The other day I wrote a post on how I don’t think of God as an entity that can be defined but prefer to see the Divine as existing in each of us, no matter who we are. The Hindu greeting “Namaste” has been translated as “the divine in me greets the divine in you.” In other definitions it speaks of releasing one’s own ego in order to be able to see the divine in others, putting aside ones definitions of what is sacred and being willing to be open to that which is divine in others. Some people may say that I am not “saved” or am in danger of going to hell because of what I believe. I am not concerned. That which gives comfort to others, whether it be a relationship with Jesus or adherence to the strictness of dogma, is not for me to judge. (Though, to be honest, I am guilty of that at times.) Comfort is valuable and we should all be allowed to find it in whatever way serves us as long as it does not harm others.
I have been able to find great comfort in the words of Jesus and Buddha, in the writings of Jewish rabbis, Muslim clerics, Sufi poets, yogis, native shamans, and in the garbled words of a schizophrenic homeless man. This has been proof to me that the Divine knows no boundaries. What concerns me is when the religious set up boundaries that leave some people feeling that they cannot be a part of anything that even smells of incense.
Today I choose to find the Divine in the world around me in hopes that it can help me find that spark in myself. Here is where I find it (in no particular order):
1 - In great and sometimes not so great music. I can be moved by Chopin and Saint-Saens in one moment and groove out to Carly Rae Jepsen the next.
2 – The kindness of others. I am truly grateful for the food that is grown in my friend, Joyce’s, garden, but not only does the Divine exist in her garden, it exists in her and Roland’s hearts as they fulfill their mission of supplying food to the local food pantry. I also know many people who choose to work in human service rather than finding careers that pay well. And I know people who make good money and choose to be of service by volunteering or giving a portion of their earnings. Kindness comes in many forms. I have seen it when a car stops to let someone cross the street or when someone spends a full day Christmas shopping for children she will never see but just wants to know that a child in a shelter will have something to open on Christmas morning.
3 – Laughter. From baby to adult, the sound of true laughter is the expression of Divine joy.
4 – The beauty of nature – Divinity is found in great beauty whether you believe in intelligent design, the creation as told in Genesis, or evolution. The desert landscapes of New Mexico, the mountains of New Hampshire or the Himalayas, the colorful creatures of island lagoons, and the beauty of a flower garden all contain the spark of Divine. When I look at the stars and hear Neil Degrasse Tyson (see below) telling me of how I am made of the same stuff as the stars I am in awe of that possibility.
5 – Patience. Whenever I am able to be patient with myself, others, and animals, I am aware that the Divine exists in me. It is in the breath that I take when I need to have a moment before I take action or say something that proves to me that there is something divine that works in me and keeps me from falling apart.
As I said before, I don’t believe in a God that takes a personal interest in the day to day, minute to minute, goings on of my life. But there is something that quickens in me when touched by the presence of the Divine in myself and others. It has no judgment, no agenda, and no specific purpose. It is just a presence that reminds me of my humanity and connection to others and the world around me. It is the loss of that connection that I believe turns so many people to despair and harm of others. I know that others may define this all differently and that is fine.