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Accepted Paper:

Mystagogy of the experience of God. An autoethnography from Ignatian spirituality  
Luis Muñoz Villalón (Universidad de Sevilla)

Paper short abstract:

Through an autoethnographic process within a Catholic practice of Ignatian spirituality, we reflect on learning, which is fundamental for achieving an "inner feeling" and a way of being-in-the-world that is developed through different body-mind-spirit techniques.

Paper long abstract:

Four years ago I began an ethnography on spiritual seekers in contexts of "new spirituality". Finally, after attending an informative seminar at a centre that hosted different therapeutic and lay spirituality practices - which turned out to be Jesuit - I began to attend a Catholic practice: the Journeys of Experiencing God. It is the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, but brought to everyday life and adapted to modern times.

Through these Journeys, divided into 5 stages, I began an autoethnographic process that has been the point and place of all kinds of reflections, especially methodological ones. These Spiritual Exercises, thought of as a mystagogy, allow us to adopt a way of being-in-the-world. Ignatius, 500 years ago, wrote: "it is not much knowledge that fills and satisfies the soul, but rather the feeling and tasting of things interiorly" (EE 2); it is one thing to know something intellectually and quite another to have experience of it. For this reason, the Exercises, and their version adapted to daily life, are anchored in a transformation of feeling, which becomes more deeply interior as one is initiated into the mystical experience. A feeling that does not exclude the senses, but integrates the bodily perception, transforming it, referring in turn to the plane of affections and understanding.

The different ways of praying, the spiritual discernment required to detect motions through the emotions, as well as affection or imagination, are some of the fundamental elements for incorporating mind-body-spirit techniques.

Panel P071b
Experiencing the sensing body: mind-body techniques, contemporary spiritual practices and the senses II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -