In earlier times, people understood their connection with animals to be a spiritual principle. The original stories about the sacredness of all life can be found on walls of caves and temples and the first ancient writings. This original knowledge still exists in the basic writings of world religions and philosophies. Yet, virtually no Western religion today teaches its adherents how to practice compassion toward all species and how to protect the natural world.

What happened?

Could misinterpretation of the religions’ texts, and an incomplete understanding of the meaning of spirituality be why the human species continues to cause pain and anxiety upon the other animal world -- as shown by unnecessary animal experimentation, inhumane slaughtering methods, using animals in “sport” and entertainment, and the wanton destruction of animals who live in the wild.

What happened?

When and why did the other animals become invisible in our spiritual adventure? Why did we place ourselves over and above all other animals in some sort of hierarchal system? Did the separation come about simply because of our material wants and needs? Or, are there reasons that we have yet to imagine -- beyond religion, science, and history?

What happened?

Saturday, April 26, 2014



Entry April 26, 2014.   TRUE STORY.

     3 am -- woke up -- legs dangling off the side of the bed  -- one foot on the floor.  Shadow, my loudly snoring compadre was sprawled on his back, dead center of the bed.  I found myself clinging to the edge of the 10% of space allowed me.  (The bed is his bed, you know.)  He has claimed ownership of every corner of our house and every minute of the time of his staff (yours truly).  I rolled out of the bed, trying not to disturb him.  Maybe I can sleep on the floor.  He awoke and hopped off to grab a few bites of his food.  (Yes, one of his feeding stations is in our bedroom.)  I quickly jumped back into the bed under the covers and claimed a share of the mattress.  OHHH, it felt good to stretch!
     Refreshed, he jumped on me and plopped on my legs; and curled up in that adorable position that only cats can achieve.  He's so beautiful!  I can't move my legs for fear of disturbing him.  I laid there for an hour until the excruciating pain of not moving my legs set in.  I reached down and stroked his head.  His sweet purrs renewed me, and I could bear another endless hour of no leg movement.
       5 am.  He rose and walked toward (on) me purring loudly.  Uh-Oh!  Time to knead my belly. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14…   I tell myself that when cats knead, it is to show  affection.  I close my eyes waiting for him to be bored with it.  Then I feel his nose pressing on mine.  Whiskers tickling my cheeks.  I opened my eyes to see his face inches from mine, eyes staring at me.  Maybe if I distract him…  I quickly rolled onto my right side.  Still purring, he happily leaped onto the right side of the bed and begins licking my arm.  Ever have a cat lick your arm?  Scratchy, scratchy, scratchy.  Tongue is like sandpaper.  I don't dare ask him to stop.  After all, my arm is his arm.  I roll onto my left side.  You guessed it.  Scratch, scratchy tongue licking my feet this time.  Very tickly.  Exhausted from so much activity, he finally settled down and fell asleep still purring as loud as loud he could.

     7 am.  Still wide awake, I roll out of bed, trying not to disturb him.  Don't have to worry.  He's sprawled on his back, dead center of the bed, deep in cat dreams.
     2 pm.  I need a nap!  Shadow is already napping in the little bed I placed on my desk just for him.  He needs his rest for another fun night.  Me too.  

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About the Author

After spending several years in Public Relations initiating and organizing award-winning multi-state community relations projects on behalf of a global telecommunications company, Judith Hensel has written her first fictional book, THE QUESTION. “What Happened to the Animal-Human Spiritual Connection?” The book is a fantasy about characters created out of real life people who join the animals in an imaginary setting to find the answer to their question. Among articles published about the book’s premises, one article “Evolving in a Conscious Universe,” was published in QUEST, international Theosophical Journal in 2003; and inspired the magazine’s content theme. As former Associate Professor of Art and Humanities, St. Xavier University, Chicago, she received numerous awards as an artist and teacher including special recognition by the Associated Press and the Governor of Illinois. She wrote and directed two critically acclaimed rock operas, “Hosanna!” and “Taproot” performed by student talent as well as talent from across the Chicago region to sell-out audiences. Her artwork is in several private collections in Australia, the Netherlands, New York, Illinois, California, Colorado and Wisconsin; and for several years was available at the Art Institute of Chicago rental gallery. She holds the MSA in Painting and Graphics, University of Wisconsin; and the MA in Communications/Television Production, University of Illinois-Chicago Campus.

Paintings by the author.