I believe in immanence.
Immanence, or in-dwelling, indicates that the Divine resides within, not (solely) without. I have the spark of divinity within my body, heart, mind; so does every other person alive, dead, or yet to be born. For myself, I also believe that every bodiless spirit and every inanimate object is also part of the Divine. We’re all ingredients in the great gumbo of God. :) I am different from my chair* and from my grandmother who has passed on, but I am no more or less sacred than either, no more or less part of the universe and so the Universal Soul.
(*Why yes, I am frequently guilty of anthropomorphizing objects; you should listen to how I talk to my car. However, that’s one of those personal quirks that has only positive ramifications and no negative side-effects, so I happily and freely continue. I break fewer things this way, that’s for sure.)
This belief– this connectedness, this kinship– is one of the many reasons I practice compassion and study zen. The more gently, kindly, courteously I can treat the world – including myself – the better the world is, in however small a way. The more I can see from another’s view and understand them, the less I judge and the more acceptance I bring to the world. The more connected to the Universe that I feel, the less personally I take negative words, actions, and events.
To put it slightly more practically: Shit happens, and it ain’t about me. It may be about something I said, or did, but my actions or words are not the sole constituents of the person who is me. And when I remember that and reflect that as a two-way philosophy, well, I can engage with people with much more compassion than if I feel like someone did something just to hurt me– or if I feel my mistake was somehow aimed like an arrow at someone else’s heart.
The connection between compassion and immanence may not be obvious, or even sensical, but it’s a necessary bridge in my own eyes. Everything, and everyone, is part of the Divine; everything, and everyone, deserves to be treated with as much compassion and gentleness as I can muster.
This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.