According to Karen Armstrong, speaking of the Enlightenment (in A History of God, p.298) Pascal was the first person to "concede that, in this brave new world, belief in God could only be a matter of personal choice". His faith came, not from the Middle Age religious authorities, but from his own experience.
What is experience? It seems to me that experience is just about everything. In contrast to a second hand 'faith' in God people speak of an 'experience' of God . But this is a much larger concept than is often perceived.
We experience birth; we experience learning: to walk and talk, to read, to think, to believe. If my life is in God's hands, I must believe that God had a hand in all of my experiences.
In the fullness of time God saw fit to awaken my spiritual consciousness. (This seems to be the particular 'experience' that we refer to when we say we have experienced God.
Some people, sanctified or not, can see God's hand in all sorts of experiences: "In the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere (from the hymn, This is my Father's World), and of course Isaiah (6:3): "the whole earth is full of the glory of God."
This is what we understand as the experience of God consciousness. It is what we all are going to (those of us who haven't yet arrived).