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How have I experienced directly or through others a spiritual power of love that strengthens me to practice kindness even toward difficult people?

“The greatest romance is with the Infinite. You have no idea how beautiful it can be. When you suddenly find God everywhere, when God comes and talks to you and guides you, the romance of divine love has begun.”
Paramahansa Yogananda

“Your task is not to seek for love; but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built up against it.”

“God is love.”
I John 4:8

What do people mean when they report a spiritual experience of divine Love? How common is this? Is this experience associated with emotional healing and expanded benevolence? Does this experience help us to treat even the most difficult people with kindness? How might meditation and possibly prayer fit in?

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, not previously a believer, claimed he saw and felt a white light that he perceived as the presence of God’s love. This occurred in his hospital room at a New York detox center on his fourth day of treatment: “It seemed to me, in the mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man.” Bill W. never drank again after that spiritual experience of December 14, 1934, and “A.A.” was born.

Fact:  A scientific survey of randomly selected Americans conducted in 2010 is presented by Matthew T. Lee and colleagues in The Heart of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2013). The survey respondents were adult (18 years of age or older), and selected regardless of religious background, economic strata, educational level, ethnicity, or any other factor. Thus, the survey was totally random, and designed to provide a scientifically valid portrait of the experience of God’s love and its ramifications. Almost half (45%) of all Americans feel God’s love at least once a day and eight out of ten have this experience at least “once in a while.” 9% claim that they experience God’s love more than once a day. Only 17% report no experience of God’s love. 83% indicate that they “feel God’s love increasing their compassion for others.” Eight out of ten Americans claim to have experienced God’s love, and they consider it to be “the greatest power in the universe.”

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This is a project of The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.