Investigating Online Spirituality

Episode 11 July 15, 2023 00:48:34
Investigating Online Spirituality
Pathways to Heart
Investigating Online Spirituality

Jul 15 2023 | 00:48:34


Hosted By

John Elfers, Ph.D. Tara Pipia Adam Neal, M.A. Sofia University

Show Notes

This podcast is an exploration of the increasing presence of spirituality in online platforms. Spiritual mentors, teachers, and gurus are reaching out to share their experiences and teachings and creating spiritual communities along the way. Dr. Olivia Jenkins, Melissa Caicedo-Farbman, and Petra Parvati Meedt conducted a research study on this phenomenon. They share their results here with our listeners.

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Episode Transcript

Investigating Online Spirituality John Elfers (00:00):I'd like to welcome each of you today and thank you for sharing your experience with us on this fascinating topic. So first, Petra Parvati Meedt, I'd like to welcome you. Petra Parvati Meedt (00:14) Thank you so much. A pleasure being here. John Elfers (00:17): And Olivia Jenkins. Olivia Jenkins (00:20): Hi, John. I'm happy to be here. John Elfers (00:21): Yeah. Welcome. And Melissa Caicedo-Farbman. Welcome. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (00:26): Hi, John. Hi everyone. John Elfers (00:30): Well, let's jump right in because I'm anxious to learn about your investigations on this emerging topic. So can you just start with what motivated, what prompted this study for you three? Olivia Jenkins (00:43): Yeah, so I can jump in first. I would say that for me what was motivating and kind of between all of us is this study essentially was birthed from a really rich conversation that we had. And so we're all studying at Sophia. We're all talking about our dissertation processes and coming from those sorts of conversations. We talked about what we're noticing about spirituality in the world and there was just so much excitement that was happening between all of us and so much passion that was coming out. And I think that was essentially how our research was created. John Elfers (01:31): Yeah. And can one of you briefly share what was really the topic? Like what were you going over? What was your research question? What did you want to know? Petra Parvati Meedt (01:46): <Laugh>? Well, I think one of the things that we were really curious about was this new wave of spirituality, because we all have access to like a social media and we were just like amazed about the kind of variety of different offerings that are out there. And sometimes also about the, some of them interesting, some of them actually contributing to the base of knowledge and some of them inspiring, but some of them, like really <laugh> just out there. So we were just intrigued about what is going on <laugh>, and I don't know if Melissa wants to add something to that. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (02:30): Yeah, that was beautiful. Olivia and Petra. One thing I will add is in that conversation Olivia spoke about, we were looking at spiritual leadership in the media and there was a lot of alarming documentaries coming out of some spiritual leaders that were abusing their powers. And we were in a conversation about that of safety and of having awareness of these types of experiences that are out there. And also we noticed that some of the documentaries that were coming forward were showcasing some spiritual leaders that were on social media that some of us have even followed in the past. And so that was really important. That was kind of like a red flag that was going off and we're like, hmm. As someone who has followed certain spiritual leaders and on social media, especially YouTube you know, I kind of was curious to see what was the light and the dark of this new community that was being birthed in the world of online social media. So yeah. John Elfers (03:55): Yeah. You know, if I think about it, it really makes sense because social media has infiltrated literally every aspect of our lives, right? It's difficult to even get away from it if we want. So on the one hand, it's not surprising in that spirituality should find its way in there and, but there's also the dark and the shadow side, and it sounds like yes, that was maybe one of the things that alerted you to that. And so I'll be interested to learn about what you sifted out about that. But first, can you give a little summary about what were the mechanics and logistics of your research? How did you go about doing this? Did you just search the wide worldwide web or what did you do? Petra Parvati Meedt (04:42): Well, we decided to do an ethnography, like to start with, even just explore what is even out there because we just started in a conversation and then we were like, let's find out if there is actually any research about it. And we found nothing really. There was not a lot available about that specific topic that we were looking for. And then we were like, well, it would be interesting to research this. So what we did was we developed some questions that are for an analysis protocol that we could use to look at different profiles from different platforms and just have something where we could compare different spiritual leaders in their content and the way they present what they're talking about, what the followers are talking about them. Because wejust wanted to have an idea what is actually out there and like what is happening <laugh>. Petra Parvati Meedt (05:42): And we were really surprised about the bandwidths that's out there and about like, you know, that it is really, we didn't think it's that big a deal. But when we really started the investigation, I think we all found that it really made sense to look at this deeper because this is where a lot of the young generation is going for advice and others <laugh>, you know, but specifically the millennials and themyounger generations. They use the internet daily. We all use it daily, so, you know, to not be aware of what is going on there is like, it's missing a trend I think. So we were really curious about that. And yeah, so we used the analysis protocols to look at different profiles and then we compared what we found. So that was the basics process. I don't know if anybody wants to add something to that. John Elfers (06:43): Yeah, I would like to know what, what were some of the criteria then you were looking for in terms of content, in terms of maybe the reach. I think you had some criteria around how many followers they had and those kinds of things. Can you share some of those? Olivia Jenkins (06:59): Yeah. So one of the criterion was to that each of the spiritual leaders had to somehow define themselves very specifically as a spiritual leader, spiritual guru, mentor, coach. But using those that language that in some form in their profile. They had over 10,000 followers, but we found that some of them had hundreds of thousands of followers. They had some kind of engagement with their followers, whether it was in the comments or they were somewhat active at least, and not like a fan page or some kind of dedication page that someone made on their behalf. And I think, I know I'm missing something, somebody remember another piece to it. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (07:59): I think they weren't religious. That's right. Sure. They weren't religious leaders that they were just spiritual, so they didn't have a connection with any specific group. Petra Parvati Meedt (08:12): Yeah, no, direct, like spiritual or religious affiliation with a specific group that was apparent to us because that will be another research, very important one too. But like for this specific, for our first, overview, we wanted to look at the in general as spiritual leaders that were not associated with religious groups or bigger spiritual groups. John Elfers (08:40): Yeah, that makes sense. That would really sort of widen the net if you took in specific religions, because there's a lot of spiritual leaders out there who are affiliated maybe with a specific religion mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So yeah. And there is a, you know, a growing demographic of the spiritual but not religious. And so I think it's an important, a very important demographic to go for. And, so here you are, you're looking at all their websites and how they're presenting themselves didyou feel like you were like doing some stalking or like a little stealth thing here. Was there any sense of that or kind of eavesdropping, looking over their shoulder? Melissa Caicedo Farbman (09:25): <Laugh>. So that's a funny and great question. I would say overall it was very enjoyable and entertaining. I personally have closed off my social media accounts for many years and was just popping up on Instagram once in a while. So to be able to like reopen my apps and engage in TikTok, which I never did before, go back on YouTube, open up my Instagram, and kind of look at these people's profiles. I felt like I was one of them. I felt like I was one of their followers. I didn't feel any different. And as I was going through their videos, I felt just sucked in. And I could see how social media kind of just like warps you into this place that there's no time or space and hours will go by looking at these profiles. And then you look at the time and I'm like, wow, where have I been? So yeah, it was an interesting experience and there were certain people that I felt drawn to more than others for sure. And we'll talk about later, kind of like the themes that came up, but it was very enticing is very interesting. And as I said, enjoyable <laugh>. Olivia Jenkins (10:52): And I would say also that there's something really intimate about the experience when looking at people's profiles, because so many people take videos in their own homes or in their cars, and so it's almost as if you're having a conversation with a friend or you're listening to a friend talk. And that level of intimacy is really interesting and I think is part of the appeal of some of these leaders because it gives people somewhere to go or someone to listen to or a community to sort of develop from that. Petra Parvati Meedt (11:32): Yeah, and I would like to add thatit's kind of like a little twofold because on the one hand, they're out there like, so that's the difference with a ethnography and, having like another form of research where you normally ask for an informed consent and it's a different process. It's more private. But like, because it's already out there in the world and they want to be seen normally <laugh>, there is something about this intimacy and really like getting to see at least one side of these leaders that are sharing their life, sharing their experience, sharing their knowledge, their ideas. But on the other hand, it's also private and you know, it's both there. And we had, it wasn't like the… we felt like eavesdropping, but we had like a conversation before because we presented like our results at a conference. Petra Parvati Meedt (12:37): So before we went to the conference, we had the conversation if we would include some of these clips or videos because some of them are really interesting and they would definitely help to make the point to support our results. But we decided as a group to not do that, because some of them, even though they're publicly available they might not want to be part of like a research and some of the followers too might be taken aback or they might not like it if they're preferred virtual leader is mentioned in a research about the dangers or like the abuse and use of power in <laugh> in spirituality. So, you know, it goes a little bit with the question, I think because there was a consideration about that. John Elfers (13:38): Thank you for that. And I'm intrigued with the fact that you were able to find some level of intimacy and enticement to moving in. So if you're a good example, then maybe many other people too could be, you could understand how they could easily be drawn in and find meaning in some of these presentations and the word intimacy, that you feel like maybe you're in a room with them and having a conversation. I'm curious, this leads me to think about what do you think is some of the motivation for these spiritual leaders in reaching out that way? Did you have a sense of that or intuit anything? Melissa Caicedo Farbman (14:27): Yeah. So I think it varied. It was very diverse. Some people's motivation was clearly that they had a transformative experience, whether it was healing from trauma or having a transpersonal experience or some mental health crises. And they wanted to share that with the world to help others. And also to normalize. I noticed a lot of people talking about mental health and spirituality and bridging the two together. And you would see in the comments that their followers would be like, oh my God, thank you, thank you for speaking about this. I thought I was alone. Whether it's some extreme transpersonal experience or just someone going through depression and finding meditation and yoga to help them. And then there were some people that we're definitely riding on kind of like social media trends and, copying certain ways to gain followers and]’’being more humorous and entertaining and kind of funny. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (15:47): So it was hard to really know what their motivation is, right? All we could see is what we could see in trying to remove our own biases of like, oh, okay, that person, I don't know about them. Or, oh, this person's cool, you know, just to kind of see the facts, what's out there, what are they saying? How are they representing themselves? How are they con connecting with their followers? And so yeah, so a lot of it was motivated by their own experience and wanting to share their own experience with others to help others. And maybe some was just kind of like, just to entertain people and have another cool profile to look at when you're bored. So, yeah. Petra Parvati Meedt (16:33): And I would like to add as also in that same line, like Melissa said, it's also this joy of expressing yourself, sharing with the world who you are or what you have to offer, and playing with that. Some of them, we found one category of our analysis touched on that, that some of them they really play with what was different, like outfits they can wear, was the different environments they can use with the different, they sing, they bring in different people, show different sides of their lives. And that is enticing too because in a way it inspires others to do the same, to be playful, to express yourself, to be content with who you are and that it's okay to share that with the world. So I think that's another way, how to look at the benefits of some of following these virtual leaders, which I at least saw and, because it was inspiring to just watch them even though maybe I personally didn't like their style or, but just to see somebody expressing themselves fully is a beautiful thing, <laugh>. John Elfers (17:55): Yeah. You know, it does make sense. If I think of spirituality, one of the primary characteristics of that is connection with other people. And so someone having a profound spiritual experience, maybe they live out in the boonies or they're isolated somehow. We had the whole covid sense of isolation. And so using social media and these platforms as a way to connect with others, reach out, share their experiences. That makes a lot of sense to me. So now I'm curious if we could move into what were some of the findings and I suspect there's both the dark and the light. You've already mentioned that there's the dark and the light, and what were some of the, just amazing things that moved you? You've already shared a few of them, like having a sense of time distortion, a lot of time going by and wow, that was amazing. But then other things maybe that raised some red flags for you. How would you characterize your findings? Melissa Caicedo Farbman (19:07): So yeah, so as you mentioned, we as spiritual researchers, we like to see both sides. We believe everything, comes with a light and a dark. And they're both prevalent especially on online situations as past research shows that social media can be dangerous to youth and to people, for various reasons. So to start with the perceived benefits I kind of covered some of them, but we found the benefits through looking at the comments sections. So a lot of them, we would look at the comments and we would see how their followers would respond, what kind of feedback they were giving their followers. We saw most mostly positive comments and feedback, and that could be for various reasons. That could be that maybe only people that like them would follow them and/or it could be that maybe negative comments were deleted. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (20:22): So we don't know for sure. However, we did find that the followers were very inspired and motivated to go on a spiritual path. They were inspired and motivated to maybe practice if someone was teaching meditation or talking about meditation, and they would say, oh, wow, I woke up with a lot of willpower to be myself today, and to step into my highest power. As we mentioned, entertainment, it was very entertaining. And very charismatic and charming. They know how to pull you into the screen, whether it's by like just eye contact or moving close to the screen or their voice tone. Sometimes they were funny. One important thing was they provided a lot of information and knowledge. So some of the stuff that may have been not accessible to others, certain spiritual traditions, certain information, they kind of put it out in the open, they normalize it and they're like, oh my God, I want to tell you about this. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (21:45): This is as important. So yeah, we found it to also be relaxing as some people had very calm voices or they allowed you to drop into yourself. Normalizing of experiences, as we said, people who had these transpersonal spiritual experiences and they didn't know how to put words to it, and maybe their communities would stigmatize them or shame them for having these experiences. So they were able to come to their favorite social media leader and say, oh my God, this person gets me. I am heard and seen, and my experience is valuable. Yeah, anything, I'm trying to think of anything else. Anybody else want to drop in to the observed benefits? Petra Parvati Meedt (22:44): Yeah, One of the like really important ones was support, that they often, like the followers, they often felt supported. They might have been lonely, like that was a theme. I would think that we saw in the comments that often, people felt isolated because of their experiences, they felt different to others or just because of the way the world goes right now or has been at that time when we did the research. But what they found in listening to others and also in the comments, because often it's people writing comments and then others commenting to their comments. And there was in general, a real feeling of support and we could see some comments that like, that really expressed that thank you for that video. Petra Parvati Meedt (23:43): Thank you for this. Because it really helped me to feel connected, to know that there's other people like me. And then some in the few profiles where we found, for example, there we did see some comments about where people mentioned or shared in the comments that they had serious mental conditions or even were considering suicide. And we saw that often the community responded in a positive way by offering support, by offering just encouragement most of the time. Sometimes even tools that often made sense. So, that was nice to see. And then, and it was like just looking at the comments, it was received well and it helped that specific person that had made the comment. So I think that's a really important <laugh>, side effec or result that we found because it's not in all cases. Because we also saw a few cases where somebody mentioned a really deep loss and then it was kind of either not responded at all, or it was responded in a way that was more like kind of devaluing the experience and so I think there can, this is definitely one of the areas where there could be development of where these spiritual leaders online could need support and learn how to work with these specific comments because they happen and they happen quite a bit, like even in the profiles that we looked at, we saw them. Petra Parvati Meedt (25:40): So I think that's one. And then the other really important benefit is that some of the spiritual leaders that we looked at, they actually use their position, which is like, some of them, they have millions of followers, so that is like a big audience. And they use that to promote things or ideas or practices that are actually helpful for individuals. But sometimes for the community, maybe like, promoting community service, going to a place where they help in a food kitchen and by just them showing this is how I live my life. This is important to me. This is part of my spiritual practice. It sends the message out to the world, this is how you could do this too, and maybe you would derive a benefit from it and make the world a better place. So I think that platform could be in the best case used for these kind of messages of making the world a better place. And I think some of them, they already do that, and that's nice to see. I don't know if anything else <laugh>, Olivia or Melissa. Olivia Jenkins (26:58): Yeah, so I think that, and this was kind of touched on also, is that some of these spiritual leaders will provide something like a one-stop shop for people to go to and discover all of these different ideas about spirituality. And that could be a really good thing as far as if you think about going to some big store like Walmart and you find everything you need in one place, but on the other hand it's like, how high is the quality and where is it coming from? And I guess to get more into the dangers, which I feel like I'm about to feel the bad news of it, but I would say that some of the dangers is what Petra was saying as far as not really having a whole lot of credibility for some of the information that they're putting out there and not really being able to see exactly where their qualifications are coming from. And do they need qualifications for what they're saying, and is anyone holding them accountable for these sorts of things? Olivia Jenkins (28:12): And what sorts of standards are in place for whatever it is that they're talking about. And even when they have some comments with people who have suicidal ideations, how are they equipped to deal with those sorts of situations? And because that's important. And even using all of this, all of these different ideas kind of goes into the whole cultural appropriation sort of scenarios. And then you get into some pseudoscience, spiritual bypassing. So there's a lot in there, <laugh> that's also worth looking more into as far as the dangers. We also see that because like other areas of social media, you get to put basically your best self out there or whatever self that you want to show out there. And there's a level of control that, so we're only seeing the best of something, and that can have negative effects on people. I think we called it the zoom effect, or it's called the zoom effect in research. And that also relates to spiritual consumerism because people are thinking that they have to buy like 12 tarot decks or Oracle decks and all of these crystals just to see if all of these different things and all these oils, if they're going to remedy them in some kind of way. And trying to figure out what's working and buying into the whole consumerism of it. So I think I covered most of the dangers, <laugh>. John Elfers (30:11): Yeah. Thank you. This is really rich. I appreciate the observations about the sense of community that these platforms can create, and so people feeling a lot of support and supporting each other, not just the spiritual leaders. So that kind of mutuality and support seems like it really could be beneficial. And then I also know that all three of you have a background in mental health and mental health credentials, and so I'm sure you had that hat on as you were looking at this and seeing the potential danger, I don't know if I want to use that word, but the concern about maybe the kinds of advice that someone might be giving in terms of mental health and those kinds of things. So I would think that would be a really important thing to be aware of moving forward. I think, as I recall, some of your observations around the fact that people were putting out a lot of information about spirituality that maybe didn't come from them, and maybe they were claiming it? There was some maybe a lack of credit to sources. <Laugh>. Melissa, you wanna weigh in on that? Melissa Caicedo Farbman (31:35): Yeah. So part of our research was kind of going into the spiritual leaders background. We were trying to find information in their websites and their social media pages to be like, who are they? You know, what are their qualifications? And as Olivia said, it's hard when you're a spiritual being and you're providing spiritual services. It's hard to say what that looks like, right? But we were just curious to see what was there, and we didn't see a lot. So there were some people I want to give credit to the couple of people that did have some actual trainings and experiences with well-known teachers. And however, but when we looked at most of the people's profiles, that was not included. It was just like, I'm here to help you specifically. I think what we found what could be dangerous was the people that were providing services. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (32:45): You know, social media is a soap box for anybody to share their experience, and everyone should be allowed to share their experience without having to have credentials or anything. But when you're providing services to followers that may be in vulnerable situations it's important that ethical and moral considerations take place. Are you trained properly if your follower is having suicidality or having maybe a transpersonal emergency, a spiritual emergency. And so a lot of them were selling services of like, I want to help you with your trauma. Trauma was used a lot. Mental health issues, those keywords were used a lot. So I was kind of like, hmm, you know, where are the qualifications when you're working with these serious issues? This is not something to play around with in my opinion for the safety of their followers and the people that consume their information. So that was definitely highlighted in our research. Petra Parvati Meedt (34:08): Yeah. That was wonderful, Melissa, how you put it all together and in that same line, but I think it's also a double-edged sword in that sense too. Like there's two sides to this, to the qualifications because one, what are the qualifications for somebody to be a spiritual leader? We talked about that, like, is direct knowledge a form of qualification, is awakening, a form of qualification is psychic information that they receive through channeling a kind of information that is valid. These are questions that I think they, raise good questions, and I think it's up to us <laugh> in transpersonal psychology to research them. Unlike see like, you mean there's already some research, but I think they're valid questions. And then the other side to that if this is about mental health, why are these people not going to a psychologists for help? Petra Parvati Meedt (35:23): And I think that is a really important question because I think there's some research about it that whatever they're looking for, they don't expect it to find it in the office of a psychologist or a psychiatrist or even worse. So they are afraid that what they would share would make them crazy <laugh> or whatever it is, or in any way distance them even more from their families, from their lives, from their future. So I think it also brings up a really important point about what psychology looks like and what we may need to look at <laugh> in how we want to continue psychology to really be able to meet the people where they are instead of just having our models and putting them on the people. Which, you know, it's changing thankfully, but I think it's really important to see the data <laugh> which comes from a good source of data in that sense because it gives us the tendencies or the preferences of people. Petra Parvati Meedt (36:43): And they seem to very much prefer to follow somebody that talks about mental health topics that is a spiritual leader compared to a psychologist that is on YouTube too. Like, there's many psychologists and some of them are really successful. But <laugh> I think it's a really interesting, the distance that can be observed between psychology and spirituality and between what is needed and what is offered. So yeah, maybe we can have a little more conversation later about that. But I think that is something exciting for me, something very interesting to look at and it can inform us and like bringing psychology to a place where it can actually do what it's designed to do, which is helping people to have better mental health, I think <laugh>, so. Yeah. John Elfers (37:43): Yeah. You know, you bring up some really good points. The one that there's not necessarily any supervision or policing this whole movement. And it is important for people to be able to share honestly, their experiences and have that kind of freedom. But then you're also bringing up what might be motivating people to do that, and the failure of mainstream psychotherapy and psychiatry to address spirituality and spiritual needs. And of course, this is all familiar to us in transpersonal psychology because we believe in the connection between mind, body, spirit and soul. So this is where we all land, and it is the lens by which you are looking at all of this. So my next question, I'm really curious, if you were to counsel someone who say is out there surfing, the different platforms, looking for some kind of spiritual guidance, what advice or cautions based on your research now, what advice or cautions would you give that person? What would you say? Petra Parvati Meedt (39:10): Well, I think it's a little early to like give recommendations because it was a small sample, like it was a first overview of what is out there. And we do want to continue to explore this more because I think that is where we want to get eventually to have some recommendations. But I also would like to refer to a very interesting organization that is actually working with not developing any kind of licensing for spiritual leaders, but for kind of providing guidelines. And it's called the Association for Spiritual Integrity, (ASI) and you can find them online at And they're a really wonderful group of professionals that have come together to actually bring out and define some of these principles that could be helpful both for spiritual leaders that want to be ethical and want to be spiritually to have spiritual integrity, but also for anybody that might be interested in following any kind of spiritual group to be safer. Maybe it's always like a lot is up to the individual but at least there are some guidelines that are really useful. Petra Parvati Meedt (40:43): And they include like, you know, yeah, sorry. Thank you, Olivia, go ahead. Olivia Jenkins (40:48): No, I was just going to jump in and say that and in fear of getting too far ahead with advice that I think not even with in regards to choosing a spiritual leader to follow on Instagram or TikTok or YouTube, that we could all probably use a little more self-awareness with our social media use. And one thing that this project really taught me is to engage with a little bit more self-awareness on the content that I view. And even Covid has taught me that too, making better decisions about what I'm seeing and discerning what information where it's coming from. And but I think that if we're more aware of our social media patterns and the sorts of things that we're really drawn to that can help a lot to understand what it is that we need, what we're looking for, and who might have potentially the best intentions out there. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (42:08): And lastly, I would add ask questions anytime you're looking for whether, even if it's a therapist that's licensed or if it's a shamanic healer, if it's a spiritual coach, if it's even a reiki master, whoever it is, ask questions. Do a little bit of digging. Look them up, see what's out there. See if they have reviews and ask them questions. If you find a spiritual leader that's providing services for a certain experience, ask questions you know, what is your experience with that? What trainings or life experiences do you have in these in helping people with this situation? What is your background? And just be curious, stay curious, stay open, ask a lot of questions and know that there are people that have great intentions and there are people that maybe their intentions aren't the highest, but just keep that in mind. Like Olivia mentioned self-awareness and Petra mentioned like a website that you could go to and just like gather more information before you put yourself in a vulnerable place with someone else. John Elfers (43:48): Thank you. That's really good advice. I appreciate that. And I think one of the values of your research is that you can begin to heighten awareness for other people just on the face of it, everything that you've learned. And I hope you're going to have opportunities for sharing. And so what I really wanted to end with here is asking the three of you, What's next for your research? Is there a part two, another phase? How do you see expanding this moving forward, if at all? Petra Parvati Meedt (44:27): Well, actually I would like to continue the thought that we ended on with Melissa because one of the things that we identified as one of the elements that could be a key element for a good spiritual leader is something called intellectual humility. And we definitely would like to know more about what motivates the spiritual leaders and also what are their qualities, what are their their, what is their psychological and personal background and apart from their professional background. So one of the things we would like to do is maybe interview different spiritual leaders and also use there's like a questionnaire that's called HEXACO, which looks at six personality factors, one of them being humility and honesty, which would be really helpful for our research to like see if that specific area is in any way differently represented than maybe a control group. Petra Parvati Meedt (45:39): So that would be something really that we would be really interested in. And obviously like a bigger sample, like we would like to have a bigger perspective, not just the profile that we looked at, but have a broader perspective about what is out there and actually measure certain personality traits and also have more information about what is it that they're personally like <laugh>, what is what are they like, and then what is their motivation and what are their challenges too, like, and how did they, how did each of them like face them? Like how were they able to work with difficult followers for example, or what did they do? So we will be curious about that. That's one part. And I don't know if Melissa or Olivia want to add something to that. Olivia Jenkins (46:34): Yeah, I would say something that was really interesting to me about this study and that I would like to learn more about in variations in future studies, assuming that we're all going to want to work together again that spirituality seems to be changing a lot and with the rapid nature of social media, it's really interesting to kind of keep up with it and understand which direction it's going and where people's interests and their sense of meaning and purpose is headed towards. And so I think that will be an element that I'm also really interested in learning more about later. Petra Parvati Meedt (47:28): Okay. Melissa, John Elfers (47:29): Did you want to add anything or Melissa Caicedo Farbman (47:32): I think Petra and Olivia covered it. But I just want to say that online spirituality is definitely becoming more accessible in mainstream and sacred teachings that were once only given to maybe students and initiates of sacred practices are now being open to all, which is exciting. And however, like keeping in mind of holding these teachings with honor and respect and having an intention of why you're sharing these teachings and how you're doing it, so that spirituality can be a vehicle for the highest good of all, and not just for ego and self-indulgence. John Elfers (48:30): Yeah. Thank you. I really want to acknowledge the foresight and farsighted nature of your research. It's a very emerging, relevant topic. This is important. I hope you're able to really get the message out to people. And I'm also encouraged by the fact that you are going be continuing the research because I think it's important. And then my hope is that maybe down the road you can all three come back in and share updates on your progress as you continue with this research. So I want to thank the three of you for participating and sharing your experience and we'll look forward to seeing you down the road hopefully. Melissa Caicedo Farbman (49:17): Thank you.

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