Tuesday, April 8, 2008

spiritus contra spiritum

At my recent second year cake night, a good friend gave me a book titled "Spiritual Awakenings, Journeys of the spirit from the pages of the AA grapevine". I've only started reading this and came across an article which was an exchange of letters between Bill Wilson and Carl Jung. It was Carl Jung's reply that really caught my imagination.

One of the things that Jung wrote was:
"His craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God".
Later he writes:
"I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition if that is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resit the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil".
Carl Jung believed that the only way an alcoholic was going to get recovery was through a spiritual experience. A connectedness with a Higher Power. The only patients he had seen overcome their alcoholism were those who attained that "union with God".

In the closing statement, Jung wrote:

"You see, alcohol in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spirtum".

My most profound moment while I was in treatment was the night I lay in bed and prayed "Here I am". I had been advised not to ask for anything and so I didn't. I cannot explain the changes that have happened since then. Nor can I explain the tears of gratitude I experience when I share that experience with others. It was a very simple gesture, with life changing results. When I struggle (as I usually seem to) I need to remind myself of what has happened. What the Higher Power of my understanding has done for me. No theology, no gimmicks, no using God to achieve my own ends. To be present in God, to take God's direction in my life.

As I have been struggling with Christianities belief systems, feeding my insides to the blender, I'm beginning to understand something that's very important to me.

Keep it simple.

2 comments:

pat said...

Actually, Carl Jung makes so much sense. A class I took last summer called Assessment & treatment of the Addict had a section just on Carl Jung & his theories. Good stuff.

Texaco said...

Keep it simple.

good advice, great post