I began my life long search for the truth, for my truth, for how my soul knows God and the Universe at a young age. I remember questioning my parents at age 4, my pastor at age 6, and religious education teachers from age 7 through 16, on just about everything when it came to “God”. My journey opened my eyes to the practices of many religions, spiritual practices, and belief structures from ancient times to new age practices. I have studied, read about, and even practiced many different beliefs over the last 35 years.
The beauty of my spiritual journey to find “God” is that I take what serves me from each belief or practice. I take what serves my soul wholly and I leave the rest behind. In my search for my understanding of “God”, the Universe, and worship, I found a couple of concepts that span both time and religion. The “Golden Rule” being omnipresent in all actions. This is a concept that my parents knew and understood well, as they explained it to me many times over my childhood in many different ways. Though raised in a Catholic household, the “Golden Rule” played more of a role in my spiritual upbringing rather than Catholic dogma, hence driving the initial wedge between me and the Western practice.
Another concept is that of the Divine Spark, a fragment of God or Universal Life Force that resides within a person. The Axial Age brought many great thinkers and philosophers marking the beginning of the vertical shift. That shift turned our focus to the skies in search of God, separating the Heavens from the Earth. Cutting our immediate connection to the Divine and turning many away from acknowledging what lies within and around us. The Divine Spark is our direct connection to God, to the Universal Life Force, it is through self-worship, in the form of self-care, experiences, and education we come to know ourselves and in turn know God.
In Gnosticism, the Kabbalah, and Sufism, as well as other Western mystical traditions, the Divine Spark is a fragment of God that exists within every human being. They believe the purpose of life is to enlighten one’s soul through experience. It is through this enlightenment the Divine Spark can be freed from its soul-tethered existence and return to the sum of the whole, simply return to God, as he is the source of the divine light. The Divine Spark is not only recognized in mystical practices. The Sanskrit phrase “Namaste” means “I bow to you”. As the phrase came up through Hinduism and Buddhism, “I bow to you” was explained as meaning “The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you.” This was a greeting to honor the Divine Spark within.
We can also find inferences to the Divine Spark in The Holy Bible. In Luke 17:21, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you”. Therefore, to find God we have to look no further than our own souls, not to look at the matter of material things. There are other key verses that advocate the existence of the divine light in every human soul. Consider Genesis 1:26, this passage illustrates how God created every human being in his image. This could not be in the physical sense, as God is pure light. It refers to our souls as we have a portion of that pure light within it. We also find in Genesis, when God created Adam, he requested the angels put a spark of themselves into Adam’s body. Upon doing this nothing happened. God then put a portion of himself into Adam’s body. Adam then awoke with eyes that shine with God’s glory. A glory so great that even the angels feared Adam.
It is believed by some Jesus himself should be considered a personification of the Divine Spark. God placed into Mary’s womb a part of his glory. Mary then gave birth to Jesus, who lived a life full of challenges and suffering, but he did so with kindness, love, and compassion. In the end, his sacrifices were believed to have opened the gates of heaven to us all.
As mentioned above, freeing the Divine Spark from its soul-tethered existence is the ultimate goal. To free the Divine Spark from its soul requires one to live a lifetime or lifetimes of spiritual growth and enlightenment. It is through our embodiment and worldly existence that we gather knowledge and understanding not just for ourselves but for God as well. It is understood that God is omnipresent and all knowing, but that knowledge comes from being the beginning and the end, it is not through every day living and experience.
Therefore, by God infusing each soul with a Divine Spark, a fragment of his own being, God is able to experience existence through our incarnations rather than just know of it. If one carries even a fragment of the divine within them, then it should go without saying that worship of God should begin with ourselves. Giving the saying “treat one’s body as a temple,” levity, because it is a vessel for the Divine. This belief of the Divine Spark makes the “Golden Rule” much more quintessential. For if each human holds a Divine Spark within, then any atrocities committed against another human is in turn committed against God. One should treat themselves and others with the same kindness, love, and compassion they would show to their God.
Through a journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment one would free the Divine Spark from their souls. Until that time comes one’s soul is the keeper of the Divine Spark, a fragment of God or Universal Life Force. Therefore, by properly taking care of oneself, or in a sense self-worship without ego, one is caring for God and aiding one’s spiritual growth. Spiritual growth and enlightenment do not only come from practicing a faith or religion. It is found in our day-to-day choices and experiences. It is through these choices and experiences we can find how our souls endure suffering and sacrifices, which is designed to not only teach us, but bring us closer to God.
Other practices that have developed over time in hopes of bringing one spiritual growth and enlightenment are rituals; like meditation, yoga, chanting, drum circles, peyote dens, spirit walking, massage, ayahuasca ceremonies, dance circles, prayer, exercise, astral projection, and thousands more. All with the same goal of bringing us closer to spiritual growth and enlightenment and detaching us from our earthly binds. These practices can lead one into deep trance-like states, heightening one’s connection to God or Universal Life Force. Some have been known to completely detach from their physical body and gain new perspectives of themselves and the world.
“The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, are seen as a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity” (Coogan & Johnson, 2014). They are so important the are mentioned two times in the Hebrew bible. There is much debate among scholars of where and when they were written, but that doesn’t matter to those who hold them as sacred law. However, by applying the concept of the Divine Spark to the Ten Commandments a new interpretation of these principles can be assessed. Changing the Ten Commandments from biblical rules to live by into more of a personal care manual.
By applying the perspective of the Divine Spark observe how the Ten Commandments change. Commandment 1, “Thou shalt have no other God before me,” if the Divine Spark of God is within, then one need but only put themselves before others. Ones connection to God is the most important therefore, take care if it before all else. Commandment 2, “Thou shalt not make any idol worship,” if the Divine Spark of God is within, then one should not need to build statutes and churches for worship, for God resides within, one needs but only to pay him respect through how one treats themselves. Commandment 3, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain,” if the Divine Spark of God is within, by cursing the Lord or wishing ill-will upon him in turn one wishes that upon themselves.
Commandment 4, “Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy,” if the Divine Spark of God is within, then remember a day of rest is important to keep one’s strength and well-being on one’s journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment. Work six days if one must, but keep one day for themselves, to nurture the Divine Spark within. Commandment 5, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” if the Divine Spark of God is within, then this is not so much about one’s parents then it is about one’s creators. Father is referring to God or Universal Life Force and mother is referring to the earth, the giver of life, and the womb in which we live. Honor them as one would their father and mother, with love, respect, understanding, forgiveness, and devotion to caring for their well-being as they cared for you.
Commandment 6 through 10 turns from caring for ones Divine Spark on an intimate level outward to caring for ones Divine Spark through the implementation of the “Golden Rule.” The “Golden Rule” that is a guiding principle at the base of all spiritual practices that simply put means, “treat others as you would like others to treat you." Therefore, thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet. All of these not only honor the principle of the “Golden Rule” but they keep ones Divine Spark on its journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment. It is through how one treats themselves that they treat others and in treating themselves with brilliant sanity; openness, clarity, and compassion, the spiritual growth and enlightenment can be achieved.
The achievement of spiritual growth and enlightenment is the ultimate goal to release the Divine Spark from the soul, returning it back to God or the Universal Life Force. To achieve that growth and enlightenment one must experience life and all of its suffering and sacrifice. Through one’s day-to-day interactions with others one learns how to treat others as they would like to be treated. In understanding how one wants to be treated they then care for themselves and their needs in turn tending to or worshiping the Divine Spark within. It is through this care of oneself that one becomes closer to God or the Universal Life Force. It is through loving oneself that one ultimately knows God.
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