Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Impact of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Private Religious Practices on Social Well-Being among Different Religious Community

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Impact of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Private Religious Practices on Social Well-Being among Different Religious Community

Article excerpt

India is a plural society in which people from different religions, idioms, castes, and other socio-cultural kinds live together. Groups are socially diversified and always strive to maintain a peaceful coexistence for the growth and development but, at the other end are not free from differences and conflicting issues.

Researchers at recent times showed greater concern on quality of life, happiness, and well- being from the individual point of view with social perspective taking back seat. Thus, an attempt is made to understand the effect of person's Daily Spiritual Experiences, values and beliefs on social well-being.

Indeed religion is a theme of perennial interest. It was marginalized in the secular scientific discourse. It is only recently that the investigators have started endeavors to empirically investigate the implications of religion for well-being. The findings in Western societies have been not so consistent, with some studies indicating that religion is detrimental to individuals' well-being and other studies indicating no association at all (Koenig & Larson, 2001; Miller & Kelley, 2005). There are also works that suggest that higher level of religious involvement is associated with better physical and mental health status (Levin, 1994; Levin & Tobin, 1995).

The reasons for diverse findings partly lie in conceptualizing the variables in different ways and hence identifying as to what constitutes 'religion' and or'spirituality'. Understandably the concept of religion is difficult to capture and pin down as a tangible concept. In fact the gap between the academic definition and its practices and consequent affective connotations shared by the people are quite varied and depend upon the field of study and choice of the researchers. Religion consists of personal/individual and social/community level conceptualization, study and analysis. Finally, the target sample with its set of attributes puts forth its own meaning and interpretations. Realizing this present study makes a modest attempt to appreciate the meaning and relevance of religion, identity and well-being in the Indian context.

India after independence faced the challenge of being secular in nature and still bestowing religious freedom and identity to the diverse religious communities. The Indian civilization has been traditional in its nature yet capable of accommodating modernity by giving new meanings to the older experiences. It has been flexible in that it borrows from the others, and does not lose its identity.

This domain is intended to measure the individual's perception of the transcendent (God, the divine) in daily life and the perception of interaction with, or involvement of, the transcendent in life. The items attempt to measure experiences rather than cognitive constructions. Although a variety of the domains in the more complete Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/ Spirituality: 1999 address spirituality, this domain makes spirituality its central focus and can be used effectively across many religious boundaries.

Current perspectives on religion

Paloutzian (1996) offers a conceptual map of current theories of principal psychological and social processes that provide support for the contention that religion influences psychological well-being. The following four points of reference define this framework: (1) unconscious mental processes; (2) behaviors shaped by conditioning; (3) the human need for meaning and growth; and (4) social influences, cognitive processes, and the interaction between these influences and processes. According to Paloutzian (1996), such theories attribute religious behavior to principles of habit formation, and are too general to provide putative descriptions of the specific processes underlying religious conduct and experience.

Indian diaspora

The spread of Hinduism to different parts of the world adds a new dimension to the study of religious behaviour. …

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