(Sorry for the double post. I wanted to start a discussion and not add to the previous older thread)
I was inspired by something Ed K. posted in another thread last night about seeking the numinous in/through/because of/instead of our addictions (I paraphrase based on what I am working with) and went off on a google search ending up at a great article by Murray Stein. It's the first entry under "Articles".
“On the Importance of Numinous Experience in the Alchemy of Individuation ”
That's usually too long for me to savor in the evenings, but I went into some sort of high-attention trance due to both the subject matter and how skillfully he brought it through with words. I am still having revelations that it triggered today, and I copied a few key paragraphs into my e-journal for ruminating purposes. Without getting into my personal material tonight (because I would not know where to start or end!), I will just say that I am very interested in deepening into these remarks:
Numinosity enters this discussion in relation to the role that archetypal influences play in pathological states of mind.
Once the true underlying craving for spirit was effectively addressed and integrated into daily life, the desire for alcoholic ecstasy could be held in check.
Are not all addictions, one wonders after having seen such a wide variety of them in clinical practice, a search for something so elusive as to be considered somehow “of the spirit”?
When I was in my early 20s and began recovering from an eating disorder thanks to the 12 Step programs, I realized that I was an Intensity Junkie and could pretty much get "addicted" to anything, even a chair. My longing for "higher" energetic merging and transcendent release was so deep and unrelenting. Today on my walk something came full circle and it all made perfect and total sense to me. Again. I also resonated to these paragraphs in Stein's piece, particularly the notion that some people have innate affinity for the numinous experiences and out of them can emerge "the personal myth":
Jung nevertheless shared with Otto the “religious musicality” (Max Weber’s term) to resonate to the numinous in the presence of religious symbols and ideas. Otto wrote that this sensibility couldn’t be taught, it must be evoked (Otto 1917: 7). As with the appreciation and creation of art, some people have a genius for it while others have less, little, or no talent in this area (ibid: 177). Jung had this gift to an extraordinary degree. His accounts of firsthand numinous experiences appear in several of his writings – Memories, Dreams, Reflections, “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos,” and above all in the famous Red Book (soon to be published). These writings demonstrate that Jung’s receptivity to numinous experience was profound and extensive. For this reason, he has been recognized by many as a true Homo religiosus. It should be noted that Jung’s accounts include purely “inner experiences,” such as dreams and visions, as well as the more extroverted type that Otto describes in the letters quoted above.
In other words, the attainment to numinous experiences, while significant in itself, was not of final import; rather, it provided the essential ingredients for further stages of the individuation opus. These experiences were something to work on. They offered the material out of which he could wrest his psychological theory and forge his final identity: “Out of it [i.e., the concluding numinous dream in a long series, the famous Liverpool dream] emerged a first inkling of my personal myth,” and “That [i.e., the whole series of numinous images and experiences] was the primal stuff … and my works are a more or less successful endeavor to incorporate this incandescent matter into the contemporary picture of the world” (ibid). This, in brief, is a thumbnail sketch of the psychological opus of individuation. It is an operation of sublimation, which raises the spiritual to the level of the psychological and renders numinous experience practical and useful. They become integrated into psychological functioning and assimilated into the contemporary world.
I'd love to hear from anyone who has an interest or background in treating and/or healing from all forms of addictive processes along these lines. (And links to books and other online resources on the subject very appreciated.)