Musings on God: Experience or Understanding

“God is the glue that hooks everything together…” Tom Rapsas

I love the 12 Steps – the actual steps not just the movement. I believe them to be one of the greatest tools for spiritual growth and development ever given to humanity (and yes, I believe them to be given for ALL people not just alcoholics, addicts and their family members.)

Whether or not one considers oneself an alcoholic or addict working the 12 Steps – no matter how perfect or shitty they are worked – will have some modicum of positive effects upon the one practicing them.  If you don’t agree with me, then go out and spend 30 days practicing them and if you have not changed in the least, I will shut the fuck up about how great the 12 Steps are.  But if I’m on point here, well, your life will never be the same again (so it’s a win-win).

BUT…and this is a medium-sized but (we’re not talking a J-Lo but here), if I could I would change one thing about the 12 Steps. I know, I know, I have committed the unpardonable sin for 12 Steppers, but since this is my blog, I can write whatever I want, and you can choose not to read it.

The one thing I would change would be one word; I would change the word “understand” to the word “experience”. It is one thing I suggest to people I work with and walk with along the path of Sobriety to try – to change the phrase “God as we understand God” to “God as we experience God.”

Why? Quite simply because I will never understand God.  In truth, it has been my experience of God, in the rooms, in other people, in service, and in prayer that has transformed my experience and reality of sobriety and all of life.

The word “experience” is defined as having to do with ‘practical contact’ or to encounter or undergo something (or Someone, in this case).  And it is precisely this practical contact and encounter with God that transform a garden variety drunk and drug addict like me into a person in long-term recovery who has become a ragamuffin mystic seeking to see and taste this ‘experiential’ God in all of life.

It is this very experience of God which transcends my so-called understanding of God.  For in truth, God makes no fucking sense to me. None.  And if God did make sense to me, as in rational understanding, then you best hope I am locked up in an institution somewhere because that hubristic delusion would make me a dangerous menace to society.

But, when I say that I have experienced God, then it becomes something that is limited to my own personal experience.  It is not arrogant, for it only my personal experience – small, little old me.  Which is a far cry different from saying I UNDERSTAND God; for if I think I understand God then I am drowning in all my magnanimous and arrogant megalomania – a royal fucking narcissistic douche is what I become.

But I digress…

All I am trying to say, all I want to say, is that it has been far more powerful, healing and transformative for me to EXPERIENCE God than it has been to try and understand God in my recovery journey.

So maybe we can all stop trying to understand God, and just try and have an experience of God.  Because when I understand God I might then begin to try and force others to understand God the exact same way I do (can you say religion boys and girls).  But let’s say we all go and have an experience of God then all of sudden there’s a chance for there to be 7.6 billion (world population) experiences of God rather than a dozen or so world religions controlling the human spiritual experience.

Not a sermon, just some musings…

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