Describing the Indescribable


In my last post I discussed the problem with Mercury and made a case for something else. I would not wish to posit a specific astrological entity for the other awareness, it no doubt lies at the centre of your nativity, the place you are drawn to if you are prepared to suffer a little or a lot, or repelled by, if you are otherwise. This otherness is entirely Chirotic, in my view.

And should we find ourselves in pursuit of this ‘other’ faculty that is not the mind, not the feelings and not the body either, we might well ask, “what is it?”. Well, it is a sense of rightness. It is an innate and non-intellectual understanding of things. It has a deeper and more profound sense of conviction than opinion and it informs our experience, our morals and our true sense of self. This principle is easily demonstrable; imagine stealing money from your friend while their back is turned and examine your reaction to the commission of such an act. It does not feel comfortable of course and there is a deep and profound sense of wrongness attached to the action but you will notice that you don’t simply ‘think’ it is wrong; you feel it. If it were an intellectual understanding then it follows that the more intelligent you are, the more moral you would be and that is clearly a nonsense. Indeed, if you wanted to posit a generalisation, you might very well be able to make a case for the opposite truth! Clearly, the mind has no real influence on the morals other than to work very hard at defeating them.

This presents us with a classification problem, not least because we are trying to describe something that does not lend itself to intellectualisation. This is partly because it lies some way above the mind and the mind is not really aware of it all that much, but beyond this it is – for the most part – indescribable.

The usual stratagem is to use a blanket term that satisfies the mind’s propensity for trivialising anything that is not of itself and call this other faculty “the feelings”, although this is clearly misleading too, because whilst a moral sense is apprehensible, it is not particularly felt; certainly not in the way that physicality or the emotions are felt. Thus language rather runs out, but we should not be surprised by this. Language is the medium of the mind after all, and once we move beyond the mind it has no grasp of the tenuous qualities of these strange quasi-mystical environs. We should additionally not be surprised since the numbers of travellers in this rarefied realm are so few and so far between and for the most part they are not ‘men of science’ in particular because they are off in another direction altogether, marching to an entirely different beat.
And this is where the inner path bears no admittance to the sacristy of proof so revered by scientists, if it cannot even be described how much further away is that from the minimum requirement for measurement and analysis? It simply will not do, the hocus-pocus of garden gnomes is as intelligible.

Only for scientists is such explicit vulgarity so enshrined. However, the poet has no such retardation with which to contend and he is free to make an attempt at it, not by creating some improbable taxonomy of labels but rather by invoking the non-mind itself to grasp the fleeting tenets of this unknowable kingdom. Poetry itself is a method of describing the indescribable.

It goes without saying that not all poetry is so inclined, nor that all poetry that attempts it succeeds. But it is inarguable that poetry does invoke in the non-mind of the reader a certain irrefutable awareness of things simply by conjuring a vision or sense of non-intellectual understanding through the exposition of sympathetic themes. This is not disputable even though it is hardly considered an outright definition of the poet’s craft, and from cultures as wildly varying as those which fostered the poetic gifts of Basho and Keats, the common thread of attuning the higher sense with the exact same language – albeit differently configured – that fails to classify it is uncovered. This must not be a mystery to the student of the inner path. It is a truth, and a love for poetry ought to be a sign or indicator of one who is comfortable with the arena of the non-mind. Those who do not ‘get it’ are reading it entirely with their minds after all; seeking literal description rather than the prayer or spell of invocation; because poetry, like prayer, is meaningless to the unbeliever and the mind is incapable of faith. Its only currency is knowledge.

A student of the inner path then should attempt to read poetry. They might even have a go at writing it. There can certainly be no harm in such activity and the potential it nurtures for easing access to the non-mind is invaluable. Any method that increases our familiarity with this most tenuous of realms is beyond value because by it we might realise wealth.

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