Interview with Neale Donald Walsch
author of Conversations with God
Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day
spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound
ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection
to spirituality, Neale spent many years searching for spiritual meaning
before beginning his now famous conversation with God. His Conversations With God series of
books (10 in all) has been translated into 34 languages, touching
millions of lives. See new film Conversations with God now in theatres.
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|Neale, you’ve written that the Conversations with God books
“happened to you” rather than you actually writing them. Can you
A voice came to me in the middle of the night in response to an outcry from me: “What is the meaning of life? What have I done to deserve a life of such continuing struggle?” I had gotten up in the middle of the night on this particular occasion. I had those questions on my mind and I wrote them down on a piece of paper because I was just trying to release some inner frustration and anger. And it was at that point that I heard a voice speaking to me and bringing me the answers. Fortunately, I had a pen in hand and the good sense to take down what I was hearing. The answers that I was hearing brought up other questions in my mind and so I asked those questions rhetorically. I got answers to those, but the answers brought up other questions and before I knew it I was involved in a dialogue that went on for 3-4 hours. That was the beginning of a process that continues in some modified form to this day.
When the voice of God spoke was it actually out loud in the room or inside your head?
It was definitely out loud the first time I heard it. In fact, I looked around and there was nobody there, of course. And I thought I’d lost my mind!
What about after that? Was it still out loud?
No, I never heard the voice out loud again after that first moment. It moved interiorly almost immediately, probably so as not to scare the bananas out of me. But even though it was in my head, it had a decidedly different content from the thoughts that I normally have. I often stand back from my own dialogue astonished that those thoughts would come out of my mind. They’re not coming out of my mind; they’re coming to my mind.
Aren’t some people skeptical about this business of speaking directly with God?
I would say the problem is the fault of organized religion, which has made it impossible for most people to believe that God would talk directly to us. This is because organized religion has made it very clear through its teachings that God only talks to us (if he does at all) through the church, or through the teachers and the founders of that religion and through no one else. This is something that we need to be really clear about: no religion on the face of the earth denies that God has talked directly to human beings. As a matter of fact, quite to the contrary, every major religion has been founded by a person who claims to have heard directly from God. So the question is not “Does God talk directly to human beings?” The question is “Did God stop doing that?” Did God say, “Okay, that’s enough of that, I’m out of here,” and then suddenly get a case of celestial laryngitis? Or is it possible that God has continued to talk to people all along and that we are simply denying it because our religions have taught us to deny it? In fact, in some religions it’s considered a sin to even suggest that we have had a direct communication with the divine and in some places such a sin can be punished by death.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that people have been reluctant to make a declaration--or to believe someone else who makes a declaration--of direct communication with God. That’s sad, though it’s not surprising, because God is communicating with every human being all the time. And simply waiting for us to receive the communication, embrace it, and even to respond. My mission in the world is to make this clear to people. I feel a bit like Al Gore running around trying to convince the world of global warming.
Have the detractors been difficult to deal with, or are you able to just shrug that off?
You know, it’s tough. I’ve made my presentation about as often as Al Gore has around the world. But you can’t keep doing it to just 30 people at a time or even 300 people at a time. It requires something larger than that, which is why I’m so glad that the film Conversations with God is coming out now. Because the point of the movie is that if it happened to me, it can happen to you. God is talking to all of us all of the time--just the opposite of what religion teaches us.
If the organized religions set themselves up as middle men, don’t they benefit by having a captive audience?
I think that’s demonstrably true, but I don’t think that religions do that deliberately. I really don’t think that religions are nefarious or somehow malevolent in their intent; they have the best of intentions. I think they’re simply operating from a deep misunderstanding and from incomplete information. I don’t even think that religions have what they’re saying terribly wrong in the largest measure, but I think it’s incomplete. Religions remind me of children who have learned their addition and subtraction, but have not yet learned their multiplication. I think that we are in about the fourth grade religiously. The only difficulty with that is that some religions and some practitioners of those religions have the arrogance to believe that we have all the information that there is to have on this subject--there’s nothing more to learn, nothing more to know, and therefore we should stop asking questions. In fact, don’t ever dare ask questions! And that’s sad because God has been continuously giving revelations to the human race through all of these years, but organized religion will not allow God to be heard in any voice except an ancient voice. So we are moving into the 21st century trying to recreate our society based on first century or pre-first century ideals and morals and spiritual constructions. If medicine were doing the same thing it would be very much like walking into an operating room trying to perform brain surgery with a very sharp stone.
Your lastest book, Home with God, was released earlier this year. When did you realize that the series would end with this last, the tenth one?
I realized this was the last one immediately when I began writing it. I knew that this was the end of a dialogue, the culmination of the series. It’s not necessarily a summary, but certainly the capstone. The Conversations with God series is really a series of lists: The Seven Steps to Friendship with God; The Nine Illusions of Humans, which is a profound and important list in Communing with God; The Five Steps to Peace that were given to us in The New Revelations and the list in the back of the book in Tomorrow’s God; the differences between yesterday’s God and tomorrow’s God. So one could take all those lists and put them all together in a summary and have a kind of “Conversations with God for Dummies.”
Would you say that the books come to you almost like you’re taking dictation?
Yes. It’s very similar to the experience of having a conversation with someone, the direction of which you have no idea about and yet you’re just madly writing everything down. Then finally at a certain point, you realize the conversation is over. Then you look back on it and you see that it makes perfect sense from beginning to end, but you had no idea when you started where the conversation was going to go. . .your only job is to write as fast as you can and take down the dictation. You know, I had no idea when I started this where it was going. Each book came to me as a surprise, and the books themselves present themselves to me as a surprise.
There is a remarkable consistency to these books. If someone had not read any of them, they could pick up the new one and it would work to read that one by itself.
Yes, that’s the beauty of the material. It is progressive and expansive, and yet one could pick up any of the books individually and receive life changing information.
Do you plan on continuing to do workshops and talks about this work?
Yes, I will be continuing to speak wherever and whenever anyone wants to hear what I have to say--because I think that the message I have is important if we’re going to literally save the world. The message that I have to bring is that we are looking in all the wrong places for the solutions to the problems that plague us. The answers to our questions and the solutions to our problems will not be found through political activity or economic machinations--and certainly not through military action--because the problem facing humanity is a spiritual problem. Quite simply, it has to do with what we deeply believe to be true about ourselves, about each other, about life, and by extension about God. And I think those beliefs are largely mistaken in that they are massively incomplete. Again, we are like fourth graders attempting to understand trigonometry without wanting to study the material. I’ve been daring the world to ask a simple and profound question: Is it possible that there’s something we do not fully understand about God, about life, and about each other? I believe the answer to that question is self-apparent, and understanding would change everything.
So beyond reading your books, how can we plug into the organizations you’ve started such as Humanity’s Team, and work with you to change the world?
There are three direct paths. If you’re interested in becoming an educator in the new spirituality and in sending that message to others in an organized way (by offering classes or creating a school for children and adults), then you would go to The School of the New Spirituality for information. Visit www.schoolofthenewspirituality.com.
On the other hand, if you’re more of a community activist and don’t see yourself getting in front of students, you can join Humanity’s Team (www.humanitysteam.com), which is a bridge-building organization that seeks to produce a climate in which humanity can create an emancipating New Spirituality. By joining Humanity’s Team you could create a study group or a sacred circle or involve yourself in other kinds of spiritual activist work. You can also get involved in the production of a weekly networking meeting which we call The Celebration of Life, which will be inaugurated in early 2007. The idea behind this is that people will work together around these organizing principles to experience them and to place them into further action in the world.
Lastly, you can join The Group of 1,000 (www.thegroupof1000.com). This is if you consider yourself to be highly committed, deeply motivated, and extraordinarily dedicated to assisting in the process of changing the world’s most fundamental beliefs about God, about life, and about each other. The Group of 1,000 will act as the prime source of spiritual, physical and financial support for Humanity’s Team. This is a very high level of commitment which involves pledging 10% of your income to help empower a magnificent and multifold agenda. There’s a lot more information about all of these organizations online.
more from Neale Donald Walsch, visit www.nealedonaldwalsch.com
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