An instant is an eon.
A leaf is a tree.
A rock is a world.
A mind is all minds.
You write a lot about the Universal Mind. How would you classify this as a religion?
In 2010 I was asked to participate in a Xanga poll questioning our religious affilliations. The poll asked: Are you Christian, or part of a Christian sect, or are you an athiest, or Muslim, Hindu, etc. I answered as always that I adhere to the epiphanies which gave me the key to the understanding of the Universal Mind, and as always, I linked to the Universal Blog, as I will at the bottom of this post. I received a return message. Do you have a separate category? As I always do, I classified the Universal Mind theory as a pantheist belief, as opposed to a theist belief. However, just recently, as I have been delving more into studying the tenets of Buddhism, I also would compare the Universal Mind, and my search for enlightenment, to the similar search for and answers that the Buddha obtained over 2500 years ago, longer even than when Jesus Christ walked the earth.
For those who don’t know what pantheism is, it is the belief that all things are connected. There are spiritual connections in all of life. The Lakota tribe in North America even believe the rocks and trees were part of the Universal makeup of spirituality. Each part of the earth, including mankind and all life, is part of a Universal whole. This is also what is taught by Buddhism. The concept of a “creator”, as with theism, and more recently, with monotheism, is a moot point.
Monotheism, which is the belief that there is “one god”, is the belief system of the three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yahweh , or Jehovah, is usually named as the original monotheistic diety. He’s the one who dictates to Moses that “thou shalt have no other gods before me.” He is usually pegged as the “father” of Jesus Christ. and the supreme being who gives Muhammad his recitations in the caves behind the city of Mecca. Before Yahweh became supreme, however, there were many gods and goddesses worshipped by the peoples of Europe and Asia.
Buddha began his life on the continent of India as Prince Siddharta. He was next in line for the throne of his particular city state, and until he was about 30, he was pampered and secluded, kept behind the castle walls, so to speak, by his father the king. He got married, and sired a son. In the east at this time, there were also many gods and goddesses, part of the Vedic religion. (Some of these gods and goddesses later become part of Hinduism.) The uppermost caste of Indian life at the time were the Bhramins, who could communicate witth the gods, and acted as the intermediaries between the race of gods and the race of men.
Prince Siddharta left the palace a few times, and each time he witnessed signs that there was a more sorrowful world which existed outside. He encountered old age, and sickness, and death. These concepts were foreign to him, and they bothered him. He left the palace, abandoning the crown, his family, and his destiny, to pursue the road to enlightenment, and to answer the question of why there was suffering and grief in the world.
For six years, he searched. He became the apprentice to various gurus, and practiced such accepted spiritual conceits as asceticism. He was better than his gurus at anything he attempted. Yet still he could not find the answer to his questioning nature. One day, he sat at the foot of the Bodhi tree, and there he gained the wisdom that he later taught in his travels. All is one. We are all enlightened. The world exists. The plethora of gods and goddesses are moot. Everything is connected. Suffering and grief exist naturally, and we can’t have happiness without sadness. When his teachings became known, and when his disciples began spreading his words, he began to be idolized and worshipped as the Buddha, the awakened one. Buddha taught, however, that actually we are ALL Buddha. We are all enlightened. Some of us do not know this however, and for those, there are still questions.
Similarly, I began my search for enlightenment back when I was young. I was in high school when I really began to question the teachings of the Baptist church in which I was brought up. I always say that I gained my first epiphany under my own Bodhi tree, an apricot tree in the back yard of our house, when I was 12 years old. I realized that the long summers of youth would not go on forever. I realized that each moment is special, and should be cherished.
When the Buddha was still Prince Siddharta, he looked at the ground and contemplated the ants during the planting festival. He realized that when the ground was tilled, the complete colony of ants would be destroyed. When I was a kid, my father put a new driveway alongside our house, and I can clearly remember contemplating the earthworms, and realizing that when my father overturned the soil to prepare the driveway, he would in essence destroy the whole ecosystem of the worm world.
These realizations are that life, no matter who seemingly small and inconsistent, is special. Everything is connected, and when we disturb part, in effect the ripples disturb a lot more. However, this is also part of existence. In the animal world, there are predators and there is food. The food cannot question this, and it is as it should be.
I will be 60 in a few years. (The Buddha lived to be about 80) I’ve been “preaching” about the Universal Mind for almost 40 years. As I study religion, I find that a lot of what I believe is not new, and I never claimed that it was. The ideas I know to be true are ideas which have been known by those Lakota Indians, and by the Buddhists many many years ago. In the case of the Buddhists, longer ago than Judaism or Christianity, or Islam. Of course, over the years, there has been idolization of the Buddha and there are lots of rituals associated with the religion. I’m sure the chanting comes to mind most vividly. Buddha wouldn’t have minded perhaps, but when he walked the earth, he turned his back on the ritualistic practices of the Vedic religion then popular.
The Universal Mind is the collective. It isn’t a religion, per se. There are no church buildings or collection plates. It is an ideology and a philosophy which has been around “universally”. As with Buddhism and the pantheistic beliefs, the idea of a singular god is moot, as is the “creation story.” For the most part, all creation stories are myths. Mankind needs to know he had a “beginning”. He certainly knows he has an ‘end”. The Universal Mind teaches that this search for a creation is moot. The ‘ending” is also the beginning, as physical death brings us the final realization and opens the “doors to perception”. Everything is. Everything was. And Everything shall be.
For me, it’s that simple.
Yes, I’ll continue to sturdy religion and spiritual beliefs. Yes, I’ll continue to pray to dieties like Jesus Christ. But in the end, I know that the godhead is made up of you, me, and everything, and time is only a convention invented by man. We are part of the earth we live upon, and it is a part of the galaxy in which it spins.
And the galaxy is part of the Universal Mind. As it always has been, and will continue to be, even as we humans are born, and search for answers, and die, and find them.
(This post was originally published on WhenWordsCollide on July 9th, 2010)