I do this in the spirit of the last post, believing that there are many valid angles from which we get glimpses of God, and one of them does not necessarily negate another. I do not believe what I share is inconsistent with Christianity or what I understand of native american spirituality, Buddhism, or Hinduism. I do not know enough about any other religions to even consider if what I will share is consistent with them.
The biggest revelation I have received is that God is everything put together, the sum total of everything. God is The Entirety. God is the Greatest Whole. We and everything else in the universe are small parts of this Entirety that is God. This means that my connections to my surroundings (whether they be to people or otherwise) are in some small way a connection to God, that the best I (we) can experience God is in the connections, and that the part of ourselves that connects to others is at the same time connecting to God.
This was happening about the same time that I realized that what I most wanted was to feel connected to and a valuable part of a greater whole. I did not need to be extra special or get extra special treatment, what I most wanted and needed was to know I was a unique, valued, and wonderful part of the Greatest Whole.
Another part of this revelation was basically me asking, what about all these religions that seemed to think you favor them because they have things correct? The answer I received was something like:
each does have a lot correct in their ways to connect with Me, experience Me, and from this be good and caring towards each other and the Greater Whole, but do you really think I am so shallow or petty that I care what name they call Me by? When Jesus said the only way to the Father is through Me, He meant through His message of self sacrifice for the greater good, and through all of the Law that basically boils down to being good and caring towards each other. He did not mean you had to know a special code word or secret word, his name.
With this resolved I think I was finally able to start to see the wisdom behind the, evolution is God's plan, revelation. Evolution is the perfect plan for the Whole and is probably the only plan that allows everything to work for the benefit of the Whole without constant manipulation or tinkering by God. And again, any tinkering or manipulation of the system by God, would ultimately be God playing favorites, and therefore God acting careless and cruel towards a lot of people, as he favored some over others.
Evolution is a rough plan for a lot of the individuals in the system, whether human or another species, but it makes sure that ultimately everything is used for the good of the Whole and creates a magnificent Whole. And when an individual aligns themselves with the Whole, they experience a sense of freedom, peace, and well being they could not even imagine beforehand. It truly is unbelievable. This is basically what all religions teach at their core, that selflessness is the way to what we are all looking for.
So why are we given selfishness if the goal is selflessness. We are given selfishness because that is what is good for the Whole. This is the great paradox of what evolution as God's plan teaches. I consider selfishness plus our cognitive mind* to be the curse of humankind, but it is only a curse as long as we do not understand the paradox. Selfishness pushes ourselves and others to be productive and work for the greater good, whether we are trying to work for the greater good or not. Yet the only way we ever get to feel the way we want to feel is when we settle into selflessness. That is why it is the perfect system, everything works for the greater good or the good of the Whole, but we only get to experience and feel what we really want and desperately crave when we align ourselves and act generously and graciously.
Acting selfishly becomes fools gold from our own individualistic perspective. It makes it look like we are achieving what we want, but we do not actually experience what we want. Even acting selflessly because we want to feel better only works a little. The only thing that really works is truly wanting what is best for the Whole more than something specifically for us. It takes a lot of work and quite a bit of grace or luck to even start to get there. I would guess I might be about 5% there on good days, and yet as I keep saying, whatever percent I am at has helped change my life much more for the better than I ever even dreamed was possible.
That and feeling that the whole me, good and bad, is connected to and a valuable part of greater wholes and the Greatest Whole. This is where most of the freedom, peace of mind, and sense of well being has come from, but it naturally leads to at least a little less selfishness, and makes possible a great deal more selflessness, which can snowball in a good way if I allow it.
There is a lot more that could be said and I will certainly come back to these revelations and thoughts throughout my writings. For now I would like to leave you with the challenge to help each other believe and then claim our spots as unique and wonderful parts of this Greatest Whole. We do that by embracing reality, the messiness it involves, and realizing we find connections and the Great Reality in the messiness. We do that by allowing others to explore with us; themselves, their beliefs, feelings, yearnings, etc, without being threatened by them and telling the other person in some way that what they are finding is unacceptable.
I hope most of what follows from me involves ways to remove the things that block us from realizing our spot in the Greatest Whole or feeling connected to and a valuable part of a greater whole and the Greatest Whole. Of course the most common of those ways are prayer and meditation. Please do not think I am suggesting that those are not helpful because God does not play favorites. We are all connected, whether we see it or believe it or not. We all have a part of us that connects to others and things beyond ourselves, and making those connections with prayer and meditation does lead to real changes in us and beyond us.