There is a concept in the New Thought Movement that I feel very connected with, the concept of the Universal Spirit.
This is how I understand it – there is a Universal Spirit or Infinite Intelligence in this Universe, to which we are all connected. All that exists, is a manifestation of this Spirit and is, therefore, essentially similar in nature. This means that we are all connected to each other and to everything we can see and perceive.
While all of us constitute the Spirit, we are all, individually the Spirit too. Just like, if you break a piece of wood into smaller pieces, each piece is still wood.
How is it different from the idea of God?
I know this sounds very much like the idea of God but I still prefer calling it the Universal Spirit(or Universe, or Inner Self, or Inner Partner, or Intuition).
When I was growing up, I imbibed the Hindu idea of God I saw in practice around me. I saw God as the supernatural trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, that was running this world. I imagined them exactly the way they were shown in images and as their idols in temples, Gods in human forms. I believed that they created this world and run it. They keep an eye on what every one is doing. They reward good behavior and punish those who commit sins.
The Universal Spirit is a different concept. The Spirit is not a separate entity that is running things for us. The Spirit is our essential self. We are part of the Spirit, we ARE the Spirit. The Spirit is not judging anyone’s actions. It does not want us to worship it or be afraid of it, or proclaim our allegiance to it with elaborate religious procedures.
The Spirit does not try to induce you to guilt, it just urges you to realize your true nature, your inifnite potential. It pushes you to rise above fear, to stop living in guilt. There is no idea of right and wrong, good or bad, sin and salvation, there is only the idea of realizing your true self, which is the Spirit itself.
You are not not a sinful being trying to achieve salvation, you are the divine(if I may use the word here) Universal Spirit who has somehow forgotten his/her true nature and are looking for some answers.
The nature of the Spirit
It manifests whatever we believe. The spirit is benevolent and friendly. It is ready to fulfill all our desires, all it needs is a clear statement. When we consistently think about something in a certain way, the spirit manifests it in our lives in exactly the same way. Our desires and thoughts start the creation process. Depending on the clarity of our thought and the passions behind it, the Spirit can manifest it in no time at all, no matter how difficult it may seem to the rest of the world.
The spirit has a simple, child like nature. It understands simple, clear statements. So when it sees someone happily imagining being in a loving relationship, all the time, it gets a clear signal and acts upon it. But when some one has the same thoughts accompanied by doubts and the fear that people will reject him/her, the Spirit doesn’t see a clear signal and stays in inaction. It is the strength of one’s beliefs, one’s feelings that accelerate manifestation.
Singularity Vs Duality. Unlike the idea that I grew up with, the Spirit is the sole entity. There are no other ‘evil’ entities. Since all creation is a manifestation of the Spirit, all creation is good… In fact that is not correct entirely. Good exists only if we accept bad. So I will have to say that all creation just is, there is no good or bad, there just is the isness, the presence of everything. Our ego may attach labels to people, situations and things, but these labels exist only in the Ego’s imagination.
It expresses itself and works through us. The Spirit works and manifests through us. To do our best then, requires us to just let the Spirit express itself through us. Do what feels light and right.
For example, I always find it easy and a pleasure to write when I just sit down and feel what the Spirit is trying to express through me. I try to stay connected with it and pour out whatever it says. A lot of people ask me where do I get the ideas to write so much? How do I do it? The fact is, I don’t! I just let it flow.
Proof of it’s presence. I cannot prove the existence of a Universal Spirit. And I see no reason to try prove it. It is just something to be felt and experienced.
I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself. In the end, everyone just decides for himself/herself. Try it if it makes sense to you. Even if you don’t, there is no harm. There are no wrong ways.
Free Will. Some may ask, do we then have no free will? Are we just puppets? This question arises only when we see ourselves as seperate from the Spirit. This question arises from the ego, that separates itself from the whole and wishes autonomy. In fact, this question is irrelevant. If you believe in separation, then you have absolute free will, you are a separate conscious entity. If you believe in oneness, then you ARE the One. You yourself are acting through your body to carry out your own will. Either way, you have free will.
As you start realizing that you and the Spirit are one, you see less and less need for free will, because you understand that the will of the Spirit is your own, you start realizing that the will of the Spirit is the best way forward.
Truth is, right now, I am living in duality. In some cases, I feel the idea of Universal Spirit makes sense while others are better explained when I consider myself a separate entity. This is inline with my idea of trying and working with different perspectives. I am not absolutely sure about the nature of reality, but I am OK with this condition and try to do my best at being open and trying to understand things.
More and more though, oneness is explaining things for me.