The divine includes us

If what’s happening is divine will, why would I try to change it? Why would I pray for change?

Someone asked that question in a social media group for a healing modality I am involved in.

PRAGMATIC ANSWER

There is a simple pragmatic answer.

I am part of the world and the situations in my life, so whatever I do is inevitably changing it all1. Whether I try to do nothing or something, I am still embedded in it. So why not aim at changing something if that’s what I am drawn to? Why not aim at shifting situations in a way that seems kind, sane, and maybe even a bit wise?

Why not aim at shifting situations, even if I don’t know the outcome and even if I don’t know the full situation and have hangups and biases. That’s how life is anyway. That’s how it’s all set up. So I may as well willingly and intentionally play my role.

IN IMMEDIATE NOTICING

I can also answer the question more literally.

For me, this is easier if I bring it back to my immediate experience.

This field of experience happens within and as what I am.

The wider world, situations, this human self, anything connected with this human self – it all happens within and as what I am.

It’s all happening within and as the consciousness I am. It’s the consciousness I am forming itself into all of it. It all lives its own life.

Whatever this human self does is not more or less happening within and as what I am than anything else.

THE DIVINE INCLUDES US

It’s also possible to use the language of the question and explore it from there.

In this case, the question contains its answer. If what’s happening is divine will, all of it is divine will – including us trying to change something. Nothing is excluded.

It’s all happening within and as the divine – the situation, us, whatever we do or don’t do.

We are the divine changing something within itself. It’s all the play of the divine.

STEPPING OUTSIDE OF THE MINDSET IT’S ASKED FROM

Often, the mindset a question is asked from is what prevents us from exploring it more satisfyingly. Stepping outside of the mindset in a certain way may even allow the question to fall away. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

The question was framed as a question about reality, slightly removed from our daily life. The pragmatic answer steps out of that frame and brings it back to our daily life.

The second answer is from my immediate experience. This too steps out of the framework of the question. The question was about the nature of reality, and I brought it back to what I notice here and now.

The third answer is a more literal answer to the question. Even here, we step out of the frame of the question. The question assumes duality and the answer comes from a view of all as the divine.

THE ESSENCE

These are a lot of words, although the essence is simple:

To explore a question satisfyingly, we often need to step outside of the frame of the question, one way or another.

The pragmatic answer to the question is: I am inevitably part of the world and the situations in my life, so why not play the game willingly and intentionally and try to be a good steward of my life?

And there are two more literal answers:

To me, this field of experience – the wider world, situations, this human self – happens within and as what I am.

Said another way: It’s all the divine, including me trying to make a change – or not – in the world. It’s all the play of the divine. There is no outside.

NOTES

(1) Even if I stay in a cabin in the woods or remove myself from this life, I am still impacting the situation, others, and the world. I cannot escape it since I am part of the fabric of life.

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Is noise also the voice of the divine?

I am in a place with more traffic noise than I am used to.

My personality doesn’t like it very much.

And I am also exploring something.

What if this is the voice of the divine too?

Can I find it as the voice of the divine?

How is it to notice it as the voice of the divine?

How is it to find it as the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as that too? As the traffic noise. The traffic. This human self responding to it.

NOTE

In exploring this, there is of course a lot more happening.

I find I can do it more easily when I am rested and have more resources available.

I notice parts of me frustrated with the noise. I see what happens when I thank these parts of me for protecting me, and relate to them as a good friend or a good parent to a child. I notice that this too is a flavor of the divine, just like the noise itself.

I notice that the noise only exists, for me, as something within my sound field, within my sensory fields. It happens within and as what I am. I cannot find it “outside”. Even any image I have of “outside” happens within my mental field.

If my human self feels tired, I am kind to my human self and put on headphones or put in earbuds and listen to some music.

And I also just allow myself to be frustrated by the noise and complain or make a joke about it.

Image: Me and Midjourney

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We are the divine digesting itself

When I notice and allow what’s here in experience – thoughts, feelings, etc. – it feels like it’s all being digested.

Since it’s all happening within and as consciousness, we can say that it’s consciousness digesting itself.

And we can say that it happens all the time, just by living our life, whether we notice and allow, or are distracted and fight.

We can even say that all of existence is existence digesting itself.

Or that all of life and existence is the divine digesting itself.

The divine, or existence, or the universe, creates itself into complexity and digests itself.

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See, feel, love even this as the divine

I keep returning to this. 

I have gone through what we can call a dark night of the soul for the last few years. I won’t go into much detail here since I have written about it in other articles. But what keeps coming up is what seems like a central invitation. And that invitation is to see, feel, and love even what’s most difficult to see, feel, and love – as the divine. 

In my teens, the divine revealed itself to itself as all there is. It was easy to see and love all – or almost all – as the divine, and even feel it as the divine. 

I said “almost all”… Some things were not so easily recognized as the divine, especially what this human self strongly dislikes, and especially strong emotional pain, and – to a lesser degree – discomfort in general. 

My dark night phase has been a series of losses – of health, relationships, money, opportunities, belongings, identities, ideas about the future and more. And that has brought up things in me. It has brought up what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved. And what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved as the divine. It has brought up emotional wounds, trauma, and cherished beliefs and identities created for protection and safety (as all beliefs and identities are). 

When unprocessed psychological material comes to the surface, it’s often painful. And there are often reactions to it. If I get caught in my reactions, it’s even more painful. And if I relate to it is with kindness, respect, and patience, it’s easier. It’s a relief. It can even bring a bittersweet feeling, a sense of wholeness, and a sense of returning home. 

Meeting it with kindness, respect, and patience is the portal to seeing the unseen, feeling the unfelt, and loving the unloved in me. And that, in turn, is the portal for the divine to recognize itself as even that, even the discomfort, even the pain, even the reactivity to it. To see, feel, and love itself as all of it. 

There are different types of dark nights, and even within any of our mind-created categories, each one is unique. And yet, they all seem to be about removing veils. Wearing off identifications, beliefs, and ideas about who or what we are.

In my case, one of the many beliefs life seems to wear out in me is the belief – held deeply in me and not aligned with my conscious view – that some things in my experience are not the divine. That this emotional pain, this dread & terror, this discomfort, is not the divine. That it’s somehow inherently wrong. Alien. A mistake. The child in me still reacts to it as if it is all of these things. 

There are no shoulds here. But there is an invitation to see what happens when I get caught in the reactivity to what comes up (amplifying the discomfort), and what happens if I instead remember to meet it with kindness, respect, and patience. And perhaps see the unseen, feel the unfelt, and find love for the unloved. And perhaps then, allowing the divine to recognize itself as what’s here – the emotional pain, the reactivity to it – as itself. As a local and temporary expression of itself. 

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The veils of perception: a gift or curse?

When we speak about our veils of perception – the veils of identifications and beliefs – we can do so from one of two different perspectives.

One is that these veils are a problem. They hinder clear perception, they create suffering, they cause a lot of the problems we experience as humanity. And so, we may think that they are a problem, wrong, bad, a mistake and so on.

Another is that the universe and life is Lila, it’s the play of the divine. And for the divine to experience itself as limited and as separate beings, it created these veils to allow for just that experience. They are not a mistake. They are not wrong. They are part of Lila, the play of life, the divine, and the One.

Both are valid, and there is some truth to each view.

In the big picture, the veils are part of the play of the divine. They are how the divine is able to experience itself as limited and as separate beings each with their own experience, view, and perspectives on itself and life. They are how the divine is able to create an experience of drama and – sometimes – of an apparently very real life-and-death struggle.

And for us – the divine experiencing itself as limited and as a separate being with its own dramas, struggle, and perspectives – these veils are what keeps this perception in place. They do create suffering. They do limit us. They may be seen as a problem. That too is part of the play. That’s part of the divine experiencing itself as limited.

Alan Watts used a brilliant thought-experiment to give us a taste of Lila.

Imagine you can decide the content of your dreams, and that these dreams are lucid – you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming. You may decide to dream about pleasant situations and getting whatever you desire. After a while, that may get a bit boring. You may decide to throw in some challenges to make it more interesting. After some time, you realize it’s still not very exciting because you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming, so you decide to forget you are dreaming while dreaming.

What you dream seems real to you as it’s happening. That makes it more juicy and interesting. But that too gets a bit boring, so you throw in some more serious challenges, perhaps life and death situations and even dying and being born again. That’s certainly juicy, but that too gets a bit monotone in the long run. So you decide to dream that you intuit or realize you are dreaming, and wish for and work toward waking up.

That becomes a new and different challenge. It becomes the new drama. And then, eventually, you wake up. And you realize that the dreams, however real they appeared and however real the actual experiences were, were dreams. They were created within, from, and as what you are. Nobody really was born and died. Nobody was really harmed. The drama wasn’t as real as it seemed, although it certainly seemed and was experienced as real.

And that’s Lila. What we – at least many of us – would choose if we could decide the content of our dreams, is how the world is. And that’s because we are the divine living and experiencing Lila. We are the divine expressing, exploring, and discovering itself in always new ways, including through the drama of life as it is for us humans part of this living planet.

And what are the veils of perception? The expression may sound vague and general, but it can be understood in quite specific ways.

From the consciousness side, these veils happen when the mind identifies with certain thoughts and their inherent viewpoints. That’s how a sense of being a separate self is created. As soon as the mind takes itself to be the viewpoint of any thought, it experiences itself as separate. Instead of being that which any and all experiences happen within and as, including thoughts, it takes itself to be the perspective inherent in a thought, and usually a great number of thoughts. It tells itself it’s a being, a separate being, a certain being, a certain being with certain roles, identities, preferences, and so on.

From the energetic side – as described in, for instance, Vortex Healing – there are energetic structures that make these identifications possible and support these identifications. The divine creates these to allow for identification, and the aspect of Lila that involves experiencing itself as separate, as a separate being, as a separate being with identities, roles, and viewpoints, and so on.

And there are ways to explore both the identifications and the energetic structures, and invite them to unravel when the time is right. That too is part of Lila. That too happens when the divine – experiencing itself as a separate being – is ripe. That too happens through grace, which is another word for the divine being ready and ripe for it. What needs to play itself out for it to happen, has sufficiently played itself out.

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