This morning there is a wee troll in my mind growling, "Spiritual life -- what the fuck does that mean?!" The cuss word is meant to emphasize a sense of ludicrousness ... followed immediately by a sense of the pure humanity of it all: Of course we're fools: What else is new?
Sometimes I think everyone who has a vast vision, an intricate philosophy or religion, a somewhat serious and certainly solemn hope ... sometimes I think such people (like me) should be locked in an empty room for a week or more to think things over. What is this philosophy like when the ceiling stares back at you implacably? What happens to this grand scheme where the walls seem to chuckle? How 'important' are you in a place with no importance? What happens when there is neither agreement nor disagreement? What happens when, like Jesus or any other serious person, you walk into the desert and every shred -- every shred -- of evidence points out that the 'important' things really are not enough?
"Oh, it is so lonely!" a voice cries out. It's too much. It's too hard. It's just too damned much! Give me some company! Give me a "spiritual life!" Give me some comfort and solace and ... belief. I'm human and frail and lack the courage and conviction. I am a hypocrite and an ego-tripper. Give ... me ... importance.
Maybe longer than a week is necessary for anyone interested in "spiritual life." Maybe much longer. But if "spiritual life" doesn't call out for verification in an empty room or a searing desert, what is it good for other than prattling and self-aggrandizement and yet another blood-letting? Whining about masochism only reaches so far. Playing the glittering Boy Scout only reaches so far. Goodness only reaches so far. Tea and cookies after the morning sermon only reaches so far.
Importance only reaches so far.
The humanity of it all is very touching: We only do what we can and we stroke and console ourselves within that framework ... maybe with something called "spiritual life." But, as the wee troll insists, "what the fuck is that?!"
What does the ceiling in an empty room say?
What does the desert say?
What do you say?
What do you say when importance becomes so unimportant that importance has the opportunity to assert itself?
What happens when you unlock the door only to find there was no door to unlock in the first place?
Yes, lock 'em up and throw away the key! Hypocrisy is such a cruel task master.
In spiritual life, there is the encouragement: "Do good. Refrain from evil. And purify this mind." I'm not entirely sure what this means, but my guess is that it's as close as anyone is likely to come to the facts of the matter.
It's Saturday after all ... a time to receive the blessings of our wee trolls.