Jerry reviews his past spiritual experiences leading to a further understanding of the concept of being other and same while observing a drop of water. Learning more about how to experience God, Jerry is told not to strive for moments of union as peak experiences but rather as an essential expression of love.
In next week's Life Wisdom Project episode, Jerry discusses I Experience God with Mark Groleau, officiant and creator of the Unboring!Wedding formula. Mark and Jerry share a memorable discussion that you will not want to miss!
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LISTEN TO RELEVANT EPISODES- [The Life Wisdom Project] The Afterlife And Reincarnation | Spiritual Balance And Oneness
Life Wisdom Project explores lessons and insight from each chapter of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. From Jerry's conversations with God, the Life Wisdom Project will look at the takeaways from God and the book for everyday living. How can we live better, healthier, happier, and wiser lives?
God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, is written by Dr. Jerry L. Martin, an agnostic philosopher who heard the voice of God and recorded their conversations. The podcast began with the Dramatic Adaptation of the book and now has several series:
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Scott Langdon [00:00:17] This is God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him. Episode 133.
Scott Langdon [00:01:09] Hello and welcome to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm Scott Langdon. Next week we bring you a conversation you will not want to miss when Jerry sits down with Mark Groleau, the first person to ever interview Jerry about his book, God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. This will be the eighth edition in our ongoing series The Life Wisdom Project. And Jerry and Mark will be discussing episode eight of our podcast called I Experience God. So this week we bring you some context for that conversation by replaying the very brief episode eight, which is part of the audio adaptation of Jerry's book. Remember, you can always find the complete audio adaptation of the book any time for free by beginning with episode one of this podcast and listening through episode 44. Here now is episode eight I Experience God. I hope you enjoy the episode. Episode eight.
DRAMATIC ADAPTATION I Experience God
Jerry Martin - voiced by Scott Langdon
The Voice of God - voiced by Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice
Jerry Martin [00:02:20] "At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance." --T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets. I found myself responding to T.S. Eliot's deep meditation on the nature of time, particularly those lines. I developed an interest in philosophical questions regarding time and years later published a phenomenological analysis of the experienced *now* that provided a way of understanding Plato's insight that "time is the moving image of eternity." Many experiences people gloss over and relegate to their mental attics are actually divine shafts of light breaking through the clouds.
The Voice Of God [00:03:44] Think about epiphanic experiences. When did you feel close to me or most spiritually open?
Jerry Martin [00:03:53] I can only remember the two experiences. The first was the I-Thou with a drop of water.
The Voice Of God [00:04:01] Yes; that is very significant. What did you understand from that experience?
Jerry Martin [00:04:08] I understood the subjectivity of all things...but I'm not sure that is quite right. I did not imagine the drop of water looking out at me or having feelings or the like. I just encountered the "suchness" of it, its full independent integrity, my respect for it, that we were in some kind of relationship.
The Voice Of God [00:04:30] That was an encounter with me. I was in the drop of water. Why not? Where else would I be? I am in everything. You suddenly became open to my presence in that drop of water. You did not think of it that way, and you were right. It is not that I, as a great mystical being, somehow inhabited this tiny object, but you rightly experienced the drop for what it was, and that is precisely how I am *in* things. As you can tell, I am in each thing *fully.*
Jerry Martin [00:05:13] If you were in the drop of water, then are you in each of us also? Are we all a part of you?
The Voice Of God [00:05:21] You are both other and same as me. I need you to be other so that I may encounter another self. I am a person and, like other persons, define myself by responding to other persons, and being responded to by them. But I also need union, not distance--just as other persons do. You and Abigail are both other and same. You need to be different people--love is a bridge between differences. You also merge spirits at certain moments, though not totally. That is also a kind of completion or fulfillment. Life, including my life, is the dialectic, as you might call it, of same and other, confrontation and union.
Jerry Martin [00:06:18] Are those moments of union with God the goal, or are they just nice accompaniments?
The Voice Of God [00:06:25] Neither. You shouldn't strive for moments of union per se, for peak experiences. That is self-indulgence and a mistake of some who seek mystical experiences. It is like orgasms--you should not seek them for their own sake. That is an abuse, a kind of idolatry. They happen naturally as the outcome and expression of love. But the experience of union is not just the accidental accompaniment of loving God. It is the essential expression.
Jerry Martin [00:07:10] Then, late at night, I felt the boundary between me and the world becoming thinner and less distinct. Slowly, subject and object were blending, becoming intimately bound, not standing apart from one another. I was noting this intellectually, but it was not an intellectual experience. It was an ontological experience, an experience of my whole being. Finally, for a few moments, it approached total oneness, the complete loss of awareness of self. I pulled back. Lord, what is the meaning of this kind of experience?
The Voice Of God [00:07:51] There are many levels and kinds of experiences with me--including music. Do not make too much of it. It is good; just let it happen. It does not mean that you are about to become a mystic or anything unworldly. It is not unlike--it is on a continuum with--a wide range of spiritual experiences, in and out of religious practice and sensibility, that people have all the time. But it is definitely good. It will give you energy and peace and insight, so let it in.
Jerry Martin [00:08:29] I feel you want me to do more of the mystical stuff, "entering" you and so forth.
The Voice Of God [00:08:36] Yes, and you can lose the scare quotes. There is nothing strange about it. That is how the universe is. The parts can communicate with the whole. It is no more mystical or mysterious than your ability to move your arm.
Jerry Martin [00:09:02] Actually, since Descartes introduced a sharp mind-body distinction, how the mind moves the body has been a philosophical mystery. But, in actual life, it is not. The parts can communicate with the whole and vice versa. I had never thought of the universe that way.
Scott Langdon [00:09:40] Thank you for listening to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. Subscribe for free today wherever you listen to your podcasts and hear a new episode every week. You can hear the complete dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through its conclusion with Episode 44. You can read the original true story in the book from which this podcast is adapted, God: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher, available now at amazon.com, and always at godanautobiography.com. Pick up your own copy today. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at email@example.com, and experience the world from God's perspective as it was told to a philosopher. This is Scott Langdon. I'll see you next time.