Thursday, April 3, 2014

private life

Whimsically, I wonder if what is sometimes called spiritual life doesn't find its initial footing in a need to address what is sometimes called private life. Either term -- spiritual life or private life -- has a way of eluding a nail-it-to-the-wall definition under examination, but ... well ... I sort of know what I mean.

Private life meanders and soars and creates shudders in ways that defy public persona. It is garbage trucks parked by the most ornate altar; it is diving off the George Washington Bridge; it is fairies in the garden; it is trapped in an inescapable well, it welcomes all comers, explicable and inexplicable alike, it ... well, it goes where it will and there is no willing it otherwise. Its lack of controls stands in contrast to the socially adroit being who knows not to tell the cop to go fuck himself; who keeps secrets close because it is a way to amass power or keep others from amassing power.

Private life is compelling and tender to the touch, sometimes too tender to share even with the one who finds it compelling and tender. Private life is a free spirit and there is something important about being free.

But even in the privacy of a private life, there is an insistence on shaping the scene, of keeping control of what so clearly can go off on tangents -- sometimes wondrous tangents -- and thumbs its nose at public-life parameters.

And here a wide net like spiritual life can hold out a hand. A wide, wide net ... an ineffably open field ... a place where gods and trolls and men and women can amble and cavort and shudder ... and it's OK. Paradoxes and pixies are all welcome ... maybe that's a part of how spiritual life gains entry and footing. The line between private and public is comfortingly blurred in spiritual adventure. Life is just life, after all, and drawing lines can be burdensome to the one who suspects freedom really is important.

But life is just life and eventually the insistence on a spiritual life -- like the insistence on private life -- is an unnecessary burden as well. Is that so? I suspect it is and I can also imagine receiving some swirly, sincere and somewhat irked rejoinders.

I can hear the voices saying, "Spiritual life is wide-wide-wide."

But did you ever notice that however wide spiritual life may be, it's never as wide as life ... never as free as anything called "freedom?"

Just noodling here.

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