Religious experience.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Kframe, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Well, Aaradia's mention that she practices paganism has prompted me to post here.

    A couple of years ago, about 5 or there abouts. I don't remember the exact date, but it was fall, but I remember the events. Vivid as heck.

    One night I was having some odd sleeping problems. Would close my eyes and it felt like I was on a edge about to fall. Felt like something inside me was rocking back and forth. Needless to say, I got no sleep that night.

    So, seeing as no sleep was coming, I went to the computer and typed in my symptoms and clicked on the first website that popped up. I didn't even bother to look at the address at first, just noticed it was some kind of forum.

    I don't know if I am allowed to mention other forums so I wont put the name.

    So I clicked and found a discussion on this very problem, with the name of the issue. Hypnic Jerk.

    As I sat there I discovered it was a pagan forum, with a bunch of various faiths there, and subforums and such. I remember being fascinated with this. Being a good Christian guy, I remember always being taught that pagans and there religions was the fast track to hell and eternal fire and pain. So it was with a strange mix of dread and fear and curiosity that I perused the boards. Learned there is a lot about them I didn't know. That they were not evil and many were just normal people trying to find the spiritual path that fit them.

    Over the weeks, I spent MANY hours there reading. After a while, I found threads about Christians that left for various Paganisms, and there reasons. Many of there reasons fit with my own questions and general feeling of unease I felt. And to a degree still feel.

    After a while, I had started really considering leaving Christianity for a pagan religion. Which one, I had not decided, but I was looking seriously and reading on each forum.

    During this time me and the family had stopped going to church. Well one day, I remember it was the day I was seriously considering making the leap, I decided to go to church. To see if I could feel anything, any connection at all. Anything to help me decide to stay.

    So before I left, I remember being very tired. Which was odd, as I had gotten a good amount of sleep. Before leaving I pounded out a Monster Ultra Silver and left for church. I remember suddenly getting very very tired. Like it was a fight just to keep my eyes open, while on the way to church. As we were in the car, I remember a voice in my head. It was in that kind of sexless whisper that is reminiscent of your own inner thought, but this felt different. I remember that voice whispering, "Don't run"

    Strangely, I say it was a sexless voice, but if I had to ascribe a gender to it, I would say female. It just felt feminine.

    As I got to church, the tired feeling got worse and worse. I don't remember most of the service, but the teaching, the message was prominent. I remember it being a sermon regarding walking the path of life and the path of death. What is very odd, is there was this passage from the bible about walking the path of life and path of death that he read out loud.

    From that point on I remember little of the service, but it seamed as if he kept repeating that passage. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. The feeling of tiredness was overwhelming, but I forced my eyes open. Inside I felt the need to choose my path, my religion. So I chose to stay with Christianity. I remember the tired feeling passing, and another whisper, but different from the first said, "I am here."

    So that is my story guys. Am I insane? What do you think of my experience. Would love to hear from Aaradia on this.

    Does anyone else have a intereting religious experience to share?
     
  2. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    My thought reading this was did you stay Christian because you believe in and like that path or because of societal conditioning and fear from said conditioning?

    I do believe dreams CAN have power in them and messages, but sometimes it is just mind gibberish. Hard to tell the difference sometimes.

    You don't HAVE to choose like that overnight. You can educate yourself on different paths and make a choice after exploring.

    I am not going to tell you what path to choose. I am going to say you really need to think about why you stay on one path and if it makes you feel in a good place spiritually and fulfilled. Your post sounds like you just scared yourself into staying on your current path. Not because it is what you believe or love. But only you can truly answer if that is true.
     
  3. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    You're right about a few things Aaradia. I was very scared. I mean the thought of going to eternal pain and suffering is frightening. But that is part of my issue with Christianity. Why would someone, who is called a Father, punish a child for eternity? That is not love, that is something else. I could never dream of a permanent punishment on my kids.

    I Just feel that, the church is not speaking about todays issues. Instead I get week after week of generic sermon series. I don't mean, decrying Gays and spouting conservative platitudes, I mean just addressing one way or another the various evils and societal blemishes that are affecting us. Porn, and domestic violence, strife between married couples, sexual issues, world wide issues and on and on. Stuff that matters, stuff that should be talked about, and discussed but aren't.

    It just feels so generic, so disconnected from the problems of daily life and the world around us. Not to mention at least twice a year we get the money sermon. They always start off saying, Christ does not need our money. But then go on to say that the best way to prove our faith is to give them money via Tithes. What are they doing with that money, is it helping people? Church feels like it is so worried about loosing its 501c3 status then it is preaching about the crude going on today that affects us.

    Christianity just feels so odd to me right now. Like one poster on the unnamed pagan forum emoted. Its like worshiping a eternally angry God. One who has a twisted version of forgiveness and is ok with eternally punishing his children.

    So yea, fear kept me in. Eternal damnation is frightening.

    Though, all that said, what about the strange tiredness and the odd whispers I felt more then heard?

    On the topic of dreams. I don't dream often. But when I do, they usually are some kind of telling dream. Showing me events that are likely to come. Though most of the time, it is years off when said event happens. Like my story in the other thread about my Welsh Pagan friend. I had a series of vivid dreams recounting his decent into depression and culminating in a goodbye letter and his suicide. I talked to him and turns out he was depressed and considering it. Spent many nights trying to talk him down off the ledge. Worked so far, though I fear if more financial problems hit, he could relapse.

    So i believe that sometimes dreams do have meaning. Its about deciding which ones are just gibberish and which ones to listen to. For me that is easy. The ones that feel to much like whimsy or fantasy or things i fantasize about, i ignore mostly.

    The ones like the one i had with my friend, or the one i just had recounting the events leading to a potential divorce, i listen to. What i have discovered is that these telling dreams are out of order, and not in sequence. Especially a some aspects of the dream are starting to play out in my life, despite happening at later points in the dream sequence.

    OH and BTW, Aaradia, you and I have clashed in the past. For that, I am sorry. I want to say, I am glad you are talking to me, and trying to help with advice. I appreciate it.
     
  4. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I think in general religious experiences tell us more about humanity and our own neurology than the world at large.
     
  5. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Interesting take Philosoraptor. Wonder what mine says about my humanity and neurology. Neurology, I am likely full of fear and doubt. Unhappiness and discontent with church and my marriage.
     
  6. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Highly Skilled Peeper Supporter

    I remember I was very religious when I was young. I would credit it all to fear and guilt due to terrible religious upbringing that was very misguided in the start. My parents, my mother specifically, got 'saved' when I was young. The brand of Christianity they followed was what I like to call "pamphlet Christianity." You know, those insane pamphlets that pretty much tell you everything is evil. I remember not being able to watch Care Bears because it promoted eastern religion, Power Rangers because they were demonic . . . had to throw all my toys away because they had demons in them, got sick because I was sinful, etc.. This all got less invasive and strict as time went on, but I probably tried staying religious up until I joined the Marine Corps at 20.

    Up until that time I can't recall ever having a religious experience. I remember one time I got dragged to one of those church events where people are praying over people and they get "knocked out" by the holy spirit. I wanted to try it so my mom had some people who were really knocking people out pray over me. I just stood there, watching people fall to the floor all around me and here I was, 11 or so, just standing there with somebody speaking "tongues" in prayer having no affect on me : P

    I am agnostic however, and I do believe in spirituality to a degree but probably in a different way than most. I define science as figuring out how god did things, which allows things like evolution with no issues at all. If I had to sum up my belief, "God of the gaps" is probably something I adhere to. Then we just have to figure out that gap of knowledge we don't have, and we learn a little more about God : P.

    I do think of exercise as going to church to repent for my sins. I imagine the feeling I get from a good workout is akin to how people feel when they walk out of church and feel 'forgiven.' It's the same with martial arts for me. A lot of the religious experiences people get are usually physiological reactions happening from something going on in the brain, which I guess can be tapped into through religion or just working out really hard?

    I get the hypnic jerk all the time when I try to fall asleep. When I was boxing a lot it happened all the time, and sometimes it felt that mentally I was processing throwing a jab or jab cross combo xD.
     
  7. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Ero, I have run into those kinds of Christians, and I think they are off. Way off. Remind me of the old fire and brimstone pastors of olden times. Best, surefire way to drive off young people from the faith is to tell them everything in there lives is evil.. Not a single thing about those kinds of Christians does any amount of good in trying to further the cause.
     
  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Kframe, you don't have to leave Christianity entirely to find a Church that doesn't do the things you object to. You just have to search the Churches carefully to find a good fit.

    You may have to look at other types of Christianity. I know the Unitarians are VERY openminded and not all fire and brimstone and damnation.

    May I ask what demonination you are? Baptist? Catholic? I was raised Roman Catholic.

    Your sort of questioning is the very sort of thing that led me and many other X-Christians to Paganism. Especially for me, as a lesbian, the messages of Christ and God not liking me for how I was made by them made NO sense.

    And the money thing, yeah, that was a big one for me too.

    There is no issue with mentioning the Pagan forum you checked out. I would really like to know which one it was. You aren't advertising it or using MAP to promote this other forum, so it is ok. Using MAP to advertise other websites, etc. is what is not allowed.

    If it wasn't Witchvox, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Witchvox.com.

    And if you want to read some basic good beginning books about Wicca, let me know and I can recommend some.

    I am not trying to convert you mind you. We pagans do not believe in one true or right path. We believe in finding the right true path for each person.

    Explore the other types of Christianity around you. Explore more paganism. You do not have to choose one immediately. And again, choose because it is your spiritual path and a fulfilling one that brings you in touch with the best version of you there is. One that helps you grow and be a better person. Don't let fear make that decision.

    Don't let societal conditioning give you weird dreams that you misinterpret as a message from God. Only you can decide which is which. But you have to do so from a place of clarity and be able to look hard and evaluate what is going on separate from the fear.
     
  9. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    ^^ Agreed. But, getting back to your issues generally, might I suggest trying out the ancient versions of Christianity? Apologies if I pegged your wrong but you sound like a Protestant. I got very disillusioned myself a few years back and wandered around looking at different things until serendipitously discovering Eastern Rite Catholics. I had never heard of them in my life. From there I developed a huge affection for the Eastern Orthodox way of doing things -- like in the book of Acts, all the places that Paul went. Take a look at his map and you'll see what I'm talking about. Galatians? Ephesians? Philippians? Collosians? Thessalonians?

    That plus a huge dose of Theravada Buddhism worked for me. Thich Nhat Hanh mixed Zen with Christianity for his path (read "Living Buddha, Living Christ") so I believe I'm in good company.

    Anyway, because it worked for me, I'm just throwing it out there for you to consider. Eastern Christianity rocks. :)
     
  10. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Thank you for your post Aaradia.

    I was raised in a number of churches, started Catholic, then Methodist. Currently and for the longest stint in my life, am at a Nazarene church. I was, at first drawn to that brand, as they seemed focused on Missions work around the world and in horrible places. Yet it always comes down to proving my faith by paying, and sermons that have nothing to do with todays world and it's issues.

    The forum I found and spent my time on was http://mysticwicks.com/ . I will check out your suggested forum.

    I am interested in at least learning about Wicca, as I am confused by it. DO NOT take this as a insult but I keep hearing how it is fake, and founded by a perverted man who just wanted to give females a reason to get nude. That he took parts of like 17 religions and called it Wicca.

    http://www.angelfire.com/wi2/thetruthaboutwicca/geraldgardner.html This isn't the exact page I read, but it is much the same. I just want to know what the real truth of it is.

    I think you may have a good idea Aaradia, in that I need to explore more of the Christianity around me. See if there is something to sparks. Though, you also mention exploring paganism. How do I over come that groundswell of fear that hits whenever I just think of it? Fear that I am sacrificing my very soul just for looking at it.

    I know that sounds nuts but that is were I am. I just don't feel the spark.. I don't know if I ever did. Its funny, my best friend in the world is a Druid.

    I know that my disdain for LGBT stemmed from my parents and church, but having met some and grown a bit. I just finding myself not giving a crap how two adults live there life. Good lord, we were fighting over a fricking WORD, marriage. Who gives a rip about a fricking word. They should have what ever rights they need, with regards to hospitals and taxes and other such domestic issues. That way the LGBT married community can be just as miserable in marriage as the straight community. (That last part is a joke)

    I know there is a path for me, I just don't know what It is. I do know that I am very unhappy. Spirtually and domestically. 9 years I have been fighting to fix our issues and no closer to being fixed. Divorce is a sin, and a one way ticket to poverty.

    When you say I don't have to choose immediately, what exactly do you mean by that? My last go around I spent weeks researching and reading. Should I spend more time? Just explore all options? I am open to bouncing around, a few weeks or months at a time to try different churches and such.


    You say I may have misinterpreted a dream as a message from God. Is it a dream if it happens while I am awake and out doing things? Like at church? Cause I was very much awake for that.

    Again I appreciate you help and advice. I will try to be as honest as I can.
     
  11. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Witchvox is a website with a lot of information from all types of Paganism. It is a GREAT resource. It isn't a forum though.
     
  12. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    AikiMac, I am a Nazarene. So I think that is protestant. I will look in to the Eastern Christian sects. You never know. What can you tell me about them? Those places you mention, are in Greece and surrounding right?

    I know nothing about Buddhism, other then it is huge elsewhere in the world. Will have to read up on Thich Nhat Hanh. I have never heard of him before.

    Thanks all for your input and advice.
     
  13. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Yes, explore. Read, go to places, search web sites and forums.

    If you are so scared of Paganism and cannot overcome that, then don't explore it.

    But it seems like fear runs your life in more ways than religious choices and that is a sad way to live. I hope you find a way out of it.

    Do you want to spend the rest of your life as unhappy as you say you are? If not, you have to break out of your comfort zone and find some answers. Everyone has their own path, I can't tell you yours. But you obviously need some sort of changes to live a fulfilled life.

    Have you considered seeking counseling? Maybe a professional can guide you onto a happier path. I would stay away from counseling at your Church though. As you won't be able to truly express your dissatisfaction there.

    What I have been taught about meditation/ magick/ spiritual work is that one has to come from a place of purity to interpret what is going on correctly and to act correctly. My Feri Tradition teacher and initiator called the work "endless purification." We did A LOT of meditation and spiritual exercises to be able to understand ourselves and face those negative influences and see it for what it was.

    I am not talking about the Christian idea of purity mind you. The whole sin thing. It is about getting rid of self delusion and facing what is going on in your life honestly and deeply understanding your motivations and influences.

    So, for example: before one would do a working of protection, one would meditate and do spiritual work to make sure what we TRULY want is protection, and not be coming from a place of anger and wanting revenge.

    Prayer and introspection, magick and meditation as tools to be able to truly look at that dream for example. You need to find out if it was your subconscious fears that caused that dream or a true experience.

    Again, I am pretty sure there are some Christian denominations that do not look down at practices like meditation. If Paganism scares you, look for Christian meditations.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  14. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Yes. It was created around 1900 in the USA from the merger of several groups following the tradition of John Wesley, who lived in the 1700's. Putting on a cynical hat for a five seconds, one might ask how that can be called the religion of Jesus and all his disciples in the first century. But I'm going to take off my cynical hat now.

    Yes, Saint Paul mostly preached in Turkey and Greece.
    I was a Protestant until I was about 35 years old (mostly Baptist). I've since then spent a great deal of time at Roman Catholic churches. My experience is that Eastern Catholics and OCA (Orthodox Church of America) are far, far more holistic then Protestants or Roman Catholics. The Eastern guys incorporate pretty much the whole of life into their religion, and they do it in the context of ancient liturgies and holidays. It feels like an ancient religion rather than something invented recently by Americans.

    When Christianity was failing for me Buddhism didn't. I have now a high respect for some forms only. TNH is the founder and leader of an international Zen order (he lives in France) yet he outright professes in that there best-selling book the core dogmas of Christianity. :eek: I was all, "Wait, what?" the first time I read it. After a great deal of study on my own (this is my other hobby) I grew to understand how he did it. You'll see my own solution in my signature.

    Sure. :)
     
  15. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Aaradia I am conflicted about the whole paganism thing. I have the fear I laid out, but it just seems to arbitrary. As a reasonable human, I should be able to read things and research and not be afraid of it. I guess my fear is I will be tempted down a path before giving my Christian faith its full due course. I was very tempted once before. It kinda feels like I am afraid that I will like what I will find.

    You are right, in that I do fear to much. I fear whole religions, whole political parties, which foods I eat, ect.. I just want to live, be happy and feel fulfilled.

    Meditation sounds interesting. Do you know any good places that I can go for quality resources on meditation? I have heard there are a number of benefits to it.

    I have considered counseling, for both myself and my wife. Cant get her to go, she thinks they are all quacks. Though it does sound like it is something I should consider for myself. Or at least some kind of life coach or guide. Or just take the red pill and man up to my own life and take command of it.

    I am unhappy, and apparently afraid of moving out of my comfort zone. As you put it. I will make progress on this, if I don't do anything else. If I want to find happiness, I need to do something different. The way it is working now is not good.
     
  16. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Your local library is always a good resource.Or search Amazon and read the reviews. Maybe try some guided audio tapes to begin with.

    Some basic beginning meditation would be a good start. Once you get that down, if you want to look for Christian based ones, aside from what I already said, I cannot help. I haven't been Christian in decades. But Amazon reviews is one place. And Libraries are free, so if one doesn't work, it doesn't cost anything.

    Maybe others on here have some suggestions?

    For the counseling, if your wife won't go, go yourself. Like everything else, you may have to do some searching to find the right counselor for you. Don't be discouraged if you have to try more than one to find the person who meshes with what you need.
     
  17. Kframe

    Kframe Valued Member

    Aaradia, thank you for your help ma'am. I appreciate it.

    I do as you suggest, and check out the library and Amazon. Beginner meditation is were I will start. Who know maybe youtube has some. Ill check there as well. LOL I haven't been to a library in years.
     
  18. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    This.

    Life is meaningless and your existence will have no effect on the way the universe will operate. When you die nothing will happen to your conscience.

    People find that incredibly uncomfortable to deal with. Understandably I guess. It sucks but it doesn't mean we can't find ways to make our own lives fulfilling.
     
  19. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    What sort of meditation are you interested in? There's a whole bunch of different ways to meditate.

    There's a ton of resources on YouTube and you'll find them more useful than a book as you'll probably understand the postures and position better when you see it been done.
     
  20. Urbansamurai

    Urbansamurai Banned Banned

    As Master Ken would say ... If it ain't ameri do te. .. Its nonsense
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2016

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