How often have you heard the phrase “No words can describe…” or “Words cannot explain…”?
Many people would be quick to assume that these are simply figures of speech. That actually, off course there are words to explain the experience, or the phenomenon, but that the speaker does not know these words, or that the speaker is simply trying to emphasise the intensity of their experience.
There are however experiences and phenomena that words truly cannot explain.
But off course, one has to have had such an experience to understand this.
There are many experiences that words cannot explain. I had one this morning.
I have had previous experiences such as this one, but the experience I had this morning was more intense than before.
I was sitting and meditating and after some time I felt a sensation in my legs, which moved into my arms and then covered my entire body.
What was this sensation?
It felt as if my limbs were much bigger than what they really are. That’s one way of describing it. But I could also describe it differently. It felt as if my limbs weren’t really there. Instead I could feel something that felt like my limbs, but they weren’t my usual limbs. They were very different. Instead of sitting cross legged on my bum, with my hands in my lap, it felt as if I was sitting cross legged on a trampoline with my hands floating somewhere in front of me.
I could still feel my arms and legs. I had not lost feeling in my arms and legs. (Which can also happen) Instead I could feel my arms and legs having expanded, beyond their normal reach.
But these explanations do not come close to really explaining what I experienced.
There simply aren’t any words to explain it.
And it’s not as if I don’t have the vocabulary. I spent three years at University studying English Literature, amongst other things. A lack of words isn’t the problem.
When I reread the explanations above, I realise just how inadequate they are compared the memory of my actual experience.
The fact is, words are very limited.
Compared to the vastness of everything in existence, words represent a tiny fraction of consciousness.
Consider the world ‘infinity’…
Now think about what that really means. Infinity. Everything. The entire Universe. And beyond. The awareness of all conscious beings.
There is no way one word can encapsulate such vastness.
And that’s the point.
No word can encapsulate much more than a few more words. That’s what dictionaries do.
It is important to understand that words are no more than signposts. They may be truly beautiful signposts. But they point to something beyond themselves. They point toward concepts, objects, experiences and more. Words are representations of the original. But they are not the original itself.
The true scope of consciousness lies way beyond the limitations of words.
And in talking about the original experience or concept we are limited to using more words. Forever pointing toward the original, but forever unable to reach the original through using more words.
However, as my experience this morning shows, we can directly experience the original. We can have direct knowledge of the original.
But in describing it, by using words, we are limited to using signposts.
We are able to point others in the direction of the truth we have experienced, but that truth (our original experience) is forever ours and ours alone. We cannot convey the fullness of our experience to another human being, or to ourselves, through words.
Even if we wrote an entire book about one meditation, another person will never truly understand the exact nature of the meditation I had.
And if they had the same meditation, they would, in all likelihood, write a different book about it.
People are often quick in wanting to describe their experiences to others. And while sharing is good, it is of secondary importance.
What truly matters is that we’ve had the experience. What matters is what we realised in that experience.
Our awareness of our experience is what matters most.
And while sharing can point others in a certain direction, helping them to have a certain experience, that is not the purpose of our experience
The purpose of our experience is not to attach words and thoughts to the experience.
Because no words will ever truly explain anything.
Words are forever only pointing toward what we really want to explain.
Words are forever only pointing toward truth. But truth will never truly be explained through words.
Truth has to be directly experienced.