Which ancient spiritual text is most convincing

Pastoral care in the clinic of the LMU Munich
at the Großhadern location

Borderline experience of God - Spiritual experience in suffering and illness - Monika Renz

Book: Monika Renz, border experience God, spiritual experience in suffering and illness, Freiburg im Breisgau 2010, excerpts for private use)

Spirituality today?

Monika Renz is of the opinion: Spirituality is hardly possible today through the radical exit from power and worldly ties like in the time of Francis of Assisi. Convincing spirituality is required today as an experience and an attitude in the midst of reality, as a rejection of the seduction of power in the midst of powerful positions, as freedom not without, but in the midst of suffering, poverty, dependency and excessive demands. In everyday hospital life, the word in the middle led to the question:

She asks: Is there a spirituality of need? And what can the seriously ill and dying and about it teach?

The project

Monika Renz is undertaking a research project at the St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital on the subject of "Spiritual Experience in Serious Illness" with the following key questions:

  • What is Spiritual Experience?
  • Despite all the individuality and intimacy, are there any characteristics or traits of such an experience?
  • Where does the spiritual begin in the context of an experience and where do we speak better of an experience in the interpersonal or immanent?
  • What is the difference between spirituality and religion?

But Renz also takes up pastoral-theological questions:

  • Do traditional images of God help to die where someone simply cannot die?
  • Do you help live where someone is desperate?
  • Do spiritual signs such as communion, absolution or anointing of the sick help, or do they have no effect?
  • How does the God preached become the God of one's own experience?

The method

There are a number of hurdles involved in the project itself. Is it even possible to ask specific questions in view of such an intimate topic? Wouldn't questioning already be manipulation? Only one thing is clear to M. Renz: The focus had to be on the interests of the patients themselves: their freedom of conscience, their needs, limits and taboo topics, their vocabulary. That is why M.Renz refrains from a questionnaire and a previously defined system; "Because such a deliberate demeanor on my part could irritate patients: 'What are you up to?'" And Renz continues to write in view of this experience:

“Together with her (the patient) I had to find my way back to the coherence of the moment and to the only thing that was important in that hour: exactly her. Occurrences like this were not accidental: Spirituality and intention do not get along. "

So M. Renz limited her plan to simple Accompany people and record the encounters.

“... I returned to my freedom and therapeutic openness. What happened? What didn't happen? "

“More than a third of all patients in the wards I care for want me to be with them. More than half of them experienced something unexpectedly spiritual.! And the effects of such experiences were without exception impressive. "(P.17)

M. Renz writes that the project also challenged her very intensely in her personal beliefs. She describes her inner struggles and questions as follows:

"My work threw me into old and new doubts: Despite so much misery, do I believe in one God? Which god can make people suffer like this? How do you even put words like God in your mouth where people don't know how to endure themselves and the next hour? How to conjure up a god - I would almost like to say conjure up - into a night that is spreading like a specter? Can one speak of spirituality at all in such a need without reaching the patient in a phrase-like or insulting way? How to speak of God when He is silent? Is there a spirituality that is not under suspicion of prosperity or flight, that is, it misses out on real misery? My question is: Are there answers even in misery?"(P.19)

Spirituality - what is it?

The term

Spirituality has become a buzzword. The term is used in a wide variety of contexts and sometimes misused. With all differences (of the different spiritualities) the word spirituality stands for a certain spiritual orientation. It refers to something spiritual and spiritual, which is not simply identical with spiritual. The character of incomprehensibility (and ambivalence) also surrounds the phenomenon of spirituality to this day. Renz refers to Karl Rahnerwho brought God into modern theology as a mystery, as the incomprehensible, as the last word before falling silent. Even in a secularized society there is a hunger for spirituality. People suffer from a lack of experienced closeness to God, from a spiritual hole. But spirituality is also more than a specific meditation practice. It is experience with an eternal other that remains unavailable.

Spirituality and Therapy

M. Renz takes the position that spirituality also has its place in therapeutic work and this dimension is brought into play primarily through the fate of a serious illness / cancer. The cancer itself faced with existential and ultimate questions:

  • Will I get well again?
  • Why does it hit me of all people, I haven't done anything wrong?
  • Why am I getting sick now of all times when I can finally breathe a sigh of relief?
  • What is the point of all this?
  • I'm so tired, is there anything left that motivates me?

The suffering in such illness is great, the time to the final stages of maturation often briefly measured. All the more it pushes into spiritual dimensions from within. The therapeutic access to people does not take place via the question of their religious affiliation, but via questions such as:

  • "What are you suffering from?"
  • "What do you long for inside?"
  • “What gives you courage and perseverance?

And all of this always with an eye on what is urgent right now. All bedside spirituality is based on the patient. ”(P. 30) You take away spirituality as Renz understands it Level of each individual encounter and may not be committed to any particular school be. At the same time, for the sake of authenticity, I can and should make my closeness to a certain theology and to a certain faith transparent, provided that this is expressly sought by the patient.

Spirituality - an event on the border

According to Renz, there is spirituality Experience in the intermediate realm of man and a transcendent, of man and God. People may or may not be open to it. Spirituality is contact with a different reality to which he can say yes or no. Spirituality can be experienced as an invitation from afar, which sometimes has to be learned to really hear.

M. Renz points out that it there are many ways of escaping from the call and the reputation is ambivalent and fearful. Because he is the place where that naked I was touched by something incomprehensible until overwhelmed learns (tremendum et fascinosum).

In the spiritual experience, the invisible realm has inevitably come close. The ego initially loses itself in this exceeding, in order to be able to experience later that it has found itself different and new in it.

Therapists, pastors and priests are companions in such (ambivalent and fearful) borderline situations

Spirituality breaks up the psychological structures. At the limit, people are no longer masters of their own house. As self-evident as experience from standing in one's own life seems strange, attractive and at the same time threatening, he experiences the totally different in spiritual experiences.

Spiritual experiences break the boundaries of normal, subject-bound experience and become a relativization of our ego.

Fear and experience

In subject-related experience, fear is lived through in a variety of ways: fear of being threatened or powerless, shameful of being vain or lost. Fear just happens.

S.ie is sheer existential fear or a pure body reaction: Shivering, freezing, sweating, trembling - primal fear. Unasked, unexpectedly, fear takes hold of our soul. Fear of death E.g. the fear of dying, the fear of being passed out, the fear of complete abandonment seizes people. Fear is always irrational, it breaks in on me and disappears again. And yet fear is only possible in subject-related experience. Because only from the perspective of one's own there is concern for one's neighbor and commitment to personal concerns. Subject-bound experience is limited experience. The risk of dying, even failing, and with it a permanent fearfulness are the constant shadowy companions of the ego. Fear arises in connection with the earliest development of consciousness, i.e. with the more conscious arrival of people with themselves. Outside of this self-related experience, fear is not an issue.

At least patients experience it again and again for moments that fear has no power over them. One patient thinks that the other - God - is always there, only we are not always connected. The relationship with God is like a loose contact. (see S37)

Spiritual experiences are answers from within. They are approximations to a completely different quality of being, being inside and being related. They give confidence and always cause the change in the A rollercoaster between primal fear and trust.

Transitional sensitivities

Experiences of delimitation (coma, near death) and spiritual experiences lead the ego behind its waking ego-presence back into a borderline or transitional sensitivity. In such areas (“border countries”) the ego has to surrender itself. Patients have to stop thinking, less and less can be censored and dominated by the self, more and more can simply only be perceived and endured.

The location between two completely different realities can lead to dire and extremely dangerous fears, Fears of an apocalyptic dimension.

In the before, where the ego has still not fully let go, becomes Total faint experienced. Pain is outrageous, immobility and fear maddening. And the patients feel utterly alone because no one understands the extent of their suffering.

The patient is often helped by credible information about the connection between perception and fear / pain. So that pain and fears are dependent on our perception and transit realities. Pain often forces you to let go.

In the border area it is open who or what dominates the scene: good or bad forces, reality, nightmares or projections. At the limit, qualities such as good and bad, devouring and saving are close together. There images, forms, opposites arise and also dissolve. The border area as a threshold and gate between the area of ​​the ego and an eternal one.

In the "desert" and not in the normal state, man is tempted by evil forces, but also there, at the end of his wisdom, he is touched by the angel, nourished and is open to God as the completely other.

The medium of music

Limit states are hearing states. Life and borderline situations (e.g. coma, deep regression, prenatal existence, when dying), in which the person feels more feels connected to the world via the ear as via other sensory organs or not. These are states in which people hear differently and differently.

For the dying and for people at the extreme limit of suffering, the quality of the mood there - M. Renz called the vibrational environment - is decisive for a successful therapy back into life or into a peacefully redeemed death.

There is evidence Double messages - i.e. unconsciousness - which are deeply irritating in such stages and in early childhood. There is no reaction with the dying if I am not both with myself and with them inside. And seriously ill people who can still talk withdraw because they haven't been picked up, cheated or misunderstood.

The Being responsive through the ear becomes an opportunity for music therapy. Music undermines inhibitions, blockages and fears of all kinds. Music opens up access to what is otherwise hidden. M. Renz, who also works as a music therapist in the hospital, for example Sound journeys describes this therapy in more detail and counts music as one of the more unconscious media; In contrast to word, image, body, music is more incomprehensible and, like everything spiritual, fleeting. But:

"I locate spirituality and spiritual experience even further out of consciousness than music: it circles around the incomprehensible and gives an idea of ​​its existence." (See p. 44)

Reaching the inner child in its language or the wordless suffering

Suffering can be wordless, so profound that there are no words for it and never have been. Many of these wordless sufferings arise from it a time when the child could not yet find words for something they experienced at the time (existential abandonment, hunger, scorn, war, violence). M.Renz points out that profound traumatic imprints of the soul occur more frequently than one thinks. The memory traces imprinted in the soul and body become noticeable later, especially in states of powerlessness and illness, like a nightly spook and a fearfulness that cannot be reassured. Patients are then often chased with fright, paralyzed with fear and alone with their fears, as they were then, because they are difficult to understand for outsiders. The nameless receives power over them.

How does Renz deal with it?

First of all, those Reassurance: “What you experience is normal. It is part of the existence of many patients. ”Relief, reassurance, and liberation from fear are more important at the bedside than tracing any causes and fears of imprinting.

According to Renz, the central question is:

“Which sign is understood by the inner child? Which language reaches the patient's body and unconscious? "

The following rule applies to Renz: The deeper a trauma, the deeper the signs of salvation must reach. The prisoner in the border area can only be released in the language of the border area. In the wordless there are no words. Sometimes a dream, fine music, a religious sign such as a blessing or anointing of the sick can help heal the soul. The spiritual then lies in the atmosphere of such a sign. Signs and language alone are not enough if I am only a functionary and not a believer on my part. The cry or the silent suffering can become a personal inquiry as to whether I myself believe in the power that can be effective in such a sign. There are healing rituals, but also the danger of manipulation. How can you find out who needs what and when? On the one hand, religious signs and rites cannot be handled carefully enough; on the other hand, it is regrettable if, out of sheer caution and inner alienation, the Courage for sacraments, blessings and anointing is missing.

Spirituality does not come about just like that, but through the interaction of authenticity and grace. Spirituality arises where people, in their exact situation and constitution, meet in front of an eternally greater one and become open to its effect. Spirituality is then an event for which there are hardly any words.

Hope for salvation - endurance in the hopeless

Hope in the hopeless

“Hope or Illusion? Hope and healing are dangerous words for people who work in a hospital. Almost all patients hope to get well. Two-thirds of the cancer patients I worked with hoped for a miracle ... Often I have to deal with the sick from being unrealistic too purified hope Find. To a hope that is open to both a return to life and an early death. A long way, which often begins with the permission to hope ... "(p.49)

Renz takes the view that the driving force of hope should run like a red thread through the disease process, but the concretization, the "what can I hope for?" may change.

From the hope of getting well, to the hope of having another good time.

From the hope of life to the hope of a good death ...

There is not only the right to hope, but even the duty to hope.

Bible - a comfort and hope book? Hope for salvation

“You don't have to come to me with the Bible. My Bible says the same as yours. It is best to leave the recipes at home. ”- said one patient. How do you manage to allow yourself to be touched by the salutary in the midst of suffering?

Renz understands salvation as a borderline concept; it refers to the deepest form of being with oneself and at the same time being more than me.Healing also as an alternative to states of division or narcissistic isolation, but also an alternative to being alienated, trapped, driven and occupied.

In the hospital it applies to pursue a pragmatic path towards what is specifically salvific And to be taken seriously: In the end it shouldn't be about my convictions, about research goals, about success or promoting a certain God. Rather:

What does this person need?

What heals, what comforts right now, what will help for the next night, what will reach this person in exactly his or her life situation?

It is precisely in this connection between religiosity and doubt that there is always that incomprehensible that brings people touch and salvation.

Everyone has their own longings for salvation. Perfect sensitivities are not feasible, at most they can be experienced. Healing is not improvement, but change. Healing never happens as expected, it is always different. Healing never succeeds comprehensively, but always fragmentarily. Theologically formulated healing is an eschatalogic quality.

Spirituality is an atmospheric event, a qualitative plus and goes hand in hand with the reverence for the beliefs and other beliefs of others. (P.49)

Longing and hope

The longing for healing is rooted in the experience of being wounded, no longer whole.

Jalics denotes the Longing for God, according to the essential, according to the actual home as the force that leads to contemplation and silence.

Often today this primal longing is no longer felt and we get caught up in what we have and what we have in distractions and safeguards.

We cannot have hope and it is not a possession. And Heil even less.

Longing does not want to be satisfied cheaply, but to be maintained. Only wakeful longing is able to show us the way step by step, even in the dark.

To hope is more than letting go and something other than trusting; it requires an active willingness to continue to bet on the future despite all the uncertainty and to expect something from her.

Hope finds its credibility only through the experience of hopelessness and despair. Sometimes it's about the strength for the next breaths. The problem for the counselor / therapist is always hoping to arrive. With a lot of discipline, through my own despair, reluctance and mental resistance, I have to face this task again and again, usually several times a day. “To be in hope” can also be “to be” in the spirit, which means “to live love”. Getting there remains a task.

In maintaining the tension between realism (with its imponderables, injustices ...) and longing (after Hei .l ..) the Dynamic of real hope out. Hope as a process is neither cynical pessimism nor naive optimism. Creative solutions only emerge from the sustained tension between reality and longing.

Creative suffering

Suffering (of patients) becomes creative where people endure without being embellished and at the same time ultimately trust the process (fate, life, God) more. A dying man puts it this way:

"By making this decision (for a hope against all hope), I am also more than my vegetating body." (P. 59)

Paths of hope begin with the fact that we only arrive at the place of suffering, with our deep longings and our actual pain.


For the second it means: endure ... and endure again (does not mean pious devotion and the mystification of suffering), which has a lot to do with a willingness to feel (rebellious, angry, ...) and thus to remain alive inside. A form of suffering (not meant masochistically) to wander through the darkness of the soul. (see also Jalics).

To be in hope means, even if little has changed externally, to remain open to something better, more saving, to movement. So the opposite of hardening in spite.

Carried by family and friends

The solidarity in hope, which is never as great as in the low points of suffering, is also helpful. “One alone can never hope enough.” The experiences in the hospital show that the dying sometimes had wonderful experiences of being carried by their families and friends. Hope is and remains dependent on community and arises in shared suffering.

Spirituality as a relationship event

Relationship is an admission of dependence and need. Longing for a relationship makes you vulnerable. Getting involved in a relationship is risky. We risk being disappointed or losing what we love. “Getting involved in the relationship with God is the greatest risk in life”, because to long for a relationship with something incomprehensible means to embark on an adventure, the outcome of which is thought to be completely open. At the end of your life you risk having to see everything differently again.

Wherever patients were precisely fixated on their God (their image of God), they usually did not find him.

On the theory of spirituality

M. Renz warns against a careless adaptation of Far Eastern meditation methods, in which meditative serenity is confused with repressed feelings and an externally appropriated freedom. In the spiritual (also with patients) a detachment is sought - far removed from all physicality, emotions and relationships and a fear of the felt and lived life.

For Renz is Spirituality is related to something bigger down. Spiritual experiences can neither be made nor controlled by the ego and presuppose a fundamental openness to a “more than me” (cf. p. 69) In contrast to religiosity, the Renz as an attitude introduced by humans (of faith and openness ) understands, spirituality means an irrational borderline event that may or may not occur.

What is Spirituality?

Neither medicine nor theology, neither brain research, neurobiology and psychiatry nor neuro-theology or the research into extrasensory states of consciousness can make final statements about the occurrence, experience or non-experience of such phenomena. And even less about the quality of experiences and their content.

Unity experiences and counter-experiences

Is it ultimately about unity or relationship?

Patients speak in awe of “unspeakable and yet non-representational love”, “a wonderful peace”, “an indescribable freedom”, ...

Renz advocates not playing off experiences of unity and experiences of others (on the philosophy of dialogue, see M. Buber). The personal can be fulfilled in the objectless, the objectless in the related. The question of the last cannot be answered at the moment. The task of negative mysticism is not to want to dissolve the remaining mystery of God.

The "I" untouched or shaken?

Where in the context of an experience a more or less stressed self remains untouched the center of itself, I call this internal experience. Where on the other hand, there was contact, shock and relativization in the ego, it can be assumed that this was a spiritual experience. The latter requires touchability, the willingness to get involved and allow change. So, according to Renz, it's about that itself Allowing people to set out on something greater (a more, an excess of meaning) out of its narcissistic or egocentric encapsulation. Spiritual experience is more than transcending ego boundaries in a psychological sense; it is about the admission that an unavailable other is at play. Nevertheless, the difficulty of distinguishing between one's own and other remains, as the St. Augustine word illustrates:

“But you were even more inside than my innermost being”.

Narcissism, relationship skills, guilt and earliest imprints

What stands in the way of our ability to relate? Is it selfishness, self-hatred, inner distress that prevent the ability to have relationships? M. Renz sees theology rather carelessly dealing with the phenomenon of narcissism: "Incurvatus in se - twisted in itself" (Luther, Augustine) is a problem of sinful people, but with which the early imprints (which lead to N.) do not are recorded. M. Renz, on the other hand, continues with the more recent studies R. brother-in-law on the doctrine of original sin (Original Sin and Salvation Drama, 1997), where he spoke of structural evil, speaks of collective, intergenerational and vibrational influences. In this way he also grasps the phenomenon of the earliest human imprint, which is not primarily guilt, but perpetuated need in the initial position of the human condition.

Renz initially understands narcissism based on Kohut as a disorder that arises in the child when the Mother, for her part, revolves around herself and the child is thrown back on itself instead of in a loving exchange. In addition, Renz tries to include even older roots of narcissistic disorders: even before the child enters into the earliest exchange with the mother, the child “becomes” in the sound. It is related to an undifferentiated perceived vibrational environment to the whole, which is also the earliest form of experience of what people later call God.

“Older than any relationship experience with people is a deeply unconscious, non-personal relationship experience with the limitless as a primordial counterpart. Already intrauterine, but also after birth, there is an alternative between flowing, nourishing, digestible versus cursed, shaded, traumatized. The latter leads to a very early break in relationship, to primal fear and to a constant tendency to isolate oneself, combined with a highly subject-bound, egocentric view of the self and the world. This also blocks access to the spiritual. All relationships, all experiences are reinterpreted narcissistically: the you becomes the thing that the narcissistic self makes useful. The spiritual message flows into his own size fantasies ..... Does a narcissistically shaped person remain without a chance of ever becoming open to that which releases him from his fear? "(P.73)

Narcissistic people live like behind glass and are in one inner prison. Behind this protective wall is a deep suffering, an insatiable hunger for what is lost, for a flowing life, for encounter, ... Only when narcissism is understood as suffering is there a chance to open up. Renz describes how the feeling of a dying patient's arrival in oneself reached a deeper state of being, in which the frightened self-circling self no longer dominated the scene and its fear of fainting was redeemed. Impotence is the admission of need, dependence on others, and grace. In contrast, power closes, the narcissistic shell remains hard and intent on protection.

Church injuries

For patients, an obstacle on the way to living spirituality can be experiences that they have made with the institution of the church or with individual representatives. A patient. “I am divorced and therefore dropped out.” Injuries of this kind, which trigger extreme feelings, take time and inner reconciliation work. Renz provides two case studies on this.

Counter interference

Renz refers to a phenomenon that she calls counterpart disorder. Again and again patients have problems with the word God or the idea of ​​a numinous counterpart. The need of the individual refers to the early days of human consciousness development and to the insufficiently considered question: When / how / under what circumstances was / is a numinosum perceived? How was it experienced? How does it work? For Renz, a connection between a primal fear of the numinous and a later defense against the spiritual emerges.

“Just as the original experience was once the epitome of too much, so now is the mere thought of God. God is indeed the epitome of too much: too intense, too much vibration, too dense as density, too close as closeness, too dangerous and overwhelming in its numinousness. "(P.83)

Solidarity and existential coexistence / leadership; inflation

Renz reports that within her project work there were a considerable number of patient processes that referred her to an existential follow-up, sometimes so radically that it was done by herself in between or as if it were destroyed.

“I kept asking myself how it came about that I sometimes step into someone's fate as if it were mine? It was sympathy, but also crucially more. For my part, a feeling of a radical quality of love and solidarity, of the feeling “I am not indifferent to you”. Mostly inexplicable: Why is this solidarity gripping me right now? ... And in all of this the feeling: I have to obey it! "

At sick beds it is sometimes the next of kin who are able and called to go quietly and carry through on their behalf.

The term "Existential being with" was coined by Benedetti and he understands it to be a partial identification “, in which a therapist Aspects of a suffering "takes over into his own experience and his language", contributes and yet at the same time transcends. Binswagner calls it Bearing. Wirtz and Zöbeli emphasize the dynamic interplay between empathetic-accepting closeness and delimiting-confrontational technology.

Renz himself is sure that there are moments of therapeutic / pastoral care in which a third, inner guidance is at work.

“Whether pronounced or not, it is important for me to pass on success and failure to a third party. Only in this way can helpers protect themselves from being stupid one day in failure and megalomaniac in success. The danger of inflation, the blurring of boundaries in the direction of a divine healer, is great at this seam. "(P.87)

Spirituality and Presence

Spiritual experiences happen in the here and now. Not occupied by the past and not planned by the future or what is wanted, they take place where we simply “are” bodily and in essence. Only in the present are we really open to you. Fixed expectations, burdens from the past, fixations on any image of man or God, obscure what could be. With breathing and relaxation exercises, Renz tries again and again to guide patients into this present and to linger in this present. "Prayer is no longer possible, but it still works"

Guilt and spirituality

An over-worship of human guilt and a sense of guilt imposed by the church turned into weariness, excessive defense and embarrassing trivialization of guilt.

What does guilt have to do with spirituality?

There is an unseen guilt that separates us from within and blocks spiritual experience. But there is also a spirituality of the relationship in which a person confronts something unconditional as who he is: with his merits and his guilt, his color and his lack of color.

Renz points out that she will be guilty of the issue in the course of her project Contradiction and diversity met: Criminals and patients with tormenting conscience without real guilt, tears of remorse and longing for forgiveness in addition to reckless ranting about really bad things, Victim biographies alongside perpetrator biographies and both in one, Suggested feelings of guilt alongside real guilt. And it is obvious: the question of guilt polarizes, provokes, mobilizes (see p.90)

clearing truth

Ms. Renz has worked in the cantonal hospital about 250 dying people accompanied; many of them, she writes, found peace with oneself and life in a mysterious inner way, some knowing about theirs faultthe others in permanent unconsciousness.

"But where there is hidden guilt, I experience again and again that people testify to it symbolically, if not verbally, before dying" (91)

(e.g. removing dirt from the apartment). Still others just cannot die until their guilt is at least partially addressed and forgiveness is somehow in the room.

The experience with the dying leads Renz to the conviction that right now the chance comes again to let guilt come to you without the consequences of ostracism and to activate the right in you to believe again in a person and his good death. God himself dwells in the sanctuary of the soul. And quoting Anselm Grün:

“'There he is completely whole, there he is free from all human expectations and afflictions, and there he is also free from his own guilt. Because in this place guilt has no place, there self-condemnation and self-destruction have no access, there he is truly redeemed, whole and whole. "(Biblical pictures of redemption, p.77)

Renz finds this truth of faith confirmed in her project:

"No one who dared to feel and was somehow open, fell out of the basic experience of a final being allowed." (93)

A person's truth is greater than his guilt and it is more profound.


And: Responsibility makes you free. And some of those who returned to life made a decision: I cannot go on like this. What did these people want? The longing for a more genuine and reconciled existence seemed to be awakened.

A person's guilt is part of their truth and becoming aware of their own share of guilt frees them from having to cover up or justify. The goal of a path of maturation is not innocence, but responsibility.

The culpable person knows about his vulnerabilities and is always ready to face its shadow potential. Debt capacity is an expression of personality and connected with a sense of responsibility and differs from a childish super-ego conscience with its obsessive zeal for perfection.

Guilt as a coping pattern

Medicine and psycho-oncology meet the Question of guilt often in connection with a diagnosis of cancer. (For example, as self-reproach: "Am I to blame for cancer, did I live too unhealthily?" or as blame: "The ex-husband is to blame that our daughter has cancer ...") In the case of strokes of fate, the question of guilt is omnipresent: Hardly anyone who does not ask them and who sometimes reproaches God and them Theodicy question (“How can a good God allow my illness?) Ends.

Why is the question of guilt immediately raised when people feel bad?

The willingness to feel guilty has deeply repressed and irrational roots. Guilt is a problem where we think causally, in terms of cause and effect. A fainting situation is supposedly half as bad if you can identify a perpetrator / culprit. Guilty parties are instinctively looked for wherever they are Question of guilt is not appropriate in the case of disability, strokes of fate and serious illness. Where no real culprit can be found for a bad luck, the sufferer instinctively ascribes the guilt to himself. This is an ancient mechanism, a reaction pattern from the beginning of the development of consciousness, in which the namelessly terrible is given a name and thus seems to become more bearable. People with one are caught up in an almost magical sense of guilt childlike superego moral or one coined by the church rigid conscience: "Either the doctor is to blame or God or me." (Such a patient)

Guilt may have the deepest roots in the broken relationship with God?

Difference between guilt and guilt

There is guilt where there is no real guilt. Conversely, real guilt that is not felt as such.

Renz asks: How seriously do I have to take feelings of guilt from patients? Where is it advisable to follow the trail of guilt? One can never know beforehand whether there is real guilt in it or whether the patient's guilt is out of place. Groping up close to the body together can reveal what real guilt can be. Renz gives two impressive examples of this. Guilt always has to do with your own truth, the very own being and is therefore always very personal and intimate; Intimacy between the self and a final instance.

Sometimes someone just doesn't want to listen. Also a lack of seriousness unwillingness to mature, a vocation that has not been lived can cause the essential in people to wither, which can then become the real culprit; also lack of awareness towards the suffering of the world, one's own belief in authority ... can become guilty.

Guilt and imprint

What is sin for theology is often ancient and tragic for psychotherapy. Renz points to the almost ineradicable influences and traumatizations of early disorders and victims of violence.

“There are people who cannot will, cannot feel, cannot act, cannot control themselves, etc. ... and that is not primarily sin, defiant hardening or isolation from God, but need and behind it an extreme incomprehensible fear.” (P .103)

The experience of forgiveness, which also exists - through processes - is the fruit of a spiritual event between man and his God.

Spirituality as an energetic event

The spiritual is happening. Spiritual experiences take place or not. The power behind it remains unavailable and mysteriously itself. Spirituality is a deeply energetic event. Spirituality is Proximity to a limitless energetic reality: Life and love power par excellence, power par excellence, energy of the eternal, all of which is based and endures in human bound and limited power.

Spiritual experiences are often difficult to reconcile with sober and harsh reality. The relation to reality becomes all the more important. Renz points out that spiritual energies without grounding and reference to reality / everyday life can become an incapacitating suction that degenerates into addiction and compulsion instead of making free. "Sucked into the irrational, an oppressed self then gets into a dynamic of the ominous."

Spirit is power - struggle with God instead of power struggle

Because spirituality comes into contact with power, power struggles are particularly pronounced here, especially with people in the Tension between despair and consent; for here is the place where opinions differ.

Here it is important to learn to differentiate between a healthy struggle with God and the actual power struggle. “Why does the stroke of fate hit me exactly when I am so committed to God? “Especially religious people can get confused about God, get caught in spiritual crises, experience God's silence, experience being betrayed and mocked by God and the world.

How can you escape from such crises without becoming destructive or even self-destructive?

How to accompany you in such moments?

For Renz the essential therapeutic task in giving space to anger and yet distinguishing between relationship and power struggle. Wrestling with God is a form of prayer. There is a possibility of wrestling with God, which does not have to lead to “Thy will be done” prematurely, a healthy reaction on the way of consenting to the inevitable. Sometimes the strength to wrestle, the anger at God must first be freed from the lethargy. It's about Motivation for the biblical Jacobean fight: "I will not let go of you unless you have blessed me." (Gen32: 23-33) The energy of anger often first has to be freed from the prison of moral taboos. To suppress makes you tired, to allow anger to set in motion an inner process.

Wrestling is wholesome in contrast to power strugglesthat expresses the opposite of relationship. The injured self barricades itself in proud defiance and hurls his no to the relationship at God: "God is not worthwhile."

Mind struggle

At the lowest point of suffering (after strokes of fate and unexperienced happiness) is that Temptation to the demon large. Even in the days of the Bible, spirit struggles and temptations caught up with people in the desert. Spirit battles are still taking place today.

The The patient's body sometimes offers the scene of such a struggle between yes and no, Classification in a larger law or denial. The arena of the spirit battle lies between no and yes. Renz refers to her experience with the little word yes.

We never understand what is going on here, who is the real opponent. The spiritual distress in which some people find themselves is perceived by very few. Psychology shies away from that Power of evil to speak, psychology classifies such phenomena as pathological. Renz is certain, however, that they will Phenomenon of the demon as energetic reality and ultimately life-negating force met everywhere.

“It is as if something were working out of an individually or collectively shaded position and catching up with us exactly where we are in need. People feel driven, as if disturbed. "(P.112)

In this spiritual struggle, according to Renz, there is such a thing as victory only through human surrender and in the midst of impotence. The Spirit struggle phenomenon is part of transitional and borderline sensitivities, but at the same time a lifelong topic and imposition. Just People with early disorders and those who are traumatized / victims of violence through strokes of fate carry so an autonomous no in itself, a momentum of defiance or pride, an internalized evil. People with such characteristics are as if surrounded by a constant struggle, old patterns run out again and again and become inquiries.

How free from something that you can neither grasp nor grasp?

Renz has a twofold approach:

“Precisely because it was created out of imprinting, I try to understand the injured inner child or the part in need of help in the patient. I have to be and remain well disposed towards this part. At the same time I have to give a clear rejection to acting out in evil (including the atmospherically destructive one around me) and to stubbornly refusing, and for my part I have to keep coming back to myself and my own inner clarity. "(113)

In situations of mind struggle, patients easily get into panic and horror scenarios. They scream and want to run away. here we can the rites and rituals of the Church help and calm down: anointing of the sick, absolution, blessing, anointing, communion, protective symbols, which even religiously skeptical people are touched by.

This is how people experience and are taught the decisive belief, that there is something stronger than evil.

Open questions

Nevertheless, many questions (in such mind-fighting situations) also remain open for Renz:

  • Where is solidarity the right thing, where is separation?
  • How can I empathize with the sufferer and at the same time distance myself from the destructive?
  • What is delusion? What more?
  • Where is a sign, a prayer needed? Where do clear words help objectivity?
  • How do I find my own safety?
  • How do I free myself from the spell of such experiences?

Conclusion from Monika Renz:

"My work in the border area is work on the front line of acute need and moves between trial, error and reflection." (118)

(Text by Gustav Schädlich-Buter)