Wonderful idea, thanks for the invitation.
I'll have to look up your threads to see what you've already posted about your beliefs, but I don't know much about you. I did just do a quick "show posts" on you and see you talking about communication from god. I'd like to discuss that.
I have had a number of experiences that one might consider spiritual or something. I sometimes participate with a small group of people in a sort of spontaneous deep imagery. I began it after a friend told me of a workshop he attended at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. In this process, we get relaxed, a "leader" sometimes leads us in a "grounding exercise" and then we let happen whatever happens. Often we'll start with an issue and invite an animal or guide to come to us to help us. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we journey somewhere, or what-have-you. People who haven't experienced this kind of thing might think its silly. But as a life-long atheist, it was the first time that I "got it" about what *might* be what religious folks describe as a spiritual experience. Now. We all interpret these experiences differently. Some feel that its a journey with god or angels, who appear in our journeys in a way that we can accept. Some that these are animal totems or guides, similar to those of a shaman or native American medicine man. Some that its a way to access our subconscious. In other words, some feel that its a psychological process, some that its spiritual, and some that its simply our imagination.
To me, what matters is that these experiences have helped me heal, helped me grow, and helped me learn more compassion for both myself and others. It doesn't matter to me what these experiences are. Whether they are god, angels, guides, spirits, subconscious, imagination, or indigestion ... what matters is the help I've gained from them.
The difference between myself and religious folks, it seems to me, is that religious folks interpret these experiences (or whatever their experiences are) as coming from god. I do see that you understand and accept the difference between belief and knowledge. I'm glad to hear you say that. And maybe that means there isn't a question here. But I guess I don't really understand why humans insist on labeling or compartmentalizing things like this. I know I do it. I tend to think these experiences are psychological in nature, having to do with my subconscious. My "animals" laugh at me when I say so. They say it doesn't matter at all what they are. And yet I honor them as if they are separate, *and* as if they are me. I suspect that if I'd grown up in a shamanistic family or society, that I would be convinced they are guides and that I have shamanistic tendencies. I don't know what I'd think if I were christian. All I know about that is that it has given me a little more sympathy or acceptance, I suppose, of those who claim to have had spiritual experiences. Where they totally lose me is when they try to preach it as an absolute that everyone must believe.
I'm not even sure anymore what I'm asking, but if you have any comments or questions or suggestions as to why people feel the need to proselytize about such things instead of simply enjoying and learning from the experience, I'm all ears.