Remembering the Playfulness of God

Someone asked me recently if I could say for certain that God has given us the answer to all our problems and we have ignored it.

My answer is: yes, with a slight amendment. “God had given us the answer to all our problems but we have forgotten it.”

The difference in framing is nontrivial. “Ignore” postulates a self who chooses to ignore helpful advice from authority. I am saying we are more like little kids who forgot to brush their teeth so their parents have to remind them.

Choosing to ignore helpful advice from authority figures sets up conflict – somebody wants to help us and we blow them off. It’s like a teen-ager saying, “no, I’m not going to brush my teeth – what are you going to do about it?”

My model proposes a gentler correction coming from the authority figure – sort of like a parent who reminds their child to remember to brush their teeth. And then let’s pick a book for bedtime, etc.

In other words, good parents don’t take it personally when 4-year-olds are forgetful. They just cheerfully correct them. They just want to be helpful.

We aren’t ignoring God’s gift so much as forgetting God’s gift. And God is happy to remind us.

If we stay in the “ignore” model – the going head-to-head model – the best-case scenario is that God throws up His hands and says okay, find out for yourself what happens when you don’t brush your teeth. Which is one thing if we’re talking about dental hygiene but another for, say, drinking and driving. Or going to war.

There’s a better way which is: trust your Creator. Trust Creation.

I mean that literally, by the way. You did not make yourself (T-10.V.5:3). What did?

If you go into this question deeply – if you seek your Creator, if you seek the site of Creation – you will see that what created you is Love and it created you like itself and that this creation is eternal.

And when you remember this you will never be lonely or unhappy again.

The Love of God is in everything He created, for His Son is everywhere. Look with peace upon your brothers and sisters, and God will come rushing into your heart in gratitude for your gift to Him (T-10.V.7:6-7).

How easy is that? All we have to do is look with peace upon one another!

But to know this – to live it as our practice – we have to go deeply into the experience of remembering and reconnecting with our Creator! This means that we have to find out what God we are projecting because the God we project is what hides our actual Creator, whom we can only know in the absence of projection.

Are you scared of being punished? Do you think suffering is meritorious? Do behave well because you want or expect a reward? Do you hate Republicans/Democrats? Libs/fascists? Do you secretly – or not so secretly – think you’ve got something other people don’t?

It can be hard to answer those questions honestly.

But listen. The problem is projecting – the actual act of it. What is projected is not the problem. There is no right or wrong projection – they’re all neutral. Once we start projecting we’re as lost and confused as we’re going to get, regardless of the projection’s content. You can project a kind father or a murderous despot and the problem remains the same because they are both projections.

So we become responsible for our projection of God not by finding a better projection but by finding out what God actually is – as in, right here and now, in this actual moment, this very Holy Instant.

If you know what God is, then you don’t have to project anymore.

In my experience – and my study of others’ experience in this area – God is gentle, loving, patient and kind and we are like unto to little kids to Him – totally innocent, totally safe, totally happy. Punishment, sacrifice, suffering and conflict need never enter into it. Really!

Of course I mean we are “little kids” with respect to God. We are women and men in the world and in our experience. But what happens when we live as the grown sons and daughters of that Loving God? What do we do? Who do we do it with and for?

What does our living in the world look like when we know we are the one creation of love?

That is a radical life.

Those are fun questions to answer! All our egoic dysfunction and its mad premise of separation dissolve in the answer. It’s not that we become “one” with God – a kind of silly frame, really – but that we become love itself, actual expressions of love.

Therefore, don’t be stressed. Be playful. And the joy you feel will be God’s joy in you.

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7 Comments

  1. Preach, Brother Sean! This clarity with a hint of levity rings like a bell of happiness. This happiness kind of took me by surprise! Thank you for the idea of playfulness. I think as Course students (I, for one) get so very serious about form, containers, and even the intellectual-heart connection of what it means to really look at projection. Even looking at our projection of God may not need be such a serious endeavor.

    Great video, great message. I am grateful.

    Peace and Pace to you.
    Jessica

    1. Thank you Sister Jessica 🙂

      Yes, I have been reflecting a lot lately on how seriously I take this stuff. The one time I corresponded with Ken Wapnick he twice emphasized the importance of having fun. And I do think the imagery of children – and Jesus’s sense of God as “Abba,” as an intimate parent rather than a detached judge/jury/executioner does lend itself to remembering that – with respect to God anyway – we can unconditionally be as little children.

      And then it just kind of extends – what kind of adult does a child become when she knows she is loved unconditionally? I think she just wants to share the love 🙂

      So the healing becomes a form of play and then remembering the playfulness. Ideally 🙂

      Thanks for being here 🙏

      Sean

      1. Yes, I think truly, above all else, she really does just want to extend the love. 🙂

        This idea and image of being like children unto God makes me reflect a little on my own childhood and perhaps, at least according to my memories, how I was not super playful. I know the metaphor is much deeper than playfulness in general but it does cause me to wonder about the foreignness of the idea of giving myself permission to be playful in the spiritual aspect. Which, I believe, is permission to be playful in all other aspects of this life as well.

        Hmmm…this post just keeps on giving. 🙂

        Thank you for sharing and lighting the way, Sean.

        1. Yes . . . I think there is a nontrivial inner child/family or origin aspect to this. What were we taught about God? What were we taught about play? Which is another way of asking how our parents experienced separation! Which becomes a form of healing that is not merely spiritually abstract but can actually lean right into this embodied experience of having been a child. Our projections are not separate from our parents (nor theirs from their parents, extending all the way into the culture and history).

          LOTS of fun 🙂

          Sean

  2. Hi Sean, this is such a perfect post for me this morning! Your thoughts on the playfulness of God remind me of the “trickster” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her wonderful book “Big Magic.” She says that rather than being martyrs, doomed to suffer under the weight of our creativity, we should instead be tricksters following the “path of playful collaboration with the mysteries of inspiration.”

    Thanks for the reminder that God’s Will for us is to be happy. Play is my birthright.

      1. Actually, also . . . as I’m thinking about it . . . thank you for citing to Elizabeth Gilbert’s use of “collaboration.” That’s a great word for what we are all getting at here – collaborating and cooperating with the divine. So play not as a competitive, zero-sum outcome kind of way, i.e., a game with winners and losers, but more like we are happily building something together. The “co-” is essential.

        Thank you!

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