Recently a comment conversation on one of this blog's posts brought up "babbling." Someone used the word to describe another commenter who was describing how God, spirituality, and such seemed to her.
She didn't like being called a babbler.
But I don't see this as an insult, at least not when what's being babbled about, such as God or the supernatural, is purely personal -- subjective, intuitive, emotional, experiential, non-symbolic.
Babbling is the first sign of human language. These vocalizations do not generally contain meaning or refer to anything specific.
People who have had an ineffable experience of something that seems spiritual also babble. There are many varieties of babbling, of course. The Buddha supposedly held up a flower. Did he have a point to get across? Nobody knows. Sounds like spiritual babbling to me.
Mystics often resort to poetry when they try to describe what can't be described. Poetry is a form of adult babbling that directs our attention to what can be felt, yet not tied down in words.
Wow! Far out! Unbelievable! I'm speechless! Mind-blowing!
Once we grow into word-using beings, forsaking concept-less baby babbling, we're less prone to express our wonderment at what the world offers with meaningless sounds. So we substitute words that don't really convey any meaning to others other than "I'm incapable of conveying any meaning."
This is how I feel when I read or hear descriptions of someone's spiritual experience.
I have little or no idea what they're talking about, because I'm not them. Likewise, if I tried to describe an experience that was deeply meaningful to me, yet was purely subjective (or at least didn't involve any objectively observable entities), other people would react as if I was speaking about a dream.
In this case "You had to be there (inside my head)" is the only response to "I don't understand what you're trying to say."
Dreams, though, are more describable than visions of God or any other supposed supernatural reality. If a dream is based on worldly people, objects, and events, we can find words which come close to validly conveying the essence of our subjective experience.
But most religious believers view God as other-worldly, beyond description, transcending reason.
OK. I'm fine with someone claiming to have had an experience of God which can't be put into words. If they want to simply ooh and ah as a babbling baby would, I'll view their meaningless vocalizations just as positively as I do an infant's coo'ing.
So cute! Delightful!
It's natural to express ourselves when an intense experience causes us to feel joy, love, pleasure, awe, or some other overflowing emotion (of course, the feeling also could also be despair, hate, pain, apathy).
Thus babbling away about God if you've experienced something that strikes you as Godly... go for it. Just realize that what seemed so real to you won't be perceived the same way by others.
This is the nature of personal experiences. They're personal.
Babies don't worry if anyone else agrees with their babbling. They just babble away. Naturally, unself-consciously, uncontrollably. LIkewise, I love listening to spiritually-minded people who don't care at all whether anyone else agrees with them. They say what they say because they feel like saying it.
Take it or leave it; both are equally fine to a babbler.
Such is my advice to those who leave comments on this blog. Say how you feel. Just don't expect anyone else to agree with you or even understand what you're trying to convey. And if they call you a babbler, respond with thank you!