Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Spirituality community here.
Often I hear people identify themselves as spiritual rather than religious. Many of them make the distinction that religions are clouded with dogma and that spirituality has stepped beyond such limiting concepts into the full embrace of Oneness. All that sounds sweet and yet powerful. Imagine the freedom of truly embracing Oneness! Imagine the confidence with which life would be celebrated in every moment as one with and inseparable from one's source ... inseparable from God. Then in the next breath I hear discussions of a veil between our human experience and the Divine. They make it sound like God put up some sort of screen, perhaps a vanity screen so we can only perceive parts of God (and I wonder what parts would God be willing to have seen?). Or maybe, it's more like the screen the Wizard of Oz hid behind so that his subjects wouldn't realize that he was a phony. I don't think so!!
My understand of God (aka, Source, Creator, Indescribable Infinite), is that It has sprung forth of Itself and is continuing constantly to spring forth as Itself in expression. Thus all of creation is made of "God-stuff" ... it's all Divine. The essence of all creation is expressed by that One Source of Itself, not made of something else because there is no something else from which to be made! If It is doing so, and I believe it is, why would it put a barrier between Itself and Itself? It wouldn't! Can you imagine a creator that had issues with Itself? The comedic possibilities are endless.
Such a possibility reeks of the teachings of separation carried over from religious traditions that speak of a god "out there" who is either going to bless or punish humans down here. Potential dramatic episodes are limitless and, in the hands of people who might want to manipulate and control, they are scary. The logical conclusion then, is that the Creator has not installed some sort of shield to protect Itself from Itself in expression. Similarly, It would not have created a situation in which it needs to protect Itself in expression from Itself as Creators, so there is no such thing as a "Divine Veil."
If there's no such thing as a Divine Veil, then the veil that so many folks seem to cling to is nothing more than a human delusion that reinforces the sense of separation and disempowers people. It gives us an excuse to be less than our greatness, a reason to live small and avoid fully living and celebrating our boundless divine potential. Many who have left traditional teachings have declared that they were fleeing the controls imposed by church leaders and unconsciously by family members and friends. Yet even in leaving, they bring with them a sort of spiritualized version that imposes something between them and the Life that is expressing as them, blocking the Love that is calling them to their Divine Nature. I believe that it is fear of being all that we inherently are, of being responsible for living a life of pure potentiality, that causes us to cling to re-written old beliefs. Marianne Williamson confronted us when she declared, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." I believe she was right!
Recently, one of my newer students confronted some voices from my past. I was invited to present at the World Alliance of Religions for Peace, which is an amazing opportunity. But because I had not allowed myself to believe that others might recognize me as an ideal representative and think of me in an inter-religious, global role, I had only dreamed that someday I might be able to attend such an international event; I couldn't imagine being a presenter. When I commented that I needed to reinvent myself to be on the world platform, this student declared, "There is nothing to reinvent! You are a Divine expression, fully equipped and empowered to serve in this way. You are the perfect emissary of peace. They recognized you. It's time you do!" All I could say to her is, "Wow! Thank you! I wasn't listening to myself." In truth, I had been listening to myself, my think-small-little-self that came out of my childhood fears. I had been listening to my limited self instead of my Divine Nature. I am so grateful to her.
So in turn I speak to you: There is no Divinely imposed veil keeping you from your magnificence. Release the human delusion. Take off your self-imposed shackles and let your imagination run boundlessly. Listen to the call of your heart. You are the Divine in expression. The Divine is not limited, so neither are you! What will it be? Like the song, "If I were brave ..." If you were brave, what would you do? How would you be? Let go of your stories and be the truth of your creation, a Divine Being. How would the life of a Divine Being be unfolding as you? Go for it! It's true!