"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
This is from a book by Marianne Williamson and was used in Nelson Mandela's inauguration speech. I have not read the book but this quote makes me curious.
I apologize in advance that this post is a little heavy. :) This secret is still a bit of a secret even to me. I'm still sorting this out.
I'm not a religious person. Normally I classify myself as an atheist with agnostic leanings but that's not really acurate either. Perhaps pantheist is closer. According to wikipedia it's philosophically indistinguishable from atheist but I see a difference. To me atheist means that everything happened on its own and there is no greater meaning. There isn't really anything bigger than exactly what you can see. Pantheist implies that there is something to the natural order of the world. It's not a god, exactly, at least not a God (capital G). Everything we see is a part of "god", including us, and there's more meaning in everything than perhaps we are capable of understanding.
Specifically I believe in a greater power, but not one that fiddles with all of the details. I don't believe that if something could create this world that it would be created messy and done wrong. I don't believe that any one people would be valued over another as we are all a part of it. I believe that it is within us.
One of the things that tells me that my beliefs are right for me is standing on the edge of an ocean. Standing there, looking out at the might and beauty, always made me sad. It's so vast and so beautiful and I was not a part of it. Even were I to jump in to the ocean and let the water cover my head, while I would be in it, I would not be a part of it. But lately (in the last 10 years or so) that has changed. Now I stand at the ocean and look out and I am filled with joy. I am a part of what's out there. I believe we all are. This world that surrounds us is absolutely amazing and while I call it nature myself, I understand calling it all god.
Am I a pantheist? I'm not sure just yet. Does this mean I will try to "convert" you or try to say that my belief is correct for everyone? No, most certainly not. My beliefs are for me. What beliefs are right for you is a decision that you yourself have to make and I'm certainly not going to hold myself out to be an expert on anything. I am curious, though, where religion takes you. You don't have to answer, obviously, but if you feel comfortable I would like to know what you believe.