Is there a difference between experiencing God and simply getting high? Between experiencing the divine and feeling uplifted?
When I was in college, I had a housemate named Mike Hupalowski who went to a Blue Oyster Cult concert on New Year’s eve. He came home to a party in full swing (which meant that everyone was pretty drunk by that point), and reported that he saw God at the concert. For years, we laughed about Mike seeing God at the Blue Oyster Cult concert.
Last week I went to a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert (which, by the way, was fantastic). Afterwards, one of my friends said she felt it was a spiritual experience.
I’ll admit, I walked out of the concert hall feeling a lot more uplifted than I usually do after synagogue. I felt great, in fact. Hearing the songs performed live that I’d listened to hundreds of times… to which I knew every word… singing along with Steven Stills, Graham Nash and David Crosby in person…. being with nearly 2,000 other people who were feeling the same things….it was amazing. Uplifting. Thrilling. Immensely satisfying. Hugely enjoyable.
But not a spiritual experience. At least, not for me. No matter how beautiful the music, how moving the lyrics, how totally terrific I felt both during and afterwards, it just wasn’t a religious experience.
Now, if Blue Oyster Cult ever comes to Sarasota….