My Experience of God and How I Pray
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I was recently confronted with the following question(s): "What makes you feel close to God? Where do you feel closest to God? What are the creative ways that God might stir your imagination through this experience of closeness, into new expressions of prayer?"
Before I get to how I answered that question, it's important that I first explain briefly what I mean when I use the term "God."
For starters, here's what I don't mean when I speak of God: I don't mean a person, a being, or a personality of cosmic omnipotence or omniscience, such as the one from certain Biblical stories (and no, the Bible is not consistent when it speaks of the who and what of "God").
Here's what I do mean when I speak of God (and this is an extremely brief overview of how I behold God; it is an incomplete overview; I'll write a more in-depth "god-ology" at another time): God is the living essence of Love; the very Power of Life that pervades, impels, and sustains all Creation; the living totality of Oneness; being-ness itself; a living presence for certain, but not necessarily a consciousness as we might perceive it.
So that's what I mean (again, very generally) when I speak of God. And now here's how I answered the questions on closeness with God and prayer:
As to my experience of prayer . . .
It's an unceasing connection. Every moment. Every breath. Every heart beat. An ever-constant sharing, participation, communion.
It's not an activity I engage in during choice moments -- such as meal time, church time, study time, or bed time -- where I speak or think words as if sending a telegram.
I do take time each day to quiet myself and share Our communion free of the distractions that ordinarily attend any given day. Usually it's at night. I suppose you could say such moments of quietude are akin to quiet alone time with a lover just before getting under the covers for the night's sleep.
As to my experience of God and when I feel We are closest . . .
Typically when it's just Us. The best times -- the most intimate ones -- are when I'm hiking, moving, climbing, etc. Basically when I'm participating with the physical World -- where there is Life all around me -- in any sort of activity that gets my body moving and my heart beating. These are also moments where my mind is quieted. For me, such moments as these are Our best Oneness times. A spiritual kind of sex, in a way, to use a carnal analogy. Because God is all Love. And Our Oneness is a total Love thing.
But my experience with God, again, is in every moment. When I eat. When I talk with friends (or anyone). When I'm at the gym. When I watch TV. When I read. When I write (such as at this moment). When I listen to music. When I'm at a party. When I go shopping. But also when I am hurting. When I am sad. When I am angry. When I am pissed off. When I am frustrated. When I am in pain. When I have an argument with a friend (or anyone). When I'm stuck in traffic. When I can never get past a certain level of Angry Birds.
My Oneness with God is mutually constant and pretty intense. But it wasn't always this way. God kept insisting we get together. For years God kept chasing me, poking at me, and really just kept annoying the shit out of me. Just wouldn't leave me the hell alone. I kept resisting, kept ignoring. Didn't really work too well. Turns out for years I had been judging my understanding of God according to rumors I'd heard from others. And all God wanted was one opportunity for us to get together so I could make a direct, informed, unbiased, one-on-one judgment, rather than make assumptions based on third party opinions.
So I did.
We've been together ever since.