There is a popular phrase in some spiritual circles: “It’s all God.”
This is meant to align with nondualistic philosophy. Nonduality has its roots in Hindu and yogic philosophy, and is increasingly popular in the West. The foundational phrase is “Brahma satyam jagat mithyā, jīvo brahmaiva nāparah — Brahman is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self.” Very roughly translated, Brahman is God. And so, we find the idea of It is all God.
But, like many ideas that are adopted in the West, the meaning behind this text has become used to defend the spiritual ego. Spiritual ego is when the conditioned ego takes on the trappings of spirituality. So, It Is All God becomes:
It is all God…so I don’t have to let go of this bad habit.
It is all God…so I can’t really be hurting you.
It is all God…so nothing has to change.
It is all God…so I am off the hook.
One of the essential elements of It Is All God is that it is non-personal. It reflects realization of the true self. It is sourced in the realization of both non-separation and the fact there is an individualized expression of consciousness.
Claims like “It Is All God…so…” followed by justification of a personal reality is kinda not it at all!
Jeff Foster is one of the most responsible Western teachers of non-dualism. He captures this idea really well:
“I am officially no longer an ‘Advaita teacher’ or ‘Nonduality teacher’ – if, indeed, I ever was one. Life cannot be put into words, and however beautiful the words of Advaita/Nonduality are, they must be discarded in the end. I could never claim to be any sort of authority on this stuff. I will continue to speak, to sing my song to those who are open to listening, but gone is the need to adhere to any tradition, to use ‘Advaita-speak’ to avoid real, authentic human engagement, to pretend that I am in any way more or less special than you, to kid you that I know more than you, to play the ‘teacher’ by refusing to meet you in the play, to stop listening to you because I see you as ‘still stuck in the dream’ or ‘still a person’. This message is about love, in the true sense of the word – otherwise it is simply nihilism masquerading as freedom. The ‘Advaita Police’ reply ‘Who cares?’ I say I do. I do.” (emphasis is mine).
The idea of It Is All God points to something beautiful, when it is used with awareness.
“And so what is seen these days is this: nonduality is not a rejection of duality, but a celebration of it – such a total celebration, that one cannot even use the words ‘nonduality’ and ‘duality’ as separate from each other. No-one and someone are actually one – they were never two.”
It Is All God. It is all love. And love will explore that bad habit, be concerned about hurting another, change to be in alignment with love, and take responsibility for authentic human engagement.