Since we launched our Daily Meditations on Mother’s Day we have been treating three categories of Creation Spirituality to assist us in saving Mother Earth as we know her, aware that we have less than 12 years to accomplish that precious and pressing task. 

Those categories include: 1) the Divine Feminine 2) the return of the Healthy and Sacred Masculine and 3) Art as Meditation, the Way of the Prophets.

Now we turn to another category that will hold other dimensions to renewing our spirits and our spiritualities.  We are talking about Experiencing the Divine.  This includes underscoring the nature of mysticism and the ordinariness of our mystical experience. For if the prophet is “the mystic in action” (Hocking), it is clearly essential that we know something about how we are all mystics.   

It will also include diving more deeply into the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality and how they help us to as name our spiritual journeys from mystics (lovers) to prophets (resisters).

About Experiencing the Divine

A number of years ago I was being interviewed on Dutch television by a young (about 40 years old), bright, dynamic and professional man who had done his homework.  Immediately after the interview ended and the bright stage lights had been turned off, he leaned over and said to me: “I am dying to ask you a question that I did not want to ask on air–Do you Americans actually believe that people can still experience God?”

Obviously this question hit me hard—otherwise I would not have remembered it all these years.  I suspect behind it is the near collapse of religious practice in Europe where in Germany about 5-6% of the population practice their Lutheran faith; in England about 6% of Anglicans; in France about 6% of Catholics, etc. etc.  And in America the numbers are in free fall as well though they started at a more elevated place.  Having just returned from lecturing in Ireland, there the numbers have fallen from 95% Roman Catholics practicing fifteen years ago to 14% today.

“Untitled” by Samuel Scrimshaw, Unsplash

Carl Jung said that “the main purpose of organized religion is to prevent persons from having an experience of God.” Whether he is exactly correct or not it would seem he predicted a certain trend that is happening today. 

One reason the experience of God appears distant and foreign to many Westerners is that mysticism has become rare in churches and seminaries for centuries.  As Theodore Roszak put it, “the enlightenment held mysticism up for ridicule as the worst offence against science and reason.”

It is true that mysticism is other than rationality and intellect.  But humans, as Einstein observed, are recipients of two “gifts”—intellect (rationality) and intuition (or “deep feeling” as Einstein calls it).  Some people identify the former with our left brains and the latter with the right brain. 

“Feeding the Homeless, 2017” by John Ramspott, Flickr

The Psalmist sings: “Taste and see that God is good.”  Tasting is experiencing; no one can taste for you.  No vicarious tasting therefore.  But the message is that we can taste God.  To taste is to experience.

Years ago psychologist R. D. Laing proposed that “God is our experience of God.”  Of course in that context if we have not experienced God then that God does not exist (at least for us).  Think about this: Is your partner the experience of your partner?  Your friend your experience of your friend?   It would appear to be quite accurate to propose that God is our Experience of God.

In the Daily Meditations that follow we will explore in more depth and breadth this basic question: DO we experience God?  Can we?  How do we?  What does that mean?

Banner Image: “Autumn Sun Rays” by Holly Lay, Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

Do you believe that we can still experience God?  Give some examples from your experience. 

Do you agree with R. D. Laing that “God is our experience of God.”  Give examples to yourself.

Recommended Reading

The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.


Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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19 thoughts on “About Experiencing the Divine”

  1. Avatar
    Laura Vendryes

    I attended Catholic Mass for my life regularly. Over the past year I have chosen not to attend.
    I wanted no words, just Eucharist. This was not possible. I decided I wanted to live God, experience God. I was seeking and I continue to seek.

    Three things have become apparent for me.
    First, nature has stopped me and opened my eyes. Taking photos sometimes helps me to see differently. At other times I choose to be totally present without camera. Both play a role for me at different moments.

    Secondly, I am 63, a registered nurse and now am teaching 16 – 18 year-old high school students for the first time. This challenges me more than any other job. Like caring for patients, I have had to learn to love each young person and seek their divine spark. This public school does not speak of God, but certainly I do speak to the blessing that each person is. This is teaching me to live God in myself as I intend and become compassion.

    Lastly, I am learning to sit with my loneliness, fear, guilt, and negativity rather than ignore it or push it away. I am able to do this with gratitude.
    This is how I experience God in my life. I am grateful to have found these posts.
    Thank you Matthew Fox. I look forward to hearing others thoughts and experiences.

    1. Avatar

      Lastly, I am learning to sit with my loneliness, fear, guilt, and negativity rather than ignore it or push it away. I am able to do this with gratitude.

      Thank you for sharing this. This gives me courage to do it.

    2. Gail Ransom

      May your walks in the natural world, and your work with y our students continue to bring you closer to the divine.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM team

  2. Avatar

    It seems to me that the seeker and the sought are virtually the same. I’m not saying that we (seekers) and the sought (God) are the same. But I AM saying this as well. This sounds contradictory and, of course, it is. I know, however, no other way of expressing this.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Steve, I think I do get what you are saying. One cannot be a seeker unless there is something alluring to be sought, and there is no reason for one to be desireable unless there is another one wants to attract. So, it’s all intertwined, each creates the other. This reminds me of the Muslim phrase, “Ishq Allah, Mabud
      Allah, il Allah”. Or “it is God who is love, lover, and beloved.”
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM team

  3. Avatar


    I relate to your post. I haven’t left the Church, but I too find God and experience God’s Loving Presence more in my prayer time and in ministries to the poor, nature, my wonderful husband, my pet companions.

    Thank you for sharing you experience.

  4. Avatar
    Anne Marie Raftery

    I experience God as I walk among the noble, quiet, alive trees at the Shrine.
    The families of ducks in the pond inspire me in ways that don’t need

    1. Gail Ransom

      Beautiful, Anne Maria,
      Thank you for continuing to share your mystical moments with us. You immediacy is an inspiration.
      Gail Sofia ransom
      For the DM Team

  5. Avatar

    I experience God when I’m singing with my family and the dancers feel the song and love the song and we all become part of something bigger than ourselves for that blessed moment. I experience God when I’m listening to a song and it fills me with a joy and pleasure beyond myself and I loose myself in the perfect layers of sound and emotion. Southern mystic, JJ Grey refers to it as “the joy that knows no opposite” in his songs.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Kira,
      Thank you for sharing this. I especially responded to your phrase “I lose myself in the perfect layers of sound and emotion.” I, too lose myself in singing – especially improvisatory singing when my voice is singing all sorts of melodies and harmonies that come from someplace other than my own mind. Dipping, soaring, and swirling, I am voicing the music of the spheres, the divine harmonies – right in my own mouth! Since all matter is made of vibrations, then music must have the power to tune us into the many levels of the creating universe.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

  6. Avatar

    Raimon Panikkar wrote a book called “The Experience of God.” Therein, he identifies four distinct parts of the experience: 1. Personal experience (ineffable, unique always, unrepeatable) 2. Conveyed by our memory 3. Modeled by our imagination 4. Conditioned by repetition in current cultural context
    From another writer, Paula D’Arcy, this description of the experience: “God comes to us disguised as our life.”

    1. Avatar

      Hi Mark Benson,
      Thank you for these quotes and the book titles. I shall be looking for them
      I agree with much that has already been said —— I only realize I experienced God “after” I have the experience of God.

    2. Gail Ransom

      Dear All,
      What a rich conversation this is! Your four paths from Kanikkar’s “The Experieence of God” remind me of something Jerome Berryman, creator of the Montessori based Godly Play curriculum, taught that while we are in it, there is no separation between us and God, so there is way to observe it and no way to describe it. Once the mystical experience passes, we have a bit of distance to look back and notice what just happened, and perhaps to find words to express it.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DML Team

  7. Avatar

    God is the infinite indescribable boundless love force (life force) that animates the universe including us. We are allowed into that Presence when we are flooded and fully infused with this highly sensuous, totally realized essence of the God field. I call this essence Kundalini. It is more than joy, beyond happiness, greater than pleasure. It is ultimate ecstasy. As one student said, “Oh, this is like sex only different.” To understand it, you must experience it. All other states are preliminaries, glimpses, brief flashes of that immensity. We are all heading in this direction as our world goes through this great transformation in human evolution. It is changing us irretrievably. We now hear in a different tone, speak in a new way, exist as a new being. Our nervous system is restrung into a new being, our cells vibrate in an unfamiliar way. We are remade into a new creation. This is “god moving through your body,” as one visionary put it.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Dorothy,
      Thank you for your description of Kundalini and human transformation. You have brought an ancient practice and contemporary spiritual thought field together. While I find your predictions hopeful, I wonder how they fit with the impending climate crises and its threat to our species.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

  8. Avatar
    Robert Goldthwaite

    I’d like to give a different perspective on the Experience of God. In the 12 Step program, the 3rd and 11th steps talk about the “God of our understanding”. When I first got sober (39 years ago this September), I railed at the talk of “Higher Power”. I was raised Catholic and I was certain that “God” was the God I had been raised with, and that “Higher Power” was just “God-lite”. But, over time I found that I was changing deeply- doing it myself didn’t work, turning it over for God to do it for me didn’t work, and only by letting go of the duality of separateness and creating a we/us relationship created the change.
    In the last few years, I had the insight that the concept of a separate entity named “God” was an illusion, created mostly by institutions to control access. I now talk of a “God of my experience” at meetings, but that’s somewhat resisted because of a general skepticism in AA about direct relations with God. Many of us have had bad experiences with some born-again Christians in and outside AA who would rather preach that listen.
    I discovered Creation Spirituality and Matthew Fox about 15 years ago and I’m extremely grateful for incorporating Creation Spirituality, along with 12 Step spirituality, on my journey!

    1. Avatar

      „In the last few years, I had the insight that the concept of a separate entity named “God” was an illusion, created mostly by institutions to control access.“ I’ve felt this as well. As a new catholic I was so surprised to learn that despite 21 years of marriage, I had been wrong to participate in Eucharist because my marriage had not been blessed. And here in Germany with 2 kids under 6 years of age, I was asked not to bring the children back to one church because they prevented others (who also were sitting way in the back of a dark corner of the church, evidently) from hearing the homily. My kids were so quiet – just a few times speaking in whispers. Maybe I have been given these experiences so I could find Rev Fox. But I really miss participating in the Eucharist.

    2. Gail Ransom

      What an honest journey you have been on. Thank you for sharing it. Truly, Creation Spirituality offers a way of integrating so many aspects of a spiritual life without being simplistic.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

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