I read widely and encounter thinkers from many different backgrounds. Some of those trouble me enormously, and it’s taken me years to figure out why, but, here we go…
Rational mainstream thinking is all about logic. Any effect will have a cause. Any good theory produces testable, re-usable results. Once you understand something you can accurately predict what it will do. This is the thinking of the science lab. It holds up just as well in the kitchen, or wielding the wool. It is the logic of dependable physical reality and as such is a bloody good thing and generally makes life easier.
We’ve got into this habit of thought collectively. This idea of logical progressions from causes to effects, one thing meaning that another will follow. We expect to be able to unpick all of nature, uncover ever last law of physics and have it make sense. However, we’re taking that tidy, resolving approach into our spiritual thinking and into our magic, some of us. The same certainty, the same confidence that my cause and effect will work as well for you as if I had undertaken a lab experiment and proved it. We bring the logic of the mundane and predictable to something that should be neither.
The consequence of this, is the absence of room for wonder. Religions on the whole are remarkably good at tidying spiritual experience up into something safe, sensible and predictable, and by so doing, knock out all the mystery. There is no room for anything numinous to creep in when you think you have it all figured out and are confidently asserting what the rules are. Awe and wonder are, instead, part of the experience of being out of your depth, unsure, overwhelmed and unable to safely rationalise.
Uncertainty has been important to me for a long time, as an unconsidered, emotional response to spiritual experience. And lo, I have managed to bring the art of thinking rationally to that uncertainty, and have usefully found out something about what it is and does and why I need it. What reason tells me, is that if I want spiritual experience, sometimes I will have to let go of the desire to have it all make sense.