I’m flying nonstop from Nashville to LA. Once there I'll rent a car and head north to Santa Barbara where I'm to deliver a talk at UCSB. The topic has something to do with the Five Existential Questions I claim are at the heart of all religion, and which will form the core of whatever future religions we humans may invent: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How should I live? and Why?
I have no paper to deliver, nothing from which to read, no Power Point presentation. And while the talk is to be based on my upcoming book, Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent, I really have no idea what I want to say to the people in the auditorium.
I’m not recommending this style of presentation—winging it, my son calls it, and I still write papers for publication that can be read at conferences if someone asks me to do so. But the simple truth is I either have too much to say, or can’t think of anything to say at all. So I travel light, step up to the podium empty, and open my mouth to see what will happen.
Of course whatever happens I will manage to make it seem that I'm on topic: people came to hear about the Five Questions and the Perennial Wisdom, and I will not disappoint them. But how I will do this and what I will say is… what shall I say? In God’s hands?
In a sense that's true, and I quietly ask the Mother to assist in my lecture, and give thanks to her at the end, but I don’t really believe I speak for God or that she speaks through me. Evoking and thanking the Mother are simply my way of admitting to myself that I have nothing to say and no real reason to say it. I’m not a prophet or a guru, just a guy who strings other peoples’ thoughts together in ways that I find entertaining and sometimes even insightful. I see myself less a creator and more a midwife.
And I'm not uncomfortable admitting that the Mother I serve is a figment of the imagination. The ultimate reality, Brahman, Tao, YHVH, Allah, is beyond imagining, and while I believe we are all a part of It and that we can and do experience It constantly, I also believe we can say nothing about It because It isn’t an It, an object, but rather the eternal Subject, the I behind all I’s.
So I will see how I break the silence of the I and entertain my audience with the wit and wisdom of It and hope that someone, perhaps even me, might benefit from the exercise.