Colin wrote:Ok, so I jumped to a conclusion without knowing enouh. So tell me, what about these experiences were beyond explanation by purely natural means? Being bored with exams, seems perfeclty natural. As does deciding to engage in a favourite past time to blow off exam steam. Feeling happy and content also seems natural, particularly given the boredom assocaited with study. If it was sunny, you might have gotten a hit of Vitamin D, which make you feel happy. Adding it all up, going from exam stress, to sunshine, vitamin D and carefree sketchin seems very nice to me. However, it all seems perfectly normal to me, but you feel it was more. Why?.
- Ultimately, I can only speak for my own experiences - not for the experiences of others / how my experiences compare to others. Before this experience I would say that life was more-a-less average (in terms of happiness). Most days would be average (with bits of happiness / unhapiness). Sometimes days could be very happy / very unhappy, and so on).
But this day brought me a level of happiness beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. It wasn't just happiness of mind and body, but, above all of what I believe to be soul (in other words, somethig, ultimately metaphysical not material). Extraordinary happness (and peace). The only way to evoke: borrowing from Shakespeare:
'the clouds, methought, did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak'd I cried to dream again'
- I have no doubt that Shakespeare had a similar kind of experience. In the same play (as the above quote is from) he writes about the transcendence of the soul (and in this case, passing from mortal life into divine bliss):
'Full fadom five thy Father lies,
Of his bones are Corrall made:
Those are pearles that were his eies,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a Sea-change
Into something rich, & strange:
Sea-Nimphs hourly ring his knell.'
We get similar language from Yeats, in arguably his greatest poem, Sailing to Byzantium:
'Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.'
William Blake was infamous for his poetry about metaphysical / mystical experiences.
And this brings me to people such as Francis of Assisi (of which we have a lot of historical evidence). His metaphysical experiences were sufficient for him to leave his comfortable, often care-free charming, bourgeois background to take to the streets as a begger, live with and help, the poor (including lepers) and so on - for over 20 years or so until he died.
As I have said before (earlier on in thread), I think ALL people are EQUALLY open to God. I believe I am neither superior (nor inferior) for such an experience. I, also, think that not all people are, necessarily, open (in such an intense way) to such an experience as this (this is more the type of experience that people of a certain contemplative nature experience, I believe). I think that if you are more of a practical nature, then God affects you in a different way - but the knowledge that God is behind is just as knowable, and the experience/s is just as powerful and valuable. Don't want to be too black and white, but to say, what you have heard before, no doubt, from other beleivers, that we are all given different (and similar) gifts - but we are all given gifts - and these gifts multiply as we get to know God better.
But if your attitude is to say No, No, No to such a possibility, well do you make such experiences more or less likely to happen? Remember Christ says: 'knock, and the door will be opened to you'. No, No, No is more like locking, than opening, the door. The nature of God is that He doesn't impose Himself on us (that would, in some way, take away from our free will to believe in God). He doesn't impose, however, He does give us clues to His existence. And we have to work at piecing these clues together (ultimately - but not exclusively) by ourselves, bearing in mind St Paul's: "you have to work out
your own salvation"
I'd just love to know why you believe and I don't.
Going to get back to Michael (and you) on this.