Tolstoy, Leo - Confessions - Searching for 'God'
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Leo Tolstoy – Confessions
Throughout the duration of this year when I kept asking myself how to end it all, by a rope [hanging himself] or a ball [drowning himself], all this time, alongside these waves of ideas and observations that I have mentioned, a painful, painful emotion languished in my heart.
I cannot call this feeling other than a seeking after God.
This search for God was not driven by reason, but emotion, not from the flow of my ideas - it was even directly opposite them – but this longing came from my heart.
It was like a sense of fear to me, I felt orphaned and isolated in the middle of things that were foreign to me, although this feeling of fear was tempered by the hope of finding help.
I was fully convinced of the impossibility of proving the existence of God. I understood from Kant that proof is impossible. But I sought God anyway. I hoped to find. And an old habit, I addressed to help me, a prayer to the one I was looking for and could not find.
Sometimes I repeated in my mind the arguments of Kant and Schopenhauer on the impossibility of actually proving the existence of God, but many times I pondered these arguments and rejected them. I thought:
--If I exist, then the cause of I is there too and the cause of all causes. And through this I can find the original cause - called God.
I paused on that thought, and gradually began to develop a sense for this presence, this cause. From the moment I conceived that there was a force in whose power I was, I felt immediately the possibility of living……..
I remember one early spring day, I was alone in the forest, listening to its mysterious noises. I listened and my thoughts as always reverted to what had occupied me for the past three years.
And I thought, Well, there is no God who is not an abstraction, far apart from our reality. And nothing, no miracle can prove to me that there is a God because miracles will only be in my imagination. But the idea of God which I am seeking? I wondered. Where is this idea born?
And again arose in me this thought.
Everything in me awoke, received a meaning!
But my joy was not sustained for long.
The spirit continued his work.