The Experience of Feeling Grace in Voluntary Service to the Terminally III

  • Paul Gowack
  • Valerie A. Valle


There exist in many cultures some powerful and distinct human experiences we have little scientific understanding of. One such experience is the experience of feeling grace. In this chapter, the nature of the experience of feeling grace in voluntary service to the dying is explored from a phenomenological perspective. Twelve individuals who described themselves as having experienced grace while working with the dying were interviewed, their descriptions were analyzed, and seven constituent themes were identified. The relationship of these themes to previous writings on the nature of grace is then explored.


Religious Experience Heighten Awareness Peak Experience Voluntary Service Theme Cluster 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almaas, A. H. (1984). The elixir of enlightenment. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.Google Scholar
  2. Almaas, A. H. (1986). Essence. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.Google Scholar
  3. Almaas, A. H. (1988). The void. Berkeley, CA: Diamond Books.Google Scholar
  4. Sri Aurobindo (1989). The psychic being. Wilmont, WI: Lotus Light Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Boff, L. (1979). Liberating grace. New York: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  6. Colaizzi, P. F. (1973). Reflections on research in psychology. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.Google Scholar
  7. Colaizzi, P. F. (1978). Psychological research as the phenomenologist views it. In R. S. Valle & M. King (Eds.), Existential—phenomenological alternatives for psychology (pp. 48–71). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dreyer, E. (1990). Manifestations of grace. Wilmington, DE: M. Glazier.Google Scholar
  9. Elite, O. (1993). On the experience of being voluntarily silent for a period of four or more days: A phenomenological inquiry. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies, Novato.Google Scholar
  10. Fransen, P. (1965). Divine grace and man. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  11. Frenz, A. (1975). Grace in Saiva Siddhanta, Vedanta, Islam, and Christianity. Madurai, India: Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary.Google Scholar
  12. Galley, H. (Ed.). The Book of Common Prayer (1979). New York: Seabury Press.Google Scholar
  13. Giorgi, A. (1975). An application of phenomenological method in psychology. In A. Giorgi, C. Fischer, & E. Murray (Eds.), Duquesne studies in phenomenological psychology: Volume II (pp. 82–103). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gove, P. B. (Ed.). (1966). Webster’s third new international dictionary. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam.Google Scholar
  15. Haecker, T. (1937). Kierkegaard. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  17. Husserl, E. (1962). Ideas: General introduction to pure phenomenology. New York: Collier.Google Scholar
  18. James, W. (1977). The varieties of religious experience. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. King, W. (1952). Buddhism and Christianity: Some bridges of understanding. Philadelphia: Westminister Press.Google Scholar
  20. Liderbach, D. (1983). The theology of grace and the American mind. New York: Edwin Meilen Press.Google Scholar
  21. Maslow, A. (1959). New knowledge in human values. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  22. Maslow, A. (1962). Toward a psychology of being. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maslow, A. (1964). Religions, values, and peak-experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Maslow, A. (1971). The farther reaches of human nature. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  25. Meissner, W. W (1984). Psychoanalysis and religious experience. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Meissner, W. W. (1987). Life and faith: Psychological perspectives on religious experiences. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mishler, E. G. (1986). Research interviewing: Content and narrative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. The Mother (1972). Surrender and grace. Auroville, India: Sri Aurobindo Society.Google Scholar
  29. Pahnke, W, & Richards, W. (1973). Religion and mind-expanding drugs. In J. Heaney (Ed.), Psyche and spirit (pp. 108–118). New York: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  30. Reichenbach, B. (1990). The law of karma: A philosophical study. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  31. Shoenberg, B. (1972). Psychological aspects of terminal care. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Solimar, V (1986). The nature and experience of self-love. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies, Novato.Google Scholar
  33. Sri Ramana Maharshi. (1988). The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi. Boston: Shambala Publications.Google Scholar
  34. Valle, R. S., King, M., & Halling, S. (1989). An introduction to existential-phenomenological thought in psychology. In R. S. Valle & S. Halling (Eds.), Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology: Exploring the breadth of human experience (pp. 3–16). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vedakkekara, C. M. (1981). Divine grace and human response. Bangalore, India: Asirvanam Benedictine Monastery.Google Scholar
  36. von Eckartsberg, R. (1986). Life-world experience: Existential-phenomenological research approaches in psychology. Washington, DC: Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology; University Press of America.Google Scholar
  37. Watson, P. (1959). The concept of grace. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Gowack
    • 1
  • Valerie A. Valle
    • 2
  1. 1.BerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.BrentwoodUSA

Personalised recommendations