Like the ability to use language, possession of spiritual attributes and qualities is a defining characteristic of the human species. Evidence from the Bahá’í writings suggests that, similar to the capacity to learn one’s first language, spiritual qualities and virtues exist innately in the young child as easily activated potential states that are subject to critical period constraints as the child matures. In the adult, although the innate capacity to manifest spiritual attributes is still present, its activation appears to occur more through an information-processing approach similar to the way other new skills are learned. Educational research has found that students who use learning strategies are more successful in developing new skills than those who do not report strategy use. If the spiritualization process in adults is similar to other learning tasks, then active use of learning strategies may facilitate the development of spiritual virtues. This article discusses a possible cognitive, language-based pathway for spiritualization and then examines the application of learning strategies to the spiritualization process.
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Copyright © 1999 Sandra S. Fotos