“It may be possible to find explanations of spiritual experiences such as ours, but I have often tried to explain my own and have succeeded only in giving the story of it. I know the feeling it gave me and the results it has brought, but I realize I may never fully understand its deeper why and how.” Bill Wilson, As Bill Sees It, p. 313, Alcoholic Anonymous.1967.
Bill Wilson was not the only one to have a spiritual experience. I daily meet with people who gradually, reluctantly, and sometimes embarrassingly tell me stories about their spiritual experiences. We are still under the influence of the age of enlightenment and reason. We only know what we can explain.
We fear sharing anything that comes from mystery. For many people, these spiritual experiences occur outside in Nature. Suddenly we feel arms holding us up. We feel a presence beside us. Some have the experience in a house of worship. A flickering candle produces what looks like holy smoke. Some have an awareness at the Eucharist. They leave the rail at peace with what is going on in their lives. Many remember a religious experience at the birth of a child or seeing a newborn for the first time. Birds often can be part of an experience. I remember the Sunday after the death of a dear friend, Jane Murray. I saw a wild goose fly closely by the window in our church sanctuary. I had never seen that before or since. The wild goose is the Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit.
Candles can often to be part of an experience. I was recently meeting and talking with a friend who saw the reflected light of the burning candle beside us through a window that appeared to be on a tree outside our window. He spoke up, “I see a burning bush!”
These are all burning bush experiences and we should take our shoes off when we encounter them.