I promised in my last entry here to offer my own answer to the question I posed about whether we are all chemical creatures or spiritual beings. I am aware that I have offered my response before, in writing and in several locations. I nevertheless encore that response here, for any who may have missed it.
I have — as you all know — no need for anyone to agree with me on this subject. I don’t offer this writing to convince, but merely to inform. I have absolutely zero need to convert anyone to my way of thinking, but I presume people have come to this website to find out more about what my way of thinking is, and I am happy to offer my views on spiritual matters, as the Conversations with God books seem to have generated some particular interest among some particular people. So, here goes…
My own answer to the question of True Identity: Chemical Creature or Spiritual Being? — I’ve decided that I am a spiritual being, a three-part being made up of body, mind, and soul. Each part of my tri-part being has a function and a purpose. As I come to understand each of those functions, each aspect of me begins to more efficiently serve its purpose in my life.
I am an Individuation of Divinity, an expression of God, a singularization of the singularity. There is no separation between me and God, nor is there any difference, except as to proportion. Put simply, God and I are one.
This brings up an interesting question. Am I rightly accused of heresy? Are people who believe that they are divine nothing but raving lunatics? Are they, worse yet, apostates?
I wondered. So I did a little research. I wanted to find out what religious and spiritual sources had to say on the subject. Here’s some of what I found . . . .
Isaiah 41:23—Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold together.
Psalm 82:6—I have said, ‘Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High—all of you.
John 10:34—Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?”
The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (788 CE – 820 CE), the one largely responsible for the initial expounding and consolidation of Advaita Vedanta, wrote in his famous work, Vivekachudamani: “Brahman is the only Truth, the spatio-temporal world is an illusion, and there is ultimately Brahman and individual self.”
Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001), a Hindu saint: “God exists; there is only one God; the essence of man is God.”
According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a Self that is independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta). Also, if I understand certain Buddhist schools of thought correctly, humans return to the earth in subsequent lifetimes in one of six forms, the last of which are called Devas . . . which is variously translated as Gods or Deities.
Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese discipline of Taoism speaks of embodiment and pragmatism, engaging practice to actualize the Natural Order within themselves. Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe.
Hermeticism is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism teaches that there is a transcendent God, The All, or one “Cause,” of which we, and the entire universe, participate.
The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the famous words: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”
And in Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam, the teaching, There is no God but God was long ago changed to, There is nothing but God. Which would make me . . . well . . . God.
If you have some further interest in these kinds of things, you will find it fascinating to read the remarkable books of Huston Smith, a globally honored professor of religion. Among titles of his that I most often recommend: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1958, revised edition 1991, HarperOne), and Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions (1976, reprint edition 1992, HarperOne).
So . . . that is my response to the invitation that life is presenting me, and all of us, regarding the making of a choice about Who I Am. I believe myself to be an out-picturing of The Divine. As, I believe, are we all.
To reiterate my comments at the outset here, I have no need for anyone to agree with me on this. I don’t have a shred of evidence to prove or back up my belief. It is one of many beliefs I hold for which I have no supporting scientific data.
I believe, for instance, that my wife loves me, and without condition. I believe that my dog understands what I am “saying” to him when I simply look deeply into his eyes and he looks into mine. He inevitably responds as if we had shared words that he completely comprehends.
I believe that Good always comes to me in the end, however circuitous its route on occasion has been or may be. I believe in the “power of positive thinking” — and it has evidenced itself to me since I was a child. I believe that plants that are loved grow bigger, better, and faster than plants that are not actively “spoken to” or sent loving energies.
I know that some of this sounds silly. And I can back up none of this with indisputable scientific data of any kind.
It does not matter to me. I have enjoyed a rich and wondrous life. And I believe my beliefs have played an important part in making it so. I honor, with great respect, all those who disagree about what I’ve written here regarding the True Identity of humans. They could be “right,” and I could be “wrong.” Their words could be truth and my words could be false. They could be accurate and I could be mistaken.
I have been mistaken before. There was that time in 1958…
As I said in my last entry here, the Conversations with God books challenge every reader to make a simple choice. That choice has to do with how you see yourself in the Universe.
The dialogue makes it clear that you (and all of us) have two choices when it comes to how you think of yourself.
I noted in my most previous entry that I’ve outlined these two choices in earlier writings. I’m going to do so again now. And, as promised, I shall not apologize for the repetition. In my assessment, we need to hear this over and over again — and it would benefit us, I believe, to make a firm and final decision regarding our identity as sentient beings in the universe.
So let’s look at these two choices as I experience them.
Choice #1: You could conceive of yourself as a chemical creature, a “biological incident,” if you please. That is, the outcome of a biological process engaged in by two older biological processes called your mother and your father.
Choice #2: You could conceive of yourself as a spiritual being inhabiting a biological cellular mass—what we call a “body.”
A closer look at Choice #1: If you see yourself as a chemical creature, you would see yourself as having no more connection to the larger processes of life than any other chemical or biological life form.
Like all the others, you would be impacted by life, but could have very little impact on life. You certainly couldn’t create events, except in the most remote, indirect sense. You could create more life (all chemical creatures carry the biological capacity to recreate more of themselves), but you could not create what life does, or how it “shows up” in any given moment.
Further, as a chemical creature you would see yourself as having very limited ability to create an intentioned response to the events and conditions of life. You would see yourself as a creature of habit and instinct, with only those resources that your biology brings you.
You would see yourself as having more resources than a turtle, because your biology has gifted you with more. You would see yourself as having more resources than a butterfly, because your biology has gifted you with more.
Yet that is all you would see yourself as having in terms of resources.
You would see yourself as having to deal with life day-by-day pretty much as it comes, with perhaps a tiny bit of what seems like “control” based on advance planning, etc., but you would know that at any minute anything could go wrong— and often does.
A closer look at Choice #2: You could conceive of yourself as a spiritual being inhabiting a biological mass—what I call a “body.”
If you saw yourself as a spiritual being, you would see yourself as having powers and abilities far beyond those of a simple chemical creature; powers that transcend basic physicality and its laws.
You would understand that these powers and abilities give you collaborative control over the exterior elements of your individual and collective life and complete control over the interior elements—which means that you have total ability to create your own reality, because your reality has nothing to do with producing the exterior elements of your life and everything to do with how you respond to the elements that have been produced.
Also, as a spiritual being, you would know that you are here (on the earth, that is) for a spiritual reason. This is a highly focused purpose and has little to do directly with your occupation or career, your income or possessions or achievements or place in society, or any of the exterior conditions or circumstances of your life.
You would know that your purpose has to do with your interior life—and that how well you do in achieving your purpose may very often have an effect on your exterior life.
(For the interior life of each individual cumulatively produces the exterior life of the collective. That is, those people around you, and those people who are around those people who are around you. It is in this way that you, as a spiritual being, participate in the evolution of your species.)
In my next entry here I will offer you, from the For What It’s Worth Dept., an articulation of the choice I have made in response to CWG’s invitation. I’m sure you all know what my choice has been, but it might be fascinating to take a look at some recorded historical agreement on this subject.