I doubt that many would point to Janice Joplin as an advocate of transcendent spirituality. But one of my wanderings between "wide awake world" and Alternia raised that possibility for me. I have already confessed to talking to myself, but I take it a bit further — as do many of you. I chat with what I think of as "the sentient essence of the universe." More mainstream belief systems would see a parallel to prayer. I shy away from that slippery slope because of the baggage that any organized religion, and its notion of prayer, brings.
Still, the conversation goes on between me and the sentient essence of the universe — SEU. No, I don't begin with "Hi SEU." Or Hello There, Big Guy." I remain enough a product of my western Judeo-Christian heritage, that "Lord" still comes most naturally to mind as a good noun of address for the sentient essence of the universe. So anyhow, the other night I finished my meditation, turned on my crickets, wind and rainfall soundtrack, and drifted off beyond the edges of wide awake world. And I said/thought/whispered, I'm never really sure which it is, "So Lord, how are you doing?"
The thing that sort of rocked me back on my heels was that the question was sincere. I realize it is somewhat silly to inquire after the well-being of the sentient essence of the universe, because the implication of "How are you doing?" is that the question poses an offer to be of aid if things aren't going so well. I mean, what do I have to offer to the sentient essence of the universe?
Ordinarily a sit down with the sentient essence of the universe centers around what we want; please give me this or that. If we do offer anything in exchange it is that we will do what we already know we should be doing. Furthermore it implies that the sentient essence is watching our individual actions, as if there is so little else going on in existence. Right. I'm sorry. I just can't push belief that far. My relationship to the sentient essence may well be personal, but I cannot see that it is reciprocal. I think the sparrow falls unnoticed, save perhaps by the neighborhood cat.
But that is when Janice kicked in "Take it! Take another little piece of my heart now baby. You know you got it, if it makes you feel good!"
Admittedly, it is presumptuous for us to offer aid to the sentient essence of the universe, more presumptuous still to address the essence as "baby." Yet a further assumption, that partners my assumption that the universe and existence are sentient, is the notion of an objective. The reason for our existence is to — wait for it: Foster Harmony, Enable Beauty, Distill Complexity and Oppose Harm. We do those things because they enhance the harmonic will of the universe — and in doing so we are doing our bit for the sentient essence of the universe. That Harmony is probably sensed at levels we can't really grasp, the way a skilled conductor can hear the Harmony or discord being contributed by the e-string of the sixth chair viola. But the idea is that we can contribute to the Harmony of existence and it does — somehow — make a difference.
So if somewhere deep in our being, after asking, "So Lord, how are you doing?" we sense a little returned whisper of "It was a rough day." Then maybe we need to let the universe know that we are still in there doing our bit, and affirm Janice's rock offering: "Take it! Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. You know you got it, if it makes you feel good!"