What a trap for the unwary – Words.
What I mean is that words are invaluable to convey meaning but they can so easily obfuscate and delude. We would be absolutely lost without words but they are also a trap – none more so than concerning spiritual concepts and ideas.
If someone has an awe-inspiring experience then there is usually a basic need to convey to others the wonder and feeling of the moment. Then when feet once again touch the ground comes a striving to understand that experience and pass on an explanation as a possible means for others to be open to experience in like manner. And there’s the trap.
How can you share that spiritual experience except by the second hand means of words – words that belong to the mental realms of imagery at best. You cannot pass on the experience directly. It is non-corporeal and defies description. A listener or reader has to get into the mind set of the speaker as a first hurdle to overcome. Only then can they glimpse the possible heights of enlightenment that opens up. Or does it?
Philosophy is a swampland of ideas and mind games. Sometimes the light shines through but more often the mind gets lost in encircling word games that seem to open the spiritual way but more often than not just lead to conceptual dead ends.
Poetry can lift a person’s spirit beyond the games the mind can play to the heights of shared experience, as can music or art, but that really predisposes the listener has a common ground in the first place. It would be so much easier if we could employ Dr Spock’s mind meld from Star Trek in some way! Yet that is precisely the point of a religion.
Do read further in chapter 2 of my book ‘The Death of the Church and Spirituality Reborn’.