The following is another incredible example of seeing, and feeling connected to, the Light of God. Countless students through the years have experienced this blessing in various forms. This is something we do not take for granted, but continue to be deeply grateful.
I have always felt a strong connection to Divine Spirit. All my life I remember reading stories of people who had these marvelous experiences with Spirit. I read about those experiences in the Bible, in the histories of some Saints, and in some of the songs we would sing in church when I was growing up. I always knew in my heart that a very deep and profound relationship with Divine Spirit was “out there somewhere.”
In one of the early wilderness survival classes I took at the Nature Awareness School, we were building “debris huts” in which we would sleep the rest of the week. A debris hut is a shelter made of sticks laid across a long pole. Piled on top of this framework are layers and layers of leaves to provide insulation against the cold. Leaves are also stuffed inside as a kind of sleeping bag. The hut is built small, so there is not much empty space for your body heat to warm up.
The first night that I slept in the hut, I was awakened by an extremely bright light shining in my face. I thought it was someone shining a flashlight right at me. I sat bolt upright and just looked at that light. It wasn’t only a light though. With the light there was a connection to something else. I felt a presence connected to it. I looked at this very intently for a while, and after a few minutes I lay back down and went back to sleep.
The next morning I remembered this very vivid experience. When I shared it in class the next day, and described the “flashlight,” Del just smiled, nodded and said “hmm, flashlight” in a very knowing way.
Del’s reaction made me re-think this experience. I started looking at this from a deeper perspective. There was much more to this experience than just a “flashlight” in my face waking me up. Suddenly it occurred to me that the roof of the debris hut was only six inches above my nose. As real as it felt, there was no possible way I could have sat up and looked at this light in my physical body. I would have knocked myself out against a tree branch sitting up so quickly. I know now that the light was the Light of God. The presence I felt was Divine Spirit. It wasn’t just a random light, like a ship passing in the night. It was right there in my face, a direct personal experience with Divine Spirit. God was reaching out to me and interacting with me in a very profound and very personal way. I was being “woken up” in the spiritual sense.
Since that time, twenty years ago, I have had many more personal experiences with the Divine and the Light of God. Each experience is unique and just as precious as the first one I recounted here.
Written by Paul Nelson