To really understand why I treasure my relationship with God, I’ve got to start with my other relationships. I think we are all profoundly weighed down with a lifetime of being in relationship with what I’ll call the ego-bound. You start out in life generally full of hope. But you don’t realize that this hope rests on people cooperating with your hopes, or if you do, you automatically assume they will cooperate. A wife or husband will want you who is truly loving, kind, and considerate. Friends will be on your side, supporting you, pulling for you. The world will recognize your talents and honor your contributions. Society will be fair. You won’t be allowed to fall through the cracks. You won’t be taken advantage of.
But what happens? You run into one brick wall after another. And what are the walls? The human ego. The unfortunate thing, you discover, is that people are basically out for themselves, and this puts all relationships on precarious footing. Society turns out to be just a large mass of such “me-first” individuals. Therefore, it’s not fair, not even remotely. And of course, if you have an ounce of self-honesty, you realize that you yourself are no exception.
At this point, many of us turn our desperate hearts toward nature and idealize it. Even though humans are hopelessly corrupt, we assume that nature is not. Thus, animals are egoless. Plants are the miraculous expression of God. The natural order carries the pristine innocence that the human order has lost. Yet of course, it’s not so. Animals are more out for themselves than we are. How many carnivores, for instance, decide to be vegetarians due to moral considerations? Even plants are competing with other plants for their place in the sun. In the natural order, fairness is utterly irrelevant. There is no right. There is only might. Slowly, if our eyes are open and we are willing to peek behind the disguises, we realize we are living in the midst of a universal melee, in which everything–down to the smallest microbial organism–is out for itself.
I have found this deeply demoralizing. That is why it is taking me many years to really open my mind to the Course’s vision of God. The God depicted by the Course is so completely outside my whole experience of living things. He is utterly egoless. “Utterly egoless”–that one phrase has come to mean so much to me. He is still a living Being–indeed, infinitely more alive than we are in this world. He has a Mind, Thoughts, Will, and even feelings (love, joy, peace). Yet no ego whatsoever. This does not mean that He is indifferent, for that would be callous, and callousness is ego. Rather, He is inconceivably loving and caring, beyond our ability to even imagine.
That is why, for me, God is the antidote to a lifetime of living with the ego-ridden. He is the safe harbor where I can go and rest from the universal melee. Knowing that He exists and that He is here with me is life’s big saving grace. It makes it all OK. I realize it should make it all inexpressibly wonderful. But for now, just OK is a priceless gift.
My points of contact include praying and meditating. I also often choose lessons for the day that amount to sinking into the comfort that comes from God existing and being here. In addition, I see Jesus and the Course as proof that God is the way I’m describing. I don’t know how to explain either Jesus or the Course except as revelations of a God Who transcends the traditional depictions generated by human minds too accustomed to living with the ego-ridden.
Finally, a huge part of my relationship with God is knowing that He will genuinely respond to my requests in concrete ways. Receiving guidance and watching Him act in my life on a regular basis has given me a deep-seated experiential conviction that He really is there and really is the loving, egoless God the Course describes. As a result, it is slowly sinking into me that He is not the problem, not the One who planned out this mess we call life, but rather He is the Answer. He is the Goodness that lies beyond the universal melee, and that is always here, lovingly calling us into His safe harbor.