Spiritual experience vs Spiritual experience[Dec 5, 2008]
Hi all -
I got home early today so I figured I'd try my hand on writing about something that has come up a few times the last couple of weeks. Not that the ideas I came up with are any better, but they are mine. So I kind of like them. Not enough to raise them, buy them cars and put them through school, but since they are mine and our gubberment hasn't gotten into controlling thoughts (yet) I can do with them as I see fit.
Two words that strike terror in the hearts of many; newcomer and sober members alike. "Spiritual Experience", or if you like, "Spiritual experience". One of the interesting things about the AA Big Book is its style of writing. Not quite as confusing as the other "Big Book" for me and others (which is a good thing, otherwise I'd probably be still out there or under somewhere).
Most of us are used to contemporary literature, fiction and otherwise. When we do read antedated material, it is often for pleasure as opposed to a situation where if we don't get "it", "it" will get us. I figured that this was one of the latter situations, so understanding was a must (part of the anal-retentive engineer psyche). So when I encountered the phrase "spiritual experience" used in several ways (often interchangeably with spiritual awakening), a red flag went up and an investigation ensued.
Many of us have heard tell or experienced something we cannot describe other than as some "Higher Power" intervening in our thoughts and/or lives. I had one such - the release from any desire do drink. This happened as a result of a prayer when I hadn't had a drink in 36 hours. Flat out cold turkey. One prayer, after all those years. I have to call that a spiritual "experience" or "awakening", if no other reason than it wasn't a rerun of Sonny and Cher. That is usually the type that people expect. The bright light, angel or whatever appearing and zapping you. Mysterious and dramatic.
The more common spiritual experience or awakening is learning. We learn, albeit slowly. We keep working and nibbling away at those things that can prevent us from a more intimate relationship with God (shorter than spelling out HP). All the while having to cope with life on life's terms. And fretting why the drunk dreams and desires still happen.
Why a difference?
Here's where opinions come in (mine). Mayhaps there are some of us that were AA challenged (far more PC than saying effing dumbs**ts) and God figured that we either got a little special education or a ten percent discount mortuary coupon.
The interesting part of that is it didn't mean I had a direct line to God and no need to do anything else. The only thing that left me was the insane desire to drink. I was still a complete a**hole drunk by any definition. Further attempts back then were met with a lot what I thought was busy signal. No bright lights, angels or mystical happenings. Nothing, nada, zero, zip. Rats.
So I had to learn, a little every day. I learned that if I want that link, I needed to learn how to listen, every waking moment. Learn to (and this was and still is difficult at times) sort what my alcoholic mind was trying to twist out of what He was telling me. I needed to clean house, so He could move in. Trust Him to be there all the time, not just when I needed Him. And help others to find the door.
My direction now comes from the world around me. I see things that I paid no attention to before. Opportunities that were probably there in some form or manner, but I couldn't see before. My real spiritual awakening is a result of my spiritual experience. Experience gained, through slowly doing the footwork and recognizing His miracles for what they are - not coincidence or Happenstance.
You'll have to form you own opinion. For me, I guess this means that if my prayers for the 64" big screen Hi Def Surround Sound Digital Cable Ready TV doesn't get answered, I shouldn't give give up just yet. I may just have a little more footwork to do. :-)
Tis a good thing for this drunk to remember...