By the age of 22, I was filled with more questions about life than answers, so I began a journey for spiritual knowledge that most books I’d read by that time didn’t answer. I was also faced with the challenge of finding peace even while in the midst of having what most would perceive as having everything. Yet, I was empty, lost, lonely, confused, and in inner turmoil.
Somehow, I made a connection with a like-minded friend on MySpace, Aaren Kindle. He began to recommend me book after book that I would read, finished in days, and then asked for more. Then came the suggestion to read Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch; this is when everything changed. After reading every copy in that series, I found myself. I found myself in Neale because he asked questions I would ask. I found myself in God because God, I felt, answered questions not how I expected but in ways that somehow made perfect sense. I also received answers to questions that I’d had since childhood.
So, here I am 8 years later about to interview Neale Donald Walsch live and reliving memories of what felt like our first encounter. In the week leading up to it, I reviewed spiritual questions I might ask him. But with every question I came up with, God gently answered and reminded me of the relationship I almost forgot I had. I decided to take a different approach because I still felt the nudge to ask Neale questions, which turned into a one-on-one conversation that I will never forget.
Neale, you have opened up about these conversations I know I have, and I am sure most of us now have, with God daily. But, why is it hard to distinguish between what is coming from “Him” and what is coming from us? How can we tell the difference?
It is always the highest thought, the most joyful, and the most fearless. The thought that is the most freeing – the most limitless.
Why does it feel, or why does it seem, that there are still so very few in our day and age that have a direct connection with God?
Because our culture has told us that people do not have direct conversations with God. Our religions have told us that. Our culture has expanded that message and has told us that. If anyone says that they’re talking directly to God – and moreover that God is talking directly to them and responding to us in specific terms and with specific words – our culture tells us that people who claim that are blasphemers, they are apostates, they are heretics, or at the very least they’re delusional. Because understand that if religions acknowledge that God talks directly to individuals that there’s no purpose or need for religion; at least the first purpose or need for religion is eliminated.
I would not agree that there’s no need for religion; I think religion is greatly needed. But the first purpose of religion is to act as an intermediary – as an intermediary between ourselves and God. But God is talking directly to human beings specifically and individually. Then, one of the largest attractions of and needs for religion disappears, and most religions cannot tolerate that. They would not be able to endorse, therefore, the idea that God talks directly to us except perhaps they might agree on very rare instances such as one you know out of ten million people might have a miraculous experience.
Maybe, maybe Mother Theresa, maybe the Pope has inspiration directly from God. In fact, the Pope is set according to Roman Catholic doctrine to be infallible. That is when he speaks ex cathedra, which means from the chair or in fact on religious or theological issues. The Pope is considered to be infallible; that is, apparently he speaks for God infallibly, without error, and without the state. But, very few people in the world claim, or dare to suggest, that they are receiving information directly from God. That’s the saddest aspect of the human condition because, in fact, exactly the opposite is true. Not only is it not very rare, in fact, every single human being who has ever lived, is living now, or ever will live is receiving communications directly from God because they are in fact a part of God, an expression of God, a manifestation of God, an individuation, if you please, of divinity – or as I like to put it, a singularization of the Singularity with a capital “S” on the second word of the Singularity, which is of God. God, of course, is the only thing there is. So, not only are we receiving direct communication from God, we are a singularization of God; we are that. But the biggest, as is everything in life by the way, is everything in life; the flowers in the garden, the stars in the sky, the fishes of the sea and every other thing in the universe, known and unknown is a manifestation of divinity.
There is no separation. All things are one thing. There is only one thing, and all things are part of the one thing there is. But in our immaturity as a species, since we are very very young human beings as a species, our extraordinarily young work is just now beginning to birth ourselves into the cosmic community of sentient beings. Because of our enormous immaturity as a species, we have the mistake – we have embraced I should say – we’ve embraced the mistaken notion that God is separate from us, that we are not one with God. And not only have we embraced the notion of “God is separate from us, we’ve embraced the notion that God, who having separated us from himself, refuses to talk to us anymore.
Now, nobody doubts that God spoke to some people directly. Nobody questions, or very few people question, that God spoke directly to Jesus for instance. In fact millions, actually billions, believe that Jesus was the manifestation of God on earth. Nobody doubts, or very few people doubt, that God spoke directly to Moses on the mountaintop. Millions of people believe that God, in fact, did give Moses direct instructions and he brought them down from the mountaintop and called them the Ten Commandments.
Very few people doubt that God spoke directly to Mohammed. In fact, there are millions of people; perhaps billions, who agree with just the opposite, that Muhammad received direct revelation, direct revelation from God. And likewise with other people who are said to have and are believed to have spoken or received information directly from God, Mahala and others.
Fascinatingly, in my most recent book, God ‘s Message To The World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong, I even talk about the head of the Mormon church, who just a few years ago, back in… nineteen seventy eight – I think it was somewhere in the seventies – actually announced that through a revelation…these are his words not mine. Through a revelation, he had come to understand that blacks should be allowed to be priests. In the Mormon church, prior to that revelation, blacks could not be priests in the Mormon church. In fact, black people could not even attend a Temple service. They weren’t allowed in the Temple, much less become ordained priests. But all that changed in the seventies, I believe, when the president of the church allowed us to know he had received a revelation, his word not mine, from God that blacks were to be allowed in the church and were to be ordained. It was okay for them to be ordained. So, my point in all of that is to suggest that very few people disagree that God has spoken in the past, and even in present times, to certain individuals. But it is our imagination, given how childish we are as a species, that God only does so to very special people – Mohammed, Moses, the head of the Mormon church, the Pope. But unless you’re an incredibly special person, God has gotten the case of celestial laryngitis and will not speak directly to you. What I have been reliably informed of in Conversations with God is that God does not select a few people throughout human history, including the present of churches or the Popes, but in fact speaks to all of us. It’s just that people like the Pope and the president of the Mormon Church, and Moses for that matter, are listening more closely. So, Conversation with God makes it very clear. God said directly, the question is not to whom am I speaking; the question is who’s listening?
That’s the answer to your first question, why it seems like so few people receive direct communication from God because our culture has told us that is what’s true; in this case our cultural story is wrong. That’s why I wrote a book called God ‘s Message To The World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong.
Are we choosing how God communicates with us?
I think it’s the reverse. I think that God is choosing how God communicates with us and that God will stop at nothing. I was told in Conversations With God, she said, “I will stop at nothing to get through to you. I’ll use any device, with the lyrics of the next song you happen to hear the radio, the chance utterance of a friend on the street, the word on the next billboard around the next corner that you turn on the highway, or in fact ideas that come to you in the shower stall or anywhere else. So, God speaks to us in an endless variety of ways – communicating with us, through us, as us, in a non-stop communication from the divine – and I have this idea that God chooses ways that would make God’s communications ultimately clear to each of us within the context of our own ability to understand and to receive those messages.
For instance, this very telephone call.
There is someone out there who wants to make a difference like you, but may feel he or she is not “chosen” because they can’t “hear” God? What is your message to them?
Everyone is chosen. There is no person who is not chosen. Everyone can hear God. There is no person who is not hearing God, but there are many people who imagine they are not hearing God for a wide variety of reasons. One perhaps: God is not communicating with them in a way that they think that God should. That is, they say, “I don’t hear a voice. Neale, hears a voice in his mind. I don’t hear a voice. I sit every night at ten o’clock and wait for an hour. I don’t know a voice, so I guess God isn’t communicating with me. I am not one of the ‘chosen ones’.”
Or some might say, “I don’t get stray thoughts like Neale does, or like the Pope does, like apparently the president of the Mormon Church does. I don’t receive revelations. So, I guess I’m not one of the chosen ones.” And that’s because people think that God ‘s communications should show up in a certain way, and when they don’t, they imagine that they’re not among the chosen ones. But I would repeat what I said a moment ago.
God’s communications come to us in an infinite variety of ways, an endless variety of ways, including this column that people are now reading through which God is saying to everyone, “I’m talking to all of you, all the time. I’m talking to you right now through this column. It’s not a question of to whom am I talking to. It’s a question of who is listening, and for that matter, who believes that they’re actually hearing from me. For I tell you this, you will dismiss my very communication in the very moment that you’re receiving it. Even as people who are reading this right now will read these very words and deny that they are coming to you from the source of divinity within you. This has happened throughout human history. The Bible tells us the sad story of how Jesus said to His disciples, “You will deny me three times before the dawn.” So, we want to be careful that we say that we are not one of the chosen ones because we are denying the communication we are receiving right now because it is not coming to us in the form that we think they should come to us in, or we are not getting the answer we think we should be getting.
I remember that was a question that I asked God after reading your volumes and the answer was, “Were they not questions that you would ask? Did not the answers you wanted come from that book?” It was not a voice in my head, it was more like a thought/feeling that came from my heart. I knew then that not only can I go to God, but that yes, you were the answers; they came through you. I just wanted to ask the question for anyone else who may have that same question.
We are all one, you’ve said it many times. But it’s only when separated from the crowd, for example society, for me to feel it. Why does it seem that we have to be alone, meaning take this path alone, or separate ourselves from everyone to see that we are all one or even begin to feel it? Does that question make sense? Because that is how it has been for me, on my path, on my journey. I had to take it alone. And it’s not until I am alone, or separated from the world, do I see the world for what it is. Why is it like that?
Because when we are with other people, especially with more than one or two other people, when we are in the large group or moving about our life in the world at large we are caught up in the energy of the collective consciousness. And the collective consciousness projects an energy of separation that we are in fact not all one, but we are separated from each other in a sense from life itself in that we can observe life. We are not part of it in terms of being able to created it and that we are separate from God. All this derives from the separation theology, as I mentioned earlier. Most of humanity, not all of humanity but by far the largest percentage of people in the world, who believe in God at all believe in a God of separation; that is God is over there and we’re down over here. This is what I call “Separation Theology”. Separation Theology inevitably produces a separation cosmology that is a cosmological way of looking at life that says that everything is separate from everything else, interdependent for sure, but separate nonetheless. And a separation cosmology inevitably produces a separation psychology that is an individual psychological profile that causes me to feel separate from everybody else in the crowd. And the separation psychology inevitably produces separation sociology that he imagines himself to be separate from other societies. Blacks are separate from White’s; gays are separate from straights; Democrats are separate from Republicans; conservatives are separate from liberals; Americans are separate from the Germans, and even Italians are separate. We even have separate money. Until recently, if you were to travel in Europe a few years ago you would have to have different pieces of money depending on what country you are in. If you were in France, you would have french franc. If you were in Italy you have to have a whole different kind of money. If you were in Spain, a whole different kind of money, you would have to change money every time you cross the border. That’s how separate we were. We still can’t even get our electrical system straight. If you want to travel in Europe you must have fifteen abductors just to plug in your hairdryer because you just stepped across the border from Germany to France. We can’t even figure out how to maintain any kind of a constant expression of life because to do so, we image, is to lose our individuality.
So, when you go to France you have to have a certain kind of adapter even to plug into the outlet to work your electric razor or your hairdryer. But, don’t take the same thing to Great Britain or to Germany because you have to have a different one and another separate one for another country. So, you wind up carrying a bag of gadgets just to be able to plug into the electrical system. That’s how separate we’ve allowed ourselves to be. We can’t even say, “How about we all get it together and use the same measuring system.” No, there has to be leaders over there and gallons over here and inches over there and meters over here, and wow that’s called separation sociology. And we refuse to agree on something as simple as that. Can’t we just say 6 inches? Do we have to say an X number of meters? Can we just agree on something? And separation sociology inevitably produces a separation pathology, that is pathological behaviors of self-destruction.
Pick up the morning paper. We’re killing each other. We are like guppies that eat our own young. And so we see, therefore, that a separation sociology is generated by a separation psychology, which is generated by separation cosmology, which is generated by separation theology. All of which produces a separation pathology. We are living in a pathological expression of separation, to answer your question.
The solution is to change our cultural story to decide that, in fact, it is possible to live as a single expression of life called humanity without losing our individuality. It would not lose. I mean, come on let’s be honest. We would not lose our individuality if you simply have the same electrical outlets from country to country; if we simply had one system of money exchange from country to country. We don’t need that, dineros in one place, francs in another place, and pesos a third place, and German mark in the fourth place. And my gosh, we’ve been trying to figure out a way to just create a separate language for the Earth and we can’t even do that. You go to the United Nations and others wearing headsets to speak in thirty-four different languages. No wonder we can’t understand each other. But of course, we are convinced that if we give up our individuality, our separate languages, our separate outlets, our separate money, our separate way of expressing that we are going to lose our cultural characteristics.
It’s our culture, we need to speak in thirty-five different languages even if it costs us to sometimes greatly misunderstand each other because something is “lost in the translation.” So, we don’t really care about what’s lost in the translation because we need to maintain our cultural divergence. Well wonderful. Hey, have your cultural divergence as long as it serves you. But for heaven’s sake, make sure that your idea that you’re separate from each other, and therefore separate from God, does not dis-serve you and create a pathology. We now have a pathology in which we kill each other, which we would never do it if we thought we were all one.
You couldn’t possibly burn somebody alive and show pictures of it on the Internet to demonstrate how powerful you are.
In the world that we live in today, how do we find a balance between our souls and work life? It seems at times my soul wants to do everything for free, but my ambition or flesh doesn’t. How does spirituality and business, or our soul and business, mix?
First, you have to get rid of the cultural story that there’s something wrong with money. The problem is, the root cause is again our cultural story – all the good things should be done for free; only bad things are done for money. “Money is the root of all evil” is the teaching, and so the highest part of us wants to not charge anyone for anything because we want to give it away as a gift to humanity. If someone needs my help, you can have my help. But we have the idea that it’s bad to accept money for it, so we don’t have any problem paying the gas station for you to fill our tank because we need to drive two and a half hours to the airport. But, a friend is asking us if we could drive them to the airport. We would never take money from them for the same gas. They may say, “Let me pay for the gas, at least.” We’d say, “No, no, no. You’re my best friend. I am not going to charge you for the gasoline.” But the gas station charged you for the gas.
But we have this notion that it would be wrong to charge our friends, and even anybody. So here’s how it’s set up: If you’re a nurse, or maybe a minister, or someone who is doing something really really really good for the world, you should get paid as little as possible. Granted, you got to be able to stay alive. Fair enough, we are going to let you survive and we are going to make sure that nurses and ministers and people who are doing good in the world are paid as little as possible because for a minister or men of God to become wealthy would be obviously a contradiction in terms. You’re not supposed to make money off of God, and you shouldn’t make a lot of money off of nursing either by the way or teaching. Kindergarten teacher’s aren’t millionaire’s because what they’re doing is not valuable. Oh I’m sorry, it is the opposite. It is the most valuable, and that’s how it works in our society. The more valuable what you’re doing is the less we are going to pay you; but on the other hand, if you want take off all your clothes and have sex on screen, if you are a movie star, we will give you five million dollars a minute for that scene. If you’re going to do a twelve-minute scene we will give you twelve million. Just take off your clothes and make love on screen. Or, play first base for the New York Yankees, and we will give you fifteen million dollars a year. Or, be a quarterback for the Patriots. We’ll give you thirty or forty million dollars for that. But if you’re doing something, I mean really valuable that has tangible value like teaching kindergarten or nursing somebody in a hospital or ministering to somebody’s new church, don’t expect to make money at it because money is bad. We can’t give you bad stuff for doing good things.
In this, our culture has it completely and utterly backward. We should pay the highest salary and provide the grandest income for the people who are producing the greatest good. But we’ve got the ratio of good to income utterly reverse on the earth to a point that’s made specifically in Conversations with God – why are you doing what God said? Why are you doing that? Why are you demonstrating that you value the least? What you say is the most important. Wow. But that’s an example of how backward our species is. See, we have a very young immature species that doesn’t understand the simplest things. This is really simple stuff. So, it’s a backward society that we live in.
Now, you’re tempted to give away what you you want to share with the world because you live in a culture that says to get money for it is inappropriate; you should just give it away. But, none is no less a part of God – is no less divine than giving it away for nothing – but our culture tells us just the opposite. Why wouldn’t we exchange our love for what someone is doing in the form of all we hold to be of value? If we’ve decided, for some strange reason on the earth, that gold and silver has a value and paper that represents gold or silver has a value, if thats what we decided as a value, why wouldn’t we give value for value and why wouldn’t we buy the way feel good about it? If you are giving something of value to us, what does it say about me if I’m giving you a wonderful gift and I say, “No, no, no. I don’t want to charge you.” What kind of value am I placing on that? Why wouldn’t I say, “You know what? What I’m sharing with you is something of great value. It’s a pearl of great price. What do you choose to give me in return?” because all true benefits are mutual. To quote Conversations with God yet again, “All true benefits are mutual.”
Now for one, when my publisher calls me and says, “We are going to give you X number of dollars as an advance against your latest book,” I say, “Of course you are. Of course you are, because I am not writing a comic book with no value. I’m writing a book that could change the world. Of course you can give me that advance in this royalty percentage. Of course you are.” Because I don’t have an issue with receiving good for good. That’s how the world is supposed to work.
You’ve been in this industry for quite sometime.
What is the industry that I am in?
As a spiritual leader, as a new thought leader, as an author, as a speaker…
I sure hope spiritual leadership is not an industry. Oh God, help me…
Lol. That is what it seems at times. It is kind of how I view it, somewhat because of my experience. And I see there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t see, meaning working with other spiritual leaders who may not be as authentic as you maybe. What I want to ask is is there anything that disappoints you since you’ve embarked on this journey as an author, as a writer, as a spiritual leader when you are being introduced to working with other people? Have you experienced disappointments on your journey?
As a human being, I would be less than human if I wasn’t disappointed in something that happened through the years. So the answer is of course. Of course who would say no, except maybe Jesus? However, when I’m in my more elevated place when I look at things from the perspective of my soul, the answer is no; I’m not disappointed, only when I come from my limited mental human perceptions, which are very limited. But as I shift my perceptions to the perspective of the soul, the answer is no I’m not disappointed anymore than you would be disappointed at an eighteen-month-old grandchild who exhibited a behavior that might not have been the highest and best choice for adults. But you don’t you don’t judge eighteen-month-old grandchildren on the same basis as you judge adults. So if adults did something like that, you might be disappointed. But if an eighteen-month-old baby did something like that, you wouldn’t be disappointed; you just smile and understand. You might even call it cute. So from the standpoint of the soul, there is no disappointment because the soul perfectly well understands from it’s eternal perspective that we are dealing here on this planet with extraordinarily immature species.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about so you can place it in time and space. If you were to take the earth and put it’s lifespan, the age of the earth, on the calendar year – just for purposes of scale so you really understand it more easily… If the length of time that the earth was around it’s age was placed on a calendar year, the first single cell form of life didn’t even appear until the end of February or early March. More advanced life forms like fishes in the sea didn’t occur until November. The dinosaurs didn’t appear on this planet on that scale until the seventh of December. They didn’t disappear until the twenty fifth of December. Humanoids, that is mammals that walked on two legs, didn’t appear until December twenty eighth. Human beings, advanced forms of humanoid life, didn’t appear until the last day of the year. And the whole of human history that we’ve recorded has occurred in the last sixty seconds of the year. That is how young our species is based on the age of this single planet. Forget about the age of the universe given, therefore, that we are as an eighteen-month-old baby girl would be sitting in her high chair having perhaps tantrums; perhaps spilling the milk and reaching for chocolate cake or behaving in other ways, that as an adult, we would say “Wow, you know you need to grow up.” But as a baby, we totally understand. We understand perfectly well why a sentient being so young would do some of those things. So, too does our soul understands us. So, too does God understand us. Therefore, there is nothing to forgive in the human experience.
Understanding replaces forgiveness in the mind of the master. Remember that always. Put it on your mirror in lipstick or soap. Understanding replaces forgiveness in the minds of the master.
How much of your continual success as an author is from planning? Does every book just fly off the shelves?
I don’t plan anything in my life, least of all the so-called, as you called, success of my books. I am not concerned with what you phrase as the success of my book. I am not concerned with success at any level. My only concern, if I have any concern at all, is with getting the message that I’ve been offered to share to as many people as I can, as fast as possible; and I’ll do that by any means – by writing books, by giving lectures, by producing workshops, by talking to people in groups anywhere from fifteen hundred to fifteen, or having an individual conversation with a sweet young woman who is writing a column for the Huffington Post. I don’t measure the success on how it’s all turning out in anyway because I don’t care. All I care about is, Neale, are you using every moment of your day in a way that serves the agenda of your soul?
I have a magic question that I ask myself before I do anything – before I get on a telephone, before I have breakfast, before walking the street, before I read a book, before you watch television, before having meaningful conversation with somebody, before I make love with my wife, before I do anything at all.
Before I do anything at all I ask; I ask myself a simple magic question, “And what does this have to do with the agenda of your soul?”
I don’t look at my life and in the publishing of my book in a way that you have framed. I don’t know whether they are successful or not. I can’t even tell you how many of the books I’ve sold. Somebody asked me about a month or two ago, “How many copies of the last book did you sell?” I said, “I don’t’ know.” He said, “How could you not know?”
“Because I never asked.”
“You don’t ask how many books you’ve sold?”
“No. Why, I don’t know. I don’t know.”
But, do I plan strategies that I think could help me get my message out. Do I have a Facebook page? Do I do interviews with radio stations and newspaper reporters and print media people? Do I make public appearances? And in order to talk to people in person, yes I do do those things. I certainly do, because my stated intention is to change the world ‘s mind about God and to give people back to themselves. Those are the two driving missions that ignite the engines of my daily life – to change the world’s mind about God and to give people back to themselves. If it falls into one of those two categories, I’m in. If it doesn’t, I am sorry; I don’t have any time for it.
Let’s talk about your new book, God’s Message To The World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. What is it that you want to make sure people take from it?
I want them to take an awareness that it is possible that they may have not been totally accurate in their understanding of God, and therefore, who they are in relationship to God and to life. I want them to take from the book a willingness to ask the question “Is it possible, just possible, that there’s something I don’t fully understand here about God and about life?” The understanding of which would change everything.
I want people to be willing to ask the questions; the “What if” questions. What if this not true?– What if we are wrong with the 17 beliefs about God?
This book lists 17 profound beliefs that the majority, I found, believe. The mistaken beliefs are about God; and when we change our beliefs about God, we change our behaviors at the level. It is our beliefs that sponsor the behaviors.
That is why for thousands of years, we’ve done the same – we use violence, terror, hatred, anger, war – and yet we don’t seem to change the behaviors.
We are not solving it, and as Einstein would put it, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” and “You cannot solve the same problem with the same energy that created it.” Violence does not solve violence.
I don’t want them to take from the book the idea that my answers, my thoughts, my ideas are THE answers. I don’t want them to take from the book the impression that I imagine myself to be right about these things. I hope that they take from the book that it might be possible that there is something all of us here don’t fully understand.
Full recording below: