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Pete Townshend finds “God”

Posted in: General by David Nantais on February 26, 2013

I took the advice of my colleague, Henry Carrigan, and read Pete Townshend’s autobiography, “Who I Am.”  You can read Henry’s review of it here.  I absolutely loved it!  It meanders a bit too much at certain points, but overall it is a masterful work.

Townshend spills a lot of ink recounting his spiritual journey, especially about Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual leader with whom Townshend became almost obsessed.  But the excerpt that struck me the most was a description Townshend offers of hearing the voice of God in rural Illinois.

In a room of a Holiday Inn in an Illinois town called Rolling Meadows–with a vibrating bed far too big, a TV with a fuzzy screen, sheets and towels that smelled slightly of something warm but not quite alive, a terrace that looked out onto a car dealer’s lot, grasshoppers buzzing in the scrub grass, a distant freight-train sounding its horn, the hiss of tires from a passing Buick on the road nearby, a car door slamming and someone shouting ‘Goodbye y’all!’–I heard the voice of God.  In an instant, in a very ordinary place at an unexceptional time, I yearned for some connection with a higher power.  This was a singular, momentous epiphany–a call to the heart.  Why did God favor this particular place in America?  Because it was so new?  Because it was so sunny?  Suddenly it became clear that I longed for a transcendent connection with the universe itself, and with its maker.  This was the moment I had longed for.  My mind was being set alight by the psychedelic times, but revelation came to me in the quietude and seductive order of Middle America.

What exactly happened here?  LSD flashback?  Psychotic breakdown?  Does it matter?  Decades after this experience, Townshend still recalls it as the moment he heard God’s voice.  To analyze this experience would, it seems to me, cheapen it.  And who could presume to interpret anothers’ experience anyway?  I appreciate Pete sharing this with his fans.  Who knows, his words may encourage others to write about their own experience of God, even if they can’t explain it.


Dave Nantais, Detroit, MI


1 Comment »

  1. What year did this occur?

    Comment by Pete — June 7, 2017 @ 1:25 pm

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