Meditating on God

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.

7 thoughts on “Meditating on God”

  1. There is no point in trying to replicate it. Let me explain. Each of the persons who claim that god came into their lives will tell you some story or other. Many of them are from being in a position that you don’t need to put yourself in anyway. Many of them are from being in a room full of hysterical people so they end up getting the group therapy effect. Others are feeling guilt from not being as they were taught to in childhood. No matter the story all of them will tell you to first accept that their version of god exists, and despite the sysiphean task that this is, you still have to do more work. You have to ‘let’ god into your heart – and this is such a profoundly detailed instruction that all the failure will be because you didn’t do it right.

    The important part here is that _you_ have to do all the work for an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient god. If it doesn’t work it is something you did wrong. It is never their god’s fault for not showing himself to you.

    Get it? It’s like their god isn’t there are all, you’re convincing yourself that he is. You have to do all the work. There is no point in doing this experiment. It is nothing more than a trick conceived to seem to work because of confirmation bias. Even the Christian NT knows this. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus looks exactly like he convinced himself but that is the prime example of how it is done. So all the instructions are there for you to convince yourself. Their god doesn’t have to do anything. It’s a sod’s game… you’re a sod if you play.

    1. WordPress is starting to annoy me; it spammed your comment. It should have a ‘reliable commenter’ setting by now.
      Anyway, your point is something I tried to pre-empt by mentioning my ex-Muslim friend. She didn’t put any effort in, it just hit her one day. If God could just hit her with it one day then when I sit down and actually set aside part of a day for that very purpose then I should get it. And, as the Derren Brown thing shows, it can hit you after seemingly innocent things (and definitely material things) prompt it.
      Although, you do make the point at a much deeper level: why am I doing the leg work for an omnipotent God that wants to have this relationship with me?

    1. That’s not an err, that is the truth of the matter. She had a very deep emotional feeling in Malaysia and it inspired her to be a better Muslim. The first thing she did was study the Koran. After she decided she doesn’t really believe in the Koran she started studying God concepts. After she realised she didn’t believe them (or didn’t understand them well enough to believe) she slowly shifted to atheism.

      As to why we must understand God through emotional behaviour, I don’t imagine we do need to. This post is me following advise from a fellow blogger. I normally try to understand from a scientific point, and that fails too.

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