Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Experience Of God

One question that has often come up in the many spiritual conversations I’ve been part of over the years is “What is the experience of God”? It’s a question that no one, even my friends in the monastery, can quite agree on. My basic answer is that I don’t either. However, I do have a few thoughts about it. More and more many people wonder if there even is a God. I don’t know that either with any certitude and I am always amazed at how offended some people get when I say that. I’m not saying there’s no God. I’m just saying that I don’t really know. Isn’t not knowing why people have faith? I think there are some experiences and feelings that we all have as human beings. Do you ever have a sense of longing but you are not sure what you are longing for? Do you ever feel empty or incomplete? Are you hungry for something beyond food but you are not sure what you hunger for? I believe these feelings, at their root, are spiritual. We are all desiring some kind of unity or oneness with someone or something. I do spend a fair amount of time meditating and practicing mindfulness. Sometimes when I am being silent and still, I do experience feelings of peace. There are also times when I experience what some people would call “warm, fuzzy feelings”. Occasionally I feel one with the universe. Are these feelings the experience of God? Again, I don’t know. They might just be pleasant feelings or my imagination. I guess all I can really say is that I have all the feelings I mentioned above. I don’t always know why I have them. Something or someone seems to be always calling me forward. Is the inner voice I hear God speaking to me or just me talking to myself? Again, I don’t know. I suppose someday I will find out or maybe I won’t. There was once an Abbot at the monastery who had a standard response every time one of the monks died. He would say, “Now our brother knows more theology than any of us”.

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