I’ve been thinking more than usual about the relationship between spirituality, poetry, and the body because of the workshop I’m taking at the Poetry Barn with Jenn Givhan, “Poetry as Altar: Creating Space for the Sacred.”
Since childhood, I’ve been asking myself questions about the nature of existence. I’ve always thought that if I just keep looking, searching, that the answers will come, that they are just around the corner.
Maybe it’s because of my upbringing in the Catholic Church.
Maybe it’s because my dad used to talk about Jesuit theology with me on our trips to the hardware store or the dump.
Now that I’m much older, nearing old age, I think I will not know the answers until I cross over into a spirit realm. That’s my hope, anyway, that there is a spirit realm or an astral plane.
I read a story about astronaut Edgar Mitchell who, when he saw Earth from space, experienced a deep knowing, a profound sense that infused him entirely, that he was in the midst of a limitless cosmic mind.
After his experience of seeing Earth from the surface of the moon, Mitchell created a center called The Institute of Noetic Science. On the website history they say, “As he watched the Earth float freely in the vastness of space, he became engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness.”
I’ve never had an epiphany like his, nor can I vouch for the scientific validity of the astronaut who experienced such bliss. But experience counts for something.
The realizations I’ve experienced have been fleeting ones that I need to practice again and again, moment by moment, through yoga, walking, writing, meditating, and even by teaching, reading, and discussing literature with friends and students.