I love the Universe more than I love God.
I love identifying the divine source as the "Universe" because it implicates you and me, inherently.
It does not conjure thoughts of one person or entity. It does not invoke a man, a prophet or a hierarchy. It invokes us, and by calling on it we affirm that we are a part of the power that answers our own prayers and wishes -- not an external source or an all mighty white man.
Because the Universe is you ... and yo mama. You both are the universe. We all are the divine power.
Many beliefs strongly suggest otherwise. And a consequence of these beliefs is that many a community has been held hostage or destroyed, because they have been waiting on an external savior to exercise the spiritual energy that only they themselves possess.
This is of course, not new. Throughout history spiritual power, which is nothing more than concentrated consciousness, has been projected on and through deities. But by calling on the Universe we invite that power back into us. We invite it back into our bodies, our hands, our bellies and our hearts. We share it with our friends, brothers, mothers, cousins and sisters. We harness it collectively and individually to challenge and transform systems that seek to sabotage our self worth.
In this frame there is no need to argue with agnostics or atheist bullys about "proving" the universe. Because we are "it" and we are the proof that it exists.
We are a part of the power that brings it into being. And as that power, we have to take accountability for creation around us. We have to take responsibility for what we create. We have to recognize how we are complicit in the violence of the world and make our own decisions about how we will, through our everyday choices and ongoing acts of resistance, contribute something else to the pot.
It is therefore up to us, not something or someone else, to recognize the role the unconscious plays in all our lives, and abandon topical theories that take us away from addressing the root issues that are ripping our worlds apart.
Let me make an important distinction here, as it relates to "creating our reality." The concept of "creating your reality" has been irresponsibly used as fodder for the "blame game," where individuals become responsible for horrible acts that happen to them. This has sparked many conversations in new age circles about "women attracting their rapists" or "countries attracting famine."
What these conversations neglect is that communities conjure realities too. Our communities create the conditions for rape to continue, however unconsciously, unintentionally or not, and much work has been done to expose this.
In the case of famine, there is absolutely no excuse on a planet that harbors our level of interconnectedness for people to ever starve -- except for greed, separatism, xenophobia and ignorance, all of which we, at varying degrees as members of the world community, are responsible for.
Furthermore, social and structural realities such as racism, sexism, and ableism, channel the power to "create our reality" disproportionately into different groups. An individual can try to create as much as they like, but when whole systems and communities are creating other narratives through other choices-that individuals power can become severely restricted. The moral of the story is this: We do not create reality in isolation.
The Universe as a concept is also helpful in re-framing the myth of "independence." Because if you are a part of the universe, than you never do it alone. How could you? You were forged from stars and are maintained by orbiting planetary bodies. You need a community to teach you language and sunlight to nourish your food. When I think about architecture, space and movement, it also means you need an entire system to create buildings shaped for your body and how you access space -- something that able bodied people don't recognize we almost always have.
Don't get me wrong, I still say God from time to time. And I also understand that many people can say the word God and define it as I define the Universe. I also want to be clear that I don't believe there is anything wrong with anyone holding their own beliefs.
But for me, using the word "Universe" helps to remind me that my connection to the creative source is not individualized. It reminds me that I have the power, as a part of this great Universe, to work with others to create, love, and transform our world -- it's not just about me. This empowers me. It let's me know I'm not alone. It lets me know that I don't have anything to prove. It lets me know that it's not all up to me. It's up to us. All of us.
And that My friends, is why I love the Universe, much more than I love God.
Yolo Akili is the author of Dear Universe, Letters of Affirmation & Empowerment For All Of Us, (Forthcoming April 2013) from Micheal Todd books. DearUniverse2013.com
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