I have an eclectic spirituality. My modes of connecting with the divine are mainly pagan and include self-styled forms of neo-druidism, buddhism, yogic tantrism, and new age philosophies that I have followed for nigh on forty years, though I was brought up as a non-practicing christian.
Each of these paths has elements that align to what I believe about the divine cosmos, deep inside myself.
Mostly, though, of late, I have been pragmatically accepting that life can be an extremely challenging event, with so much that is outside my control going on.
So, I’ve been pondering the actual effect of prayer and it’s validity. Which is a bit of a crossroads situation, given that I am a fervent believer in the power of prayer and divine assistance.
This points to my eclectic spirituality. There are always cross checks and balances to be accommodated, that ensure that what I believe in really fits with me and how I want to operate. That way, I keep my spiritual integrity.
With my belief that all that exists comes from ‘God’s mind’ – manifesting from ‘God’s thoughts and dreams’ – and is what it is only because these are the ‘threads of exploration’ God is focusing on – it sometimes seems that I have no real power over what happens to me.
For me, in those instances, fate or destiny (which is the thread from God’s mind) is at work.
This idea can be very confronting.
In that idea, I have no value beyond what God deems is necessary in its explorations.
The buddhists call this the ‘nothing.’
It is the acceptance that, in truth, nothing exists because we are all just ‘figments of God’s imagination’.
That concept can be helpful to pragmatically align your place in the universe, to understand that there’s no point getting too upset about what happens to you or others because you are not actually ‘real‘ but just think you are ‘real.’
Vedists call this the ‘maya‘ – the ‘illusion of reality’.
In both buddhist and vedic modes, this concept sets up the scenario of compassion for their fellow beings – for those who are caught up in the woes of their lives or the tragedies inflicted by the natural world because they do not have the enlightened awareness of the ‘nothing‘, and can therefore suffer unnecessary pain and emotional conflict.
Such compassion comes from different roots for buddhists than for vedists (e.g, hinduism).
Vedic compassion is about fostering a better understanding of the state of life so that spiritual evolution can occur. For them, spiritual evolution is about attaining eventual cosmic ‘Nirvana‘ or ‘heaven’.
For buddhists, having compassion is more about feeling sorry that those who are suffering don’t realize they are Gods who can inherently control how much they suffer, and giving them practical sympathy.
(When buddhists say that they are Gods, they are simply stating the cosmic facts as they know them – that, as ‘figments of God’s imagination’, they are ‘elements of God’ and are therefore ‘aspects of God’).
By aligning themselves to the concept that they are God (in its aspects), they give value to their existence and find a reason for being.
(In buddhism, everyone has an inherent ability to become a ‘buddha’ – by remembering the ‘divine truth’ of life).
For other spiritual modes, such as tantra and vedism, the challenges of life present an evolutionary classroom that enables them to graduate to become a God, or at least attain the right to live with the Gods (in Nirvana).
Again, this gives ‘mere human beings’ something to hold on to as they face the challenges of life – that if they do the ‘right things‘ and act the ‘right way‘, they may earn their place in ‘higher levels of the cosmos‘.
It is a way of making spiritual sense of existence, too.
My own spiritual modes, being so eclectic, took some time to settle into what I believe, today.
I actually don’t believe so much in spiritual evolution as in an ‘unfolding of awareness.‘
Because I do believe that we are ‘figments of God’s imagination’ and only exist so long as God thinks of us, then I believe that being ‘part of God’s mind’ means we already know all there is to know.
If I am God and God is me, then I also have God’s inherent knowledge – (at least, when I merge into the ‘divine pool of God’s mind’, and stop consciously separating my ‘figment’ by applying it only to the tasks of my ‘reality’).
That belief is inherent with the idea that we are born into the world with challenges that must be met in order to peel away the layers of ‘forgetting’ to slowly reveal our ‘true cosmic knowledge’.
For me, God enters into roleplays through manifesting our lives in its thoughts and dreams, and deliberately puts aside who and what it is so it can manifest those roleplays.
I believe this is how God experiences itself, and how it explores the relationships and ramifications of its thought processes.
As it explores the ramifications, it attains new insights, and with each insight it realigns itself. Which is when we become more connected and aware.
So, for me, I don’t believe it is necessary to spiritually evolve, because God is, was, and will be all it needs to be, and already has all the knowledge to do that.
(I mean this on philosophical levels, not physical or mental ones. Spiritual evolvement in the world, that enables us to be better people during life, is different to the ‘cosmic levels’ of spiritual evolution known in buddhist, vedic or even christian lore, for instance. It is more about working better on the ‘path of life’ than about advancing to higher stages of ‘cosmic existence’ once our bodies are no longer ‘vehicles for our spirit’. I certainly believe in learning to be nicer people. It makes the world a better place to live in).
On the other hand, it can be hard to be as pragmatic as buddhism declares correct when so many challenging aspects keep arising in life that do upset and disturb the human psyche (and the very ‘real’ sensation of being solid and alive).
It’s not so easy, then, to align the knowledge of the ‘wider cosmos’ emanating from ‘God’s mind’ and it’s ‘threads of thought’, to the existence we know, living as ‘mere human beings‘ on a volatile planet.
Until those layers of ignorance peel away, we can do fierce battle with ‘reality.‘
That’s why christianity, islam, and more western types of spirituality made such headway into the human psyche, because they offered a different option – that we are not God, though we are physical creations of God – that as physical creations of God, we are like God’s children – and that, as God’s children, we can pray or ask for some better consideration than just having to ‘put up with our lot’.
That takes responsibility for our own lives and evolution out of our hands, and gives it over to a higher supervising force.
Western paganism, such as druidism and wicca, or even magick, also offer different options – such as that we are not Gods, but we can apply to the Gods for assistance because we are servants of the Gods and therefore accrue some rights for good service.
I’m not on par in my personal belief system with those options – but nor do I believe we are completely helpless against the vicissitudes of life, even if we are mere ‘figments of God’s imagination’.
The conclusion I reached was that, if all that exists is God, and we are ‘elements manifested by God’s thoughts and dreams’, then whatever we are, do, or say actually stems from God – good or bad.
(Yes, I did write ‘or bad’ but do remember I believe that for God we are just ‘figments of its imagination’, so you need to put that on the same level as you put errant ‘bad thoughts’. In my mind, they are simply ‘explorations’ to God).
On the positive side, this means for me that, if we can pray and believe in prayer – if we can beseech and believe we have a right to beseech – and if we can ask for and occasionally receive miracles – then these modes are accepted elements in the ‘mind of the Divine’.
The fact that we can believe in and do the above – and that these things can happen in our ‘worldly reality‘ – means that they are ‘within the realm of possibility.’
That also means that there is a precedent for interaction with ‘God’s mind’ in such modes.
It means that prayer and magic and positive thinking, amulets and talismans and all such metaphysical things, may actually have some grounding as avenues for good results, so long as we really do believe in them or what we are doing with them.
For me, it means that, even though I am a ‘figment of God’s imagination’, if I can focus on my plights and ask for divine help to assuage them, then these are within my realm of possibility – just because I can do them, because I can pray and ask, and hopefully expect a response…
The fact that I can do these things means that some part of ‘God’s mind’ is focusing on them and manifesting their ability in my life.
Thus, results from the asking are also inherently within my ‘realm of possibility’.
While I may be part of the ‘nothing‘, as an ‘aspect of God’ I am ‘something‘ and do have import and energy that can create a better future for myself, those I care for, or things I care about.
This is also the measure whereby meditation has true effect.
By connecting with the ‘Divine source’ inside each of us, we can remove the focus on the ‘individual fragment of the Divine’ that we and our lives represent, and can refresh and renew our life paths by simply remembering that every cell of the ‘Pool of God’s mind’ is God – and God can do or be anything.
The key is in the ‘power of belief’ – and its persistent assertion.
That does, however, take effort.