Friday, September 25, 2009

Search for Meaning

Image by h.koppdelaney

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life... I think that what we're really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive. —Joseph Campbell

I remember seeing a review of a beautifully presented metaphysical movie. The essence of the review was “the movie was not good because I don’t know what it is supposed to mean.” After watching the film myself, I also came away without being able to say what it “meant,” but did not find that to diminish the value of the movie at all. My spirit was very moved by the experience.

After all, what is the meaning of ecstasy? Of a sunrise? Do we really want to belittle anything that exceeds the scope of understanding of the conscious mind?

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life—Albert Camus

The attempt to codify the spiritual experience into a method or attribute meaning to it escapes me, especially if that attempt is with any idea of then reproducing that experience within ourselves or another—worse yet, to validate the experience. Whether in New Age or traditional beliefs, systematizing the Ineffable is the core of depersonalizing and therefore devitalizing your connection.

Religion is the best way to avoid a religious experience. —Joseph Campbell

Meaning seems often to be defined as that which the conscious mind/ego-mind can analyze/qualify and re-express into words that can be understood by self and another. In our scramble for meaning and/or understanding, we should be certain not to underestimate the importance or the value of pure experience—that which sometimes cannot be captured in “meaning” and defies conscious understanding

The heart has no need of meaning. It feels; it experiences. The spirit has no interest in meaning—it simply IS experience. These two vital aspects of our existence cannot be appropriately explained/analyzed/qualified by conscious mind.. The Ineffable can be alluded to by words. But the true essence of the reference cannot be conveyed, only lived and incorporated into our being. We then become the only true expression to that which we are attempting to represent in words. The mystics of every conviction have always known this. The words/doctrine of their belief system were the launching platform of their experience, but was not allowed to confine their personal experience or connection with the Source.

Verse 1 —Tao Te Ching

The way of the word is not the Way

Words are simply too inefficient to precisely convey the actual experience of something like bliss. Any semblance of conveyance is merely the listener/reader revisiting their personal experience of bliss—or their preconceived idea of bliss—and assuming that is what was intended/expressed by the words. Meaning and method are crafty contrivances of the conscious/ego mind. It is a manner of naming/categorizing. Not always, but quite often “meaning” can be a distraction from or method of avoiding the experience itself.

Words used with the intention or accepted as an explicit conveyance of the spiritual provide a situation of mistaking the map/representation of the landscape for the landscape itself. Explicit conveyances (i.e. “this is THE truth”) seem often to have been inspired by a true connection with the Absolute, but became bound by the attempt to define that connection with words/meaning, and what we have been left with is often little more than the sarcophagus of the original spirit. However, I would not say that any use of words to represent the spiritual is an inherent problem. I am inclined to believe that the symbolic use of poetry or fiction can be the catalyst to a shared connection. This is the same nature of a Zen koan, something unintended to contain truth, but rather to shake the mind free from any attempt to seize the “map” as reality in order to awaken an awareness of the true landscape.

…those profound truths of life…can’t be transferred from one person to another with words but can only be genuinely known through one’s connection to the collective unconscious. In this sense, we can only learn what we already know at the unconscious level.—Robert A. Johnson, Inner Work

As for the meaning of communion with the spiritual, meaning is the domain of understanding, and spirit surpasses all understanding.

copyright 2008 CG Walters

Excerpted from **Strike a Chord of Silence, a new book of metaphysical maxims and essays

If you are enjoying the features of CG's blog, get future installments sent directly to your email or reader via RSS feed.

CG Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives.

Autographed/signed copies of CG's "Highly Recommended" (Midwest Book Review) Sacred Vow are available from the author– or purchase as ebook or from Amazon as Kindle version or printed copy.

Please join me as a friend at any of my other favorite hangouts: Facebook, StumbleUpon, Friendfeed, Twitter, Plurk, or Digg


Lisa said...

This is just wonderful! It is the mystery that is, for me, so enticing and yet I feel compelled to express my experience and in so doing I seem to take away a little of the mystery. As soon as I let go of the need to define, the mystery makes itself known again. It's a frustratingly beautiful cycle. :D

Jannie Funster said...

It is true that words cannot truly explain bliss. I liked what Liara Covert either said or quoted on her blog recently, words to the effect that every moment can be rife with happy expectations. I like that!

Your book sounds VERY intriguing.

CG Walters said...

happy expectations, Jannie? Or, happiness? Or even more than happiness, but a sense of content union with all that is......

Thank you for the comments about Strike A Chord of Silence. The maxims were evoked through me by a troubled friend. After her untimely death, they proved to be not something I giving her, but her gift to me to carry me in years to come....

blessings and joy to you and your dear ones....

Rose DesRochers said...

How dull the world would be if everything had simple meaning.

CG Walters said...

Agreed, Rose. Even when we attempt to declare simple/explicit meanings, we find that it grows beyond our imagination...
Truth (meaning) is but a resting place until the next ever-progressing horizon--cgw,Strike a Chord of Silence

CG Walters said...

Thank you, Lisa....I just found your comment....
Thank for the beauty of your gift...for sharing.
blessings to you and your dear ones....