The Pull of God

by Robert Perry

The pull of God is a truly mesmerizing topic in the Course. It upends everything we think about our desire for God. It is talked about by name mostly in the original dictation. However, you can find the topic here and there throughout the familiar FIP Course if you pay careful attention.

We typically see ourselves as not having enough desire for God. Wanting God seems analogous to wanting our vegetables. We know we should, but we can't seem to work up much real desire. As a result, we feel inadequate as spiritual seekers, and we feel guilty, as we always do when we should love someone but can't quite manage it.

What is the pull of God? It is an inbuilt desire we have for God. It is an attraction He naturally holds for us, a love we naturally feel for Him, such that we feel pulled toward Him. What follows are fifteen points we can glean from what Jesus said to Helen about the pull of God.

1. The pull of God is absolutely overpowering; it is literally "irresistible."

Four times we find this pull described as "irresistible." And this is meant quite literally: The pull is too powerful to actually be resisted.

The attraction of God is irresistible at all levels. (Helen's notes)

…God, Whose pull is so strong that you cannot resist it. (T-13.II.1:2)

The attraction of love for love remains irresistible. (T-12.VIII.7:10)

…the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. (T-15.VII.1:1)

His attraction for you remains unlimited. (T-15.IX.6:3)

2.It is far stronger than any other attraction, including physical drives.

The pull of God is stronger than physical drives, even hunger and sex. It is stronger than the attraction to romantic partners. And it is even stronger than our identification with the ego.

The threat value of the lofty [impulses] is really much greater [than that of the baser impulses] to the ego, because the pull of God Himself can hardly be equated with the pull of human appetites. (Helen's notes)

Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. (T-15.VII.1:1-2)

For still deeper than the ego's foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. (T-13.III.2:8)

3. This is the only real desire we have.

This is not one desire among many; it is the only one we really have. God is the only thing that can really satisfy us because He is the only thing we could ever truly want. We'll see in a bit what that says about all our other desires.

There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. (T-15.VII.1:1-2)
The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. (T-15.IX.7:5)

4. We are eternally "fixated" on God. We cannot overcome this.

Fixation is a Freudian concept. Freud believed that as infants we progress through three stages: oral, anal, and phallic. If any of these stages is not completed and released, we become fixated at that stage. That means that the method of obtaining satisfaction of that stage will dominate our entire adult personality. In other words, we will remain permanently stuck at that unresolved stage. In a brilliant (mostly edited-out) section, Jesus says we are not fixated on our infancy in this world, but fixated on our infancy in God.

Fixation is the pull of God, on whom your mind is fixed because of the Holy Spirit's irrevocable set. "Irrevocable" means "cannot be called back or redirected." (Helen's notes)

You were eternally fixated on God in your creation, and the pull of this fixation is so strong that you will never overcome it. The reason is perfectly clear. The fixation is on a level that is so high that it cannot be surmounted. (Helen's notes)

5. We fear this pull because we think it will uproot us and sweep us away from ourselves.

We think that, in the presence of this pull, we would not be able to control ourselves and would leap into God, abandoning everything else, and, in the process, pulling our identity up by the roots.

…a pull which you both recognize is so intense that you are afraid. You think you'll be uprooted. (Helen's notes)

The ego attempts to save itself from being swept away, as it would surely be in the presence of knowledge [and in the presence of "the call of God," as the next line mentions]. (T-4.V.2:7)

You think you would be helpless in God's Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little. (T-13.III.4:1-2)

6. We do everything we can to cover it up, so that it appears to not be there.

Our fear of the pull leads to a cover-up, one so massive that it could be called the mother of all cover-ups. We have used the entire world to cover up the pull of God. We use attack to do so. And we have built our entire belief system to do so. This is why it seems like our desire for God is so weak. That weakness is the result of a very intentional deception.

You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, you have used the world to cover your love. (T-13.III.4:3-4)

You realize that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His Call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. (T-13.III.2:6-7)

You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God's Presence. (T-13.III.4:1)

7. We block its impulses from consciousness; keep them corralled in the superconscious.

The pull of God is constantly trying to stream into consciousness, in the form of revelation impulses-impulses to experience union with God. But the ego blocks most of these impulses from reaching consciousness, because they are so threatening to its existence. The ego is also threatened by our baser impulses, which if followed indiscriminately would destroy our lives in society and land us in jail. But it's threatened even more by the superconscious impulses-the pull of God-because it is so much more powerful.

Repression thus operates to conceal not only the baser impulses, but also the most lofty ones from the ego's awareness, because both are equally threatening to the ego and, being concerned primarily with its own preservation in the face of threat, it perceives them as the same. The threat value of the lofty is really much greater to the ego, because the pull of God Himself can hardly be equated with the pull of human appetites. (original version of T-4.V.2:5-6)

8. To cover up the pull, we use "reaction formation" and adopt the pose of someone who doubts God, is uninterested in God, is unlike God.

Reaction formation is a Freudian concept in which there is an impulse in us that we fear, and we then cover up that impulse by adopting, on a conscious level, its opposite. In the classic example, if we fear homosexual tendencies in us, we consciously adopt the pose of one who hates homosexuality. This proves that those unacceptable impulses simply can't be in us.

In a key passage in Helen's notes, Jesus explains that the difficulties she and Bill were having with level confusion-and by extension, with the Course itself-only seemed to be because they were distantiating (keeping the Course at arm's length), were full of doubt, and were unable to believe. In truth, their posture of standing apart from the Course in doubt and disbelief was a clear case of reaction formation. It was just a pose, designed to mask the frighteningly intense pull of God which the Course stirred to life in them.

The reason is not that you (plural) distantiate, doubt, or cannot believe. It is more of a reaction formation against a pull which you both recognize is so intense that you are afraid. You think you'll be uprooted. (Helen's notes)

From other comments in the Course, it seems clear that our entire appearance of being an ungodly little human on a physical planet is a gigantic case of reaction formation, a massive pose designed to cover up the pull that we truly feel.

9. We fear anything we associate with this attraction

Because we are so afraid of the pull itself, we also fear anything we associate-either rightly or wrongly-with it. As we just saw, it is the reason we fear and resist the Course. In Helen's notes, Jesus also said it is the reason we fear being possessed-either by spirits or by other people: "Fear of possession is a perverted expression of the fear of the irresistible attraction of God." And it is the reason we fear looking at the ego's dark cornerstone: "You could look even upon the ego's darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more" (T-13.III.1:9)—your "intense and burning love of God" (T-13.III.2:8). The problem with looking at the cornerstone of hate is that it's covering up the pull of God, so the closer we come to the cornerstone, the closer we come to the pull. That is our real reason for not wanting to look at the cornerstone.

10. We convert this attraction into other attractions which obscure its real nature.

A poignant prayer in the Workbook says that in all of our seeking, we have really been seeking God's Love. It's the only thing we want and thus the only thing we really seek. What we have done, though, is misidentify this desire. We have seen it in all kinds of other things and so have sought the other things. But since they are not what we really want, they never satisfy.

What can I seek for, Father, but Your Love? Perhaps I think I seek for something else; a something I have called by many names. Yet is Your Love the only thing I seek, or ever sought. For there is nothing else that I could ever really want to find. (W-pII.231.1:1-4)

11. It is constantly pulling us back to God.

This attraction is never completely dormant. It is always exerting its pull on us.

You are always being pulled back to your Creator because you belong in Him. (Helen's notes)

12. The spiritual journey is one of progressively yielding to this pull.

There is an interesting passage in the Urtext in which Jesus says that right perception-which is the goal of the Course-is a yielding to the pull of God. Have you ever thought of true perception that way-as a case of yielding to God's pull?

But the strength of right perception is so great that it brings the mind into accord with His, because it yields to His pull which is in all of you (Helen's notes)

The Song of Prayer characterizes the ladder of prayer as a case in which, as we ascend the ladder, our desire slowly transfers from the things of the world over to God. This does not mean, however, that we are creating a new desire for God. It means we are allowing our eternal desire to surface. As the Workbook has us say, "Father, my ancient love for You returns" (W-pII.248.1:1).

13. We get back in touch with this pull especially in the holy instant.

The Course says that in the holy instant, we at last get in touch with the attraction of God. There, the attraction is no longer ambivalent-we at last accept it as undivided. And so we yield to it; we join with God, realizing this is the only thing we could ever want.

In the holy instant there are no bodies, and you experience only the attraction of God. Accepting it as undivided you join Him wholly, in an instant, for you would place no limits on your union with Him. The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. (T-15.IX.7:3-5)

14. We ultimately find anything that gets between us and God intolerable.

Even though we now seem incredibly attached to all sorts of things that are not God, in the end, says the Course, we will find them intolerable, simply because they stand in the way of the only thing we really want:

Much as the ego wants to retain guilt you find it intolerable, since guilt stands in the way of your remembering God, Whose pull is so strong that you cannot resist it. (T-13.II.1:2)

15. The pull of God will have its way with us in the end. We cannot really oppose it.

We can oppose the pull of God, but only for a time. Our defense against it is ultimately a weak, half-hearted one that cannot sustain itself. In the end, we cannot resist a pull that is literally the only desire we have. And so our ability to oppose the pull ends up not being a real ability, but merely a delusion.

To oppose the pull or the will of God is not an ability but a real delusion. The ego believes that it has this ability, and can offer this ability to you as a gift. You do not want it. It is not a gift. It is nothing at all. (original version of T-7.IV.6:1-5)

The truth is still that the attraction of God is irresistible at all levels, and the acceptance of this totally unavoidable truth is only a matter of time. But you should consider whether you want to wait, because you can return now, if you choose. (Helen's notes)


  1. Stewart True
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks Robert. This is very helpful to me. It helps me understand the concept of surrender better, which has been giving me fits. I’ve participated in some of what I will call “enhanced meditation” ceremonies recently, and they’re all about surrender. I’m always afraid, though, that it is surrender to evil. In all four of my experiences I have been absolutely convinced that the entire purpose of the ceremony and the use of the “enhancer” (from the Amazon) is to tempt me to give up my will to evil forces for their use, and my body and/or energy for their consumption. Particularly strong for me has been the image/sense of reptilian beings. Reptilian images are not uncommon among participants. When I ask others if the reptilians are real, I’ve gotten “it doesn’t matter” and “yes”. The “doesn’t matter” group tend to focus on the meaning of them, and try to help me get their message. One of the “yes” group said, “but they haven’t gotten you yet, so… [enjoy while you can]”. This leaves it rather open for me to believe in their “reality” which, I’ve tended to assume is just as “real” as a physical being, in terms of its ability to have an affect on me, and likely a destructive one. Give that, It’s been impossible to surrender to the experience, as it seems no different than surrendering to a person who would like to eat my heart, or a government that would enslave me. For me it brings up the question of the right use of will, or perhaps will-ingness. It occurs to me that I am being called to resist, not surrender, and to overcome a lifelong tendency to accept what is given me rather than stand up for myself and ask for what I really want. I’ve thought of calling on Jesus to call out the devil in the ceremony and end his sweet deadly call once and for all, but I haven’t done it. I’ve interpreted my shyness about that as a failure, but I still resist, just “by myself”, and from a position of weakness calling for mercy from those more powerful than I (the reptilians).

    The “doesn’t matter” group, tell me that, metaphorically at least, the reptilians are like the dragons guarding the treasure, and that they are so imposing and fierce only because of the value of the treasure they are guarding. I like this interpretation, but I’ve needed to link it with the Course somehow, since the reading the Course and doing the lessons has been the only thing that has been able to reduce the dread and sense of foreboding that I have felt almost continuously since having those experiences. This idea of the pull of God is very helpful in that respect, and I want to try to explain why, if only for my own sanity. (I know, I get so dramatic).

    First of all, it helps to be told that what I’m really afraid of is God, and not the devil, or the reptilians. THEY, are just the last ego-defense against looking at the real fear, which is, from the ego’s perspective, that it would become irrelevant and we would give it up, and from our perspective, that in giving up the ego, we would lose our cherished identity.

    From this perspective, surrender becomes reasonable, that is, to the extent that I have withdrawn my projections of guilt. If, in surrendering to the reptilians, I am actually surrendering to the treasure, God, behind them, then that is reasonable. But it’s not so easy in practice, as the great skill of the ego (through OUR ability as creators, distorted) is to make the unreal seem real. So here is where the question of will and willingness comes in, I THINK. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that our choice is required to make sure the surrender is to God and not to the ego’s version of reality. And that is what really troubles me, as there seems to be no distinction made in these ceremonies, or in the guidance from other “journeyers”. Its’ just surrender, surrender, surrender. And it seems to work for them! Better than me. They get smacked and then pop into bliss. My four journeys have all gone straight to hell, and back only to the relief of this world, such as it is. And I think/thought I was using an appropriate type of choosing, that is, for reality, and for the lessons that may be contained in the images presented, with an understanding that fear is never justified. But either I don’t really believe I have the right to make that choice, or it is a misguided choice, or something, as it seems only to slow the onslaught a bit, not affect it’s threatening nature.

    Perhaps ANY sort of choosing is unhelpful, if one’s goal is to experience a world where choice between good and bad makes no sense. This would be the arms of God wouldn’t it? Or the real world? Is this the meaning of “resist not evil? The pull to God takes us through the heavy appearance of pure evil. This is the “circle of fear” (it’s in the Course). Any resistance to it bounces us back into the world that grew out of it, and stands upon it. We have to go through that circle to get to God. This is what I am coming to think.

    My question is how do we get through that circle and continue moving with that pull to God? Resist not evil? But then where is the choice? Is our “choice” really just a giving up of choice? I’ve been thinking I had to ask the Holy Spirit to show me the message of the terrible images I see (like maybe, why how I came to value sin, or something like that), and let me move past it. Perhaps I’m just not doing this with enough conviction. Or PERHAPS, that choice is better seen as a surrender, not a movement of the will. It is rather the end of will. Or at least the end of my SEPARATE will. Maybe the advice to “just surrender” actually provokes the correct internal response to apparent evil better than the advice to “choose differently”.

    In any case, just the possibility that this great terrible pull I feel in these ceremonies is actually the pull of God and not the devil, is a very nice doorway for me, and one that I will be attempting to walk through for sure.

  2. Dennis Chandler
    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I was thrilled to find this article today after reading in the Urtext chapters 1-2. The thought of my morning time was my desire to be possessed by God. Beam me up! The understanding I derived in the reading that possession has many levels of miscreation with people, things, spirits and knowledge. The ego defends our irresistible urge to God through such elaborate means to keep us apart. I want to be possessed in the fullest sense of the word. Today I saw possession in a new light; not the sacrificial sense of giving way to be dominated or expressing possession through possessing of things, relationships, evil powers or knowledge. Yet in the purest sense being a possession and being possessed by God is all we really want.
    The article gave further insight and support to why the pull of God thought/feeling is so powerful and how easily we miscreate under the ego’s influence. I will use possession as a divining rod to look at my life as to where I am possessed or possess. There are many facets of the ego expression of it. There is such freedom to be under the control of a loving Father, to be cared for, loved and protected, to be possessed by God. Thank You.

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