I believe that people are designed to relate in the richest possible terms to the divine -- to God, The Universal Mind, The Big Picture, The Greater Good, the Spirit in the Sky, etc. However any given person might define and understand The Greatest and Largest Possible Concept and/or Context, I think the quality of their life will be determined by their relationship to it.
The more we make our lives about ourselves, the more unhappy we become. I believe that's a law of human life that none of us gets to break.
It's all about our relationship to Mr. Big. (Or Ms. Big, of course. Or Gender Neutral Big. Or ... whatever.)
Unfortunately, we're also designed to survive -- which, in large part, and certainly often in an immediate sense, means being all about ourselves.
And there in a nutshell is the whole of the human dilemma: We are ever torn between selfishness and altruism, greed and benevolence, taking and giving, indulgence and balance, good and bad, darkness and light -- and on and on and on.
Torn between opposites. That's who we are.
Well, for those times when you might be in the mood for a little Divine Interaction, may I suggest the following four E-Z things to do? They're simple, but they work, and always have. In describing them I will use the ultra-generic term "God," so that at the very least I don't have to sprain my fingers typing. To put on the whole matter a more ... teleological ("the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world," says my online "American Heritage" dictionary) emphasis, let me also say that I personally believe that God is constantly and forever waiting for everyone and anyone to simply ask how they can deepen their personal relationship with him. God has a lot of answers, but for that particular question, he really has an answer. And if you sincerely and deeply ask God what you should do in order to enrich your relationship with him, what you are certain to in one way or another very clearly hear him communicating back to you is that you would do very well indeed to begin incorporating into your daily life the following four things:
1. Listening to God
2. Reflecting upon God
3. Being humble before God
4. Trusting God
Listening to God. Listening to God doesn't mean you have to climb to the top of a mountain and lose yourself in prayerful bliss, or kneel in place of worship for six hours straight, or anything like that. It only means that every once in a while -- while you're cooking, cleaning, standing in line at the bank, walking your dog, whatever -- you should simply try to open yourself up to listening to the God (which we Christians know as the Holy Spirit) within you. God is never not talking to you. Just give a listen once (or twice, or thrice) in a while. Trust that you will be extremely interested in everything God has to say to you. The more you listen to God, the more you'll want to listen to what is, after all, a voice that's as close to you -- and is as much about you -- as any can possibly be.
Reflecting upon God. This is about the easiest thing in the world to do. God is everywhere manifested: in all nature; in all people; in all the shapes, forms, colors, textures. God exists in every moment of your perceived experience. Or just look into the depths of your own self: There he is! Reflect upon him/her/it. Use the fact of the divine, immediate reality of God to lift you into the kind of grand, passive contemplation that is, after all, one of richest, sweetest experiences available to anyone.
Being humble before God. You don't know jack crap, and will be dead before you know it. Be with that for a while. Appreciate it. Let it grow within you. Let it overwhelm you. Let it drop you to your knees.
Trusting God. In those three simple words lie the key to best, richest, most rewarding life possible. It's hard to elaborate on so perfect a phrase. Trust in God. Do it. Every once in a while -- especially if you know that it's been a while -- stop whatever you're doing, and hold in your mind and heart the fact that the entirely of everything you ever worry about is in the hands of God, and that everything about you and your world that he does, he does so that ultimately you will know the peace of his abiding presence. It has never been any different, and never will be: God loves you, and you can trust him. Stop, sometimes, to relax into that amazing truth, and to rejoice around it. (Note: the more abstract your notion of God/The Divine/The Big Truth, the more difficult it will be for you to do this one.)
Follow John Shore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/johnshore