Spirituality and the outdoors

Authored by: Paul Heintzman

Routledge International Handbook of Outdoor Studies

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138782884
eBook ISBN: 9781315768465
Adobe ISBN: 9781317666523


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The English word ‘spirituality’ comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning ‘breath of life’, and can be traced to the Greek word pneuma used in the New Testament to describe a person’s spirit guided by God’s Spirit. Today, spirituality may be defined as ‘the feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors that arise from a search for the sacred’ (i.e. divine being, Ultimate Reality or Ultimate Truth) (Larson, Swyers & McCullough, 1998, p. 21). Using the behavioural model of outdoor recreation this chapter synthesises empirical findings on outdoor activities and spirituality using a framework (Heintzman, 2010) that includes antecedent conditions, setting and recreation factors, and spiritual outcomes (see Figure 38.1).

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