The Sixth Sense of Spirituality

newborn baby

There are times you have no explanation for what is happening.  There are no real words to describe the experience you went through.  That’s because your five senses (taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound), although alert and reliable with taking-in all kinds of sensory data, are simply inadequate to explain the transcendent situation.

I was once talking with an agnostic person who became a father for the first time.  He was fresh off the incredible experience of being in the room with his wife when she gave birth to their son.  Bill (not his real name) was flush with enthusiasm.  He took in the sight of his newborn baby boy, held him and touched him for the first time, and joyfully listened to his very first screams of new life in this great big world.  Bill described it all to me with such awe.  Then he said something to me that I haven’t forgotten: “I don’t know how to explain it, Tim.  Something spiritual happened when my son was born, something I can’t put into words.  All I can say is that I experienced something that was not of this world.”

Something not of this world.  That was Bill’s way of saying that he had no mental categories from which to draw from to give any kind of sensory explanation to the awesome reality of being right there in childbirth.  Our five senses do not tell the whole story.  As important as our ability to taste, see, touch, smell, and hear is, there are other ways of knowing and experiencing life.

Faith and spirituality are the sixth sense which enable us to discern and know things about ourselves, this world, and God – that we would not know with only our five senses.  There is a spiritual reality that transcends the physical.  The soul, whether we acknowledge we have one or not, is the place of communion with this unseen reality.  The inner person is where we meet-up with God and find a vast world of spiritual resources which boggle the five senses.  Somehow, we know this is true, even though we cannot explain it.

Jesus said, “The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing.”  In other words, God is Spirit and he gives meaning, connection, relationship, and even physical life.  Human abilities cannot ultimately do this.  Yes, we do have biological explanations for human attraction, marriage, and where babies come from.  But this is not the whole story.  There is a transcendent reality behind it all that gives life meaning and purpose.

God reaching for humanity

There are times, once-in-awhile, when the unique, the astonishing, and the beautiful grab us.  Our souls spring to life.  We “see” the transcendent, and get an awesome glimpse of this place where the physical and the spiritual “touch.” We “taste” that the Lord is good, and “hear” the call to a deeper experience of recognizing the care and compassion of Christ.  We take in a deep breath and “smell” the aroma of him who created us in his image and likeness.

Let your senses draw in all the wonderful information it can.  But don’t stop there.  Allow your soul to drink in the spiritual, and feed your inner person with Jesus Christ, who saves us from the sinful and the mundane, and lifts us to the world of the Spirit where there is life, hope, and infinite love.

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