Monday, March 17, 2014

When Nature Gets Personal

Pantheism visits us with many different faces. Awareness of the great cosmic expanse, the mysteries of quantum fields, an appreciation of our utter dependence on this sustaining Earth. What all forms have in common is a very present, immanent relationship to the world and universe in which we are embedded. No transcendental person God, remote from our very core, our sinews and bones and minds, informs the pantheistic life.

Being an emotional and intuitive and relational person, I find that my deepest source of the Divine is like me--emotional and relational. Not some abstract force or energy field--although I am agnostic about whether physics will someday discover consciousness or affective charge as part and parcel of all constituents of our perplexing universe--but a person characterizes my concept of Spirit. A kind of all-pervasive soul with whom I can cry or rejoice or seek solace in or, in those exceedingly rare and special moments, become unified with. To be an authentic personal pantheist, I hold that each being in nature shares personhood, even apparently inanimate objects like the mossy stone, tripartite trunk, and the bursting rivulet caught in the image above.

To the many pantheists among us who decry personal ideas of God, yes, I do understand--but my peculiar sensibility to emotion and the poetic compels me to construct a personal pantheism. Or as the Presocratic philosopher, Xenophanes, states:

“The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black,
While the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair.
Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw,
And could sculpture like men, then the horses would draw their gods
Like horses, and cattle like cattle; and each they would shape
Bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of their own.”

Let each of us create the Divine in our own image and realize that we are created in the image of our own Divine.

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