Spiritus Contra Spiritum

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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Stepchild » Wed May 11, 2016 1:31 pm

PaigeB wrote:
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
Page 59

Does that leave the door open that there are many ways to do this?



Yes it does leave the door open. This is a "suggested" program. Slight variances are expected such as the fact that Bill had a "white light experience" where others have more of an "intellectual variety".


I can't figure out if you are talking about "the" result of working the steps...Or how we come about arriving at that result. Very confusing. But if you throw something at the wall long enough it will probably stick...With someone.

Back to the topic...This is the letter Bill W. sent to Dr. Jung that Brock posted the reply of....

My dear Dr. Jung:

This letter of great appreciation has been very long overdue.
May I first introduce myself as Bill W., a co-founder of the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous. Though you have surely heard of us, I doubt if you are aware that a certain conversation you once had with one of your patients, a Mr. Rowland H., back in the early 1930's, did play a critical role in the founding of our Fellowship.

Though Rowland H. has long since passed away, the recollections of his remarkable experience while under treatment by you has definitely become part of AA history. Our remembrance of Rowland H.'s statements about his experience with you is as follows:

Having exhausted other means of recovery from his alcoholism, it was about 1931 that he became your patient. I believe he remained under your care for perhaps a year. His admiration for you was boundless, and he left you with a feeling of much confidence.

To his great consternation, he soon relapsed into intoxication. Certain that you were his "court of last resort," he again returned to your care. Then followed the conversation between you that was to become the first link in the chain of events that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.

My recollection of his account of that conversation is this: First of all, you frankly told him of his hopelessness, so far as any further medical or psychiatric treatment might be concerned. This candid and humble statement of yours was beyond doubt the first foundation stone upon which our Society has since been built.

Coming from you, one he so trusted and admired, the impact upon him was immense. When he then asked you if there was any other hope, you told him that there might be, provided he could become the subject of a spiritual or religious experience - in short, a genuine conversion. You pointed out how such an experience, if brought about, might remotivate him when nothing else could. But you did caution, though, that while such experiences had sometimes brought recovery to alcoholics, they were, nevertheless, comparatively rare. You recommended that he place himself in a religious atmosphere and hope for the best. This I believe was the substance of your advice.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. H. joined the Oxford Groups, an evangelical movement then at the height of its success in Europe, and one with which you are doubtless familiar. You will remember their large emphasis upon the principles of self-survey, confession, restitution, and the giving of oneself in service to others. They strongly stressed meditation and prayer. In these surroundings, Rowland H. did find a conversion experience that released him for the time being from his compulsion to drink.

Returning to New York, he became very active with the "O.G." here, then led by an Episcopal clergyman, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker. Dr. Shoemaker had been one of the founders of that movement, and his was a powerful personality that carried immense sincerity and conviction.

At this time (1932-34) the Oxford Groups had already sobered a number of alcoholics, and Rowland, feeling that he could especially identify with these sufferers, addressed himself to the help of still others. One of these chanced to be an old schoolmate of mine, Edwin T. ("Ebby"). He had been threatened with commitment to an institution, but Mr. H. and another ex-alcoholic "O.G." member procured his parole and helped to bring about his sobriety.

Meanwhile, I had run the course of alcoholism and was threatened with commitment myself. Fortunately I had fallen under the care of a physician - a Dr. William D. Silkworth - who was wonderfully capable of understanding alcoholics. But just as you had given up on Rowland, so had he given me up. It was his theory that alcoholism had two components - an obsession that compelled the sufferer to drink against his will and interest, and some sort of metabolism difficulty which he then called an allergy. The alcoholic's compulsion guaranteed that the alcoholic's drinking would go on, and the allergy made sure that the sufferer would finally deteriorate, go insane, or die. Though I had been one of the few he had thought it possible to help, he was finally obliged to tell me of my hopelessness; I, too, would have to be locked up. To me, this was a shattering blow. Just as Rowland had been made ready for his conversion experience by you, so had my wonderful friend, Dr. Silkworth, prepared me.

Hearing of my plight, my friend Edwin T. came to see me at my home where I was drinking. By then, it was November 1934. I had long marked my friend Edwin for a hopeless case. Yet there he was in a very evident state of "release" which could by no means accounted for by his mere association for a very short time with the Oxford Groups. Yet this obvious state of release, as distinguished from the usual depression, was tremendously convincing. Because he was a kindred sufferer, he could unquestionably communicate with me at great depth. I knew at once I must find an experience like his, or die.

Again I returned to Dr. Silkworth's care where I could be once more sobered and so gain a clearer view of my friend's experience of release, and of Rowland H.'s approach to him.

Clear once more of alcohol, I found myself terribly depressed. This seemed to be caused by my inability to gain the slightest faith. Edwin T. again visited me and repeated the simple Oxford Groups' formulas. Soon after he left me I became even more depressed. In utter despair I cried out, "If there be a God, will He show Himself." There immediately came to me an illumination of enormous impact and dimension, something which I have since tried to describe in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" and in "AA Comes of Age", basic texts which I am sending you.

My release from the alcohol obsession was immediate. At once I knew I was a free man. Shortly following my experience, my friend Edwin came to the hospital, bringing me a copy of William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience". This book gave me the realization that most conversion experiences, whatever their variety, do have a common denominator of ego collapse at depth. The individual faces an impossible dilemma. In my case the dilemma had been created by my compulsive drinking and the deep feeling of hopelessness had been vastly deepened by my doctor. It was deepened still more by my alcoholic friend when he acquainted me with your verdict of hopelessness respecting Rowland H.

In the wake of my spiritual experience there came a vision of a society of alcoholics, each identifying with and transmitting his experience to the next - chain style. If each sufferer were to carry the news of the scientific hopelessness of alcoholism to each new prospect, he might be able to lay every newcomer wide open to a transforming spiritual experience. This concept proved to be the foundation of such success as Alcoholics Anonymous has since achieved. This has made conversion experiences - nearly every variety reported by James - available on an almost wholesale basis. Our sustained recoveries over the last quarter century number about 300,000. In America and through the world there are today 8,000 AA groups.

So to you, to Dr. Shoemaker of the Oxford Groups, to William James, and to my own physician, Dr. Silkworth, we of AA owe this tremendous benefaction. As you will now clearly see, this astonishing chain of events actually started long ago in your consulting room, and it was directly founded upon your own humility and deep perception.

Very many thoughtful AAs are students of your writings. Because of your conviction that man is something more than intellect, emotion, and two dollars worth of chemicals, you have especially endeared yourself to us.

How our Society grew, developed its Traditions for unity, and structured its functioning will be seen in the texts and pamphlet material that I am sending you.

You will also be interested to learn that in addition to the "spiritual experience," many AAs report a great variety of psychic phenomena, the cumulative weight of which is very considerable. Other members have - following their recovery in AA - been much helped by your practitioners. A few have been intrigued by the "I Ching" and your remarkable introduction to that work.

Please be certain that your place in the affection, and in the history of the Fellowship, is like no other.
Gratefully yours,
William G. W.
Co-founder Alcoholics Anonymous
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Noels » Wed May 11, 2016 2:09 pm

Hi beautiful loving helpful people :) here is my experience and believes for what its worth :
1. The main problem with the word " God " is that people visualise / relate to the word as being an old man with white hair and a long beard sitting on top of a cloud watching and judging us.
2. I went through much pain and confusion and eventually realised that I was looking at it incorrectly. I used to look at the entire " God thing " as - I am a human here on earth trying to have a spiritual experience. Whilst I looked at it from that angle nothing made sense. Then one evening I was writing down my story - I was with AA for about 3 months by then - and I suddenly understood that
I AM ACTUALLY A SPIRITUAL BEING HERE ON EARTH TRYING TO HAVE A HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
Once I realized this everything made sense. Why do I say that ? Because :
1. It explains immediately where I actually come from. It explains immediately why I was born into the family that I was. It explains immediately why my life experiences is different to every other person. It explains immediately why i have an immediate link with my Creator. It explains immediately why i can speak to my Creator and why my Creator replies to me. It explains immediately why there is an " inner voice " inside me. It explains immediately why i could see Masters and Angels whilst i was practising Healing. It explains immediately why i was " moved " into different dimensions when fatal accidents were unavoidable. It explains immediately why i feel love and oneness with all of creation - the birds, the plants and trees, animals, other people and why i would rather harm myself than kill an insect let alone hurt another human being or creature. And ... it explains why i could be in a situation or having an experience which i don't enjoy or do not want to experience anymore and the minute that i decide i no longer want or require that situation or experience it changes into what i then choose at that time.
It also explains why we WILL return to where we come from regardless of how we live or die AND why death happens to young and old.
So there's what i believe and you can question as much as you like. I know what i know and i know where i came from and where I'll be going back to.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby PaigeB » Wed May 11, 2016 2:22 pm

Love and Light to you Noels.
My Spirit Knows your Spirit because we are One.
You too Stepchild.

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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed May 11, 2016 3:17 pm

Noels wrote:....I know what i know and i know where i came from and where I'll be going back to.
Love and Light
Noels


Carl Jung said something very similar:

"A young female student accused Jung of being an atheist. Jung was confused and asked the student where she had gotten that idea. The student paraphrased a quote she had read in which Jung said he didn't believe God existed. Jung smiled and said "Dear girl, rest easy, When we have a relationship to a particular thing or experience with it - belief/faith ceases to be a factor. The truth is this, I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God. So, I will never say that I believe that God exists. I must say I know God exists!"


I had a similar experience about two days after a drunk when I was an atheist When it happened to me, I too felt "gripped by something stronger than myself", and then lifted up and cradled like a sick child. When it was over, I KNEW that love was the most powerful energy in the universe and that what others and myself call "God" is the source of that all-powerful energy. Works for me!
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Stepchild » Wed May 11, 2016 5:11 pm

He's like the Father of our second step. It's kind of reach to suggest he was pushing meetings to a patient before AA had even started. You hear it all here.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed May 11, 2016 6:07 pm

Why not just simply re-read the actual English words Jung used in his letter to Bill W. Jung says what he meant by the phrase, spiritus contra spiritus, near the end of the letter:

...."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 spiritum."


Jung did not say that "spiritus" was the same word used for "God" in Latin. He said the same word, i.e. "spiritus" is used for the "highest religious experience" as well as "alcohol", both of which are THINGS not entities or deities. The phrase "highest religious experience" is entirely subjective and how one individual interprets that phrase will likely depend on whether that person's spiritual/religious tradition is atheist, agnostic, pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, jewish, Christian, Catholic, Mormon, etc, etc, etc, and will likely differ from other individuals interpretation of the same phrase.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Brock » Wed May 11, 2016 7:28 pm

The Psalm quoted at the bottom is also part of his original letter, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." And from this I draw my conclusions.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Noels » Wed May 11, 2016 11:23 pm

To me the word 'God ' is my Creator, Messiah, Father, universe, all encompassing, everything that is and every other word which is used when talking about my Creator. As I said, I think the word 'God ' have become misunderstood so we are all believing in the same Creator but argueing because of a word.
That's why these days I prefer to use the word 'Creator '. There can be no doubt or room for misunderstanding with that word.

Have an awesome day and chat again
Mwah xxx
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby newday45 » Thu May 12, 2016 4:40 am

HI Sled,

I just stopped in this morning to make a daily post, and I have to agree that Jung's commentary hints at the truly spiritual nature of this disease. In my recent work on step 4, I have been spending a lot of time working through my emotional attachment to people, places and things, and my general lack of emotional independence. I am coming to believe that my body has created a defense mechanism that perpetuates this emotional dysfunction as a means to protecting me from the pain of life. This mechanism has ruled me, and as such, prevented me from having a healthy relationship with god, the great spirit of existence. Alcoholism, for me, is a symptom of this detachment. While our alcoholic mechanism certainly reek havoc on our minds and body, it is ultimately being shut off from these "higher spirits" that fosters the depravity of addiction. True healing, comes by fearlessly confronting the fear that naturally drives us away from our true selves. This is for me the power of the steps, which I continue to work rigorously in these early days of sobriety.

New Day.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Stepchild » Thu May 12, 2016 5:10 am

What a great post New Day...Keep moving forward.

Once again from the story Bill W. tells of Roland H. and Dr. Jung in the Big Book...

Here was the terrible dilemma in which our friend found himself when he had the extraordinary experience, which as we have already told you, made him a free man.
We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. What seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, "a design for living "that really works.

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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Brock » Thu May 12, 2016 5:18 am

While our alcoholic mechanism certainly reek havoc on our minds and body, it is ultimately being shut off from these "higher spirits" that fosters the depravity of addiction.

Lovely, our big book speaks in places of being shut off from the sunlight of the spirit, and the word used “depravity” is closely related to this part of the letter from Dr. Jung - “An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil.”

Nolels said -
As I said, I think the word 'God ' have become misunderstood so we are all believing in the same Creator but argueing because of a word.

Yes that's what Eckhert Tolle says near the beginning of his book, but we are not 'arguing' about a word, it started when one person interpreted a letter about spiritual experience, to be the sort of experience we find in the rooms of AA, by saying this -
I don't think Jung intended "Spiritus" to be interpreted as meaning "God" or to imply that anyone had to believe in God in order to experience the effects of "Spiritus contra spiritum". In AA, all the good vibes that come from the positive energy generated by human feelings of love, happiness, gratitude, humility, compassion, patience, etc, qualify as "high spirit" can be found "in the rooms".

There has been no backing down from that position despite evidence being presented to the contrary, no big deal, I have taken positions in the past and stuck to my guns. There are those who feel that “spirited discussions” like these should not happen on AA forums, I have been reported to the moderators, (of which I am one), for a post last night, by one such person.

I believe that discussions like these encourage members to uncover new information on a subject, and that has been done here, so they are educational for the poster and also those who choose to read with an open mind. Those who would have this forum consist only of peace and love, and us stay away from subjects which sometimes generate a little controversy and arguing, should keep in mind that on the occasions that this is done, the activity here crawls almost to a standstill. I am also proud of the fact that the same ones who participate in friendly rivalry here, are often first off the line in offering support and hope to newcomers, and do so in the best spirit of camaraderie, which is the hallmark of good and effective AA outreach.
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby Noels » Thu May 12, 2016 6:51 am

Hallllooo :D pfew. I'm exhausted. We didn't have power the whole of last week so I had to catch up this week - big time!!! You hardly saw me through the smoke coming from my keyboard and ashtray but hooray :lol: I'm up to date :lol:
I considered it and I honestly do think that Jung was referring to spirit as in spiritual sense. The other way doesn't make sense to me.
And as for having been reported :shock: naah cant believe that and totally unnecessary :shock: Shame on whoever reported you. I enjoy reading your posts very much. Your posts are warm and human. I enjoy reading everybodys posts and agree that spiritual discussions are a necessity. That is the foundation of our program. So we disagree at times. So what? Show me a family who don't have disagreements at times. Its healthy as long as we remain respectful of each other at all times. And if we don't then my motto is i'll just give the person who's nasty with me a " cyber smack through the screen ". :D See - that's why its really important we get more " smilie thingies " like a thumbs up smilie and a little hand we can use as a cyber smack :D
Mwah xxx
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby PaigeB » Thu May 12, 2016 11:31 am

:mrgreen: I want Jazz hands!

And civility. :P
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu May 12, 2016 12:39 pm

This article seems very relevant to this topic discussion:

THE ROOTS OF SPIRITUALITY

The Unmeasureable
The astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan made complex scientific ideas easier to understand. He and his professional colleagues hypothesized dimensions in the universe beyond space and time, which, although not directly "visible" to telescopes and spectrometers, seemed to be present through observations of their "shadows" or very real but otherwise unexplainable "effects" on what was measurable.

The Mysterious
The word spirituality, referenced so often as critically important in the realm of Twelve Step principles and practices for recovery from addiction, presents a similar challenge to our understanding and investigation of its shadows and effects. Many other terms retain this air of mystery and lack of common or precise definition, e.g. God, the Divine, the Mystical, Grace and Providence.

"Closer than Breathing and Nearer than Hands and Feet" - Alfred Tennyson

Word origins (etymologies) often contain clarifying wisdom for truer sense and meaning. The origin of "spiritual" is the Latin word spiritus meaning breath. Breathing, an essential element of human life, thus informs that spirituality has something to do with an essence of living. Other words with this common root include inspire, aspire and to conspire which means to breathe together.

Universally Applicable
Dr. Carl G. Jung noted in a January, 1961 letter to Bill Wilson, one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, "You see, alcohol in Latin is spiritus and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum." In other words, the highest form of religious experience counters the most depraving poison - high spirit against low spirit. Dr. Jung is noted in the annals of AA history as naming the solution of "a vital spiritual experience" for his alcoholic client Rowland Hazard, who sought and found it in the tenets of Oxford Groups. Rowland then helped Ebby Thacher find this spiritual experience in the same way and eventually Ebby carried that solution and the means of its acquisition to Wilson.

Referenced in Many Different Words
The late Dr. David Simon of The Chopra Center wrote in a holiday letter a few seasons ago, "The word religion comes from the Latin religare, which means "to bind" or "to tie." Similarly, the term ligature, meaning suture, also derives from this same Latin root. These derivations give us a clue to the original intention of religion, which is to reconnect the part to the whole. This is the essence of spirituality….." How interesting that today's use of the word spirituality has replaced what the essence of religion used to mean.

Here are a few more related words and their Latin origins:
Providence - providere to foresee, look after, provide for
Grace - gratia "pleasing quality, good will, gratitude," from gratus "pleasing, agreeable"
Mystical - mysticus, and from Greek mystikos "secret, mystic," from mystes "one who has been initiated"

Described in Many Different Ways
Twelve Step wisdom texts use many different descriptions in teaching how the "Design for Living" will manifest in people's lives. In Appendix II of Alcoholics Anonymous, titled "Spiritual Experience," the phrases "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are equated with the phrase "personality change, sufficient to recover from alcoholism." In a following paragraph, another completely different description is noted, "With few exceptions, our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves." In "The Doctor's Opinion" of the Big Book, Dr. Silkworth describes recovery as "an entire psychic change."

In Conclusion
Our efforts to understand spirituality will be trumped by our experiences of spirituality if we are following spiritual directions. All wisdom texts contain spiritual directions and all spiritual directions create paths for our lives of less suffering and greater fulfillment. Since we see things less the way they are and more the way we are, it's critical that we are growing and changing so that life doesn't get boring. Life on the spiritual path, which means very different things to different people, turns out to be the only sustainable one for alcoholics and addicts. Find what's meaningful for you and enjoy the ride. Since paradox is often as close as we'll get to describing the spiritual, I leave you with my favorite bit of Latin wisdom:
Lux Umbra Dei (Light is the Shadow of God)

Written by Fred Holmquist, director of The Lodge Program at Hazelden, a popular lecturer, and Big Book scholar.
April 2012
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Spiritus Contra Spiritum

Postby PaigeB » Fri May 13, 2016 10:39 am

Oh I like root word definitions! Not that I agree with them all, but they are immensely interesting.
In Conclusion
Our efforts to understand spirituality will be trumped by our experiences of spirituality if we are following spiritual directions.... Since paradox is often as close as we'll get to describing the spiritual, I leave you with my favorite bit of Latin wisdom:
Lux Umbra Dei (Light is the Shadow of God)

Understanding trumped by experience... this is not a knowledge program, but an action program! Even though this letter is written according to Hazelton treatment director, we know that "action program" is in the Big Book.

I have heard something to the effect of "dark is not a thing in and of itself, but rather a mere description of the lack of light"

Let there be light! (Sorry off topic.)
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