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Spiritual Knowing


Danny G. Willis

The current featured article from the current issue of ANS is titled “Spiritual Knowing Another Pattern of Knowing in the Discipline” by Danny G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN; Danielle M. Leone-Sheehan, MS, RN. In this article, the authors call for “stunning clarity” about the focus of the discipline. We are featuring this article during the time that a large number of nursing scholars will be gathered at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) toe.  examine the focus of the discipline, and chart the course forward in the development of nursing knowledge.  This article, and the other articles in this issue of ANS focusing on this topic, will be available on the ANS website at no cost for the next few weeks.  Dr. Willis sent this background about the work on which this article is based:

When Danielle Leone-Sheehan and I wrote this paper, it came from our collaborative engagement in living nursing theory and caring. Our experiences as n: urses and human beings compelled us to write about that which was special to us within the unitary field. As nurses grounded in nursing disciplinary knowledge and deeply appreciative of the view of life’s unfoldment afforded from within nursing’s unitary-transformative paradigm, we felt it important to explicate spiritual knowing as another pattern of knowing in nursing.  In a sense, we wanted to act as ‘illuminators of spiritual knowing’ drawing upon wisdom deep within ourselves that reflected our experiences as healers and teachers oriented towards all that is good, wholesome, and healing in being human. In our collective experiences across multiple dimensions of our lives as private citizens as well as in our nursing research, clinical nursing experiences, and teaching-learning-mentoring work with students, we’ve experienced the value of being the recipient of and holding-for-others this expanded spiritual consciousness  of compassion, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness. We’ve known the power of spiritual knowing when discerning meaning or finding strength within difficult situations. We’ve felt compelled to claim and lift up that which is spiritual and central in the work of healing, caring, and humanization in its fullest sense.

This journey into the land of spiritual knowing has been inspiring. We look forward to the evolution of our expanded unitary spiritual knowing as the years unfold ahead. As we were planning this paper, our common insight was that spiritual knowing is real; yet, spiritual knowing has not been named, lifted up, privileged, and talked about within the wide world of nursing. This insight energized us to change this unfortunate reality. We named spiritual knowing as a unitary-transformative pattern of knowing the world. And, as we often reflect, once you’ve experienced spiritual knowing there’s nothing quite like it. There is a feeling of  alignment with a universal world of goodness without boundaries. Spiritual knowing is pan-dimensional and healing. It uplifts one’s consciousness into a more expansive unitary thought model than is possible without it. Spiritual knowing is important to human wellbeing such that nurses need to engage in further research/study about this pattern of knowing particularly with relevance to how nursing and caring grounded in spiritual consciousness influences nursing-sensitive caring outcomes and human wellbeing.

We wrote this paper to strongly advocate for spiritual knowing and to  intentionally focus our work as caring healers on spiritual qualities that uplift humankind. It has been our experience that human beings typically do well with lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness, peacefulness, and experiencing self-other and living-dying within a larger framework of meaning and purpose. We are pleased that we have named and claimed spiritual knowing as a pattern of knowing for the discipline and profession of nursing on behalf of those we serve. We hope other nurses will find our writings valuable contributions to the ongoing evolution of nursing. Opening and Welcoming All – Come walk with us on this inspiring and expanding unitary-transformative journey.

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