There are many things that the Apostle Paul and Bill Wilson have in common. And there are many things that AA and the church have in common as well. In this year-long series, I will look at several of them. In the previous two posts, we looked at the “spiritual awakening” of Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the following post we looked at the apostle Paul. Today we look at a quest for wholeness.
In the 1930’s, the psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung, replied to a letter from Bill Wilson (a/k/a Bill W.) just seven days after receiving it. This exchange of letters is highly regarded because of their impact on the thinking of Bill W. In the letter, Jung mentioned a friend of Wilson’s who had gone to Europe to visit him, seeking treatment for his alcoholism. Jung recounted the friend’s visit, “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.”
Alcoholic or not, most of what we do in life is an attempt to become integrated and complete. We eat and drink to feel complete, to feel whole, to feel fulfilled, to seek balance between our mind, body, and spirit. Some of our quests are healthier than others. We may feel potent and complete while drunk, but our livers and our relationships will tell a different tale. Regardless of our faith (or lack of it) ~ regardless of our age, gender, class, or ethnicity ~ regardless of whether our spiritual journey began on a road to Damascus or in a hospital room in New York; or in a 12-step meeting, in a church, or on a bar stool ~ what all spiritual journeys have in common is a quest for wholeness.
Our spiritual journey toward wholeness may be a journey from no-help (feeling isolated, alone, misunderstood); to self-help (I got this. I can handle this. I can figure it out by myself); to God help (God doing for s what we cannot do for ourselves). No matter the route we take, the ultimate destination of all spiritual paths is wholeness restored.
This may sound obvious. But two problems (at least) arise with this: (Many people in church, meeting place, or in their own head) are unaware of their lack of wholeness. Arriving at this awareness involves admitting and accepting their own brokenness ~ something many, if not most, people are reluctant or unwilling to do. And so people continue to sit in their discomfort, or in their complacency, casting their gaze on anyone but themselves, and trying their best to ignore the hum in the background of their hopes and dreams falling asleep… until, if they are lucky (or blessed)… a hole rips open in their soul which they are forced to repair and which, they discover, they cannot repair alone.
Next week, we look at Hitting Bottom.
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