This post is directed at those who already have considerable experience with contemplative prayer.
I am not new to the concept of contemplative prayer, but I am new to the serious practice of it. I had a strange experience the other night while praying and I was hoping to get a little guidance about my experience and find out whether it is normal and trustworthy, or something else.
On this occasion quieting my mind was particularly difficult and after some time I began to get a little frustrated. I eventually gave up the “effort” I was putting forth to find silence and resigned myself to my ignorance and inability. As I expressed my openness to whatever God may have for me in this moment (rather than my own attempts to create something out of the moment), I felt an intense awareness that I was not alone. I felt something that I have felt before in other prayerful scenarios which I believe to have been the presence of God. But this was a little different. It was strong, intense, and nearly oppressive. I felt what I can only describe as heat overcoming me, like being under covers that are far too warm. My nervous system seemed to come alive, but in such a strange way.
After a few minutes of being in this state, I had to move and break the silence. I had to get away; it was just too intense. I opened my eyes and thought for a minute while prostrating on the ground, unsure of what to make of this experience. I was hoping that someone here might have had a similar experience and would be able to explain to me what I should do.
It is my hope that it is the presence of God to which I need to acclimate myself through more prayer; it is my fear that this is some sort of distraction and that I did something odd mentally or physically to cause this experience to occur.