Personal experiences of individuals using meditations from a metaphysical source.
Numerous studies have been conducted exploring the physiological and psychological effects of meditation. However, few describe the personal experiences of meditators, and none portray those who use metaphysical meditations. This research utilized in-depth interviews, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and a questionnaire of biographical data to describe the experiences of individuals who use metaphysical meditations. The purposive sample was composed of 18 individuals known to be involved with metaphysical meditations. Data analyses included content analysis and descriptive statistics. Meditators were found to be individuals who have made conscious decisions to change their lives by choosing to release pain and struggle. Meditators suggested that nurses form a partnership with them in health promotion. Participants have created a new health paradigm and worldview that, if applied, may have considerable impact in nursing practice.
Several different forms of meditation have been described in the literature (Naranjo & Ornstein, 1971). The effects of certain specific types of meditation have been thoroughly studied and results documented (Castillo, 1990; Massion, Teas, Herbert, Wertheimer, & Kabat-Zinn, 1996; OrmeJohnson & Farrow, 1975; Persinger, 1993; Shapiro, 1992;). Although recent sources were not found, demographics of meditators have been described at length (Kory, 1976; Orme-Johnson & Farrow, 1975; Tipton, 1982). However, personal experiences of meditators have not been extensively examined. Also lacking in the research literature are studies specifically describing meditators using meditations from a metaphysical source (metaphysical meditators) and their beliefs about health practices. This study described the personal experiences of individuals who meditate with Lazaris, a purported nonphysical entity whose selfdescription is a consciousness who has chosen not to take physical form (Concept Key Words Meditate, metaphysical, Lazaris, Rogers Synergy, 1991). Lazaris verbally communicates through a human body in a process called channeling (Concept Synergy, 1991). Data were obtained through in-depth interviews, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and a questionnaire of biographical data. This use of both quantitative and qualitative methods, also termed triangulation, served to enhance truth value, which is also known as credibility (Krefting, 1991; Sandelowski 1986). The information was then related to the abstract system of Martha Rogers' (1970, 19926) Science of Unitary Human Beings.
People meditate in many ways and for many reasons (Naranjo & Ornstein, 1971). Some individuals consider meditation as part of a religious practice, and for others, meditation is an art form such as dance, painting, or music (Naranjo & Ornstein, 1971). Individuals may meditate for health reasons, such as the need to reduce stress, to decrease high blood pressure, and/or facilitate wound healing (Kabat-Zinn et al., 1992; Siegel, 1990; Simonton, Matthews-Simonton, & Creighton, 1978). Most of the research has been quantitative in nature (Kolkmeier, 1989; Miller, Fletcher, & Kabat-Zinn, 1995; Nystul & Garde, 1979; Orme-Johnson & Farrow, 1975; Zuroff & Schwarz, 1978). Tipton (1982) described some psychological experiences of Zen meditators; however, no publications pertaining to personal experiences of people who utilize metaphysical meditations were found during a comprehensive literature review.
The paucity of information about the experiences of metaphysical meditators may have an effect on nursing practice. Rogers (1992b) wrote that "nursing is the study of unitary, irreducible, indivisible human and environmental fields: people and their world" (p. 29). In order to more thoroughly understand individuals and environmental fields, nurses should become familiar with experiences that affect quality of life and the nurse-patient relationship (Oiler, 1982). Dow (1986) described a symbolic healing model in which the healer reframes the patient's emotions into a belief system or myth. The healer then manipulates the myth (beliefs) and attaches them to transactional symbols to assist transforming the emotions. When both healer (nurse) and patient share similar worldviews, the healer can then isolate part of the patient's world and interpret the problem in terms of the beliefs. This can facilitate a change in the patient's experienced reality (Dow, 1986). For nurses to become effective and more responsive to patients' beliefs, nurses must become aware of the "total systematic structure of lived experiences, the meanings and effects of the experiences, and the cognitive subjective perspective of the individual who has the experiences" (Ornery, 1983, p. 50).
Beliefs about health practices in this population also have not been researched. Theoretically, individuals may be more inclined to improve or preserve health if a belief in the efficacy of self-care or of doctors is in their worldview (Lau & Ware, 1981).
The purpose of this study was to describe the personal experiences of individuals who use Lazaris' meditations. These meditations are defined as any processes which are on audiotape or videotape published by Concept Synergy and in the voice of Lazaris. There were no studies about these individuals reported in the literature. Respondents were invited, through interview questions, to respond, or to indicate their personal values, beliefs, and attitudes about growth, health, and the role of the meditation in their lives. Learning participants' values, beliefs and attitudes could increase the body of nursing knowledge, enabling nurses to assist individuals with making informed choices in the life process. Benner (1985) stated that "health and illness are lived experiences and are accessed through perceptions, beliefs, skills, practices and expectations" (p. 1).
The conceptual framework for this study was Rogers' (1970, 1989, 1992b) Science of Unitary Human Beings. This con ceptual system describes a human as an irreducible, unified whole possessing individual characteristics identified by energy patterns and waves (Rogers, 1970, 1992b). The resonances (intensification and prolongation of the wave and energy patterns) are ever changing. However, the rhythmical vibrations of the energy and waves remain similar so that the essence of the energy source continues to be recognizable to others. These abstract patterns can be concretely visualized as manifestations of one's personal life experiences (Rogers, 1990). The human energy field is in mutual process with the environment, which is also an energy field, in an irreversible process of change (Rogers, 1992b). Therefore, the life process can appear as a "dance of rhythmical waves vibrating at various frequencies" (Sarter, 1988, p. 61).
According to the Science of Unitary Human Beings, the individual is in a process of evolving towards a higher frequency and continuing diversity of wave patterns (Rogers, 1992b). "This evolution occurs in a nonlinear, nonspatial, nontemporal matrix, a (pandimensional) reality.... The energy fields are infinite and integral with an infinite environment" (Sarter, 1988, p. 68). Individuals possess the ability to participate knowingly in their processes of change (Barrett, 1986). People can change patterns by relinquishing emotions in those patterns and making different choices about how to utilize the released energy (Boguslawski, 1990). Rogers (1990) stated that diversity among individuals has increased, which inherently implies a need for "increased individualization of nursing services" (p. 8). She continued to advocate for developing noninvasive treatment modalities that would promote empowerment. A few examples include meditation, imagery, and relaxation therapies (Rogers, 1990).
The concept of paranormal phenomena, addressed by Rogers (1989), is particularly relevant to this study. She described this concept of the paranormal as an unlimited dimension in which linear time and separation of the human field and environmental fields do not exist. The present is relative to the individual; therefore, energy does not have to travel since it exists simultaneously in the relative present (Rogers, 1989). It can be concluded that everything occurs simultaneously.
Boguslawski (1990) stated that the present for an individual depends on the vibrational frequency; a past experience resonates at a different frequency than that of the present. Everything is an energy field that is identified through different energy patterns (Rogers, 1992a). The opinion that people extend beyond their physical bodies is an intrinsic supposition of Rogers (1989), Boguslawski (1990), and Lazaris (1991). Acceptance of the existence and channeled energy of Lazaris, a nonphysical entity from another dimension, is congruent with this framework. Pandimensional means a "nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes" (Rogers, 1992b, p. 29). Height, depth, length, time and space are familiar terms to describe dimensions in an easily understandable manner. Imagination and wonder could be other descriptions. Rogers' definition refers to perceiving infinite dimensions (Rogers, 1992b).
The assumption that all reality exists concurrently serves to enhance meditation, which occurs outside of time and space (Lazaris, 1985). Experiences from the past can occur in the present when the energy patterns of the meditator are changed through the process of meditating. One's imagination becomes a portal for communicating with those from other dimensions (Lazaris, 1991). Because of the altered vibration and apparent paradox (the past occurring in the present), the individual can release emotions without judgment. "The image becomes a living entity which forms a symbolic environment" (Weisshaupt, 1983,p. 34). This might be interpreted in Rogerian science as the individual in mutual process with an evolving environment as new human and environmental patterns evolve.
The qualitative approach used in this study is in agreement with Rogers' framework. The study of experience as it is lived (Omery, 1983) describes the study of pattern. Experience is a manifestation of pattern while it also creates pattern. The qualitative researcher may examine parts of data but remains aware that the whole is different from and greater than the sum of the parts (Omery, 1983; Rogers, 1992b). A most important assumption of the qualitative method is that "a phenomenon can only be understood in its context ... which is congruent with the Rogerian principle of integrality" (Swanson, 1990, p. 349). Method
The question addressed by this study was. What are the personal experiences of individuals who work with the meditations of Lazaris? This research was the result of a dream in which the investigator walked into the kitchen and an old woman with white hair wearing a plaid apron wrote the research question in bread dough and put it in the oven to bake. To explore this question, a descriptive, exploratory design that combined qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. The qualitative approach was chosen in an attempt to understand the phenomenon (personal experiences of people who listen to Lazaris' meditation) from those who lived it. Qualitative data were collected through 18 semi-structured, in-depth interview questions which were audio-taped. Quantitative data, obtained through the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale and a brief questionnaire of biographical data, were used to further describe the meditators. The amount of time required for data collection averaged 90 minutes for each participant.
Please define "Metaphysical" and "Meditation. " What do you believe is the source of Lazaris' meditations?
What were your beliefs related to metaphysics orparanormal events before knowing Lazaris?
What were the circumstances that led to your beginning work with Lazaris' meditations?
What is it like for you to use Lazaris' meditations?
How would you describe your life at this point in time?
Have you ever been active with any other kinds of meditations or self-development groups?
What have been the repeating patterns in your life?
How would you describe your family of origin?
What state of health best describes you?
How does your health compare to that of others?
What beliefs have you had to change to be as healthy as you are?
In what types of health care do you participate?
What would you want nurses who might take care of you to know about you?
What best describes your philosophy of life?
The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLC), developed by Wallston, Wallston, Kaplan, and Maides (1976), measures an individual's perception of control they feel about their health and health practices. This perception of control could be considered empowerment and personal power (Gibson, 1991; Jones & Meleis, 1993; Barrett, 1986). The MHLC is a six-point Likert scale of 18 items that is available in two forms; both forms were given to participants in this study. The scale includes three subscalest The Internal Health Locus of Control (IHLC) subscale which describes the extent that individuals believe their own personal behaviors affect their health, the Chance Health Locus of Control (CHLC) which portrays chance as the basis for health, and the Powerful Others Locus of Control (PHLC) which reflects the degree that those more powerful than the self (doctors, health professionals, etc.) affect their health. The alpha reliability from previous research when the forms were administered as a summative single scale were .83-86, compared to .67-.77 when used separately (Wallston, Wallston, & DeVellis 1978). Therefore, the summative scale of both forms was used in this study.
Participants were people who had used Lazaris' tapes and/or attended workshops. They answered in the affirmative to the question "Have you worked with Lazaris' meditations for over one year?" Respondents had meditated an average of 14.5 years and used Lazaris' meditations an average of 4.9 years. Twelve meditated daily, 3 meditated 4-6 times a week, 1 meditated 23 times a week, and 2 less than twice a week. Seventeen listened to audiotaped lectures and meditations. Participants lived in seven states; 14 were women and 4 were men. All were over 30 years of age, had at least a high school diploma, and 12 were college graduates. Fourteen had incomes over $20,000. Twenty-one people were asked to participate. Two refused and one informant dropped out after half of the interview was completed. Data from that participant were deleted. No risks nor specific benefits for participating in the research were anticipated, and none were identified during the study. Participants were informed of their right to refuse to participate and to withdraw at any time. Initially, four volunteers were known to the investigator. Two became research assistants and each assistant interviewed one subject. The other two volunteers recruited other subjects. Additional participants were located through the snowball technique.
Data from the interviews were analyzed through content analysis. Data were transcribed by the investigator, and the tapes were erased. Five transcriptions (28%) were randomly selected and returned to the original informants for review. Four were returned. Two had no corrections; two had editorial changes. One sentence was changed by an informant. This process enhanced credibility of the transcriptions.
The investigator then read the scripts line by line and paragraph by paragraph grouping phrases according to themes. Three faculty from the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing and Health Sciences assisted with theme validation. An immediate agreement of 87.5% was reached and after discussion, consensus was obtained for the remaining 12.5[degrees]/x. The MHLC and biographical questionnaire were analyzed using StatView SE plus Graphics, Version 103.
The following definitions emerged from the interview responses and provided a backdrop for identifying patterns and themes.
Definitions From Interview Responses
Martyr--"the belief that it is necessary to struggle hard and to be unappreciated, that life and the world are unfriendly."
Power--"is the willingness and the ability to act and be responsible for those actions"; "knowledge is power"; "it comes from within ... it supports laws of nature and other people's desires to get what they want in life"; "you are consciously creating what you do."
Meditation--"is altering your consciousness, relaxing, going within, stilling your mind, focusing your attention on some thing"; "a state of connecting with the higher realms and with my higher self"; "is questing outside time and space."
Metaphysical--"is knowing you create your own reality"; "is aware of and working with the multi-dimensional of existence, taking into consideration all other aspects of beyond the physical"; "is my relationship with my higher self, and God, Goddess, All That Is"; "the relationship between what you think and what happens in reality."
Lazaris--"is a being of energy who is not physical who is visiting our realm"; "is an entity that exists on another plane or another level of reality."
Source of Lazaris--"he's just not here"; "he's from outside of the set that we're in ... outside of the physical, mental, astral, causal planes"; "he's from inside of us."
Source of Lazaris' Meditations--"from a metaphysical source"; "from Lazaris"; "They're like inside of me."
Health--"a state of wholeness"; "a dynamic process"; "is balance ... to understand the connection between my body and my mind and how to use that connection to create greater awareness and greater understanding, and greater balance for my physical body, my mind, and my spirituality"; "is a reflection of emotions and beliefs."
The Universe--"a term to funnel the energy of God, Goddess, All That Is."
Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales
A mean score of 33.14 on the Internal Health Locus of Control section of the MHLC was much higher than in any other population reviewed in the literature. The mean scores of 8.47 for the Chance Health Locus of Control and 10.72 for the Powerful Others Health Locus of Control were noticeably lower for participants in this study than in previous studies. The persons in this study almost unanimously believed they controlled their state of health. Twelve of the respondents (67%) stated they did not like #8 on either Form A or Form B. Form A stated, "When I get sick, I am to blame"; Form B stated, "Whatever goes wrong with my health is my own fault." Respondents commented that these statements implied blame and punishment which had negative connotations: "There is no fault here"; "Blame increases the burden of illness"; "Blame and creation are not the same ... I take responsibility"; "I hate the word fault ... this is an old age way of thinking." All twelve stated they felt "responsible." Seven of them (39%) changed the statements by substituting the word "responsible" for blame and fault and then answered the questions with a "strongly agree" rating. Summative scores for the MHLC are described in Table 1.
When asked to describe their family of origin, informants talked about characteristics of the entire family and their reactions to living in them. For some informants the overall family was depicted as a "growing family" in which parents gave "wholesome values." Conversely, others spoke of a "toxic family" in which the "abuse and loneliness stands out." Parents "didn't fight, didn't drink, weren't abusive" which contrasted with being "alcoholics on both sides" or "martyrs and victims." Each individual member was described in equally contrasting terms. Reactions to living in families were also illustrated with opposites (a) "I'm glad most of them are dead" and (b) "1 would change nothing; it all got me to where I am today."
Personal experiences were portrayed in, 15, interconnected, interrelated themes entwining two additional core themes: being spiritual and creating. A representative sample of exemplars illustrates some of the themes.
In one of the core themes, being spiritual, informants described the daily connection they felt to God, Goddess, All That Is and an interconnectedness with other living beings: "Everything just took a much deeper, much more serious approach to my spirituality. Really making it a priority rather than something you do whenever you have time and trying to live by that and not just talk it but really live it." "Lazaris does speak to everyone as a whole, as an earthly body. We're all here. We're all consciousnesses striving for the same purpose ... and we're here to learn the reason why we chose to come into this lifetime."
This philosophy, "There isn't anything in my life I don't feel I don't have the power to change," permeated all aspects of respondents' lives. "I think I have very good fortune and it's because of the way I choose to have my live." "As soon as I knew I was in total charge and control of my life then that's when I became healthy." Searching. Struggling, and Changing
These themes described an internal force to seek answers. "I was always on a search to find answers." "It's always been a repeated pattern--being hurt and angry, feeling defeat or feeling betrayed; different kinds of self-sabotage and self-punishment." "In 20 years I'm not going to recognize myself, I hardly recognize myself now from what I was 4-5 years ago."
Evolving, Communicating, and Believing
Growth and movement were reflected in other themes. "We're here to grow, change, and evolve through happiness and joy; it doesn't have to be through pain and suffering. It's mostly a releasing or holding on to the pain and suffering." "I don't have any of those feelings anymore, (i.e.) helpless, hopeless, lost, purposeless, despairing, and unhappy." "Aches and pains are a message from my higher self or my inner self, from a portion of me trying to communicate to me something I've missed consciously so it comes up as an ache or pain." "Now my life has more magic in it; things happen more elegantly."
Perceiving Health Care
Subjects talked about their views and feelings about health care and their health status. "Meditation is my primary method of healing." "The whole medical establishment has this whole wrong idea that your body is something to be conquered and you sacrifice parts of it to fix it." "It's a patriarchal type of health care system: You can't survive unless I am here to take care of you. The person doesn't have responsibility." "Nurses have to have humility and a willingness to be intimate and intricate with people ... to be flexible and try not to see me through limitations ... to remember that others have free will and a right to choose whether they want to get ill, whether they want to die, or whether they want to be healed." "Nurses need to know what your values are and your belief system is so they can work with that." "I view nurses and doctors as assistants, not as supreme beings. They need to be able to go into their bag of tricks to help me get to a place to help myself."
Other general themes were Comforting, Meditating, Impacting, Feeling, Deserving, Self-Knowing, and Relating.
The definitions of metaphysical ("working with multi-dimensional existence"), Lazaris ("a being of energy who is not physical"), and the source of Lazaris and Lazaris' meditations("from outside the set we're in") supported Rogers' (1992b) pandimensional view of the infinite nature of energy fields. Many in the sample agreed that metaphysical exists beyond the physical. Responses differed about the location being internal or external. Meditation was described as an altered state that connected one interpersonally with everything and intrapersonally with areas of one's self. Lazaris and the meditations were believed to be from outside this physical reality, from another dimension. According to the data, the meditations were from a metaphysical source. Lazaris (1991) has described people who attend the seminars as a "gathering of individuals." Answers to the interview questions, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and the Biographical Questionnaire are indicative of both the commonalties and differences in participants.
Macrae (1982) explored how meditators experience time compared to non-meditators by administering the Time Metaphor Test. She found that meditators had experienced time differently than non-meditators. Meditators chose slow-rated metaphors such as a "vast expanse of sky" or a "quiet, motionless ocean" whereas significantly greater numbers of non-meditators chose the fast-rated metaphors such as a "speeding train", a "fast-moving shuttle", and "marching feet" (Macrae, 1982). Several subjects in her study experienced difficulty answering questions on two questionnaire scales. Those subjects either checked the middle answers of the scale or left them blank. In this study, 12 of the participants disagreed with questions on the MHLC and seven (b8%) rewrote those questions. They rejected the way the questions were stated and changed them to fit their belief system. This action-oriented behavior was an example of the overall theme of "I create my reality" instead of accepting the status quo. Informants were people who experienced childhoods and family situations that were different from one another. Their childhoods were reflective of those in the general population. They believed that they had chosen their respective families before birth.
Rogers (1992a) defined the Unitary Human Being as an energy field identified by nonrepeating patterns. Before using the meditations, repeating patterns consisted of struggling, betrayal, self pity, fear, shame, being a victim, self sabotage, and attempting to be perfect. The "struggling" exemplars clearly described patterns that could be altered and a process that could be used to do it. Rogers described the continuous change of patterns as the Principle of Resonancy (Rogers, 1989). As the patterns changed, negative cycles then became focused, more productive movement. Several adjectives kept recurring throughout the interviews: incredible, wonderful, exciting, amazing, really neat, really fun. Respondents reported evolving and changing beliefs so that enjoying life was now paramount. "The power of recognizing and making that decision not do that pattern was enough to stop the pattern." These statements of evolving and creating demonstrate Rogers' Principle of Helicy.
Words defined by people in this sample held different meanings than the more commonly accepted definitions. For example, martyr is used as a belief and a person instead of a person who believes. Power involves consciously creating as well as the ability to act. Meditation includes being outside of time and space.
Health was defined in terms of a dynamic process that is a state of interconnectedness or integrality among mind, body, spirit, and with an emotional component. Participants believed that illness was a message from one part of one's self to another and the individual has the power for self-healing. They no longer relinquish their health to doctors, medicine, or previous family history. Being proactive in health practices, which included such behaviors as exercise, meditation, and taking supplements was part of their lifestyle. The theme of creating was illustrated with "I realized I was the one in control of whether or not I got sick." Respondents portrayed illness as being a "reflection of people feeling they don't deserve to be healthy." Illness contained an unheard message from one part of one's self to another. Believing in a state of wellness and allowing magic in everyday life were felt to be significantly important. Perhaps another significant belief that affected health was being a victim. This belief and subsequent feeling of being powerless and undeserving would adversely influence one's health status.
The majority of meditators would choose alternative health care providers such as chiropractors and massage therapists or techniques such as magnets or flower remedies instead of traditional Western medical practices. Some would choose "whatever works." Participants sought the message in the illness and employed meditation as the primary method of healing. Seventeen percent thought that needing nursing services was unimaginable.
Respondents would prefer that nurses be honest with themselves about their motivations for providing services, be empathetic, non-judgmental, attentive, and interpreters of information. Meditators want nurses to provide a healing environment and knowledge about alternative methods of healing. Several suggestions were given such as (a) allowing patients private time to meditate, (b) visualizing healing energy and light being sent to patients as the nurses chart on them, (c) supporting patients' use of special diets or supplements, (d) teaching guided meditations to help patients "learn reasons they were choosing to be ill," and (e) respecting the choices patients make about their own health regardless of the nurse's personal beliefs. One queried: "Where do we get these nurses?"
Meditators thought the universe was unlimited, that the human race is part of a larger picture. This recognition of human environment mutual process is characteristic of Rogers' (1989) Principle of Integrality. One-half believed that humans were on a journey. Two-thirds of the sample believed that people are essentially good. These responses about human nature supported Macrae (1982), when she stated "the personal philosophy of meditators might have been more optimistic than that of the non-meditators" (p. 51).
The following limitations were established at the onset of the study (a) the sponsoring organization for Lazaris declined support, (b) uneven distribution of sexes in the sample, although gender did not emerge relevant to the themes, (c) no previous studies with this group so comparisons of similarities were not available, (d) only 28% reviewed their interview transcripts instead of 100%, (e) use of research assistants for two interviews, although cost effective, may have affected dependability, (f) personal bias which was offset by the faculty review and maintaining a personal journal, and (g) saturation may have occurred with fewer participants. This researcher believed that the number of participants should be predetermined and the data examined for differences among responses. This approach altered the focus from continuing until saturation to looking for the essence that made these participants unique.
Findings support the model of Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings (Rogers, 1989, 1990, 1992b) and Newman's Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness Newman, 1986). Nursing is now poised for others theorists to add to these existing theories. Those that promote nurse-driven care are no longer applicable. Partnership will be the care modality of the future. The findings suggest that nursing address the current messages, described in the exemplars, that have been given to the public about nursing, medicine, and health. Nursing education programs that sensitize students to the beliefs and attitudes of this group of people and promote cultural literacy are necessary. Students need to be taught complementary healing techniques. In the next century, nurses may be assisting the patient to heal primarily through thought by simply changing belief systems or teaching them to access the energy field. Machinery and current technology would then become obsolete or have diminished importance. In this time of health care reform, shifting paradigms may require quantum leaps.
Exemplars described the process of becoming empowered and through this process, developing awareness of each person's own personal power. Empowerment is defined in a broad sense as "a process by which people ... gain mastery over their lives" (Gibson, 1991, p. 355). Power, on the other hand, is "being aware of what one is choosing to do, feeling free to do it, and doing it intentionally" (Barrett, 1986, p. 174). One is a process, the other is an outcome of that process although Jones & Meleis (1993) consider empowerment as both process and outcome. This research, viewed in its totality, is a study of meditators' empowerment (process).
Emergence of empowerment in the current study is similar to Gibson's (1991) concept as she describes how the concept of empowerment can impact nursing. Although participants did not use the word empowerment, the creating and perceiving health themes are contextually the same. Gibson (1991) offered several assumptions that reflect beliefs nurses must practice to support this concept including (a) the primary responsibility for an individual's health rests with the individual, (b) respect for an individual's ability for growth must be provided so one can direct his/her own destiny, (c) people empower themselves, (d) "health professionals need to surrender the need for control" (p. 357), (e) the nurse and client must mutually respect one another as power shared as "empowerment is very much a collaborative process" (p. 357), and (f) trust is imperative. The nursing role will be to stimulate self-awareness and self-growth. Nurses' expertise will become a tool for facilitating empowerment as they become partners in helping provide health care. Gibson states that the individual nurse will have to develop more self-understanding, let go of any need to accumulate power for personal use, and become comfortable with risk taking as the clients maintain their own beliefs and health goals. This nurse will learn to be more comfortable with more diffuse self-boundaries as interconnectedness with others develops.
"Educational programs, based on operational definitions of spiritual needs and spiritual care" will be essential (Clark, Cross, Deane, & Lowry, 1991, p. 75). Findings from this study also highlight the need for nurses to address clients spiritual needs. As additions to the assessment phase of the nursing process, perhaps nurses could ask patients if they meditate or what form of healing they prefer. Piles (1990) stated that nursing education does not address the difference between psychosocial and spiritual interventions, and that spiritual needs are expressed through psychosocial behaviors. However, psychosocial skills will not address the core of the problem. Results from this study suggest that an alteration in thinking may be needed. Respondents describe themselves as spiritual beings who are being spiritual which is a state of mind, a belief system, a way of viewing the world. Every function in their life is a manifestation of their spirituality. All people are spiritual. Their conscious connection or lack of awareness of this connection to God, Goddess, All That Is, can be considered to be a nursing function. A nurse could teach someone how to reconnect through whatever method is appropriate for that patient. Meditating is one method used by participants in this study to connect. Arriving at an operational definition of spirituality could be a goal of future research.
Hatcher (1991) addresses the need for "transformative, spiritual leadership" in the health professions (p. 65). This kind of leadership will be important in the individual clinical nurse as well as in nursing management. Some of the techniques suggested by the sample population to change or to enhance their spiritual connections might be applicable for nurses either personally or for use in clinical practice. Thomas (1989) suggested that nurses might develop more balance in their lives and decrease burnout through integration of a spiritual dimension.
Rogers (1989, 1990) has stated that the art of nursing is the imaginative and creative use of knowledge for human betterment. This research has described the personal experiences of metaphysical meditators (unitary human beings) and their environments from a pandimensional perspective. Rogers' model has provided the bridge between one group of people who use metaphysical meditations to enhance their growth and health and people who use more traditional approaches. The practice of nursing will be to incorporate this abstract knowledge, which was obtained through scientific research and logical analysis, and to act on it in behalf of others. Perhaps this study will be a catalyst for additional research which will include evaluating the effectiveness of Lazaris' meditations as treatment modalities to facilitate mental health or healing, or replicating this study with other groups of meditators.
Received August 1995
Accepted December 1995
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Anne Gibson, RN;MS
University of Alaska
Table 1 Mean Scores for Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales Summarized Across Types of Subjects Sample N JHLC CHLC PHLC * Chronic Patients 609 25.78 17.64 22.54 * Healthy Adults 1287 25.55 16.21 19.16 * Persons engaged in 720 27.38 15.52 18.44 Preventive Health Behaviors * College Students 749 26.68 16.72 17.87 Metaphysical Meditators 18 33.14 8.47 10.72 Note. * Wallston Summative Scores for forms A/B verified 3/9192 in personal communication. The range for scores is 6-36 in each section.
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|Publication:||Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science|
|Article Type:||Clinical report|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1996|
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