Whenever we have an experience so profound that we cannot find words
to express it, we tend to describe that experience as spiritual. In
other words, whenever we find our language inadequate, we simply bring
this word ‘spirituality’ into the picture as some kind of a blanket
explanation– an explanation that requires no thought, no evidence,
has no parameters, and thus cannot be touched by either reason or
science. Like a chess piece that can do anything you want it to do, be
anything you want it to be.
But these moments of awe that suddenly strike us seem strangely out of
touch with the spiritual. For when we are suddenly overcome by the
magnificence of this fascinating universe, whether it be when we look
at the stars at night or stand alone in a deep forest, we are
obviously being affected in a very real way by the very real, very
physical world about us. Nothing spiritual in this at all. Indeed. it
is the sudden awareness that our imaginations, no matter how vivid,
can not even begin to comprehend the vast marvel of this real universe
that reminds us that it is the real universe that is beyond words, not
some vague amorphous spirituality.
Our reaction to the unspeakable is simply a chemical/electrical
response to a very real, very physical world. The wonder, the awe we
experience is, I suspect, a genetic attribute that keeps us and other
creatures going when faced with the potential harshness of life.
Genetic exuberance drives us forward, ever seeking life, no matter the
danger. Species without that sense of awe, that sense of curiosity,
wouldn’t make it this far along the evolutionary trail.