I had an extreme religious experience years ago and have never been able to place it in its religious, neurological or psychological context. Suggestions?Over the years, I have been in touch with...

I had an extreme religious experience years ago and have never been able to place it in its religious, neurological or psychological context. Suggestions?

Over the years, I have been in touch with clergymen, psychiatrists, and the odd contacts in new age and such, but have basically been met with silence, as if what I went through is "nothing", "doesn't exist", is best kept to myself and ultimately forgotten. I have tried to put it all behind me, but can't. The experience was extremely intense and bewildering. I would be thankful for any kind of response.

Asked on by nonotes

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clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

...have basically been met with silence, as if what I went through is "nothing", "doesn't exist", is best kept to myself and ultimately forgotten.

In my experience, which is primarily with Christian spiritual leaders, a potential spiritual experience of any kind is first examined with an attitude of prayer and open-mindedness, and second, looked at in accordance with scripture.  In the case of the Christian, this means the experience would be looked at and examined through the Bible, and ultimately, the example of Jesus Christ.

Without knowing any further details of your experience, my first inclination is to question the kind of experience you had.  Though there certainly can be a wide variety in the beliefs of "clergymen," "psychiatrists," and "contacts in new age," the fact that all three of these entities have met your questions with an air of silence suggests that perhaps the experience itself is not in alignment with the beliefs and faith of any religion.  The leads me to assume the experience may have been something violent, destructive, or unnatural.  Unfortunately, again, without more specific details, it is difficult to provide advice for your situation.

In light of your pursuit and rejection from various religious teachers, my next suggestion is to delve into your own personal research.  The "religious" arena is vast, which could make this process lengthy.  I suggest you start at your own family roots.  Were you raised into a particular faith?  Do you have any experience at all with individuals whose faith you respect, even if you are unfamiliar or disagree with it?  That might be your starting point.  Almost every religion has a holy text, or written prophetic word in its history.  Seek these resources with an open mind and see if you can make sense of your experience.

I think it is human nature for people to be afraid of things they do not understand or do not believe in.  Perhaps if you re-approached a spiritual leader with more specific questions, you could find someone who is willing to take this journey with you and help you find the answers you seek.

The link below breaks down several different world religions into their basic components.  Perhaps it will be a helpful reference for you.  Good luck.

Sources:
dtwenstrup's profile pic

dtwenstrup | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

There have been many people over the centuries that have experienced intense religious experiences, including Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. I would recommend finding a person trained in spiritual direction, who would be willing to listen to your experience and co-discern with you what this experience means to you. To find a spiritual director, you may want to ask an older person you know whom you greatly respect as a spiritual leader, or call a local monastery or retreat houses and inquire if they offer spiritual direction. You might also want to read about the experiences of other mystics. One book, Christian Mystics, by Ursula King offers a brief overview of many of the prominent Christian mystics since the time of Christ. Perhaps reading about the experiences of others will help you identify someone who had a similar experience, and learn from them.

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