You can email the site owner to let them know you were blocked. Please include what you were doing when this page came up and the Cloudflare Ray ID found at the bottom of this page. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. The action you just performed triggered the security solution. There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. The highest goal of the hesychast is the experiential knowledge of God. In the 14th Century, the possibility of this experiential knowledge of God was challenged by a Calabrian monk, Barlaam, who, although he was formally a member of the Orthodox Church, had been trained in Western Scholastic theology. Barlaam asserted that our knowledge of God can only be propositional. The practice of the hesychasts was defended by St. Gregory Palamas.The notion of “religious experience” can be traced back to William James, who used the term “religious experience” in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience. It is considered to be the classic work in the field, and references to James’ ideas are common at professional conferences. James distinguished between institutional religion and personal religion. Institutional religion refers to the religious group or organization, and plays an important part in a society’s culture. Personal religion, in which the individual has mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture.
Based on Christ’s injunction in the Gospel of Matthew to “go into your closet to pray”, hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God (see theoria).
Many religious and mystical traditions see religious experiences (particularly the knowledge which comes with them) as revelations caused by divine agency rather than ordinary natural processes. They are considered real encounters with God or gods, or real contact with higher-order realities of which humans are not ordinarily aware.Different varieties of religious experience are described in detail in the Śūraṅgama Sūtra. In its section on the fifty skandha-maras, each of the five skandhas has ten skandha-maras associated with it, and each skandha-mara is described in detail as a deviation from correct samādhi. These skandha-maras are also known as the “fifty skandha demons” in some English-language publications.
The origins of the use of this term can be dated further back. In the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, several historical figures put forth very influential views that religion and its beliefs can be grounded in experience itself. While Kant held that moral experience justified religious beliefs, John Wesley in addition to stressing individual moral exertion thought that the religious experiences in the Methodist movement (paralleling the Romantic Movement) were foundational to religious commitment as a way of life.
The tariqa, the ‘path’ on which the mystics walk, has been defined as ‘the path which comes out of the Shariah, for the main road is called shar, the path, tariq.’ No mystical experience can be realized if the binding injunctions of the Shariah are not followed faithfully first. The tariqa however, is narrower and more difficult to walk. It leads the adept, called salik (wayfarer), in his suluk (wandering), through different stations (maqam) until he reaches his goal, the perfect tauhid, the existential confession that God is One.
The twelfth step of the Alcoholics Anonymous program states that “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs”. The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening” are used many times in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous which argues that a spiritual experience is needed to bring about recovery from alcoholism.
Neoplatonism teaches that along the same road by which it descended the soul must retrace its steps back to the supreme Good. It must first of all return to itself. This is accomplished by the practice of virtue, which aims at likeness to God, and leads up to God. By means of ascetic observances the human becomes once more a spiritual and enduring being, free from all sin. But there is still a higher attainment; it is not enough to be sinless, one must become “God” (see henosis). This is reached through contemplation of the primeval Being, the One – in other words, through an ecstatic approach to it.The numinous experience also has a personal quality to it, in that the person feels to be in communion with a holy other. Otto sees the numinous as the only possible religious experience. He states: “There is no religion in which it [the numinous] does not live as the real innermost core and without it no religion would be worthy of the name”. Otto does not take any other kind of religious experience such as ecstasy and enthusiasm seriously and is of the opinion that they belong to the ‘vestibule of religion’.
Carl Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. One’s main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfil deep innate potential, much as the acorn contains the potential to become the oak, or the caterpillar to become the butterfly. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung perceived that this journey of transformation is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to well-being.
Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of “religious experience” to the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), who argued that religion is based on a feeling of the infinite. The notion of “religious experience” was used by Schleiermacher and Albert Ritschl to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique, and defend the view that human (moral and religious) experience justifies religious beliefs.
A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defense against the growing rationalism of Western society. William James popularised the concept. In some religions this may result in unverified personal gnosis.It is also believed that supernormal abilities are developed from meditation, which are termed “higher knowledge” (abhijñā), or “spiritual power” (ṛddhi). One early description found in the Samyutta Nikaya, which mentions abilities such as:
In Theravada Buddhism practice is described in the threefold training of discipline (śīla), meditative concentration (samādhi), and transcendent wisdom (prajñā). Zen-Buddhism emphasises the sole practice of meditation, while Vajrayana Buddhism utilizes a wide variety of practices. While the main aim of meditation and prajna is to let go of attachments, it may also result in a comprehension of the Buddha-nature and the inherent lucidness of the mind.
The Theosophical Society was formed in 1875 by Helena Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and others to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy. The Theosophical Society has been highly influential in promoting interest, both in west and east, in a great variety of religious teachings: The German philosopher and theologian Rudolf Otto (1869–1937) argues that there is one common factor to all religious experience, independent of the cultural background. In his book The Idea of the Holy (1923) he identifies this factor as the numinous. The “numinous” experience has two aspects: The Theosophical Society searched for ‘secret teachings’ in Asian religions. It has been influential on modernist streams in several Asian religions, notably Hindu reform movements, the revival of Theravada Buddhism, and D.T. Suzuki, who popularized the idea of enlightenment as insight into a timeless, transcendent reality. Another example can be seen in Paul Brunton’s A Search in Secret India, which introduced Ramana Maharshi to a western audience.
Early studies in the 1950s and 1960s attempted to use EEGs to study brain wave patterns correlated with spiritual states. During the 1980s Dr. Michael Persinger stimulated the temporal lobes of human subjects with a weak magnetic field. His subjects claimed to have a sensation of “an ethereal presence in the room.” Some current studies use neuroimaging to localize brain regions active, or differentially active, during religious experiences. These neuroimaging studies have implicated a number of brain regions, including the limbic system, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, superior parietal lobe, and caudate nucleus. Based on the complex nature of religious experience, it is likely that they are mediated by an interaction of neural mechanisms that all add a small piece to the overall experience.
The interplay between western and eastern notions of religion is an important factor in the development of modern mysticism. In the 19th century, when Asian countries were colonialised by western states, a process of cultural mimesis began. In this process, Western ideas about religion, especially the notion of “religious experience” were introduced to Asian countries by missionaries, scholars and the Theosophical Society, and amalgamated in a new understanding of the Indian and Buddhist traditions. This amalgam was exported back to the West as ‘authentic Asian traditions’, and acquired a great popularity in the west. Due to this western popularity, it also gained authority back in India, Sri Lanka and Japan.Building on European philosophers, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan reduced religion “to the core experience of reality in its fundamental unity”. According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, “Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined, but is only to be experienced.” This emphasis on experience as validation of a religious worldview is a modern development, which started in the 19th century, and was introduced to Indian thought by western Unitarian missionaries. It has been popularized in Neo-Vedanta (also known as neo-Hinduism), which has dominated the popular understanding of Hinduism since the 19th century. It emphasizes mysticism. Swami Vivekananda presented the teachings of Neo-Vedanta as radical nondualism, unity between all religions and all persons.
Transpersonal psychology is a school of psychology that studies the transpersonal, self-transcendent or spiritual aspects of the human experience. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology describes transpersonal psychology as “the study of humanity’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness”. Issues considered in transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance and other metaphysical experiences of living.
Neuroscience of religion, also known as neurotheology, biotheology or spiritual neuroscience, is the study of correlations of neural phenomena with subjective experiences of spirituality and hypotheses to explain these phenomena. Proponents of neurotheology claim that there is a neurological and evolutionary basis for subjective experiences traditionally categorized as spiritual or religious. While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise – after death and after the “Final Judgment” – Sufis believe that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness while one is alive. Neoplatonism is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, founded by Plotinus and based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists.According to the Perennial philosophy, the mystical experiences in all religions are essentially the same. It supposes that many, if not all of the world’s great religions, have arisen around the teachings of mystics, including Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tze, and Krishna. It also sees most religious traditions describing fundamental mystical experience, at least esoterically. A major proponent in the 20th century was Aldous Huxley, who “was heavily influenced in his description by Vivekananda’s neo-Vedanta and the idiosyncratic version of Zen exported to the west by D.T. Suzuki. Both of these thinkers expounded their versions of the perennialist thesis”, which they originally received from western thinkers and theologians. An alternate approach is influenced by personalism, and exists contra-parallel to the reductionist approach. It focuses on the Self as the object of interest, the same object of interest as in religion. According to Patrick McNamara, a proponent of personalism, the Self is a neural entity that controls rather than consists of the cognitive functions being processed in brain regions. The third stage, usually called contemplation in the Western tradition, refers to the experience of oneself as united with God in some way. The experience of union varies, but it is first and foremost always associated with a reuniting with Divine love. The underlying theme here is that God, the perfect goodness, is known or experienced at least as much by the heart as by the intellect since, in the words of 1 John 4:16: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.” Some approaches to classical mysticism would consider the first two phases as preparatory to the third, explicitly mystical experience; but others state that these three phases overlap and intertwine. A broad range of western and eastern movements have incorporated and influenced the emergence of the modern notion of “mystical experience”, such as the Perennial philosophy, Transcendentalism, Universalism, the Theosophical Society, New Thought, Neo-Vedanta and Buddhist modernism. Robert Sharf writes that “experience” is a typical Western term, which has found its way into Asian religiosity via western influences. The notion of “experience” introduces a false notion of duality between “experiencer” and “experienced”, whereas the essence of kensho is the realisation of the “non-duality” of observer and observed. “Pure experience” does not exist; all experience is mediated by intellectual and cognitive activity. The specific teachings and practices of a specific tradition may even determine what “experience” someone has, which means that this “experience” is not the proof of the teaching, but a result of the teaching. A pure consciousness without concepts, reached by “cleansing the doors of perception”, would be an overwhelming chaos of sensory input without coherence.
The notion of the numinous was an important concept in the writings of Carl Jung. Jung regarded numinous experiences as fundamental to an understanding of the individuation process because of their association with experiences of synchronicity in which the presence of archetypes is felt.
The American scholar of religion and philosopher of social science Jason Josephson Storm has also critiqued the definition and category of religious experience, especially when such experiences are used to define religion. He compares the appeal to experience to define religion to failed attempts to defend an essentialist definition of art by appeal to aesthetic experience, and implies that each category lacks a common psychological feature across all such experiences by which they may be defined.
McNamara proposes that religious experiences may help in “decentering” the self, and transform it into an integral self which is closer to an ideal self. No single organization or movement has contributed so many components to the New Age Movement as the Theosophical Society … It has been the major force in the dissemination of occult literature in the West in the twentieth century. Psychologist and philosopher William James (1842–1910) described four characteristics of mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience (1901/1902). According to James, such an experience is:Temporal lobe epilepsy has become a popular field of study due to its correlation to religious experience. Religious experiences and hyperreligiosity are often used to characterize those with temporal lobe epilepsy. Visionary religious experiences, and momentary lapses of consciousness, may point toward a diagnosis of Geschwind syndrome. More generally, the symptoms are consistent with features of temporal lobe epilepsy, not an uncommon feature in religious icons and mystics. It seems that this phenomenon is not exclusive to TLE, but can manifest in the presence of other epileptic variates as well as mania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia, conditions characterized by ventromedial dopaminergic dysfunction.
According to the neurotheologist Andrew B. Newberg and two colleagues, neurological processes which are driven by the repetitive, rhythmic stimulation which is typical of human ritual, and which contribute to the delivery of transcendental feelings of connection to a universal unity. They posit, however, that physical stimulation alone is not sufficient to generate transcendental unitive experiences. For this to occur they say there must be a blending of the rhythmic stimulation with ideas. Once this occurs “…ritual turns a meaningful idea into a visceral experience.” Moreover, they say that humans are compelled to act out myths by the biological operations of the brain due to what they call the “inbuilt tendency of the brain to turn thoughts into actions.”
A number of studies by Roland R. Griffiths and other researchers have concluded that high doses of psilocybin and other classic psychedelics trigger mystical experiences in most research participants. Mystical experiences have been measured by a number of psychometric scales, including the Hood Mysticism Scale, the Spiritual Transcendence Scale, and the Mystical Experience Questionnaire. The revised version of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, for example, asks participants about four dimensions of their experience, namely the “mystical” quality, positive mood such as the experience of amazement, the loss of the usual sense of time and space, and the sense that the experience cannot be adequately conveyed through words. The questions on the “mystical” quality in turn probe multiple aspects: the sense of “pure” being, the sense of unity with one’s surroundings, the sense that what one experienced was real, and the sense of sacredness. Some researchers have questioned the interpretation of the results from these studies and whether the framework and terminology of mysticism are appropriate in a scientific context, while other researchers have responded to those criticisms and argued that descriptions of mystical experiences are compatible with a scientific worldview.The best-known representatives of this amalgamated tradition are Annie Besant (Theosophical Society), Swami Vivekenanda and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Neo-Vedanta), Anagarika Dharmapala, a 19th-century Sri Lankan Buddhist activist who founded the Maha Bodhi Society, and D.T. Suzuki, a Japanese scholar and Zen Buddhist. A synonymous term for this broad understanding is nondualism. This mutual influence is also known as the pizza effect. It is only in a state of perfect passivity and repose that the soul can recognize and touch the primeval Being. Hence the soul must first pass through a spiritual curriculum. Beginning with the contemplation of corporeal things in their multiplicity and harmony, it then retires upon itself and withdraws into the depths of its own being, rising thence to the nous, the world of ideas. But even there it does not find the Highest, the One; it still hears a voice saying, “not we have made ourselves.” The last stage is reached when, in the highest tension and concentration, beholding in silence and utter forgetfulness of all things, it is able as it were to lose itself. Then it may see God, the foundation of life, the source of being, the origin of all good, the root of the soul. In that moment it enjoys the highest indescribable bliss; it is as it were swallowed up of divinity, bathed in the light of eternity. Porphyry tells us that on four occasions during the six years of their intercourse Plotinus attained to this ecstatic union with God. A biological basis for religious experience may exist. References to the supernatural or mythical beings first appeared approximately 40,000 years ago. A popular theory posits that dopaminergic brain systems are the evolutionary basis for human intellect and more specifically abstract reasoning. The capacity for religious thought arises from the capability to employ abstract reasoning. There is no evidence to support the theory that abstract reasoning, generally or with regard to religious thought, evolved independent of the dopaminergic axis. Religious behavior has been linked to “extrapersonal brain systems that predominate the ventromedial cortex and rely heavily on dopaminergic transmission.” A biphasic effect exists with regard to activation of the dopaminergic axis and/or ventromedial cortex. While mild activation can evoke a perceived understanding of the supernatural, extreme activation can lead to delusions characteristic of psychosis. Stress can cause the depletion of 5-hydroxytryptamine, also referred to as serotonin. The ventromedial 5-HT axis is involved in peripersonal activities such as emotional arousal, social skills, and visual feedback. When 5-HT is decreased or depleted, one may become subject to “incorrect attributions of self-initiated or internally generated activity (e.g. hallucinations).”The neuroscience of religion takes neural correlates as the basis of cognitive functions and religious experiences. These religious experiences are thereby emergent properties of neural correlates. This approach does not necessitate exclusion of the Self, but interprets the Self as influenced or otherwise acted upon by underlying neural mechanisms. Proponents argue that religious experience can be evoked through stimulus of specific brain regions and/or can be observed through measuring increase in activity of specific brain regions. In Evangelical Christianity becoming “Born Again” is understood to be essential for a Believer to enter Heaven upon death. The effect is life-changing, and can also be called a conversion experience. Skeptics may hold that religious experience is an evolved feature of the human brain amenable to normal scientific study. The commonalities and differences between religious experiences across different cultures have enabled scholars to categorize them for academic study.A 2011 paper suggested that psychiatric conditions associated with psychotic spectrum symptoms may be possible explanations for revelatory driven experiences and activities such as those of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Saint Paul.
Christian doctrine generally maintains that God dwells in all Christians and that they can experience God directly through belief in Jesus, Christian mysticism aspires to apprehend spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, typically by emulation of Christ. William Inge divides this scala perfectionis into three stages: the “purgative” or ascetic stage, the “illuminative” or contemplative stage, and the third, “unitive” stage, in which God may be beheld “face to face.”
Transcendentalism was an early 19th-century liberal Protestant movement, which was rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume. The Transcendentalists emphasised an intuitive, experiential approach of religion. Following Schleiermacher, an individual’s intuition of truth was taken as the criterion for truth. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the first translations of Hindu texts appeared, which were also read by the Transcendentalists, and influenced their thinking. They also endorsed universalist and Unitarianist ideas, leading to Unitarian Universalism, the idea that there must be truth in other religions as well, since a loving God would redeem all living beings, not just Christians.Religious experiences may have neurophysiological origins. These are studied in the field of neurotheology, and the cognitive science of religion, and include near-death experiences. Causes may be:
What is a sacred experience?
A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defense against the growing rationalism of Western society.
“Religious empiricism” is seen as highly problematic and was – during the period in-between world wars – famously rejected by the theologian Karl Barth. In the 20th century, religious as well as moral experience as justification for religious beliefs still held sway. Some influential modern scholars who held this liberal theological view were Charles Raven and the Oxford physicist/theologian Charles Coulson.
… he goes unhindered through a wall, through a rampart, through a mountain as though through space; he dives in and out of the earth as though it were water; he walks on water without sinking as though it were earth; seated cross-legged, he travels in space like a bird; with his hands he touches and strokes the moon and sun so powerful and mighty; he exercises mastery with the body as far as the brahmā world.
Biblical scholar Norman Habel defines religious experiences as the structured way in which a believer enters into a relationship with, or gains an awareness of, the sacred within the context of a particular religious tradition. Religious experiences are by their very nature preternatural; that is, out of the ordinary or beyond the natural order of things. They may be difficult to distinguish observationally from psychopathological states such as psychoses or other forms of altered awareness. Not all preternatural experiences are considered to be religious experiences. Following Habel’s definition, psychopathological states or drug-induced states of awareness are not considered to be religious experiences because they are mostly not performed within the context of a particular religious tradition.
Bill W. entered Towns Hospital for the last time on December 11th 1934. As he experienced alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremens his friend Ebby visited him and discussed the Oxford Group ideas for recovery.
Bill expressed deep remorse for his actions and for the harm done to his wife, Lois. In desperation he prayed that he would do anything, anything at all for help.
What is considered a spiritual experience?
A spiritual experience thus refers to a state of mind/being regarded by the subject as beyond ordinary explanation, caused by the presence of God or some other religious or ultimate factor (Thiselton 2002:224).
‘If there be a God, let Him show Himself! Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. In my mind I stood upon a mountain, where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. It blew clean through me. Then came the blazing thought – “You are a free man”. So this is the God of the preachers!’.Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a ubiquitous recovery mutual-help organization that continues to arouse controversy, in part because of the programs spiritual orientation.
**Note: One or more authors of this study were Recovery Research Institute Staff, including the director and/or other research scientists. As with all summaries, staff made the greatest possible effort to recognize and account for any potential biases in the review of this article.Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a world-wide recovery mutual-help organization. While at one time high-quality research on AA was scant, the 1990s saw an explosion of AA research after the United States’ Institute of Medicine called for more studies on AA’s effectiveness and its mechanisms of behavior change. This paper reviews the religious/spiritual origins of AA and explores findings from the past 25 years of AA research on its effectiveness and mechanisms of behavior change.
Who wrote the spiritual experience in the AA Big Book?
Bill Wilson In December of 1934 Bill Wilson was in Towns Hospital off Central Park in NYC for what would be his last detoxification. During this hospitalization Bill had a dramatic “spiritual experience.” Bill describes this dramatic experience in his history of A.A. (1957, p. 63):
The author notes that the quasi-religious overtones of AA continue to raise skepticism and concern in the popular media and scientific arena. Evidence now exists, however, demonstrating that AA is an effective clinical and public health ally that aids addiction recovery through its ability to mobilize therapeutic mechanisms similar to those mobilized in formal treatment, but is able to do this for free over the long term in the communities in which people live. To dismiss AA superficially as a potentially effective addiction recovery support option on the grounds that it is religious or spiritual and therefore unscientific is inconsistent with the body of rigorous research accumulated during the past 25 years.
Kelly, J. F. (2017). Is Alcoholics Anonymous religious, spiritual, neither? Findings from 25 years of mechanisms of behavior change research. Addiction, 112(6), 929-936.
My experience of a spiritual experience came in the form of a coincidence. I truly believe now that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Everything that happens, happens for a reason. I also believe if you have your eyes and heart open that Power / God will show itself.Plain English folks, if you can stop because your doctor tells you to or you fall in love or you’ve had a period of medical attention and you were able to stop completely, something like a treatment center, you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict. It’s safe to say that all are welcome in 12-step fellowships and we’d like to be of assistance to everyone. The travesty begins when a heavy drinker calls himself an alcoholic and offers his feeble advice to a to a real alcoholic drug addict, stuff like “just put the plug in the jug” or “what don’t you understand about don’t pick up the first drink/drug”.
What is a spiritual experience in AA?
What is a spiritual experience? The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, (pg. 567-568, 4th Edition) defines spiritual experience as: “…the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism (addiction) has manifested itself among us in many different forms.” Cached
If you are a ‘real’ alcoholic or addict and if only a ‘spiritual experience’ will conquer your affliction, then is not important to know what a spiritual experience is, how to achieve it, and and most importantly, how to recognize it when you have it.Once we have taken this step (5), withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. (p. 75, A.A. 4th Edition)
Living by God’s will is so much easier than trying to impose my will upon others. I am open honest and willing As my higher powers will comes to me from numerous paths.
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking (using or acting out in a obsessive-compulsive manner), you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic (addict). If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. (p. 44, A.A. 4th Edition)
The book clearly says, Then we have a certain type of hard drinker, remember folks it does not describe him as an alcoholic, he may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally, it may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may need a period of medical attention.I understand now that everything that is happening to me has been part of the struggle that has brought me here to the light. For me to understand how to become the person I’m supposed to be I 1st had to Unearth what has happened that got me here in the 1st place. 2) I have faced my fears and had me fears removed by a Power greater than myself after a lifetime of constant dread and panic and anxiety attacks … today I live in a state of peace and serenity. This is very good information! Also, an affirmation (Oman) that l have working knowledge of an “Spiritual Experience” now, because of working this Spiritual Twelve Step Program of Recovery! Amen! ✌✝️I just love reading this, I’m 2 months sober, and that spoke to me in a few different ways. I’m so glad I read that. Thanks so much for sharing that. God blessEstablished on such a footing (Step 3) we became less and less interested in ourselves, our own little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn. (p. 63, A.A. 4th Edition)
Can an atheist go to AA?
For its part, AA attests to no direct affiliation to any religious denomination and remains an inclusive organization to all members whose purpose is continued sobriety. These statements contradict the actual practice at meetings of what is a spiritual organization.
Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Sobriety is the mental and emotional recovery of the Spiritual blockage. It was brought about in me only through a brutally honest walk up twelve steps. No half measures, they availed me nothing. I once was “dry” 3 years however.
Since working the 12 steps, I have had a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from my addictions. It has been many years now since the obsession to drink or use has left me and has not returned. I also have ended a very nasty self-harming obsessive-compulsive behaviour of nail-biting. Furthermore, I would lose my temper on a daily basis and terrorize my family. I have not lost my temper in almost 4 years now. Occasionally I may become irritated about someone or something, but that feeling is quickly wiped using the spiritual tools of the 12 steps program. In addition, my days are filled with ‘centered’ thoughts and feelings towards others – quite a change from my days of intolerance, prejudice, and condemning judgment of others. This has been my experience of my spiritual awakening.My advice to you is the addiction research foundation in Toronto has a program of self help that You people can join. Just don’t drink and go to meetings won’t help a real alcoholic or drug addict you’re killing them with that type of advice. Our program of recovery comes from the big book of alcoholics anonymous not from the opinion’s or advice of some well-intentioned people who have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m tired of watching a 12-step fellowship turn into a Rotary club with no alcohol or drugs. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry to say this programs about finding a power greater than yourself and in nearly all instances that power must be centered in a power greater than yourself, the book doesn’t talk about God because it sounds good, it talks about God because that’s what it’s about!
I know that I have had a spiritual experience As I have changed the person I brought into the door of this AA program in 2012. I have come to a level of awareness that I never thought I would achieve mentally physically and spiritually. I have come to a level of awareness that I never thought I would achieve mentally physically and spiritually. I have allowed My higher power who I choose to call God into my life and every aspect of my life has been affected and I treat people the way this post to be treated today with patience and tolerance.
Recovery is contingent on the maintenance of the spiritual condition. The 12 Steps was based off having the support of a fellowship which is crucial to helping someone work to make the spiritual changes necessary to recovery by working the Steps . You must remove the spiritual blocks to the consciousness which is the manifestation of the God or a higher power directing the mind which fathers the actions one takes. Hence the dangers of living on unmitigated self will which is to seek gratification which fuels the mental obsession of addiction.Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. (p. 45, A.A. 4th Edition)
Is AA only for Christians?
Is it religious? Alcoholics Anonymous has only one requirement for membership and that is the desire to stop drinking. There is room in AA for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.
Yes this is the basic fact that so many miss! People use the group as there “ higher power “ and become addicted to AA instead of finding God. Then you throw in toxic sponsors , 13 steppers and other sick people. How can anyone find any recovery ? The book outlines it all and the book says find God! Thanks you nailed it!!!My job is to continue to live my life by working the rest of the steps daily and trusting that my group and my sponsor will assist in providing the good orderly direction I need and the rest will take care of itself and all will be well.Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.(p. 46, A.A. 4th Edition) Love and tolerance of others is our code. And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. (p. 84-85, A.A. 4th Edition) The Big Book authors, men and women who have recovered from a seamingly hopeless state of mind and body, all who have claimed having a spiritual experience or awakening, describe it as:If you would like to be added a BB Sponsorship WhatsApp Group, just send “Kimia” a message directly on WhatsApp at +14168769694 LET HER KNOW IF YOU NEED A SPONSOR!
Is AA religious or spiritual?
Although AA is a spirituality-based program, it works through a number pathways. As such, individuals may benefit from AA participation regardless of their spiritual leanings. For scientists: The models explaining AA’s mechanisms of behavior change require further specification.
I make sure that my words are supported by actions, and lip service is never an option. I’m also aware that not everyone is doing this as I have and always allow room for those struggling souls to find their own way on their own time.
“As we understood him” — which means when I speak about God, I am really referring to my own experience, which is all I know — it has been revealed to me individually. It is like explaining sex to a virgin. If you have not had sex, you might understand it intellectually, you may have even watched a movie about it, but the personal experience in unknown–it is alien. But once you have had sex, you now have recognizable benchmarks to identify the experience. The same holds true for identifying what a relationship with God or the Higher Power is like.If we are painstaking about this phase of our development (Step 9), we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. (p. 83-84, A.A. 4th Edition) Now let’s look again at page 20 and 21 of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. You see there’s no sense proudly displaying that book at the front of our AA or Ca meetings if were not going to follow the directions in it. Hi my name is matt and i am a grateful recovering alcoholic. For me i had a spiritual awaking of the educational variety. When i look back to 6 years ago and my first contact with AA meetings a seed was firmly planted even though i didn’t realise, i didn’t have the tools to nurcher these emotional changes, ie the 12 steps. Its only from attending meetings, getting a sponsor, doing service and listening i have educated myself to understand how this program works. I am now able to deal with problems on a daily basis, always looking at my part, not judging others and having this power to ask for guidance. I belief god was always in me, i think i should probably be dead as i got into some potentially live threatening situations whilst drunk but here i am, sober and free. I know i have to work this program daily and surrender to god,HP its my conception my power greater than me to live a happy, useful life, and for that i am truly blessed and grateful. Matt, Luton, England.Not sure if this is still reply-able! However, I liked your description of spiritual experience. I’m 5 years sober and still struggle with intolerance, irritability, and judgement of people. I am no more comfortable in my own skin either.
Nobody is forced or pressured to speak at an AA meeting or to declare themselves to be alcoholic. Newcomers benefit most from listening to the experience of speakers and will have the opportunity to speak to members on a one to one basis if they choose.
We have seen many people come to AA and refuse to accept our help because they become angry or upset when others talk of their beliefs. If you are unable to accept that others have a belief that you don’t, you will find it very difficult to come to terms with. If on the other hand you can be tolerant of other peoples’ right to believe in whatever they want to, you will find others tolerant of your rights to believe whatever you choose.
AA members can and do attend counselling at treatment centres. Many people have come to AA through treatment centres and attend aftercare there. This continuity is useful in the recovery process.
What is a vital spiritual experience in the Big Book?
The Big Book infers that a vital spiritual experience is necessary for alcoholics to face and be rid of the obsession to drink. (p. 27) Yet, paradoxically, we are told that belief in God was not necessary to accomplish this miracle—we need only become willing to believe (p. 46).
Its members are not forced to attend meetings, they are free to leave at any time and the programme of recovery is simply a list of suggestions which while many do chose to follow, also many chose to go their own way about it. The majority of members quite happily fit the culture of AA into their normal life and belief systems.
AA is based around the concept of recovery from a persisting, chronic illness. It includes the philosophy elements of belief that everyone has the potential to recover and the inherent ability to lead a satisfying, useful life.
Let’s make no bones about it; the 12 step programme that members follow has its origins in a Christian group. As a consequence you will see God mentioned quite often. Many members believe in a god, and we have members that come from and practice all sorts of religions; but also many are atheist or agnostic, so don’t be put off.Whatever you do, please don’t let someone else’s religious beliefs prevent you from finding the solution that is available to you through Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a series of steps taken by the alcoholic voluntarily which assist them to achieve and maintain sobriety. They include acceptance of the fact that they are alcoholic, learning to trust and rely on something outside of themselves for help, acknowledgement of and making amends for past behaviour, changing present behaviour and passing the help received on to other alcoholics. Because it is a spiritual programme (not religious) those who believe in some form of divinity often find it useful to incorporate the programme into their religious practices and vice versa. This is their choice, there is absolutely no requirement. What we all have in common is that the programme helps us find an inner strength that we were previously unaware of, where we differ is attributing the source.
When was the spiritual experience added to the AA Big Book?
It seems that Bill Wilson was trying to produce a “game changer” of sorts with Appendix II “Spiritual Experience,” which was added to the Big Book at the time of its second printing, in 1941.
Alcoholics Anonymous has only one requirement for membership and that is the desire to stop drinking. There is room in AA for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.This website provides links to other websites, including websites affiliated with other organizations. Linking to any other website, including but not limited to websites affiliated with other organizations inside the Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) service structure, does not constitute the endorsement, sponsorship, or approval of such other website by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S.), or any products, services, or content displayed, provided, promoted, or offered by such other website. Please be aware that A.A.W.S. is not responsible for the content, practices, policies, or methods of any other website, including, without limitation, any other website’s collection, dissemination, use, and protection of personal information, its use of tracking technology, or its level of computer security. Additionally, A.A.W.S. cannot attest to the accuracy, relevancy, timeliness, legality, or completeness of information provided by any other website
Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as the “Big Book,” presents the A.A. program for recovery from alcoholism. First published in 1939, its purpose was to show other alcoholics how the first 100 people of A.A. got sober. Now translated into over 70 languages, it is still considered A.A.’s basic text.
This is the official Website of the General Service Office (GSO) of Alcoholics Anonymous. Videos or graphic images may not be downloaded, copied or duplicated without the express written permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. “Alcoholics Anonymous” and the “Blue People” graphic are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. All rights reserved.Respecting the term “freethinker,” I accept Oxford’s “a person who rejects dogma or authority, especially in religious belief,” or Webster’s “one that forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority.” I’m sorry if that’s not what you see “on this site in general,” as those things are PRECISELY what I find here!
It seems that Bill Wilson was trying to produce a “game changer” of sorts with Appendix II “Spiritual Experience,” which was added to the Big Book at the time of its second printing, in 1941. To that point, the diligent efforts of the early “freethinkers” had been unable to stem the “religious” tide of proselytizing believers, managing only the very small concessions of a “as we understood Him” here, and a “Power greater than” there. The liberalism of “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?” is countermanded by a textbook which describes the “party-line” conception in great detail.
Personally, I’d like it if AA moved Appendix II to the front section of the book with forwards. That way people would read it at the beginning, not as an after thought.The picture that accompanies this post is an actual photo of Doug Flutie’s 1984 pass to Gerard Phelan – perhaps the most significant “game changer” to date in football history.
Great article. However, the “most signifigant” game changer in football? Not sure about that. The so called Immaculate Reception (how ironic!!) by Franco Harris might be more so.Mr. Flutie’s pass was caught by the intended receiver, and his team scored a 47-45 win. This single play was a “game changer,” in the parlance of sport – it reversed the game’s outcome.
The tenor of the “Spiritual Experience” Appendix is dramatically different – “…the PERSONALITY CHANGE (capitals mine) sufficient to overcome alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.” Putting the majority of these experiences in the category of an “educational variety,” seeing the essential change as “a profound alteration in his reaction to life,” allows one to view the entire recovery process as a matter of psychology. Jim Burwell, Hank Parkhurst and others lobbied hard for the entire book to be written from such a perspective.
Possibly the most famous single play in the history of American football took place in 1984, and involved a player who would later star for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. Boston College trailed rival Miami 45 – 41, with only seconds remaining. In one final, frantic attempt to escape defeat, quarterback Doug Flutie tossed a high pass into the end zone from about mid-field. Such an effort rarely succeeds, in part because the opposition knows exactly what is coming. This sort of desperate, last ditch play has acquired the name “Hail Mary” pass, presumably as, while the ball hovers in the air, there is time for a very quick prayer to the “Lord of the Heavens,” his “Son,” or in this case the “Baby Momma.”I have always read Appendix II as a game changer myself. Thanks for developing this theme. Unfortunately, AA literature and records of talks are full of Bill W and others saying one thing in one place and the opposite elsewhere.Without the “Spiritual Experience” Appendix, AA’s “ugly ducklings” would have had to hang their hats on page 47 of the Big Book: “When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book.” Of course, this is fraught with numerous perils. The very same paragraph describes the likely “progression” yet to come – “Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach… we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.”There were agnostics in the Tuesday night group, and several hardcore atheists who objected to any mention of God. On many evenings Bill had to remember his first meeting with Ebby. He’d been told to ask for help from anything he believed in. These men, he could see, believed in each other and the strength of the group. At some time each of them had been totally unable to stop drinking on his own, yet when two of them had worked at it together, somehow they had become more powerful and they had been finally able to stop. This then, whatever it was that occurred between them was what they could accept as a power greater than themselves.
Thanks for the comments, Brent. In retrospect, I fully acknowledge that “One of the most famous single plays….” would have been a more judicious choice of words. In my defence, the italicized comments including “perhaps the most significant ‘game changer’ to date in football history” are from our editor who knows a great deal more about exigesis and eisegesis than “buttonhooks” or “going deep.”
In this light, the seeming back-sliding of, “that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone” is easily answered by the secularist – “Yes, by myself I am without power, but together we are strong.” The caveman needs not God to conquer the sabre-toothed tiger, but he does need other cavemen. Throughout the pages of “Alcoholics Anonymous,” the real meaning of “a Power greater than ourselves” is blatantly evident, no decoder ring is required. Yet in Appendix II, only “our more religious members” refer to the “awareness of a Power greater than ourselves” as “God-consciousness.” In this addendum, the term “spiritual” is taken to the widest possible range of meaning, granting acceptance to a much more “materialist” view of the process. In effect, there are viable choices in one’s conception of “how it works.”A central theme, a “core belief,” as expressed in our book, is that human power has always failed us, and will inevitably continue to do so. What is needed is for the alcohol problem to be “taken away.” “What is this but a miracle of healing? …He humbly offered himself to his Maker – then he knew. Even so has God restored us to our right minds… When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us.” The supposed broad-mindedness of “your own conception of God” clearly doesn’t extend to “your own conception” of which letters to capitalize, and vanishes within a few pages – the conception having served its purpose as “training wheels” to steady the bike until real riding skills are acquired.Unfortunately, although the “Spiritual Experience” Appendix has been vital in assisting so many of us in navigating to sobriety via some clever seamanship, the Appendix does not fall into the category of a game changer. Doug Flutie’s last second completion to Gerard Phelan would be totally without notoriety, were there a single change in the circumstances – Miami having such a lead as to be out of reach. The touchdown changed who won and thus was the “game changer” part. The “Spiritual Experience” Appendix, our “Hail Agnostics” pass play, doesn’t change the game, but it is nice to at least be in the game, even if barely showing on the scoreboard.Of course, the piece has nothing to do with football, other than as a mere analogy. I think that we are very much in agreement that IT IS about our literature. Appendix II, while helpful to many, does not change the fact that our main text is for many, a prayer book that is frozen in 1939. For some like me, AA has in fact been a “game-changer” but for so many others, the religiosity of the literature and our meeting practices has proved insurmountable.
In the end, members of Alcoholics Anonymous collectively assert the powerful and lasting effects spirituality has on their lives. In other words, where empirical data may be difficult to produce, a plethora of anecdotal data suggests this is something worth striving for.
Independence is certainly a valued commodity and it’s done wonders for human evolution. However, to tackle the problem of addiction we must evolve to the next stage of evolution: interdependence.“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” –-HERBERT SPENCER
However, Christian Liberalism is the borrowing of Christian terms and concepts and endowing them with new more secularly relevant meaning. If anything, this is a pretty clean break from religion.
Worldcentrism (postconventional) – this view is connected to others. I begin to revere diversity and the idiosyncrasies that define us. My sense of self is broader, and I find my fulfillment invested in the world around me. Additionally, all the five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, autonomy or freedom, and fun, can be satisfied, which I call “emotional fulfillment.” One no longer envisions a cart but is instead enjoying the ride with whoever the other passengers may be.Ethnocentrism (Conventional) – this view begins to see others. The world now revolves aroun
d us, in a sense. I start to see how my actions affect others. This is the arena of personal responsibility and community action. This position is very tribal and is a great manufacturer of cliques. We are no longer at the mercy of the cart, instead our cart becomes better than your cart. It reeks of independence, breaking the chains of what came before us. One becomes either inferior or superior; a constant power struggle.
The AA philosophy is adamant that a failure to develop spiritually can lead to relapse. This is due to the belief that when the spiritual malady is corrected, the physical and mental follow suit.
Each step was created with the goal is to increase conscious contact with God and others. The below diagram represents the connection and disconnection, respectively.
Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual principles. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. WILLINGNESS, HONESTY AND OPEN MINDEDNESS ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF RECOVERY. BUT THESE ARE INDISPENSABLE.
They should consult a doctor to check the health of their bodies; a therapist to examine their minds; psychiatrist to assess their neurochemistry, and a social worker to examine their interpersonal relationships and social systems.
We also know that people have had profound and moving insights that suddenly shift the manner in which they viewed the world, resulting in neurochemical balance and turning depression into contentment fairly quickly.In the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Bill W shares his experience grappling with the concept of a Higher Power, “To acquire it, I had only to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically as I could.”
What is an example of spiritual experience?
Going on retreats, meditation, studying, discussing, being in awe, being surprised, silence, especially the silence of being in a blizzard, appreciating others and staring into the night sky on a clear night away from the lights of a city.
I think the first half of the 12th Step sums it up as succinctly as ever…“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message…”Are you dog-tired of feeling hungover? Are you bone-weary of the dishonesty and the never-ending rationalizations and damaged relationships? The good old soon-to-be-sober mantra, “Tomorrow will be the day I quit!” Despite all of this are you only able to muster the strength to hit the sobriety snooze button?