A not-for-profit organization founded in 1993 for the publication
of materials on the history and theory of alcoholism treatment and the
moral and spiritual dimensions of recovery
Sun coming out over the Indiana prairies
Essays on Spirituality by Glenn C.
The Names of God: how to find a God of our understanding. In the search to find a God of our understanding, there are four traditional paths in western spirituality, going all the way back to ancient Christian and Jewish thought, all of which are firmly founded in the Bible itself. In A.A. terminology, we refer to these four paths as:
The Andromeda galaxy, 2.5 million light-years away, contains
one trillion stars; this is only one of the many galaxies produced
by the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.
Mount Sinai and the Burning Bush: The Cloud of Unknowing, the Altar to the Unknown God, and the Dark Night of the Soul. In order to find a God of our understanding, we first have to let go of all our old misconceptions about God, the universe, and ourselves, and make the ascent up Mount Sinai, following Moses into the Cloud of Unknowing. As we continue to climb further and further into the doubt and anguish of the Dark Night of the Soul, we use the twelve steps to guide us into a radical reframing of all the presuppostions of our lives. Disoriented within the infinite and all-encompassing Mystery, we discover the God of the empty altar -- the Altar to the Unknown God, the Agnôstô Theô -- and hear the voice from the Burning Bush giving us only the bare words, "I am what I am" -- the divine Person whose grace is his love offered to ALL the needy and suffering, without condition.
Rudolf Otto, author of The Idea of the Holy
The central emphasis in A.A. spirituality is on learning to develop our God-consciousness and our awareness of the presence of God. The most important spokesman for this concept in early twentieth-century thought was the German philosopher and theologian Rudolf Otto (1869-1937).
The God-Shaped Hole in the Human Soul. The idea of a "God-shaped hole" in the human heart is a famous modern metaphor for the yearning in the human soul which drives us on our spiritual quest. This image of a terrifying bottomless abyss opening up inside us -- a void of nothingness which only an infinite God could fill -- is derived from ideas found in Pascal (1623-1662) and St. Augustine (354-430), where we see the answer to this problem linked to the mysterious depths of subconscious memory and the fundamental quest for truth.
The spark of the divine within the human soul
Cosmic Consciousness: A set of articles on Richard Maurice Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind (1901), a book which influenced Bill Wilson very deeply, and other allied topics, including Emmet Fox and New Thought, Albert Einstein on "cosmic religious feeling," and the debate between him and theologian Paul Tillich (who taught with Reinhold Niebuhr and Harry Emerson Fosdick at Union Theological Seminary in New York City). Rudolf Otto and the idea of the holy in the study of comparative religions.
Visions, Heavenly Voices, Near Death Experiences, and the Afterlife: A set of articles on issues raised by Dr. Eben Alexander's recent book, Heaven Is Real: A Doctor's Experience with the Afterlife, in which he describes his near death experience. Also articles and blogs on visions and heavenly voices, and other kinds of contact with the divine world.
The Higher Power of the Twelve-Step Program: For Believers & Non-believers. Originally given as a lecture to the Northern Indiana Counselors Association on October 21, 1999 at Quiet Care in South Bend, Indiana. All of the forty or so counselors and psychotherapists there agreed that this material correctly and accurately stated what actually went on when they were working with alcoholics, and the issues that these men and women had to learn how to deal with in order to get sober and stay sober. It was originally published as a pamphlet, and large numbers of good oldtime A.A. sponsors found that it was ideal for giving to the people whom they sponsored, to use as a basis for discussing the areas where these newcomers were having difficulties with the spiritual aspects of the program.
Being at Home: Agapê Love and the Goal of Twelve-Step Spirituality. The twelve step program is one of the most powerful spiritual tools ever developed. We know how the goal of the spiritual life was described in a number of earlier great spiritual movements: Zen Buddhism, American frontier revivalism, philosophical Hinduism, the Hasidic Judaism of the Baal Shem Tov, the life of the early followers of St. Francis of Assisi, the Carmelite spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, the ancient Stoic philosophy, the Native American spirituality of tribes like the Navajo and the Potawatomi, the hesychastic spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox monks of Mt. Athos, and so on.
Material on Dante from two of Glenn Chesnutís books. Dante's vision of God at the end of his Divine Comedy, where God appears as a three-fold circle of light, together with his vision of himself and Beatrice both being filled with the divine light. Through this, Dante was enabled to enter the full presence of God by passing through Mary the Divine Mother as the Gate or Bridge which leads from this realm to the next.
The vision of the divine Light at the end of Dante's Divine Comedy:
all the universe turned by love and centered on the three primal hypostases
THE SERENITY PRAYER and its ancient Greek and Roman philosophical background:
Also Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2, Luke 22:42, Matthew 26:42, Matthew 19:17-19, Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-33, Luke 10:25-28, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8, Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:9, Luke 5:24, John 5:8-12, Revelation 6:2-8, Luke 10:1-7, and 1 Timothy 5:18.
The golden sunlight of the spirit over the Indiana prairies
A Twelve-Step Funeral
or Memorial Service
Prayers and readings for an A.A. funeral, arranged and adapted by Glenn C., as used for memorial services conducted by the A.A. fellowship in northern Indiana.
The eternal God is our dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
You have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
until they find their rest in you.
In this ancient Byzantine Greek icon, we
see Sophia, the feminine aspect of God, with
her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love
Does not Wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
At the first, before the beginning of the earth,
when there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth.
Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars ....
She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in town,
"You that are ignorant, turn in here ....
Lay aside ignorance and live,
and walk in the way of insight."
Proverbs 8:1, 23-25; 9:1-6
Sophia as the third
member of the Trinity
In this old medieval painting, Sophia (the Holy Spirit
or World Soul) is in the middle, with the Word of God on
the left, and a figure representing the Unknowable
Depths of the godhead on the right
The Merton Prayer
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, Part Two, Chapter II.
"Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
the crippled will leap up like a deer,
and those whose tongues could not speak
will sing for joy."