Tagged: pantheism

New Age Spirituality

“I Am God”

IAmGod_Belief

If God is universal energy, permeating the cosmos and all human beings, then everything is God. I believed. Human beings are a “spark” of Divinity, a soul. Religions, and particularly “spiritual but not religious” people, dearly hold these beliefs. Why? An intimate connection between the God Source and all human beings is considered natural and self-evident. But specific explanations are rare1. Instead, we find just a collection of suggestions that convey general beliefs without bothering with specifics, such as:

  1. Divinity can be found “within”, in the soul;
  2. Human beings contain a divine essence, a Higher Self, a divine spark or ray;
  3. We have an intimate Cosmic connection, we are a droplet or wave of the Cosmic Sea;
  4. We are Channels of the universe, potentially perfect expressions of God;
  5. Human beings connect (or disconnect) with Source through sacred rituals, prayer, and meditation.

Catholic teachers promise us faith, prayers, and sacramental rituals will save our souls– so we swallow communion wafers and confess sins to priests. Eastern Spiritual Masters say we are gods, and that the Spirit dwells within2. (Though most of us appear to be sleeping gods in need of awakening through special initiations and meditations). Modern spiritual seekers crave initiation into mindfulness and meditation practices. Is it natural or self-evident that we have a connection with universal energy, Self, or God? Specific explanations are rare indeed.

If everything is universal energy and we are already connected with that energy or God, why are we separate? Why do we need meditation or sacred initiations to reconnect with our Self? Or, to disconnect from our self? More importantly, why are human beings fallen, sinful, or in need of salvation? Specific answers are rare. Instead, we find only a collection of suggestions that convey general beliefs.

Questions for readers: Any thoughts on “I am God” beliefs? Any key points I failed to mention?

Notes

  1. pg 204 New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, Hanegraaff, Wouter J., State University of New York Press, 1998. Print.
  2. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:16, King James Version

Laughter as Meditative State, Reincarnation, and Pantheism

This post summarizes three different articles:

  1. New study finds laughter puts our brain into a ‘true meditative state’.
  2. What Buddhists believe about reincarnation and god, from Yale-NUS Professor.
  3. Pantheism, or seeing god as everything, is growing in popularity as an alternative to organized religion, argues scholar of religious studies.
Yue Minjun's A-maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada, photo by Stefano Costanzo
Yue Minjun’s A-maze-ing Laughter, Vancouver, Canada, photo by Stefano Costanzo

New Study: Laugh Your Way Into Meditative States
Laughing puts the brain into a ‘true meditative state’ AND can improve your memory, researchers claim
– Researchers at Loma Linda University Health say the effect of laughing is similar to a ‘true meditative state’.
– Humor and mirthful laughter is a whole brain experience with gamma wave band frequency similar to meditation; researchers called this frequency, being ‘in the zone’ (See post The Rise of Superman: Finding Your Flow, Your Ultimate Creative, Athletic Self and Meditation Not Better than Drugs or Exercise, Study Finds).
– Laughing could dramatically improve your health, and be as good for you as a deep state of meditation, the researchers have found.

untitled, photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn
untitled, photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn

What Buddhism Really Says About Reincarnation
– Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being, argues scholar Jay Garfield, Professor of Humanities, Yale-NUS College Singapore.
– Like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Buddhism IS a religion, but not in the theistic sense.
Buddhism is a religion without theism, or no god.
– Buddhists are more akin to Pantheists (see podcast below).
– For Buddhism, as opposed to Hinduism, a better word than reincarnation is rebirth.
– Buddhism itself doesn’t necessarily require belief in reincarnation or rebirth, though actual Buddhists probably do believe.
– Buddhism encourages us to rethink egoism and to consider an orientation to the world characterized by care and joint responsibility. That can’t be a bad thing, says Garfield.

PODCAST

Esala Perahera (the festival of the Buddha's tooth relic), Kandy, Sri Lanka, photo by james_gordon_losangeles on Flickr
Esala Perahera (the festival of the Buddha’s tooth relic), Kandy, Sri Lanka, photo by james_gordon_losangeles on Flickr

Jesus, God, or Nothing? Interview with Raphael Lataster, Skepticality #230
– Interview with Rafael Lataster, author of There Was No Jesus, There Is No God and PhD researcher of Religious Studies from University of Sydney.
– Huge bias in religious studies of focusing on god concepts such as theism, or only a focus on monotheist religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
– Other religions like Buddhism and Taoism are a form of pantheism. And, Hinduism is both pantheism and polytheism.
Pantheism is the concept that all is god, unity, one world, and respect for nature. Everything is said to be one, there is unity to all things, as found in New Age beliefs.
– Pantheism is about the Universe/Cosmos itself being ‘God’.
Theist scriptures promote a special race of “chosen” peoples.
– Pantheism, while not an organized religion, encourages people to be compassionate to all beings and the planet as a whole.
– The film ‘Avatar’ uses the idea of Pantheism as the basis for the religion in that movie.
– Many people are moving away from institutionalized theistic religions and moving toward personalized pantheist religions, such as New Age religions or atheism (see also Pantheism Unites/What is Atheism?).