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Practising The Presence Of The Lord


Resilient
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I was a worship leader of a small church of about 50 people for 5 years. During this time period I went to 3 worship conferences in my state. Since I live in Hawaii these conferences drew the biggest names in worship and some international attendance. The workshops were phenomenal and really changed my life by teaching me the ecstatic experience of worship. It was like having an orgasm. I did this daily and sought whole-heartedly to bring this about in church every Sunday.

 

Of course, I didn't think of it as an orgasm then, but as a part of my musical expression of giving my cares unto the Lord, giving him my whole being, loving him with my whole heart, mind, soul, strength and my neighbor as myself, and then proclaiming who God was to God, and sometimes there was dancing involved etc. But in the part where I proclaimed God as God, I trancended self, and became engulfed in a state of ecstasy which was called, "being in the presence of the Lord." Are you familiar with this experience?

 

I learned it at my first my first music conference. I found it pure joy at the second and third music conferences to be able to drop right into the presence of the Lord with hundreds of people doing the same all being able to drop right into this ecstasy at the drop of a hat. It must have been some kind of self hypnosis or something. But to do it with hundreds of people like a big group orgasm was pure joy as I said.

 

It took a while to learn how to do it. I started out learning how to "worship" as part of the church body. Every service we were led through a series of hoops I described above starting with giving the Lord our cares and troubles, which consisted of getting our minds off of our troubles and onto the Lord. This was usually done by starting with a rousing praise song, but not always. The congregation was manipulated away from their world and the troubles of the day with various exhortations to trust in the Lord and be joyful. We were genuinely trying to create an overall experience of release. At first when I was learning how to worship, it was hard transitioning from my everyday life experiences that were tugging on me and pay attention to God. As I was being conditioned to do this I began to notice triggers which would help me let go of my troubles and begin to use them on myself to get into the music and really let go.

 

We went through all of the stages to telling God he was God. Singing the names of God, the attributes of God and especially music directed to God, "You are lovely, you are holy, gave supremely, that all men might see. You are loyal, tender-hearted, You are Saviour, You are God!" Like that. It may not have been so orchestrated for you. You may not have been so manipulated. But once I found the presence of the Lord. I wanted everyone to find it. I wanted everyone to worship God to the fullest extent possible. I wanted everyone to be in the presence of the Lord, this glory of God, this rapturous embrace, this ecstacy of ecstacies. I was shown by others over time in an innocent way. We weren't trying to be manipulative or anything, just giving of this experience to others.

 

But people can be manipulated this way. And it brings you to a place of pliability. People would gives prophecies from this place. They would give money. They were prepared for the "Word."

 

I always brought people to this place out of love for them and for God. What I am searching for now is a way to reach this ecstasy without God, without worship. Maybe by self hypnosis, or biofeedback or some other means. Scientists are saying we can raise our endorphins, our dopamine levels. I wanna learn how! Does anyone know how? Do you know any other "spiritual" ways of doing this? Or scientific ways to get there?

 

 

Rez

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the matters you speak of are well known here though i have not researched them so hopefully someone else can give a detailed and educated answer to your question.Churches the world over teach their people to get totally lost in the lord and worship whilst denouncing any other form of trance like or ecstatic expression be it other religions or at secular concerts.Though not orgasmic lol i certainly know what you speak of by expereince.However you can clearly feel equally good at at a concert which certainly proves to me its psycho-emotional-chemical process and nowt to do with a divine being.

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I gave up the idea that it was God doing creating the ecstacy. First, I didn't believe in hell. No matter how much I believed in God, I couldn't believe in hell. I believed it was a problem with the translation. The Bible was wrong. I knew the Bible hell was wrong because God was good. I became a Universalist. Then creation fell. It was just a story like all of the other creation myths from other cultures. The Bible naturally fell next because there wasn't that much left of it and I had been shoring up the inconsistencies and failings forever it seemed. But, I had my conversion experience and worship left. But somewhere I just gave up and God didn't matter anymore - my conversion experience became a delusion, one of many, and worship became a man-made experience, one I don't want to give up.

 

Please forgive my ramblings. It is late, I've had a bad night and I still can't quite believe I am deconverting. It is a story I have to keep on repeating to myself to believe it is real.

 

Rez

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Really excellent analysis of what goes on during contemporary Christian worship, Resilient. You manage to break it down frame by frame. 

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I do find it a little harder to get to ecstatic states (if that's even what I'm aiming for) without some sense of a personal Other to take control of things for me. The relationship aspect of it is pretty powerful (which makes sense, considering how social humans are). I'm much less trusting, more cautious, of giving in to that sort of thing when I know that doing so means that I am giving up control. If god's not there to keep an eye out for me, then I've just left myself incredibly vulnerable, and not only is that scary, but it can be unsafe and irreseponsible depending on the circumstances. So for me, the first step would be creating a safe place, somewhere where I know that while I'm in that other state of mind that no one will talk me into doing something I'd regret later. Sometimes being alone, particularly in nature, is safe enough. Other times, well, uh... let's just say that I'm pretty kinky and do have experiences of temporarily handing over all my wories to another human being and reaching altered states of consciousness from it (which makes the jesus-as-boyfriend worship songs take on a very different feeling than what the authors intended!).

 

Edit: I should also mention that I have a history of hypomania, so I try to encourage feelings of contentment and peace more often than the hyper-happiness of ecstacy. If I get stuck in the "high", it can start to feel really bad instead of happy after a day or two (I stay hypo enough to know that there's something wrong and not full into full blown delusions). I once had an emotionally charged social event trigger over 4 days worth of hypomania, which is sufficient for a bipolar diagnosis (all other hypomanic episodes were hormonally triggered, which is a different diagnosis). The difference between the hypomania and happiness is that the mania Just. Won't. Shut. Up!!! All day, all night, can't sleep, can't focus, can't get away from the constant chatter, from the waves of "I want" that are strong enough to feel like "I need" and my normal check and balances, like "nah, that's cool, but way out of my budget" won't work and I know I don't agree with what I'm doing but I can't stop it from happening. Then I crash kinda hard when I come off the high.

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Hello, Resilient, and welcome.

 

Altered mental states have been sought by mankind as far back as we can see. Simply, it's fun to get high and release those yummy brain chemicals. Even more simply, after a few times it usually becomes an addiction.

 

I don't know if there are any ways to alter consciousness without undesirable side effects of some sort, but obviously some practices are more dangerous than others. I'd list religion right up there with shooting heroin. Perhaps non-religious meditation would be somewhat effective and somewhat safe. There is also biofeedback and certain activities that provide the high; for some that is riding motorcycles on the open road, for others it's fly fishing in a mountain stream. Good luck finding your groove!

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Wow, R, that's a real slice of my life, too! I too was a hardcore worshiper--leading worship in a charismatic church of hundreds, recording, conferences, and wanting everyone to experience the presence of God. I also lead worship at small para-church ministries.

 

I was truly addicted to the God buzz.

 

I realize now that neuroscience truly has many of the answers that religion pretends it has. The "buzz" is not only experienced in Christianity but in a wide range of paths. I still love performing; I am still a passionate musician. I also love the way a drum circle makes me feel. I think the most important thing for me is to seperate the "buzz" from the conjecture that it's "God"--it's neuroscience, plain and simple.

 

Find your buzz buttons! :-)

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I was a worship leader of a small church of about 50 people for 5 years. During this time period I went to 3 worship conferences in my state. Since I live in Hawaii these conferences drew the biggest names in worship and some international attendance. The workshops were phenomenal and really changed my life by teaching me the ecstatic experience of worship. It was like having an orgasm. I did this daily and sought whole-heartedly to bring this about in church every Sunday.

 

Of course, I didn't think of it as an orgasm then, but as a part of my musical expression of giving my cares unto the Lord, giving him my whole being, loving him with my whole heart, mind, soul, strength and my neighbor as myself, and then proclaiming who God was to God, and sometimes there was dancing involved etc. But in the part where I proclaimed God as God, I trancended self, and became engulfed in a state of ecstasy which was called, "being in the presence of the Lord." Are you familiar with this experience?

 

I learned it at my first my first music conference. I found it pure joy at the second and third music conferences to be able to drop right into the presence of the Lord with hundreds of people doing the same all being able to drop right into this ecstasy at the drop of a hat. It must have been some kind of self hypnosis or something. But to do it with hundreds of people like a big group orgasm was pure joy as I said.

 

It took a while to learn how to do it. I started out learning how to "worship" as part of the church body. Every service we were led through a series of hoops I described above starting with giving the Lord our cares and troubles, which consisted of getting our minds off of our troubles and onto the Lord. This was usually done by starting with a rousing praise song, but not always. The congregation was manipulated away from their world and the troubles of the day with various exhortations to trust in the Lord and be joyful. We were genuinely trying to create an overall experience of release. At first when I was learning how to worship, it was hard transitioning from my everyday life experiences that were tugging on me and pay attention to God. As I was being conditioned to do this I began to notice triggers which would help me let go of my troubles and begin to use them on myself to get into the music and really let go.

 

We went through all of the stages to telling God he was God. Singing the names of God, the attributes of God and especially music directed to God, "You are lovely, you are holy, gave supremely, that all men might see. You are loyal, tender-hearted, You are Saviour, You are God!" Like that. It may not have been so orchestrated for you. You may not have been so manipulated. But once I found the presence of the Lord. I wanted everyone to find it. I wanted everyone to worship God to the fullest extent possible. I wanted everyone to be in the presence of the Lord, this glory of God, this rapturous embrace, this ecstacy of ecstacies. I was shown by others over time in an innocent way. We weren't trying to be manipulative or anything, just giving of this experience to others.

 

But people can be manipulated this way. And it brings you to a place of pliability. People would gives prophecies from this place. They would give money. They were prepared for the "Word."

 

I always brought people to this place out of love for them and for God. What I am searching for now is a way to reach this ecstasy without God, without worship. Maybe by self hypnosis, or biofeedback or some other means. Scientists are saying we can raise our endorphins, our dopamine levels. I wanna learn how! Does anyone know how? Do you know any other "spiritual" ways of doing this? Or scientific ways to get there?

 

 

Rez

 

Spent a decade in the Pentecostal church feeling the 'movement of the holy spirit.' Now, I just masturbate. :-) Seriously though, try jogging, walking, meditation, full body relaxation where your mind is awake and your body is asleep. Also look up 'sub-space' as it pertains to BDSM.

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... I'm much less trusting, more cautious, of giving in to that sort of thing when I know that doing so means that I am giving up control. If god's not there to keep an eye out for me, then I've just left myself incredibly vulnerable, and not only is that scary, but it can be unsafe and irreseponsible depending on the circumstances. ...

VacuumFlux, can you please explain to me 1) why you must give up control 2) what state you are achieving that leaves you scary vulnerable and 3) how it can be unsafe and irresponsible.

 

Obviously, we are not achieving the same state and I am curious about your experience. In my "worship" experience, I am always in control and never scary vulnerable, more like emboldened to face the future or task ahead of me, or enlightened as in receiving information about myself or my situation as I feel an incredible clarity, or I feel tender hearted and emotional and self aware

 

 

...So for me, the first step would be creating a safe place, somewhere where I know that while I'm in that other state of mind that no one will talk me into doing something I'd regret later. Sometimes being alone, particularly in nature, is safe enough.

 

I am alone in my house much of the day and plan to use my living room to be my space to do this in. I feel the need to be consistent and keep the variables and distractions down. I thought I would use meditation as either a way to accomplish this or as a jumping off point. I am going to be learning it for my health anyway and it seemed like a good direction to head in because I feel like my worship experiences were like what I assume a guided meditation is like in conditioning my thoughts to bring about a desired goal. I am unfamiliar with meditation so forgive me if I am off track.

 

Also, again, the state you are getting yourself into is curious to me and from what you've said reminds me of taking LSD and needing a trusted buddy where you kind of try to look after each other. Please explain this to me...

 

 

Edit: I should also mention that I have a history of hypomania, so I try to encourage feelings of contentment and peace more often than the hyper-happiness of ecstacy. If I get stuck in the "high", it can start to feel really bad instead of happy after a day or two (I stay hypo enough to know that there's something wrong and not full into full blown delusions). I once had an emotionally charged social event trigger over 4 days worth of hypomania, which is sufficient for a bipolar diagnosis (all other hypomanic episodes were hormonally triggered, which is a different diagnosis). The difference between the hypomania and happiness is that the mania Just. Won't. Shut. Up!!! All day, all night, can't sleep, can't focus, can't get away from the constant chatter, from the waves of "I want" that are strong enough to feel like "I need" and my normal check and balances, like "nah, that's cool, but way out of my budget" won't work and I know I don't agree with what I'm doing but I can't stop it from happening. Then I crash kinda hard when I come off the high.

 

From my own experiences of hypomania and mania, your 4 day experience seems to me to be like a full blown mania - just something to keep in mind. I am Bipolar 1, but I am very aware of most the many experiences of this disorder including ultra rapid cycling and mixed cycling. Mixed cycling was the most dangerous for me as it is being both manic and depressed at the same time, but I digress. I started out with depression and experienced hypomania for years before it became mania.

 

You mention "getting stuck in the high." I have not experienced this as a result of the "worship" experience, as like I said it has been very controlled. Although I have been stuck in the high from drinking a Dr. Pepper. I have to avoid stimulants because of this which is very unfortunate because I have ADHD.

 

 

 

Hello, Resilient, and welcome.

 

Altered mental states have been sought by mankind as far back as we can see. Simply, it's fun to get high and release those yummy brain chemicals. Even more simply, after a few times it usually becomes an addiction.

 

I don't know if there are any ways to alter consciousness without undesirable side effects of some sort, but obviously some practices are more dangerous than others. I'd list religion right up there with shooting heroin. Perhaps non-religious meditation would be somewhat effective and somewhat safe. There is also biofeedback and certain activities that provide the high; for some that is riding motorcycles on the open road, for others it's fly fishing in a mountain stream. Good luck finding your groove!

 

Thank you for the welcome. I love exploring altered states of consciousness and if heroin had no bad side effects it would be up there on my list. The altered state of consciousness I experienced through worship had very positive effects as stated above in my response to VacuumFlux and since I did it off and on for around 25 years with no sense of emotional or physical addiction in a very controlled way, I am assuming it is a very safe method. Thanks for the well wishes!

 

 

Wow, R, that's a real slice of my life, too! I too was a hardcore worshiper--leading worship in a charismatic church of hundreds, recording, conferences, and wanting everyone to experience the presence of God. I also lead worship at small para-church ministries.

 

I was truly addicted to the God buzz.

 

I realize now that neuroscience truly has many of the answers that religion pretends it has. The "buzz" is not only experienced in Christianity but in a wide range of paths. I still love performing; I am still a passionate musician. I also love the way a drum circle makes me feel. I think the most important thing for me is to seperate the "buzz" from the conjecture that it's "God"--it's neuroscience, plain and simple.

 

Find your buzz buttons! :-)

I agree that it is neuroscience and I am approaching this whole thing as an experiment and since I was able to affect that worship experience with great immediacy I am assuming only a choice and the assumption that it would happen (faith) got me there. I am trying to reproduce the experience of the "buzz" and being able to drop into it at will from a non-religious mentality.
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... I'm much less trusting, more cautious, of giving in to that sort of thing when I know that doing so means that I am giving up control. If god's not there to keep an eye out for me, then I've just left myself incredibly vulnerable, and not only is that scary, but it can be unsafe and irreseponsible depending on the circumstances. ...

VacuumFlux, can you please explain to me 1) why you must give up control 2) what state you are achieving that leaves you scary vulnerable and 3) how it can be unsafe and irresponsible.

 

Obviously, we are not achieving the same state and I am curious about your experience. In my "worship" experience, I am always in control and never scary vulnerable, more like emboldened to face the future or task ahead of me, or enlightened as in receiving information about myself or my situation as I feel an incredible clarity, or I feel tender hearted and emotional and self aware

 

 

...So for me, the first step would be creating a safe place, somewhere where I know that while I'm in that other state of mind that no one will talk me into doing something I'd regret later. Sometimes being alone, particularly in nature, is safe enough.

I am alone in my house much of the day and plan to use my living room to be my space to do this in. I feel the need to be consistent and keep the variables and distractions down. I thought I would use meditation as either a way to accomplish this or as a jumping off point. I am going to be learning it for my health anyway and it seemed like a good direction to head in because I feel like my worship experiences were like what I assume a guided meditation is like in conditioning my thoughts to bring about a desired goal. I am unfamiliar with meditation so forgive me if I am off track.

 

Also, again, the state you are getting yourself into is curious to me and from what you've said reminds me of taking LSD and needing a trusted buddy where you kind of try to look after each other. Please explain this to me...

 

I'm very empathetic, sometimes to the point of codependent. When I get a social high, I feel like I love everyone, that I feel great and recharged by them, that I never want the experience to end. The problem is I can get into this state while the people around me aren't, and I feel so wonderful and powerful and connected that I'd do anything for them. So I'll do things like decide it's a great idea to schedule a social event right after some other thing I've got going on, because it'll all be GREAT! And then later, once I've calmed down and am alone, I realize that that day is probably going to suck and I'll get burnt out. It's just while I'm caught up in being around other people, I loose track of my normal self.

 

The sort of worship experiences you're talking about... that's probably more like what I've felt while in nature. I feel a peace, a calmness. I feel connected to the plants and the animals, but don't have the human social obligations to them like I do in group experiences. I've had some pretty powerful visions (of the inside of me, not of the future or anything) while alone and listening to music, as long as it's got a slow enough rhythm. That sort of feeling I'd describe as... expansive, wordless. I always feel better after that, more center, more myself. When there's people around, my mind chatters a lot and gets really excited, and I'm hyper-aware of other people's moods.

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