Existence for me personally that is not flowery poetic language. I live in a fourth dimension of existence when I say that; it’s not because I’m hallucinating I say that, it is because I live in a way that I didn’t think was possible when I was drinking. I have an internal stable happiness that is not contingent upon external circumstances. I had never experienced that before. That’s the fourth mention of existence. You could tell me about it until you are blue in the face, but if you haven’t had an experience like that, its inexplicable. Just like if you’ve never been in love, you don’t know what it is until you’re in love. You can listen to love songs, you can go home put on your Journey cassettes. You can read your beautiful poetry, but it’s not the same as being in love, until you’re in love. I didn’t know what it was when they talked about the fourth dimension of existence, until I experienced it.
My grandfather was a guy by the name of Don P. He was from Colorado, and I heard him once say, “My spiritual experiences have all been characterized by pain.” Yep, sometimes they hurt. But we feel it’s supposed to be unicorns and rainbows and everything, right? Not for me. All my major spiritual experiences have been characterized by me walking through a period of change in pain and discomfort. The Big Book doesn’t promise you that there will not be certain trials and lows pots. Even though spiritual experiences and growth have come from pain at times, I have my beautiful moments too. I’ve moved back from Europe to New Hampshire which is a beautiful place. There’s nothing there, but it’s beautiful. In the summer, I get to go out running through these trails you know. I did a meditation retreat with three entire days of silence. It was so powerful. I remember coming around the bend and the sun came through the trees and hit me on the face after three days of silence and meditation and I hit my knees and I just bawled like a baby and prayed. I had nothing else to do. I didn’t know what to do. I was overflowing with happiness. I look like a crazy man.
I’m a guy in shorts in the woods alone crying. I didn’t win the lottery. I had nothing else to do. I hit my knees crying like a baby and I just gave thanks and praise to God. I don’t call that a spiritual experience, I call that a really beautiful moment that I get as a result of trying my best to be spiritually fit. I don’t confuse that with the spiritual experience. By the way, that’s a beautiful moment and I don’t take that for granted. Trust me, I don’t get them often, but when I get them, they are jewels. My spiritual experience characterized by me having to walk through some pain in my personal life. I don’t even realize I’m doing it while I’m in the middle of it. I’m usually saying, “What am I doing wrong?” I come out the other end and I realize that I have changed. My spirituality has been forged by the fires of pain. That’s what human existence is.
Note: Matt H. is one of the best AA speakers I have ever heard. He truly carries a message of depth and weight and is a part of Don P.’s recovery legacy. If you ever get a chance, go see him speak it is so worth it in every way.