A “God of Your Understanding”
I l Divine.
While that is liberating, I see that it can also lead to a slippery slope of self delusion or spiritual bypass. So here are some filters you can use to help you discern whether the conclusions that you draw from your spiritual experiences are “real.”
“Othering” is making one group or person different or an outsider. Now, I know that we are all unique. I don’t mean that. I mean there is judgment that someone or something needs to be ostracized, marginalized, pitied, shamed, or even helped.
Examples of othering are: racism, discrimination, preferential treatment, entitlement, or shifting the way you respond to people due to politics, religion, accent, where they live, where they went to school, etc. If someone or something isn’t okay just the way that it is, perhaps your human filter is askew.
What’s your social group look like? We all need a tribe where we feel like we belong and we feel understood, but how diverse is it? Do you entertain outside opinions? Do you give leadership positions to people who don’t look or think like you? How do you feel when you are with people who aren’t like you in some way? If your group is isolated, maybe your spiritual beliefs aren’t broad enough to include all of Nature.
What’s Your Focus?
What is the focus of your spiritual experience? Is it you? Fame? Money? Power? At Pan Society, the first step in animism is you. It’s sovereignty. This is because until you are a sovereign person, you aren’t able to stand in your power and contribute. You have to be carried and nurtured.
However, the point of being sovereign is not just so that you can be all that you are meant to be. It’s also so that you can serve. If the god of your understanding is about how others can serve you, how you can boost your ego, or make a ton of money, perhaps your understanding needs some work.
Are You Grounded?
At Pan Society we encourage play and including the imaginal world as part of reality. However, we live in a complimentary duality system where play’s partner is work. The imaginal partners with the apparent to create a holistic system. There is nothing wrong with woo, but if you’re not grounded, the conclusions that you come up with probably aren’t either.
Is Your Experience Useful?
So you’ve had a really cool experience. It makes you feel high, inspired, loved, connected, or maybe confused. Okay, so what now? What are you going to do with it? Life exists to sustain itself. We eat, breathe, and have sex to sustain ourselves and our kind. If our experiences don’t enhance our lives in some way, if they don’t create meaning, connection, what is the point? Why do a ritual, go to church, take plant medicine, or pray if it has no meaning?
And if it has no meaning, can you change the way that you look at it to give it meaning?
To me “a god of your understanding” can apply to all of life. If I see that everything happens for a positive reason, that everything is an opportunity to love more, serve more, be more of who I truly am, and connect more deeply, god is purposeful and good. It’s huge and endless.
If I see god as something that enhances me, gives me what I want, and makes me feel good, I feel really alone and small when all that goes away. I might chase that feeling, fear that it may go away, or that I won’t have enough. Then I might have to go find another god or another path to god. If my god elevates me by putting someone else down, that creates distance, not connection.
There is no “wrong” path. Discernment may help to reduce the number of detours and experiences we have before we feel that peace inside of us all the time though. It’s always a good idea to check your understanding of god and upgrade it when needed.
What do you use for checks and balances? Let us know in the comments!