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JosephM

Your first God experience

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It would be interesting to share your story here how and when you had your first God experience.that you recognized as such. You may also include events that you previously did not recognize as such at the time.  No debate, disagreement, questioning validity or criticism allowed, just sharing of your story. Any takers? It seems to me it would be interesting reading.

Joseph

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I've never had an experience of God. I was born into my Catholic Christian faith and, simply, it spoke to me. Early on it was never a question, it was just what was (there was a God), it was second nature and we went from there. From that, I had a sense of God and felt God was and was always with me (and everyone). 

Even though I have moved (at times radically) in my understanding of things, the 'obviousness' and 'necessity' of God is ever present. 

Seemingly, for some, the experience of God, is of a theistic God: I discount this image and this God, so I'm not sure what it is they experience. 

For others, with an experience presented more subtlety, I'm still not sure what to think of their reports. Even when I read the mystics, all we have are descriptions - not the experience. The descriptions are reflections on what they (think?) they experience. However, for me God is always subtle: the Being within which all is and becomes, ever present or the very possibility of the presence of all things, yet so much 'a part' of all, that IT is easily missed. Simply, I (respectfully) question if one can have a direct experience of God or whether one 'looks into and through' their experience of beings and has an "Aha" moment/insight and says, "God." 

So, as always for me, it is 'faith' - the human response to what is (believed to be) the self-presentation, the self-giving of God in creation.

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Thanks for sharing Thomas. I can really relate to your words "I had a sense of God and felt God was and was always with me (and everyone). "

Perhaps that "sense of God" can be considered an experience of God whether it was momentary or ongoing? Thanks again for sharing.

Joseph

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My first experience was as a small child and such that i could not put words to it other than to say that when words came to be a part of my life I could only describe the experience as pure water flowing in perfect harmony and peace and in stillness with a sense of home. This gradually faded away into an ebtide of ripples that was then experienced as life in the flesh which i recall was neither home nor desireable after such an experience.

After a normal Catholic childhood devoid of further experience and disillusioned by answers from the church along with my brother i left the Catholic church at age 14 never to return except for weddings and funerals.  I was given a book written by Norman Vincent Peale called "The Power of Positive Thinking" at about the age of 17 which changed my life drastically. My life was filled with goals all of which were satisfied and filled by the age of 33 as if i had a silver spoon in my mouth. Yet i found myself empty inside and depressed in spite of such success in obtaining all the material goals i had set for myself.

This started a desperate inward hunger and search for meaning in my life that was beyond the material world which i had found lacked true peace and contentment. Looking to the Bible and a non-denominational full Gospel church, I became highly focused on the quest as if my life depended on it. I was determined to find that which I had one experienced as a child but had for so long evaded me. I did not find it in the church system but rather driving over a bridge over the Ohio river having gone as far as i could on my own power with no success when a realization came to me that the cloud blocking my realization of God was at that time unforgiveness in my heart of a particular person. That instant , i made the decision that it was not worth holding on to such a thing and i willfully let it go and immediately experienced that Home and a knowing that God was always present , not separate from myself. The only thing preventing that realization at that time was that unforgiveness i was holding on to.

From that moment forward my life was filled with that presence and miracles and experiences that defy any logical explanations in my mind.  When I should have died for my errors I lived, when I  deserved failure for my mistakes i prospered. Why?, i cannot say except that happens to be my part in the miracle of the dance we call life. My word view of the experience of God in my life comes closest to the word Pantheism or Panentheism yet both words still fail to convey that which they point to.

Words help to communicate to others but even before there were any words there was knowing. As a child before words  or word thoughts i knew . Words were not necessary. Today i want to share this yet even without words or language or a thought i want to share this. In my view, that unction to share existed before the thought and without words .  May everyone find Home and rest from their journey and their portion ( whatever that is ) of the dance we call life.

 

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My first experience with God was marveling at the beauty and intricacy of nature.

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16 hours ago, Burl said:

My first experience with God was marveling at the beauty and intricacy of nature.

I can certainly now understand that.  Does Music or Art affect you similarly to the beauty and intricacy of nature?

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28 minutes ago, JosephM said:

I can certainly now understand that.  Does Music or Art affect you similarly to the beauty and intricacy of nature?

Sometimes, but weaker and definitely not my first expeience.

 I think the proof from beauty is better used as evidence of non-material reality.

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Like others on this thread, I struggle to find the right words. Who or what is God? My views on this have certainly changed over the decades of my life. I can share my experience, but it is deeply subjective and highly anecdotal.

I think my first experience of what I call God was when I was about 8 years old and built my first tree house. We had a wonderful old pine tree growing on our property and I somehow managed to find enough scrap lumber and nails to build a crude tree house between the boughs of the tree. The first night it was complete, I laid on my back, covered with a quilt, and gazed up at the star-filled canopy far above me. The feelings that this experience elicited in me were very paradoxical. On one hand, I felt tiny and insignificant looking up and out into the Universe before me. It can make you feel so small and of no consequence. On the other hand, even at my young age, I felt that it was a miracle that I was here to be able to behold the wonder, immensity, and beauty of Nature. I felt so, in religious language, blessed. In this sense, before I became religious, my experience of God was very pantheistic. I felt that Nature was so much larger than I, but I also felt one with or part of Nature.

Oddly (or perhaps not so much so), though I no longer have my tree house, I still experience God this way -- in nature, in art, in music, in holding my wife's hand, in hearing my children say, "I love you, Dad". Not very deep theologically. But, for me, a wonderful way to live. 

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I can safely say I have never had an experience of god … or anything I could call god (or God).

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My view of 'God' is very earthly and I believe I have felt 'connection' with others and nature a number of times, which I would define as God, but of a nature that has no supernatural connotations.

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On 3/4/2019 at 12:17 PM, BillM said:

Like others on this thread, I struggle to find the right words. Who or what is God? My views on this have certainly changed over the decades of my life. I can share my experience, but it is deeply subjective and highly anecdotal.

I think my first experience of what I call God was when I was about 8 years old and built my first tree house. We had a wonderful old pine tree growing on our property and I somehow managed to find enough scrap lumber and nails to build a crude tree house between the boughs of the tree. The first night it was complete, I laid on my back, covered with a quilt, and gazed up at the star-filled canopy far above me. The feelings that this experience elicited in me were very paradoxical. On one hand, I felt tiny and insignificant looking up and out into the Universe before me. It can make you feel so small and of no consequence. On the other hand, even at my young age, I felt that it was a miracle that I was here to be able to behold the wonder, immensity, and beauty of Nature. I felt so, in religious language, blessed. In this sense, before I became religious, my experience of God was very pantheistic. I felt that Nature was so much larger than I, but I also felt one with or part of Nature.

Oddly (or perhaps not so much so), though I no longer have my tree house, I still experience God this way -- in nature, in art, in music, in holding my wife's hand, in hearing my children say, "I love you, Dad". Not very deep theologically. But, for me, a wonderful way to live. 

It seems to me these experiences happen more often than one would think as many times they are subtle and not at the forefront of our consciousness. To me, "being here to be able to behold" (your words), or just being here is personally a subtle self-evident experience of God's presence, awe inspiring, and beyond any conceptual definition even in the sometimes mundane experiences of life .

Joseph

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12 minutes ago, JosephM said:

It seems to me these experiences happen more often than one would think as many times they are subtle and not at the forefront of our consciousness. To me, "being here to be able to behold" (your words), or just being here is personally a subtle self-evident experience of God's presence, awe inspiring, and beyond any conceptual definition even in the sometimes mundane experiences of life .

Joseph

Not to disagree but I think it is more useful to think of this not as us experiencing God, but rather as God experiencing things through us.

One of the most basic questions is why would the God of Angel Armies create a weak creation like mankind.  Considering God's love of variety, considering earthly life as a way of a new way for God to experience is a beneficial meditation.

 

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5 hours ago, Burl said:

why would the God of Angel Armies create a weak creation like mankind.

Indeed why would God create such a weak creation to experience "things".

Beggars belief.

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27 minutes ago, romansh said:

Indeed why would God create such a weak creation to experience "things".

Beggars belief.

Keep begging.  You'll get it.

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28 minutes ago, Burl said:

Keep begging.  You'll get it.

But why would God create such a weak creature?

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2 hours ago, romansh said:

But why would God create such a weak creature?

The soul, Rom.  The mind and body are weak, but not the soul.

 

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10 minutes ago, Burl said:

The soul, Rom.  The mind and body are weak, but not the soul.

Ah the weak mind and body corrupt the soul. Are you're making this up Burl as you go along?

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46 minutes ago, romansh said:

Ah the weak mind and body corrupt the soul. Are you're making this up Burl as you go along?

God bless you, Rom.

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15 hours ago, Burl said:

God bless you, Rom.

While I understand this a "wishing well" Burl and thanks … I do believe it is a complete nonsense. This universe is chaotic in nature and no amount of blessing on God's behalf is going to change that.

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2 minutes ago, romansh said:

While I understand this a "wishing well" Burl and thanks … I do believe it is a complete nonsense. This universe is chaotic in nature and no amount of blessing on God's behalf is going to change that.

God bless you anyway, Rom.  I pray life delivers everything you desire.

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11 minutes ago, Burl said:

 I pray life delivers everything you desire.

I would not wish this on my best friend, but thanks anyway.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, romansh said:

I would not wish this on my best friend, but thanks anyway. 

Thinking about it Burl:

I would not even wish such a curse on you either. God save us from such blessings.

Edited by romansh

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On ‎3‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:06 AM, JosephM said:

It seems to me these experiences happen more often than one would think as many times they are subtle and not at the forefront of our consciousness. To me, "being here to be able to behold" (your words), or just being here is personally a subtle self-evident experience of God's presence, awe inspiring, and beyond any conceptual definition even in the sometimes mundane experiences of life .

Joseph

It is both interesting and odd how, at least for some of us, these mundane experiences of life do take on a sacredness to them. As you know, Joseph, God is not a person (or persons) for me. For me, God is more of an experience of Nature or Reality. So I find it refreshing how my experiences of God have, in some ways, not moved that much from my childhood experiences. But I certainly know more of the world now than I did then, so I have a lot more places to explore. Namaste.

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I was listening to this on the way home the other day. The relevant bit of the radio article starts at about 4:30 min and finishes at 21 min.

It discusses awe.

I could not help but think of this thread.

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