Today it strikes me that spiritual endeavor is little more than chocolate ice cream. After all the choruses of praise or catcalls of criticism ... chocolate ice cream.
Of course some people simply don't know or don't care about spiritual endeavor any more than they might care about the molecular structure of vinyl or the feeding habits of moles. But for those who do, whether at the shallow or the deep end of the pool, whether in support or opposition, there seems to be a willingness to say that spiritual endeavor is important.
Maybe it's important because of its ueber-altruistic kindness. Maybe it's important as a way to get to heaven or avoid hell. Maybe it's important as a means of actualizing "enlightenment" or "true nature." And the book shelves and temples are filled with other heart-felt endorsements and encouragements.
On the other side, maybe spiritual endeavor is capable of awful depredations, preying as it may, on the vulnerabilities of human beings and their credulousness. Look at the historical evil that has been committed in the name of God or some similar entity. It is wicked to be wicked to others. Wake up and smell the roses. Spiritual endeavor is a scam and a snare and a delusion. Etc. Etc.
Both sides claim spiritual endeavor is important in that it affects human beings, the very species to which promoters and detractors belong. Spiritual endeavor is important because human beings are important because I am important.
Important because intellectually and emotionally ... a "better mouse trap" calls out to something within and spiritual endeavor addresses that yearning, though whether for better or worse is up for grabs.
Intellectually and emotionally, anyone can make a case, pro or con, and often do at some length and with ever-more-delicate tendrils that lead into 'profound' and 'moral' depths or heights.
Spiritual endeavor is important, whether anyone likes it or hates it.
And yet there is something about it that cannot be spoken. Those who practice know there is 'something' to it and yet what that something is is outside speech or explanation. Intellect and emotion simply cannot sum up the case, no matter how much mewling supporters do, no matter how many expletives detractors may issue.
In the end, that something is precisely chocolate ice cream. No one can explain chocolate ice cream. No one can diminish chocolate ice cream.
If you like it, fine. If you hate it, fine. But when it comes to chocolate ice cream, it's all there -- inexplicable in heart or mind, but clear as a bell on the tongue. All of the praise and blame fall away ... it is true and so what?
I think there is some chocolate ice cream in the fridge. My son prefers vanilla. No big deal ... but deeeelicious ... or enough to make me puke!