There is a saying that I try to keep in mind, and base my worldview around, it goes some version of: all models are flawed, but some models are useful. It is in this spirit that I lay out my model of Pantheism, not to convince you that it is “true” or an accurate description of “reality,” but to convince you that it might be useful to adopt and apply to your own conception of experience at certain times. Briefly, on the topics of truth and reality: it feels intuitively correct to me that there is a “truth” and a “reality” or better said, I do think that there is an objective reality of some sort, but I also, just as strongly, believe that said reality would be impossible for a human mind, or consciousness, to perceive, express or fully grasp intellectually. So with that said, I will lay out a model of reality that I believe is a useful one to accept as true from time to time:
The Universe is one unified process. But this one process is also expressing itself as many separate entities. Human beings tend to intuitively experience themselves as separate, individual entities, abstracted from the rest of the world and the Universe around them. But the Universe is also one, single, unified process, so from a certain perspective, you are the Universe. More specifically, you are the Universe trying to trick or convince yourself that you, in this human form, are not the Universe. You are the Universe trying to believe that you are actually an entity separate from the rest of the Universe; that you exist on or in the universe, rather than, in fact, being a part of it.
You are, however, a part of the Universe. You are a conscious and self-reflecting part of the Universe. You are a particular node or organ of the Universe’s own consciousness. The Universe is conscious of itself by being you, being conscious of the Universe. Now, for some reason, the Universe is expressing itself through you in such a way that makes it extremely difficult for you to recognize that the experiencer that’s having the experience of being you is, in fact, the Universe that you’re a part of. You are the Universe, and you as the Universe are having an experience of being a human in this particular time and place. And for some reason, part of that experience involves feeling intuitively like a separate individual that is not the Universe itself, but rather something living on the Universe or in the Universe.
The fundamental part of you, the you that is having the experience of being you in this place and time, is the Universe. It’s that same process that’s having the experience of being me in this particular place and time that I’m in. It is the same process that is having the experience of being the tree out your window, or the experience of being the bird on the tree, or the experience of being a rock, or a bacterium, or a water molecule. The process that is having the experience of being everything-that-is is the Universe, and that Universe is having the experience of being you, because it is you, but for some reason it is keeping that fact hidden and unintuitive from itself while having the experience of being you.
Why is it keeping the fact, that you are not actually separate from the rest of the Universe, from you? I don’t know, but I have one idea that sometimes feels satisfying. Ok, so the Universe is, as I said at the beginning, a single unified process. It is One expressing itself as Many. Why is it manifesting as Many rather than just being an undifferentiated One? Well, presumably, a long long time ago the Universe was One and not expressing itself as Many, but instead just being One and having all of the experiences of being the One and only entity in existence. But if you put yourself in the proverbial shoes of an entity that is One, a One that consists of absolutely everything there is in existence, it wouldn’t take long for you to run out of new things to experience. At a certain point, I think the Universe got bored and maybe even lonely.
What does a child do when they’re bored and lonely? They play make-believe. They create a world with characters, all of whom they play, even if they only act some of them out physically and the rest they act out in their heads. In my version of Pantheism the Universe began to express itself as many separate entities, rather than one singular entity, because it was seeking new experiences. It had exhausted most of the experiences of being the One and Only, but there was an infinite amount of different and varied experiences that could be had if the Universe expressed itself as Many separate and individual entities. And one type of new experience that could be had, would be the experience of being one of those separate and individual entities, conscious and aware of being separate and individual, but unaware of its fundamental identity as the whole entire Universe, a Universe that it believed to be its home rather than its very self.
The Universe, at a fundamental level, can be conceived of as both an assortment of many separate entities and one single and unified process. For in expressing itself as Many different entities, these entities are in a real sense individual and different and have agency. The Universe seems much more interested in experiencing difference than it is in controlling reality. It is very useful at times to perceive the Universe as many separate entities, this is the model that science is based upon. And it is also useful to perceive the Universe as one single and unified process, this model can be used to experience and incorporate mystical states of union, a relatively common experience that can be very difficult to comprehend through a “Universe as many separate entities” model.
The further value of adopting the model that the Universe is you, because the Universe is at some level One, and you are a fundamental and inseparable part of that One, is that by accepting this, you become an integral and fundamental part of something much greater than your separate, individual ego self. You become, in a religious, spiritual, and/or mystical sense, One with the Divine. In realizing that your fundamental Self, the part of you having the experience of being you reading these words, is the whole, timeless, and infinite Universe, you can begin to accept that when your body expires and dies you will still be the whole entire Universe. The you that is experiencing being a human being right here and now, will never die, even though it will stop having the experience of being this particular human being.
That’s one of the ways that this model can be “useful.” I don’t think that it is “the truth” or “real” but I do think that it is coherent, and makes sense, and thus can be adopted and “used” as the “user” may see fit. It is a tool for experiencing mystical union with “the Divine,” for transcending “the ego,” for feeling connected to something much larger than “yourself,” and for easing the anxiety of knowing that some day this human form will die. That is my current model of Pantheism, I hope you can find it useful in some way. If not, you can leave it, it’s just a model anyway, and all models are flawed.