At the 1999 National Association on Gifted Children convention, Michael Piechowski presented a class on Spiritual Giftedness. It was a very popular topic, with over sixy people present, a full twenty more than the room could seat. Piechowski is a well known researcher in the field of gifted education and particularly educational psychology. He was a student of Dabrowski's, the developer of the theory of Overexcitabilites. Piechowski explained that he came to the study of spiritual giftedness through his work with Dabrowski's theory as well as the work of Anna Marie Roeper's work on emotional giftedness, as well as his research and study in the field of transpersonal psychology.
Piechowski told us about William James's study of religious experience and James's discoveries about the concept of spiritual giftedness. From his book, "The Varieties of Religious Experience", published in 1902 (Can you believe that?! Almost a hundred years ago!!), James described similarities in the belief systems of spiritually gifted persons as follows:
[James, W. (1902/1936). "The varieties of religous experience". New York: Modern Library, pp. 476-477.]
Piechowski also offered evidence from Edward Hoffman's book, "Visions of Innocence" (1992) of spiritual giftedness. Hoffman interviewed many persons about spiritual experiences recalled from childhood from 20-70 years later and was able to put them all into the following major categories:
Piechowski also told us that young children have no fear of death and
in early childhood they are very spiritually connected. As they age,
they (usually) lose this connection. He said we need to offer respect
and acceptance when they do share spiritual insights and
experiences. I would add that the connection is probably lost because
it is not reinforced, supported, or educated, much like a muscle that
atrophies from lack of use.
© 1998-2021 Wendy Chapman