A blogger I get on with, called Robin Claire, has suggested that I may be able to experience God like she did. All I have to do is stop for a moment to give God my undivided attention and it is quite possible that love will come pouring in. The problem is that I don’t know how to do that; I don’t know what God is so I really don’t know how to give him my undivided attention. But it shouldn’t be that difficult, I have a friend who has had this experience by accident.
My friend was brought up Muslim, but was a lazy Muslim (in much the same way that most Christians are lazy Christians); she didn’t pray enough, she was a feminist and believed in having rights over your clothing, she basically never went to a Mosque. While she was in Malaysia, however, she had an overwhelming feeling of love that stopped her in her tracks and brought her close to tears. She had some deep awareness that this love was Allah’s love. She didn’t stop to let God in; God let Himself in and flooded my friend with love and joy.
This made my friend decided to become a better Muslim. She studied, and now she’s an atheist. But the point was how easily and readily the feeling came to her.
Fans of Derren Brown may have seen his Fear and Faith, where Derren Brown set up an atheist to have a feeling just like this; he played the atheist’s emotions and the atheist had an overpowering experience. Brown uses a lot of showmanship and and misdirection, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how he did it. But he, a mortal, did do it. And the point he was making is that the experience is a psychological phenomenon which is completely independent from a god.
(This whole thing is interesting, but start around 12 minutes if you just want to see the important bit)
So I have given this ‘Meditating on God’ thing a go. I set aside some quiet time and I genuinely tried to give God my undivided attention. I put my doubt to one side; I assumed God was real and I sought him. I sought him with inquisitiveness and sincerity. I really tried. And I failed.
Perhaps there is more to the method, or perhaps (as Robin Claire has suggested) my life needs to be in a more desperate place, but I cannot replicate this experiment.