Last week in my coaching mentorship, I learned a new word. I have to say, I derive a very specific type of joy from learning a new word. It’s as if a concept that once seemed amorphous and difficult to grasp suddenly has been given shape and gravity.
Has become more real.
Like, “Oh there is a word for that thing!”
The word that I learned is arational, and it speaks so clearly to my journey and the work that I do in the world.
For many years, I hungered for a more poetic and soulful life, a life rich with meaning and magic. Part of the reason that it felt difficult and fairly consistently out of reach is that I am also a very logical and rational person.
Words like poetic, soulful, magic, mystery, and meaning – all of the intangible things that I was yearning for – didn’t necessarily jive with my rational side. In fact, much of what I saw in the spiritual community seemed downright irrational.
I often felt as if I had to set aside all of my logic and my practicality in order to find and belong to the soulful life that I longed for. They became diametrically opposed.
And that was a no-win situation because I was always leaving a part of myself out in the cold. There was no space for the wholeness of who I am, which is both soulful and practical, poetic and logical, spiritual and grounded. We all contain these multitudes that we are learning to and yearning to create space for.
Occasionally, I tried to let go of my rationality, but it never felt right. If a teacher or author left important questions unanswered or if what they said didn’t make sense to me, their teachings never fully resonated. I couldn’t turn off my brain, nor do I believe that anyone should ask us to.
My soulful life had to be inclusive of my rational side, and my spirituality couldn’t ask that I leave my realistic nature at the door. This is the kind soulful life that I have been making by hand for the past several years, through a plethora of trial and error, discerning what resonates and what does not.
And then last week, I was introduced to a word that seems to encapsulate this so well: arational.
Not rational, not irrational, but ARATIONAL.
A third option. I LOVE a good third option!
Arational means not based on or governed by reason, and encompasses everything that is outside of the domain of the rational.
It doesn’t oppose rationality; it cradles it. It doesn’t take us backwards or ask that we give up our logical thinking, but rather takes into account that there will always be facets of life that exist outside the domain of what our rational minds can comprehend. The arational acknowledges and bows at the feet of the great mystery. It owns what it knows and surrenders to the immensity of what it never will.
The wild and soulful waters nourish an underfed aspect of who we are that can never be sustained by logic and facts alone. We do not need to fear that these waters will ask us to lay down our skepticism or look past our logic, because by nature they are not irrational.
They are arational.