Early Spirituality

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First things are spiritually important. Awareness comes with the first breath – or perhaps before, at conception or in the womb. We can speculate about an infant’s first sense of mystery or transcendence. And even when God might ‘make an entrance’? But, fortunately, while there are more questions now than answers this might soon change. There is a growing body of developmental research which can cast light on the questions.

This website explores how spiritual awareness comes to the infant, before language and cognitive understanding. Research studies have established early learning. Arguably this creates a reservoir of proto-learning, which is any propositional beliefs because ideas come much later. There is no exact word for what I am trying to convey so I offer the label unconscious spiritual learning, which hopefully, will function as a sign post pointing to what is formative of the spiritual self.

What are we talking about? It is not the Freud’s unconscious or Jung’s archetypes, instead I will argue for the centrality of a learning process. Various terms are used in research, including implicit learning and tacit knowledge, and these along with other terms will be mentioned in the first chapter. We look through a developmental lens because it will help to see personal growth encompassing the physical, emotional, psychological and, of course, spiritual realms.

I invite you to explore some exciting ideas about the origins of our spirituality. I see myself in the modest role of a ‘tourist guide’ simply ‘pointing out the sights’. But if this is to happen you will have to accompany me on a journey which begins now.