Religion, spirituality, mysticism, philosophy, theology – all this stuff can be pretty damn complicated. So many beliefs, thoughts, concepts, dogmas, imaginings, speculations.
I've enjoyed throwing myself into this complex stew, and have even contributed to thickening it through some books, my Church of the Churchless musings, and countless conversations.
But more and more, the essence of my attitude toward the big questions of life is…less and less.
By which I mean: one intuitive direct experience is coming to overshadow all of the other religio-spiritual contents of my psyche.
It feels much more real and true than these other meanderings of my mind, which tend to be second-hand or hypothetical in nature.
I'm alive! And I won't always be. How marvelous!
Nine words. A whole lot of meaning.
To me, at least. If you haven't experienced the sensation I'm talking about – on a gut, not a thought, level – then what I'm saying may elicit a "Huh?" rather than a "Yes!"
It happens to me frequently. Usually a couple of times a day intensely; otherwise it's sort of background music to my life, a feeling that's always there but not always consciously attended to.
Yesterday it happened again in my Tai Chi class. Listening to the instructor make some point, about the sword form, I believe, the room and everyone in it came into extra-sharp existential focus.
This is happening, right now. I'm alive and able to be a part of it. Someday I'll be dead. How precious is this moment!
That sentiment sounds a bit trite and Hallmark card'ish expressed in words. The feeling itself was wordless. It was an ah…, a big breath of clear and present reality sucked into my psyche.
To my mind (and I don't have any other one to work with), this is the most authentic "spiritual" sensation I've ever had. I put that word in quotation marks, because the feeling really doesn't have anything to do with other-worldliness or non-materiality.
I guess it's somewhat akin to the thisness or thatness of Buddhism. But I don't know. I'm not a Buddhist. And it feels universal, not something attached to any particular creed.
Here each of us is, alive. It's absolutely astounding, the most marvelous thing. Fourteen billion years ago the universe came into being. It'll ramble on for many tens of billions of years more.
And I'm able to live for a miniscule span of time (in comparison to the cosmos' longevity) in the midst of all this. Experiencing my experience. Conscious of my consciousness. Aware of my awareness.
I readily admit that mostly I sleepwalk through my day, doing what I need to do, lacking the ah… feeling that washes over me like a cosmic tsunami when the seawall of mundaneness is breached for a moment.
Yet when that wonder is present, it's wonderful – making any other form of religiosity or spirituality seem dry as dust.