Once upon a time there was a wonderful God sitting on his throne amidst a great light who's expression was of magnificent beauty, glory and power.
Around the throne were countless people enjoying his presence and worshipping him with songs and praise. But one of that number noticed that every now and again God gave him a wink.
At first he thought it must be an illusion but it happened again and again.
Finally, one day the crowd moved and drifted about in such a way that he came very close to God. Then again he saw the wink and the look straight at him, just him amongst all those others, and he heard a whisper: Hey, come round the back after that last show, if you can spare the time.
Well of course he did go. So after the last performance that night, round the back there was this God waiting.
Hallo, God said, come up here to my little hill overlooking the sea, I would like you to come and sit with me on my lawn and Daisy patch. We can have a cup of tea together and a pipe and look at the view.
I love to take my costume off at the end of the day and relax. Although I have all that worship and praise, there are times when I like to get away from it all and be quiet. I like to come here and look at the sea on a lovely day, with the mountains beyond and the feeling of this little garden up here on the hill.
For although I have so many beautiful children to look after and enjoy, and although they say such nice things about me and serve me in every sort of way... I get so lonely.
You see, I don't have many friends.
No one recognises me after the show when my make-up is off. I have to be like you saw me, for they all expect it of me; but I am more delighted than you can imagine that you have come here with me so that we can sit together and I can show you this small garden and the view from my heart.
From the Conclusion to A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle (1974)
In these final words to his difficult and abstract book, Arkle provides this simple vignette to emphasise some of his key messages.
1. What God most wants from us and from all of creation, ultimately, is friendship - that is to say, mutuality in its highest and most creative form; but also in its humblest and most homely form.
2. God's motivation in this can be understood as loneliness, the lack of anyone like himself to be-with - or, more positively, as a deep and endless delight in companionship.
3. Therefore, creation is structured such that we can, over long stretches of time and with considerable effort (and only if we choose and want this) learn from experiences to become more-and-more like God until we are eventually on the same level.
4. Therefore, ultimately, God does not really care much for being praised and worshipped, especially when it gets in the way of developing a close and evenly-balanced relationship.