Impossible to Find Words for the Wordless


Metaphors are as good as it gets

By Steve Beckow, Golden Age of Gaia


I just realized today that I had difficulties around boundary management, but the reflection I fell into went far beyond that subject.

To begin with, I speculated that people raised in a climate of domestic violence, like myself, often have difficulties with boundary management.

Their own boundaries have been trampled on so often that they fail to develop a keen sense of where they begin and leave off.

I also noticed today that I was not making a distinction between two processes, which I think people with good boundary-management skills would regard as obvious and basic.

I’m failing to distinguish between engagement and my own energy field or bubble.

Energy field? Energy bubble? I was struck by those two terms. What did I know about an energy bubble and an energy field?

When I thought about those two terms, I fell into a much deeper realization.

Allow me to draw on my notes from here on:

“Energy fields” and “energy bubbles”are metaprhors I use to describe something formless and wordless.

How is it that I’m glibly talking about them as if the words I use capture reality, when they don’t?

I think that we think that we can use words – and even develop a language  – to describe the wordless. And then we think that we can relate to the words as if the phenomena they point to have been captured by them, when it isn’t so.

It’s as if we’ve all agreed to keep it secret that we’re talking as if words are real, when they’re not. We all know they’re not, but we’ve all agreed to pretend they are, to make believe, because we like what results.

What results is that we get to pretend that we literally know what we’re talking about. We get to feel pretty pleased with ourselves when, on closer inspection, we see that indeed we don’t know what we’re discussing.

Words don’t capture the wordless. The wordless doesn’t live in language. It cannot be shoehorned into words.

Any words we use are either metaphorical (God is a tree of life) or descriptions of what the wordless isn’t (neti, neti, neti – not this, not this, not this), or descriptions of our reactions to it (it left me awestruck, dumbfounded, amazed), or something else not necessarily helpful to know what the experience or realization actually is or was.

I can’t think of a word that could be used to describe, for instance, what my “boundary” is or means. Not really. Not without using metaphors; not directly and accurately.

At best our language is too primitive; at worst it cannot be done.

Every time I’ve ever spoken about a spiritual experience – the 1977 out-of-body experience, (1)  the 1987 vision, (2)  the 2015 heart opening (3) as examples – I’ve never found words to accurately reflect what I went through on any occasion – or, more to the point, make the experience or realization come alive.

From one experience (the 1987 vision), I came away with a single sentence: “The purpose of life is enlightenment.” From another (the Xenia experience), I came away with just two words: “Purity” and “innocence.”

What have these few words to say about the nature of the experience?

No spiritual experience I’ve ever had came with an explanatory letter, or with labels attached to it, or with a manual of operation.

Far from it. They share the common characteristic of being either wordless or else whatever words were spoken did not explain or help me understand the experience.

No identification. None of them said, “I am God the Father and next to me is….”

In one of them, I had an inner knowing and certainty about the identity of the actors that seemed caused by being drenched in bliss.  As Jesus said, the blissful Comforter brought all things to remembrance. I knew what I was looking at in the 1987 vision: The total journey of an individual soul, from God to God.

I can’t hold on to the actual experience or realization. As it’s happening, it doesn’t occur to me that I may want to find words later to describe it.

I don’t commit anything to memory on those grounds but also on the grounds that it would pull me out of the experience and into my head again.

Even if I did, I can’t think of any words that I could commit to memory.

In the moment, I just relax into the experience and later enjoy the remembrance of it. But not in words. Usually in feeling states.

The impossibility of finding words to adequately describe the wordless can be easily verified. This is not mysterious.

Have an ice cream or a tropical fruit and describe the taste. Did you find words?

I cannot. I’d only describe it in terms of other tastes – mango, vanilla, cinnamon. But what it itself uniquely tastes like? I’d have no words for it. And it does not come with a “product description.”

A better pen than mine will have to develop a language to speak about these things, if it’s even possible. To the next generation, everything I say here will sound positively seventeenth-century.

But you get my point? The very best experiences we’ve had in life are extremely difficult to find words to describe. I don’t think we have a well-developed emotional language yet, never mind one for the wordless, the spiritual.

There’s so much work to be done, so much pioneering to do.  We haven’t scratched the surface yet.


(1) On that occasion, I awoke in the middle of a lucid dream or out-of-body experience in which I was on the other side and witnessing some boys being mean to a friend of mine. I began to cry, which meant that I needed to return to my body. I fell backwards through space and felt myself insert myself in something that felt like a wet suit.

It had the consistency of India rubber, like a lacrosse ball compared to the spirit that I was, which was lighter than a feather. When my consciousness transferred from inside the wet suit to outside it, the wailing became a whimper, which showed me how little of a conductor the body was.

The minute I distinguished between my body and myself, the fear of death disappeared and has not reappeared to this day.

(2) See “The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment – Ch. 13 – Epilogue,” at

(3) See “Submerged in Love,” March 14, 2015, at; “Activating the Wellspring – Part 1/2,” March 14, 2015, at; and “Activating the Wellspring – Part 2/2” March 15, 2015, at


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