Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

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Hagoth
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Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Hagoth » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:00 am

Have you had something like this happen to you?

In another thread I was talking about Mike McHargue's clenched/open fist analogy. I attend classes at the University of Utah (Weird Old Guy On Campus). After listening to the aforementioned podcast I was walking from the bus stop to the Student Union building to grab a cup of coffee and study. Along the way I was thinking about how God influences everyone, even if you don't believe in Him. Other people change your world be cause they do believe. God is something we all have to deal with.

Then it occurred to me that it doesn't really matter who or what, or if, God is. He (I'll stick to that convention) could be a guy on a throne, or a formless omnipresent cosmic force, or an evolutionary cognitive process that resides fully within our brains. We have no say in the matter regardless of what we want, expect, or have been indoctrinated to believe about God. It is what it is. We might as well unclench our fists and sphincters and be open to any possibility. All of a sudden I started feeling "the spirit" (i.e. elevation emotion). I bought my coffee and found a place to sit where the sun was at my back and I was looking out the window at the mountains. The spiritual feeling kept getting stronger and when the caffeine hit my brain it turned the knob up to 11, probably stronger than I ever felt it in my entire Mormonhood. I couldn't find and apparent reason for this, beyond my thought about letting go of everything and just being open to whatever. This went on for another hour and a half. I just sat there and soaked it up. There was no sense of being in communication with a celestial mind or anything like that, just an overwhelming feeling of pure joy and connection with the universe and my own brain. Really weird and unexpected. If I had ever had this powerful of an experience while praying about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith I would be Captain Ultramormon today.

I finally had to get up an go to my World Religions class, where our guest speaker was a Presbyterian minister. After what I had just experienced everything he said sounded like a cheap sales pitch.

Have you had anything like this happen to you since your faith crisis? Maybe Brother Fluffy will tell us a bout a similar experience he had at a heavy metal concert.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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slavereeno
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by slavereeno » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:26 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:00 am
Have you had anything like this happen to you since your faith crisis? Maybe Brother Fluffy will tell us a bout a similar experience he had at a heavy metal concert.
Similar-ish. I was reading through Fowler's book and dealing with my crashed shelf and DWs angst about it. It finally hit me that I was no different than anyone else that ever lived. This actually filled me with a deep sense of peace and belonging. Instead of being a part of a "peculiar people" I was part of a much bigger group of humanity, and it made me feel so much more understanding and acceptance. It felt like a part of me had been let out of a cage.

dogbite
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by dogbite » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:34 am

humanity is wired fir the experience called god/elevation. Evolution can reward some things to build social cooperation because it helps the individual pass on those entheogenic responsive genes.

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Sheamus Moore
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Sheamus Moore » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:18 am

I'm shocked, Hagoth, that you would talk about an experience so sacred...

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wtfluff
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by wtfluff » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:28 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:00 am
Have you had anything like this happen to you since your faith crisis? Maybe Brother Fluffy will tell us a bout a similar experience he had at a heavy metal concert.
HA! :mrgreen: That's the first thing that came to mind when I started reading your post, Tapir-riding Chief.

Let's be clear: Music is definitely one of my pathways to feeling elevation emotion (ghosts?) It's not just heavy metal, but something seemed to flip in my brain the first time I stole my brother's Van Halen and Rush cassettes, and when I purchased my first AC/DC cassette. Maybe it's the evil influence of the Tritone. Maybe it's something else, but many, many kinds of music definitely hit me in the feels, and even more so when it's live music.

Anyway, the experience that you refer to Hagoth was definitely one of the most profound I had felt in a long time, and it was close to the time when I was waking up to reality about mormonsim and religion in general, so I wasn't supposed to be able to feel "the spirit" right?

Would the rest of you NOMmies like to read about how "I know" that Iron Maiden is True™? :P
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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jfro18
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by jfro18 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:19 pm

Music does that more for me than anything else- it could be a song that reminds me of a moment in time or just a song that for whatever reason happens to hit me unexpectedly. I went to a Pearl Jam concert in the middle of a lot of this stuff with DW/learning about church problems and had that feeling where I just felt really at peace and just good. It wasn't a specific song that triggered the feeling... just seeing a band play that I've been listening to since I was 12 and realizing that I'll be OK no matter what comes.

The only other place that does that for me is being near the ocean/lake - something about just staring out into seemingly endless water makes me love nature. If I ever win the lotto, I am going to live near water and just stare out at it all day as I work... would be quite the life.

Glad you experienced that Hagoth - it's nice to be able to find that feeling and just take some time to acknowledge and appreciate it!
Last edited by jfro18 on Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

misterfake371
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by misterfake371 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:24 pm

No, I haven't had anything like that happen since my faith crisis. I think I've felt the Spirit since my faith crisis, but not as powerfully as you did. But I'm glad it happened to you, and I'm open to the possibility that it could happen to me. Thanks for sharing.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

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Hagoth
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Hagoth » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:46 pm

misterfake371 wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:24 pm
No, I haven't had anything like that happen since my faith crisis. I think I've felt the Spirit since my faith crisis, but not as powerfully as you did. But I'm glad it happened to you, and I'm open to the possibility that it could happen to me. Thanks for sharing.
Hey, welcome to NOM, misterfake!

The fascinating thing about this experience for me is that I had labored for decades trying to manufacture such feelings to confirmed what I believed, or what I wanted to be true. But this one just showed up, for no good reason at an almost random time while I was thinking about the kinds of things that I'm always thinking about. Some people testify of having this happen when they're praying about the Book of Mormon, which gives them a testimony that they feel like they could never deny. I can only conclude that different thoughts pull the trigger in different minds. And there seems to be a random generator involved too.

This just underscores my assumptions that our brains have the innate capacity to give us amazing experiences and there really isn't any way to be certain whether it is entirely internal or whether some component of it might come from outside of our skulls. As a couple of people have pointed out, music can really push that button. HeartSell seems to work for some people. Profound spiritual experiences also come from psychedelic substances. They are very simple molecules that don't implant any kind of information, they just reduce the blood flow in the part of your brain where The Boss lives and let some of the other players take a turn in the spotlight.

I like to leave it open that there is something bigger connecting all the corners of nature, but I don't think there's any way to prove anything like that, which makes individual experience all the more personally validating. Everyone's spiritual/emotional journey is their own, every one should be different, and it's kinda sad to think that most of us spend most of our lives trying to pack that into somebody else's mold.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Reuben
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Reuben » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:18 pm

Easter Sunday, 2018. Attended an Anglican service. During communion, the whole congregation softly sang Hallelujah to the same four chords repeatedly. I can hardly describe the feeling.

A few months later, I had a difficult couple of weeks at work and took a sick day to recover. It was the kind of thing that would have sent me spiralling again a few months prior, but I had learned some tricks. Lying in bed, I talked to myself in third person, saying the kind things I wished someone would say to me. I felt like I was floating, the boundaries of my self melted away, and it was like Easter Sunday again, but entirely secular.

We spend a lot of effort separating and protecting the parts of the universe we regard as the self from the rest of the universe. We do the same with our social universe. Both boundaries are just useful fictions. I think our most joyful experiences come when we can let those fictions go and forget that demanding old self for a while.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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Hagoth
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Hagoth » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:24 pm

Reuben wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:18 pm
I think our most joyful experiences come when we can let those fictions go and forget that demanding old self for a while.
I think you're right, Reuben. I have been having some elevated experiences with meditation too, when I am able to turn off the narrator for a while.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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græy
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by græy » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:36 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:00 am
Have you had something like this happen to you?
I feel like I have had experiences like this, that weren't necessarily tied to mormonism. But it has been a looooong time, and I miss them.

Lately I've had the urge to take up meditation. This makes me feel like I really should give that a shot.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Red Ryder
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Red Ryder » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:56 am

græy wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:36 am
Lately I've had the urge to take up meditation. This makes me feel like I really should give that a shot.
You might like a book by Dan Harris, the Good Morning America anchor who had a massive panic attack on air. It's a great story of his experience learning to meditate and subsequently becoming a religion reporter.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story

https://www.amazon.com/10-Happier-Self- ... B00FJ376CS
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Just This Guy
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:55 am

I had this happen to me.

Back in the weeks after the birth of our 2nd child, DW and I were both suffering from the effect of sleep deprivation. During this, the song "That's What Love is For" by Amy Grant came up on my playlist one day while driving. I had a major spiritual experience listening to that song. Stronger than most ones I ever felt in church. It had the burning in the bosom thing, whole nine yards. Over the next few weeks, that song came up a few more times and each time, it would trigger the same reaction. I quickly learned how to trigger a spiritual experience at will at times that had nothing to do with the church. All I needed was the right frame of mind and an appropriate stimuli to trigger them. As an inactive, mostly believing member, this was a big item on my shelf. Once I figured this out, I came to the conclusion that the holy ghost was bunk. If there was no way to tell the difference between a church experience and a intentionally triggered one, how was I supposed to know that the church ones were not me subconsciously triggering them?

It took me a couple more years for someone on the old MON board to explain emotional elevation to me for me to fully understand what was going on.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Newme
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Newme » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm

That’s cool, Hagoth. I’ve had similar experiences - and as you implied they’ve also been serendipitous. One moment stands out - I had been stressed, which may have helped me appreciate more. One early morning I was on my way traveling when I was overcome with the beauty of the sun shining on the water and the nearby majestic mountains. For some reason, the beauty was so moving, tears came to my eyes.

Have you read much of Carl Jung?

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Hagoth
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Hagoth » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:43 am

Newme wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm
That’s cool, Hagoth. I’ve had similar experiences - and as you implied they’ve also been serendipitous. One moment stands out - I had been stressed, which may have helped me appreciate more. One early morning I was on my way traveling when I was overcome with the beauty of the sun shining on the water and the nearby majestic mountains. For some reason, the beauty was so moving, tears came to my eyes.
I can see how someone who is very devout could immediately turn such an experience into God telling them that whatever they believe is true. If you feel that experience coming on and it makes you think of the Sacred Grove, bam! Joseph Smith was a true prophet and God just confirmed it to me.
Newme wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm
Have you read much of Carl Jung?
Only a little bit. Long, long ago. Can you give us a brief summary of some of the relevant points?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by RubinHighlander » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:14 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:00 am
Have you had something like this happen to you?

Have you had anything like this happen to you since your faith crisis? Maybe Brother Fluffy will tell us a bout a similar experience he had at a heavy metal concert.
I was hoping you were going to say how strong you felt the spirit when you had that Shwarma for the first time at Chicken Fried Curry! jk :D

That's an awesome share Hagoth. You mentioned concerts and last night I went on a spiritual trip at the Chris Robinson Brotherhood concerts in SLC. When Chris and Rich are not playing in The Black Crowes they hit the road with their own band. It's a bit more laid back than the Black Crowes music; they have this pure free flowing vibe of rhythm blues funk rock awesomeness! It's one of the best concerts I've ever been two because the crowd was so into the entire night. I thought I had never seen so many happy relaxed people at a gig before, like the Ziggy Marley concert a couple of years ago, but last night topped that one. It really did feel like a spiritual experience to me, with a little help from some jazz cabbage and C2H6O.

I've shared my postmo pinnacle spiritual experience here on NOM before, it was one of the things that helped me finalize my faith crisis to the path of happiness and fulfillment regarding the purpose of my existence. Like Hagoth, mine came very unexpectedly and exceeded anything I'd felt as a TBM. I was out at one of the lakes up in the Uinta Mountains of Utah at 1am, had the whole place to myself. I was shooting a time lapse of the Milk Way. While the camera was clicking away I just sat back in awe of the night sky and I started to have a conversation with it all. Basically I just expressed out loud that I was grateful for my existence, especially at that moment. I said that I had zero expectation that anyone or thing out there was listening. I also said that it would be my hope that if there was any reason at all that life evolved up to that moment, to let a conscious being like me simply look up at the sky with complete amazement and wonder, asking the question as to what it's really all about; with the caveat that it's okay not to know. Maybe that somehow fulfilled some measure of my existence, to just ask the question and appreciate the moment. But if not, it in no way diminished the experience. I felt emotional and at ease with my existence, in complete harmony with nature and all of the universe. I wasn't even drunk or high, but it felt so euphoric.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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Newme
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Newme » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 am

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:43 am
Newme wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm
That’s cool, Hagoth. I’ve had similar experiences - and as you implied they’ve also been serendipitous. One moment stands out - I had been stressed, which may have helped me appreciate more. One early morning I was on my way traveling when I was overcome with the beauty of the sun shining on the water and the nearby majestic mountains. For some reason, the beauty was so moving, tears came to my eyes.
I can see how someone who is very devout could immediately turn such an experience into God telling them that whatever they believe is true. If you feel that experience coming on and it makes you think of the Sacred Grove, bam! Joseph Smith was a true prophet and God just confirmed it to me.
Newme wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:49 pm
Have you read much of Carl Jung?
Only a little bit. Long, long ago. Can you give us a brief summary of some of the relevant points?
Yeah, religion - especially lds - is largely based on emotional reasoning. But I see such thinking in politics and other circumstances too. From another comment made, it seems you’re figuring out how to tap in to your emotions while not having them control you. I’m working on that.

A while back, didn’t we discuss some archeological sites in SAmerica? So if you’re interested in that and spirituality, I think you’d find Jung fascinating. Jung theorized that we had psychological anthropology - in a “collective unconscious” which includes various archetypes - like anima and animus. “Anima is the archetype of a feminine inner personality in a man. Likewise, animus is a masculine equivalent expressed by a woman.”

Carl Jung:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious... Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Besides digging right in to his work, here is an analysis of Jung: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DC0faZiBcG0

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Hagoth
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Hagoth » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:11 pm

Newme wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 am
Carl Jung:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious... Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
I love that. Thanks.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Reuben
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Reuben » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:58 pm

Newme wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 am
Carl Jung:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious... Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Huh. Most people I'm related to call it God or Satan, depending on whether it's directing them in Mormon ways.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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Newme
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Re: Unexpected and Unsolicited Spiritual Experience

Post by Newme » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:14 pm

Reuben wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:58 pm
Newme wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 am
Carl Jung:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious... Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Huh. Most people I'm related to call it God or Satan, depending on whether it's directing them in Mormon ways.
Yeah I know what you mean.
Someone from the old NOM helped me realize that in a way, religion is damning (holding people back) because it pretends to be the external source of God - which is really actually internal. It’s really no secret - it’s right in Luke 17 “the kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation...It’s within you.” But there isn’t money or power for religions in that, so it’s twisted.

I still struggle with letting go of the idea that God and Satan are outside of me. Of course, I don’t express the ultimate good and evil - but some of both.

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