Immaterial Gain

By: Eric Shapiro

Among some of us who deem ourselves spiritual, the use of the word "spiritual" causes blushing and anxiety. What a pale word it is in the face of what earned spirituality actually provides. No single word, however potent, can tap the pure light and color of a cosmic mindset. The green vistas and pinkish sun rays of such a mind lie beyond the reach of labels and terms.

Ironically, despite my hesitation in applying language to elevated states of consciousness, I reached such states through language itself. To explain: I discovered my "spirituality" through the pure act of writing. Since I'd grown up under the impression that divinity could only be tapped in churches or temples, my own arrival was quite surprising.

As I said, writing is a pure act.

It's borderline immaterial. I say borderline due to the necessity of pens, paper, keyboards, monitors, staples, ink, bindings, and the like. Despite such material pinnings, writing remains an endeavor to ethereal spaces. Said spaces can swell with warmth or bend with terror, but they're always ...Other. The forceful charge of authentic inscrutability cannot be denied when composing language.

Prose calls up imagery, emotion, sound, and fire. When reading (or writing, which requires reading as it occurs) we recede into ourselves, we re-enter the womb. Our senses are at the mercy of an intricate arrangement of tiny symbols-- letters and punctuation marks-- that open corridors within us. We find ourselves amidst strange faces and rooms. As the journey deepens, so does the reader's inner texture. The prose has refined our very selves. And when said refinement advances, something resembling the "spiritual" might emerge.

Again, I have no strong terms with which to label this process. No formal religion summates my findings. The realm of the spirit is fleeting and slippery, and can at best be viewed through squinty eyes. But I know I see something. And I intend to keep looking.

Writing
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