It’s relatively unpopular to openly discuss one’s spiritual or religious beliefs these days; lest one be read as socially conservative, and out of sync with the repressive potential of some religious paradigms. Yet, I am convinced that reclaiming our shared divine inheritance has the potential to transform our lives, and power direly needed social change. At the most basic level, reclaiming the Divine in all of us requires drawing a clear distinction between exclusionary religions that are egocentric, and a spiritual model that is rooted in the principles of interconnectedness and no-self.
The former traditions, the most obvious being the Abrahamic religions, are hotbeds of conflict precisely because they have come to disavow the Divine power and goodness that is intrinsic to all beings and things in the universe. They form static identities with hard boundaries that compel the rest of us to reckon with the material effects of our imposed outsider status: We are the “Children of God,” the chosen few, and you are not. The source of their certitude, the veracity of their claim, is anchored in a transcendental figure with whom only they are acquainted, and from whom only they receive revelation. This is a convenient turn of events indeed. Others are thus made to live in the shadow of such an exclusive relationship.
By withholding Divinity, by claiming that some are “chosen” and others are damned, such traditions disavow the reality of the interconnectedness of all beings with Divine Being, and the inter-being of earthly beings with each other. If we can agree that Being as such is the Source, if we can agree that all that is comes from, and is infused with, the divine creativity of the Source, then no special relationship to the Source can really be claimed. Well, choseness can be claimed, and surely it is, but it cannot be proved to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
What we can be sure of is that we are all here, we all are, and must find a way to live together. Thinking “we” rather “me,” seeing “you” in “me,” moves against our atomistic existence and the Western insistence upon the rights bearing individual. We move toward a notion of collectivity, toward a notion of responsibility for others and for the environment in which we live. We inter-are with the earth, and with each other. Our ability to flourish is contingent upon the happiness and flourishing of all that lives in and around us. For example, to the extent that the earth lives, so do we. This should be obvious: without food we cannot live. If we ruin the environment that enables food to grow we perish along with it. I have no illusions about the arrogant pretensions of some to create synthetic food-stuffs (read: processed food) meant to replace the divine nutrients that sustain us. However, incidences of various cancers, immune diseases, arthritis, kidney disease and other ailments continue to be linked to synthetic foods and the chemicals used to bolster meat production and preserve vegetables and fruit. In short, the “replacements” and additives are killing life rather than sustaining it. (GMOs are equally problematic, but I’d digress to much if I got into it now.)
The spiritual model I have in mind does not propose a God that is anthropomorphic or separate from you and I. Quite the contrary. The “God” I have in mind (if it can be called that) is dispersed energetic light radiating through all things as all things, sowing the seed of Divinity in each of us as its Being exceeds our own. In reclaiming the Divine we re-member, that is, put back together, our awareness of the Divine inside of us.
Such remembrance has had enormous implications for how I move through the world, how I relate to other sentient beings, and how I engage with the natural environment. I no longer feel so separate and alienated from everything around me, and as such, I no longer regard human being as a form of being meant to instrumentalize everything to my own ends. My impulse is to think connection, integration, affinity, and cooperation. As a spiritual practice, my reclamation of the Divine is a living-belief system: it is alive, active, mutable and an open-ended way of being in my daily life. Being open to my own potential to touch the Divine in me has transformed my life from one of intense suffering, addiction, and fear to a life of joy, understanding, peacefulness and courage. I invite you to come along on the path toward the Divine, toward that which is majestic, formless, and noble in you. From our internal, personal transformations we can effect a change much grander, one that may bring a suffering world back to the basic goodness already within itself.