Original Research

An empirical and experiential investigation into the contemplation of joy

Stephen D. Edwards, David J. Edwards
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a4746 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.4746 | © 2018 | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2017 | Published: 07 March 2018

About the author(s)

Stephen D. Edwards, Department of Psychology, University of Zululand, South Africa
David J. Edwards, Department of Psychology, University of Zululand, South Africa

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The research was generally motivated by a dearth of studies on joy, and particularly inspired by a book of joy celebrating the inter-spiritual dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Its aim was to investigate whether the direct contemplation of joy would be associated with improvements in psychophysiological coherence, spirituality and various positive emotions and feelings. Integrative quantitative and qualitative findings emerging from a small pilot study, including a convenience sample of six participants with a mean age of 42 years and age range of 25–69 years, supported the research hypothesis. Significant quantitative increases in psychophysiological coherence, spirituality and positive feelings were coherently and consistently supported by participants’ individual and collective experiences. Integrative discussion amplified the paradoxical theme of joy through suffering in human emotional and spiritual life.


Investigation; contemplation; joy; Buddhism; Christianity


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