Experience or Explanation?

Human beings seem to love our explanations of things that happen to us more than we love the experience itself. Maybe that’s sunset dolphinbecause you can’t really argue about what someone else has experienced. If you saw a beautiful sunset, I can’t convince you it wasn’t beautiful. If you have a peaceful moment, I can’t tell you it wasn’t – though I may be able to make your next moment a bit less peaceful by trying. The same is true of spiritual experience. We can’t be argued out of it, or convinced it never happened. Now, once we start trying to explain what happened during that experience or define what it means, the doors of debate are open and every two-bit theologian will come running. Maybe that’s why true mystics don’t talk much about their experience. They know what they saw, heard, and/or felt, and that is more than enough to sustain them. Perhaps if everybody who spends a great deal of time trying to talk others out of their experiences would just be quiet long enough, they would have experiences of their own – and the world would soon be much more quiet and much more peaceful.

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