Search This Blog

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spiritual Awakening: "A Fourth Dimension of Existence"

Bill Wilson (1895-1971)
Bill Wilson describes the shift in consciousness which occurred during his sudden spiritual awakening at Townes Hospital (and, indeed, the spiritual awakening of other early A.A.'s) in many different ways. Amongst my favourites, he describes it (at page 8 of the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous) as "a fourth dimension of existence." A fourth dimension of existence, in my experience, which has as its essence a timeless, divisionless state of consciousness which unites the individual with all that is - with God, as I understand that concept.

In the "Spiritual Experience" appendix, added to the second edition of the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read:
"With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves."

"Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it 'God-consciousness
William James (1842-1910)
Such expanded - and expansive - consciousness is, for most, a temporary state, fleeting or fading in time. Mystics of all ages and traditions have attested to its reality, however, as outlined in William James' book that proved so valuable to Bill, "The Varieties of Religious Experience." Yet it is available to all of us, alcoholic addict and non-alcoholic alike.

Because of the symptoms of our alcoholic addiction, however - i.e., progressive and fatal intoxication - being able to access this vital "inner resource" is essential if we are not to die of our illness. It is the driving mechanism, recognized or not, which is at the bottom of the "entire psychic change" necessary to relieve our alcoholism.

But yet it is no secret. In the following video clip from the enlightened spiritual teacher and best-selling author, Eckhart Tolle - a non-alcoholic who underwent one of the most radical and lasting experiences of spiritual awakening - he explains that there is nothing more we need to know to have such an experience; although, for us, there is almost invariably a lot of work to be done in order to clear the wreckage in preparation for such an experience.

"There's not much else that you need to know (about spiritual awakening) in the sense of accumulated knowledge," Tolle observes, "it is now a question of living that. And if you don't want to live it, that's fine. It means you have to suffer a bit more until you are ready to make this shift, until the shift begins to happen."

"A human being needs to reach the point of readiness," he notes. A point where they say, "Okay, I've done enough madness, I've suffered enough. I'm ready for the shift. I'm ready to say . . .  this moment is all there ever is."

That we always live in the present moment with access to a Power greater than the egoic self is an ageless truth equally recognized in our slogans, "One Day At A Time" and "Let Go and Let God," as it is in the timeless meditations of the great Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, in which he observed, "All we ever have to live or lose is this ever-passing present moment."

No comments:

Post a Comment