves a breakthrough, a process of awakening that
occurs naturally when the researcher is open and receptive to
tacit knowledge and intuition. It involves opening a door to new
awareness, a modification of an old understanding, a synthesis of
fragmented knowledge, or new discovery.
This involves a full examination of what has been awakened in
consciousness. What is required is organization and a
comprehensive depiction of the core themes.
| Creative synthesis
Thoroughly familiar with the data, and following a preparatory
phase of solitude and meditation, the researcher puts the
components and core themes usually into the form of creative
synthesis expressed as a narrative account, a report, a thesis, a
poem, story, drawing, painting, etc.
| Validation of the
The question of validity is one of meaning. Does the synthesis
present comprehensively, vividly, and accurately the meanings and
essences of the experience? Returning again and again to the data
to check whether they embrace the necessary and sufficient
meanings. Finally, feedback is obtained through participant
validation, and receiving responses from others.
I need to emphasize that, although heuristic inquiry can
certainly involve the exploration of the experiences of co-researchers, it is
an approach to research that very much focuses on the experience and
transformation of the researcher. Here is how Moustakas (1990) describes this
unique approach to research. He proposes that heuristic inquiry involves:
" . . . a process of internal search
through which one discovers the nature and meaning of experience and
develops methods and procedures for further investigation and analysis.
The self of the researcher is present throughout the process and,
while understanding the phenomenon with increasing depth, the researcher
also experiences growing self-awareness and self-knowledge"
" . . . The heuristic process is a way of being
informed, a way of knowing" (p.
". . . From the beginning, and throughout an
investigation, heuristic research involves self-search, self-dialogue,
and self-discovery; the research question and the methodology
flow out of inner awareness, meaning, and inspiration. When I consider
an issue, problem, or question, I enter into it fully . . . I may
challenge, confront, or even doubt my understanding of a human concern
or issue; but when I persist in a disciplined and devoted way I
ultimately deepen my knowledge of the phenomenon . . I am personally
involved . . I may be entranced by visions, images, and dreams that
connect me to my quest. I may come into touch with new regions of
myself, and discover revealing connections with others"
" . . . Essentially in the heuristic process, I
am creating a story that portrays the qualities, meanings, and
essences of universally unique experiences"
" . . . In heuristic research the investigator
must have had a direct, personal encounter with the phenomenon
being investigated. There must have been actual autobiographical
connections" (p. 14).
" . . . Heuristic inquiry is a process that
begins with a question or problem which the researcher seeks to
illuminate or answer. The question is one that has been a personal
challenge and puzzlement in the search to understand one’s self and
the world in which one lives. The heuristic process is autobiographic,
yet with virtually every question that matters personally there is also
a social - and perhaps universal - significance"
3. Some observations concerning heuristic inquiry
There is clearly more involved in heuristic inquiry
than the researcher simply analyzing their own experience, which could easily
be seen as a variation of phenomenological inquiry. What Moustakas seems to
offer is the much wider context within which the researcher engages with the
research question, examines their own experience amongst a number of other
explorations, and follows this through with an awareness of the transformative
processes at work in the research enterprise. Drawing on my own use of this
method of inquiry, I would like to make the following observations.
Heuristic inquiry is a research process that is difficult
to set any clear boundaries to, with respect to duration and scope. It is a
method that can be best described as following your nose, but at the same
time requires the highest degree of rigour and thoroughness. It is a method
of inquiry that should not be undertaken lightly.
In heuristic inquiry, the research question chooses you,
and invariably the research question is deeply personal in origin. Indeed,
it is my own experience that the research question has been a preoccupation
of mine for at least thirty years, and probably much longer than that.
There is a very striking similarity between the methods of
heuristic inquiry and the practice of counselling and psychotherapy,
particularly with respect to the use of the "self." It is
therefore a method of research that particularly resonates with inquiry into
counselling and therapy related issues.
Heuristic inquiry highlights the importance of working with
the heuristic process of others, especially with the historical recordings
of previous inquiry (especially spiritual texts). Indeed, it turns out that
the works of writers, poets, artists, spiritual leaders and scientists can
all be usefully treated as the creative products of heuristic inquiry.
In the light of this last observation, it would seem that
heuristic inquiry was probably the first research method adopted for
psychological inquiry many, many centuries ago. It should really be regarded
as the most ancient of methods, with a proven track record well before the
advent of modern science and psychology. It is a method of inquiry that is
desperately in need of being re-invented!
The form that my own heuristic research has taken, in
addition to my own self-exploration and lived inquiry, involved the designing
and carrying out of several phenomenological/co-operative inquiries. I have
interviewed people who have claimed to have had a near-death experience,
people who have been victims of serious crimes, and people who have been
attracted to voluntary, or paid work, which entails being in a helping role
with others (i.e. counsellors, carers, nurses, social workers, advocates,
etc.). Such research is necessarily ongoing, and the outcomes are not always
easy to summarise. However, two fairly specific claims have emerged, (i) a
clearer and more general view of the human response to loss, and in particular
the human grieving process, and (ii) the crucial importance of the heuristic
framework for researching human experience.
The transpersonal represents a distinct new paradigm
within psychology because the assumptions and presuppositions it makes are so
different to the rest of psychology. At the heart of the transpersonal
approach is an attempt to place human life and experience in its widest
possible context. Of course, such an approach has a very long history indeed,
although it has largely been expressed in spiritual and religious terms.
Personally, I cannot see that it matters in the least whether different
cultures and groups of people, at different times in human history, have come
up with very different visions of reality, of our place in it, and the
associated practices that help give meaning to human existence. However, what
does matter is the recognition of the crucial role that transpersonal beliefs
and practices play in peoples’ lives, and the important place these can have
in explaining and understanding an individual’s experience, actions, growth
In a previous paper (Hiles, 2000), I have described the aim
of transpersonal psychology as offering a synthesis of what may seem, on the
surface, to be two quite different traditions - science and spiritual
practice. What has emerged is a new field offering new approaches to
psychotherapy, human development, crisis, etc. Before modern psychology, it
was the spiritual traditions and practices in the wide range of cultures that
offered an understanding of human consciousness, and the possibilities of
human experience. Transpersonal psychology can be seen as an attempt to bring
the world’s great spiritual traditions together with the basic ideas of
(Western) modern psychology. This has, to a large extent, already been
achieved in Eastern psychology, we are just coming rather late to this in the
The vitality and enormous scope of this field is
demonstrated, amongst many other examples, in the pioneering vision of Ken
Wilber (1977, 1980, 1983, 1998, 2000), in research on spiritual
emergence/emergency and the model of the holotropic mind developed by
Stanislav Grof (1985, 1988, 1998; and with Christina Grof 1989, 1990), and in
John Heron's (1998) proposal for a person-based, person-centred spirituality.
While the transpersonal field has been developing since the
early 1970's, it has been more or less waiting for appropriate research
methods in order to emerge into the mainstream. The very nature of the
transpersonal paradigm, where the basic assumptions of the field are so
different from other areas of scientific inquiry, requires paradigms of
inquiry that are necessarily quite different. However, transpersonal inquiry
is no less empirical than any other area of inquiry, but the empirical focus
is on human intuition and creative expression, and possible altered states of
awareness. The empirical data can take the form of subjective experience,
discernment and direct knowing which may emerge from dreamwork, imagery
exercises, storytelling and meditation practices, etc. It is notable that
recently very considerable progress has been made in the development of
research methods more appropriate to the paradigm of transpersonal inquiry.
For example, Braud & Anderson (1998), Heron (1998) and Valle (1998) have
considerably extended the range of research methods that this area might
Braud & Anderson's work in particular reflects the need
for a systematic approach to the development of new inquiry paradigms. They do
draw up a general scheme which usefully tries to bring some order to the
confusing diversity of methods of data collection and analysis, which I have
summarized in Table 3. They propose five new methods for transpersonal
research. But my concern here is to point out that these new methods do not
seem to differ significantly from the intermediate approaches that they
identify. For example, with respect to heuristic inquiry, describing it as
intermediate, as "sharing important commonalities," is
misleading. In most cases, the five methods outlined by Braud & Anderson
are each variants of the heuristic inquiry process. They seem to overlook the
fact that heuristic inquiry and phenomenological inquiry are both foundational
to this whole area of research. Although heuristic inquiry is not of necessity
transpersonal, it has a central role to play in the research into
transpersonal and spiritual issues.
|Table 3: Braud & Anderson's three categories of
research methods (p.256-283)
Naturalistic and field studies
Historical and archival
Content analysis, textual analysis
Narrative and discourse analysis
Case studies and life stories
Interviews, questionnaires and
and design issues
Physiological and biomedical
assessments and design issues
Experiential research method
Inquiry informed by exceptional
note on mindful inquiry
Earlier I mentioned an
approach to inquiry that is similar to heuristic inquiry, and is certainly
worth spelling out a little further. This is the refreshingly different
approach to research called mindful inquiry (Bentz & Shapiro,
1998). Mindful inquiry is described as a synthesis of four intellectual
traditions: phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical social theory, and Buddhism.
Scientific research is recognized as one of our many ways of knowing, and
needs to be connected with the other ways. The emphasis in this approach is in
placing the inquirer at the centre, and research from this perspective is seen
as intimately linked with the awareness and the experienced world of the
researcher. Research can be seen to contribute explicitly to the
transformation of the researcher’s sense of self or identity. The idea of
bringing mindfulness into disciplined inquiry is exciting, as it
stresses focus, intention and awareness of whatever is present in a situation
There is one aspect of mindful inquiry that I think is of
special note, which is the inclusion of critical social theory. I do not have
time to develop this point here, but one of the features of critical theory
that I think is most important is the recognition that theories, explanations
and understanding can be empowering. One of the goals of psychological
inquiry and therapeutic practice must be empowerment, i.e. the use of
psychological knowledge and techniques to empower people to make informed
choices, express themselves freely, and challenge discrimination, oppression
and unnecessary suffering. While empowerment is possibly universally held by
counsellors and therapists to be an outcome of their practices, it is hardly
ever acknowledged that this also needs to be a recognized outcome of research
inquiry. Mindful inquiry clearly does this, as does heuristic inquiry.
6. Developing the heuristic approach
Recently, I have found myself adapting the heuristic
approach for my own specific purposes of inquiry. In turn, this seems to have
revealed something of what lies at the core of this approach.
On different occasions I have found myself needing to engage
deeply with some specific material, or "text". I have come to call
this deep study of a single text, heuristic engagement (and I am very
aware that this is almost precisely how I view working with a client in
therapeutic practice). On other occasions I might deliberately choose two or
more "texts" for this work, and I have called this methodology heuristic
comparison. Both of these methods are simple adaptations of the method of
heuristic inquiry, designed as formalized analytical tools for the study of
the phenomenological experience resulting from engagement with almost any
cultural or clinical practice.
In the case of heuristic comparison, the methodology
involves these basic phases:
- choosing two texts/practices for comparison - this is not
limited to only two and is not crucial - but the selection needs to be
very limited, leaving other comparisons for further study, and the choice
needs to be made from a range of texts/practices with some underlying
feature in common
- a phenomenological engagement with the texts/practices,
examining and re-examining them, drawing out similarities and differences,
exploring the demands placed on the researcher
- a period of discernment and exploration, but avoiding
superficial similarities and differences - with the likely need to follow
"leads" to materials outside those chosen, but always returning
to the comparison that is the main focus of the study
- a phase of sifting through and gathering together the
materials and experiences, allowing a range of insights, meanings and
themes to emerge
- reflection on the inter-relations of the texts/practices,
working towards formulating a range of insights, perhaps working back
through phases (ii) to (iv) again and again and again
- a formulation, or synthesis of the inquiry involving
- and finally, further establishing the validation of the
work by sharing it with others.
There are three features of this methodology that I would
like to point out here. Firstly, it should be fairly clear that the
methodology is the outcome of trying to do justice to the required depth of
the engagement with the material, while also being able to set appropriate
boundaries to the work that is involved. It is my view that a heuristic
comparison is almost always simply a part of a wider heuristic inquiry.
Secondly, I would like to claim that there is possibly something universal
about these seven phases. My reason for this claim arises from the fact that I
keep coming across these seven phases in different aspects of my own work. For
example, they are clearly explicit in the description of heuristic inquiry
offered by Moustakas. But they also emerge from my close examination of some
of the work of William Blake, and I have found them to be the key to
formulating a deeper understanding of the grieving process in the human
response to suffering (Hiles, 1999). And, thirdly, I must emphasize the
importance of the seventh phase, (vii) validating the work by sharing with
others, which is the key to understanding good qualitative research
practices. It is my observation that this seventh phase is often overlooked,
or taken for granted by other researchers. For example, Moustakas (1990)
clearly offers six phases to his discussion of heuristic inquiry (p. 27), but
then clearly includes a seventh phase (p. 32-37). It is my proposal that
validation of the research is two-fold, involving a process of self-validation
(and possibly participant verification) that is integral to the sixth phase of
the creative synthesis, and in the seventh phase a process of "external
validation," a sharing with others, which is the basic requirement of any
I pointed out earlier that heuristic inquiry is really the
most ancient of inquiry practices, and you can possibly see that what I am
calling for is that it should be given the proper recognition that it
7. Researching human
All transpersonal inquiry will involve a focus on
the exploration and study of human experience. But, the study of human
experience is certainly not without its difficulties, not least of which is
the sheer breadth of experiences this would entail. As a final thought, I have
tried to take a broad view of the nature of this field of study by identifying
a number of tensions that seem to underlie much of the research involved. Six
of these tensions are presented in Table 4.
What lies behind my thinking is that there seems to be a
fundamental tension between experience that is grounded in human
knowledge systems of our everyday occurrences, and experience that is more subtle
which involves perhaps deeper or altered states of consciousness.
|Table 4: Tensions in the phenomenological study of
leading to knowledge derived
from an imposed order
experience derived from everyday happenings, events
common, ordinary normal
focus on the content of thought
(whether real or imagined)
expected, predicted, absorbed
into our current perspective
centred in the self
leading to knowledge of a
induced experiences through
rituals, shared practices
uncommon, unusual, unique
the experience of knowing itself,
witnessing the act of knowing
generating insight and permanent
beyond self, "what am I a part of?"
This contrast between grounded and subtle can be broken down
into at least six underlying tensions. Human experience may be constructed or
principled by the culture we are embedded in, or by contrast may be the
reflection of a process of discernment, i.e. a more directly experienced
"found" order in things. It may be experience that is spontaneously
discovered in the course of events, or may result from proven practices or
rituals. It may be common and ordinary, or quite exceptional in nature. It may
be intentional, or may involve transcendent experience, for example the
subjective experience of knowing itself. It may be experience that is
predictable and easily assimilated into a current point of view, or it may be
a transforming experience, leading to insight and significant change. Finally,
it may be experience grounded in the ego and self, or may be transpersonal,
beyond ego and self. My purpose here is simply to do justice to the full range
of experience, setting out a curriculum for study in this field.
The possibilities of researching human experience from a
transpersonal perspective are of course exciting, but also challenging. Not
the least of the challenges involved will be in convincing the wider scientific
community of the seriousness of this undertaking. I find it extremely
encouraging that Ken Wilber, in his discussion of direct spiritual experience,
asserts that such experience is "repeatable, reproducible and
confirmable" (Wilber, 1999, p. 43). These are of course the basic requirements
of any scientific approach. Wilber (1998, p. 155-6) proposes three essential
aspects of any scientific inquiry: (i) instrumental injunction -
"if you want to know this, do this," (ii) direct apprehension
- the direct experience or apprehension of the data, and (iii) communal
confirmation or rejection - checking the data with others. These three
essential aspects of scientific inquiry ensure that the basic requirements of
repeatability, reproducibility and confirmability are being met. Furthermore,
it is quite clear from Wilber's position that in these respects research into
human experience is no different from any other area of scientific research.
It also seems to follow that in many ways spiritual experience, that so often
is the product of an injunction to practice a certain form of meditation
practice or ritual, may be relatively much easier to study scientifically than
other types of experience which are more exceptional or spontaneous. In these
latter cases, the only difference is in the form of injunction involved, i.e.
"wait for this to happen, or, find instances of this happening", and
then apprehend the data, and confirm the observation with others.
Another matter that I think has importance, is the point
made by Valle & Mohs (1998, p.100). They propose that transpersonal
"seems somehow prior to [any] reflective-prereflective
realm, presenting itself as more of a space or ground from which our more
common experience and felt-sense emerge."
Moreover, it is an awareness that makes itself known to the
"is not of the phenomenal realm of perceiver and
perceived [but] rather it is a noumenal, unitive space within or from
which both intentional consciousness and phenomenal experience
The important point here is the claim that transpersonal
awareness is always prior to our phenomenal awareness. Our everyday
awareness is grounded in transpersonal awareness, and it is not the other way
What I have tried to do in this final part is perhaps set
out an enormous programme of research that so desperately needs to be
undertaken. I am left wondering, do we care? And, if we do not
care, who will? Do we want to make a difference?
I hope that I have achieved my modest aims. I have
tried to provide a brief outline of the heuristic inquiry approach to
research, originally pioneered in the work of Clark Moustakas. I have argued
that it occupies a key place in transpersonal inquiry. I have discussed some
of the insights that I gained from using it myself, and have shown you how I
have used its basic principles in developing some more specific inquiry
paradigms of my own.
What defines transpersonal inquiry is not its methods of
research but the particular perspective it takes on human actions and
experiences. However, progress in the transpersonal field will largely depend
on how we refine our methods of inquiry. The promise of heuristic inquiry is
that it offers a systematic way of incorporating the self into our inquiry
methods, and, therefore, some of the most significant, exciting and urgent
life events and extraordinary human experiences can be researched more
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