I’m going to start this entry with Wikipedia’s definition of Pantheism: Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God. All forms of reality may then be considered either modes of that Being, or identical with it. To some, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).
Pantheism, however, is not what we see in today’s world of yoga on the beach and expensive mindfulness meditation retreats, where the concept that everyone is a divine being – a god, a goddess, a Buddha – is becoming ever pervasive. This belief is different than recognizing that all things are made of the same stuff (energy, star dust, etc.). This most recent doctrine is meant to be empowering, meant to encourage the harnessing of one’s own inner strength and tap into one’s unlimited potential, and… in my opinion, is meant to make an individual feel special or better than.
Unpopular Opinion #1: We are not all divine.
But I’m going to share a rather unpopular opinion. Not everyone is a divine being. Not everyone is a god, or a goddess, or a Buddha in this life. Nor was everyone a god, or a goddess, or a Buddha in a past life.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone can certainly have Buddha nature, the potential to find enlightenment. Everyone can have god-like or goddess-like qualities. And hell, gods and goddesses certainly can (and do) have the qualities of other, non-divine beings. But having overlapping abilities or skills or qualities, or sharing in the potential for greatness, does not make two beings the same, in the same way that a dog and a cat both having fur does not make them the same animal.
Unpopular Opinion #2: Being divine doesn’t make you special or better.
Another unpopular opinion: being a divine being, in a past life or in this one, does not make one better or more special than those who aren’t divine or have never been divine. What being divine means is that there are different expectations for what we are meant to or are able to accomplish; we have a different sense of responsibility to the Universe (or the world or our sphere of existence or our worshipers or whatever).
And just like the non-divine: we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing.
We have plans. We have challenges. We succeed. We fail. Mostly, like you, we’re winging it.
We’re just like the non-divine except that some of the things we do impact the Universe in ways that the non-divine cannot imagine. But don’t get jealous of that.
Like anyone, divine beings all have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Being divine doesn’t mean you can do everything you want to do or be anything you want to be or have everything you want to have. It does not guarantee a charmed and easy life. And even if we accomplish our goals and have the unimaginable impact on the Universe mentioned above, it doesn’t mean that anyone will actually notice or recognize or appreciate the work we’ve done because that’s just not how it works all the time.
Unpopular Opinion #3: It doesn’t matter that you were never divine.
I’ve been asked by several friends whether they are or were a divine being. They want to know if they were “someone important” or “someone powerful.” And honestly, I struggle with giving them an answer because I know the answer they’re hoping for and because ultimately, here’s what it comes down to:
- If you were or are divine: you know and are in denial; you know already; or you’re going to find out when it’s actually a necessity that you know
- It doesn’t really matter if you were or are divine; regardless, we’re still here to accomplish something in this lifetime and we’re all trying to figure out what that is and how the fuck to do it
- Whether or not you were or are divine, you are still someone important and powerful within some context
So to my friends who have asked if they were a god or goddess in a past life, I think I’ve often deflected and circled back with this answer: focus on what’s going on in this lifetime and the goals that are ahead of you right now.
And I still stand by that.
So… what about Pantheism?
So with all that said, I’m going back to that pantheism that I talked about at the start of this entry, which basically states that reality and divinity are the same because everything is an aspect of the reality created by divinity.
Doesn’t that mean that everyone IS divine?
No. It just means that when it all comes down to it, if we’re all cut from the same cloth, that type of designation doesn’t matter. Just focus on the reality you know. Tap into your unlimited potential, or not. Feel empowered, or not. Accomplish shit, or not. Just be the you that you are and don’t go questing to be who you aren’t.