I have been told more than once that one cannot technically be a true practitioner/believer in the tenets of Kashmir Shaivism without believing in some form of Godhead. As a nontheist who still finds the teachings and practices informative and useful for how best to live, I ask consistently whether that is really true.
I’m sure a purist (religious or academic) would say there’s no anything to the philosophy without being a full believer. But what I think one gets from practices designed to heighten awareness of a divinely connecting universality in the wild diversity of life without a belief that what is universal a priori points to “God” is a recognition that with all that is troubling and difficult and hurtful and evil in this world, the very complexity and outrageousness of being is yet wonderful and inspiring in itself.
In a word, when all else fails, laugh (and create and live) with an ecstatic fatalism.
Painting by Sandra Dooley. Cuba 2014