Hinduism records approximately 20,000 years of history, but clearly from the texts, is a summary and elaboration on a religion which came before it even longer ago. This leads us to wonder how long religions have existed and what the fundamental form of belief might be.
Some posit that it is animism, or a belief in all things in existence being part of a single life or life-force, and that we can understand this in a monist context, where we manifest the divine in ourselves by emulating its patterns.
Bruce Charlton explains this as “Magical Thinking”:
In Magical Thinking, the real self – that is the divine self, that which we inherited from God as being Sons and Daughters of God – knows, predicts and creates.
You have probably experienced this – for example during ‘enchanted’ times when you knew that the world was an unfolding delight, and that you could depend on ‘synchronicity’ to make good things happen. Those times and moods when you know that around that corner, over that hill, in that cafe there will be something important and delightful: and there always is.
As long as we stay in the enchanted mode of thinking, then life is good, we are involved-with the world and other people, and all will go well. This is Magical Thinking.
Osiris Akkebala elaborates in the context of understanding divinity within the self:
Let me remind you Black Afrikans, all who is Black Afrikans are not victims of foolish religious belief about God and Self, there are those Black Afrikans with the capability to Think again and it’s that Mind of Divinity that is capable of having Afrika to become a Kingdom again by the demanding and collecting our Enslaved Ancestors Reparation/Repatriation and allow me to inform you that all who make claim to Reparation is not for the reunification of the Black Afrikan Nation to be in Afrika and to be Governed By A United States Of Afrika Government, so you see, the first step to Freedom, Justice, and Independence to be enjoyed in Afrika there has to be an elimination of the so call Black Afrikans with only a piece of Lucifer Mind and not with peace of Divine Mind, beloved.
You see, believing is no longer a protective coating for foolish ignorance, beloved, we must begin to Divinely Think for a Living, beloved and when we do, then we will see that for our Enslaved Ancestors to receive their Reparation/Repatriation, we Black Afrikans enclosed with our Divine Mind together collectively must do whatever is required for us to do to receive Justice for our Enslaved Ancestors which mean justice for all Black Afrikans to be in Afrika and for Afrika to become a Kingdom again for the Black Afrikans, so I ask, is that so hard for Black Thinking Afrikans to understand, No It Is Not, beloved, so let us get up and do what we need to do to have Freedom, Justice, And Independence to be a companion to Black Afrikans again and to Afrika, our Mother and Father Land!
Being a nihilist, I have a simpler view. The universe as we know it exists to create beauty, sanity, clarity, and complexity, or resilient structures based on repeated patterns in different contexts. The more we discover these structures, the more we operate within our universe and less within our heads.
Our most ancient religions, which live on in hermeticism and New Thought, reflect the idea of tapping into this ancient order. Numerology, patterned language, runes, and ritual all show this method.
In modern times, we have genres like magical realism, which posits that in a certain state of mind, characters experience the world as if a dream, where thoughts influence reality. Environment and individual interact to produce a world of the divine within the real.
That notion extends through idea of mythic imagination, or the idea that creativity and analysis merge into a way of perceiving reality that uncovers its divinity without sacrificing accuracy. This, like other forms of magical thinking, requires intense discipline and focus without forcing oneself to do so.
In other words, these are meditative states of mind, and the notion of ordered thinking in order to perceive the hidden real comes to us from multiple traditions. This way of seeing provides the basis to the Traditional society, and will be important in the near future.