Imagine telling God what's on your
mind and actually having him respond. That's exactly what happened
to author Neale Donald Walsch, who says he found out God has
a sense of humour, thinks suffering is an unnecessary part of
life, and had nothing to do with creating the concepts of right
and wrong or heaven and hell.
In Conversations with God, Neale Donald
Walsch writes how four years ago he was experiencing a low point
in his life and decided to vent his frustrations in a letter
to God. "At 49 I realized my life was a mess. My relationships
weren't working. My health wasn't good. I got fired from my job.
I woke up one night just angry, really frustrated, and began
writing an angry letter to God, asking what was going on. Why
can't I get it right? How can I make my life work?" To his
surprise, when he had finished his questions he was moved to
continue writing as he received answers back. A conversation
began as Walsch continued to ask his most pressing questions,
ranging from how to get his life on track to the nature of God.
How does Walsch know that God was actually
talking to him? "The book contains concepts and information
beyond anything I've ever thought of," says Walsch. "But
more importantly, I've found out through other readers that there
are hundreds of people that have had this same experience. This
book has allowed them to speak out."
Walsch claims that God speaks to everyone
all the time, that we're just not listening. "Have you ever
been struck by a song lyric or the cover story of a magazine
you suddenly pass on a newsstand that seems to answer a question
you've had? Have you ever met someone for the first time and
had that person mention something out of the blue that's been
on your mind? We often write things off to coincidence that we
should give God credit for."
I was particularly moved by your story. When you began to write
your letter to God to express the anger and frustration you were
feeling, I am sure you said exactly the things a lot of other
people have been thinking and feeling for years. Did that change
your whole life, when you started getting answers? Was that the
by little, what changed, was my perception of what was happening.
What changed, was the way I held my experience. As the material
in the book came through to me, which you understand was never
intended originally to be a book, but was always a very private
process between me and my mind, as entered in my journal, in
a very private way. As that material came through to me, I became
more and more aware of the possibility of holding my experience
in a new and larger context. I saw what was happening to me,
and for that matter what was not happening to me, the things
that I wished would happen, that weren't happening, in an entirely
different way. I saw each of these events, or the failure of
things to occur, as gifts and treasures from God, rather than
stumbling blocks or obstructions to what it is that I wanted.
As soon as that perception shifted,
and it was not an instant thing, but something that took place
gradually over the course of many months of the dialogue, I began
to see a shift as well in my experience of life. As I began to
embrace my life in all of its aspects as a treasure and a gift
from God, the treasures and gifts from God increased. That increase
was noticed in the form of rapidly improving personal relationships,
rapidly improving financial conditions and rapidly improving
health as well. So that by the time the book was completed, or
shortly thereafter, I did see enormous changes in my life. That
process took about 12-16 months.
From mid 1993 to today the changes
to which I have referred have continued, in an accelerated form,
to the point where now my relationships are particularly wonderful
and being made manifest in ways that more closely reflect my
higher vision. My financial life has been an extraordinary success.
Is that financial success a direct result of the book or did
it begin even before the book was published?
before the book, I began to experience my financial condition
differently. Even the condition of lack or apparent lack and
the condition of apparent insufficiency was held in my consciousness
as a gift rather than a burden, as a positive rather than a negative
aspect of my life.
As I began to reorganize my thinking
and change my perspective about these outward appearances and
conditions, those outward appearances and conditions themselves,
slowly began to change for the better. I no longer felt oppressed
or put upon by the Universe or left out somehow of the "goodies"
of life. But rather, I felt from the outset, gifted at the very
highest level by the Universe. And so, that shift of perception
was the first change in my experience of outward conditions.
For as one thinks of a thing, so does it become made manifest
in one's physical reality.
Isn't it difficult to think of struggle as a gift?
I wouldn't pretend that it isn't. Yet the whole message of Conversations
with God is that if we can perceive all of life, including what
we choose to call its negative experiences, as gifts and treasures,
if we can really use our insight and our wisdom to search within
the depth of each life experience for the gift that is there
for us, we will, although it might be difficult for some of us
to be sure, ultimately achieve a state of inner peace and equanimity
in the face of these apparently negative outward experiences,
and even a place of joy and celebration. And in that space we
will not only experience altered perceptions but ultimately altered
Do you mean we have to start seeing ourselves the way we want
to be, our highest vision of who we are and could become. And
when we actually hold that in our mind, then we grow towards
And of course the trick, when we are looking at who we are, is
to not focus on outward realities. When I began to do just what
you said, when I began to focus on my highest vision of who I
am, I did not focus on who I am as measured by the house I lived
in, the car I drove, the job I held, the money that I earned,
the relationships that I called my own or any exterior circumstance.
Rather, I began to re-organize and
re-structure my sense of who I am with regard to the inner states
of being-ness which declared who I am. And so, rather than see
myself as a person who was depressed, angry, isolated, put upon
by the Universe, victimized by relationships and so forth. I
began to hold a new place of being-ness, as a person who is joyful,
celebratory, wonderfilled and therefore wonderful, magnanimous,
imaginative, creative, productive, contributory, one who contributes
widely and largely to the space of life itself and to the universe
around him and in every other conceivable way that I could imagine
myself at the highest possible level of being-ness.
I imagined myself as being happy,
as being joyful, as being perfectly content and totally ok with
the way things are right now. Able to notice that a simple cotton
wrap and a bowl of rice would be sufficient for the moment, and
that even in my lowered state, I had a great deal more than that.
And I was able to see then how wonderful life had been to me.
I began to see that my job was not to complain that I hadn't
had even more wonderfulness, but rather to see with whom others
I could share that which I had been given. To see with whom others
I could celebrate and who else I could wake up and assist in
their growth by demonstrating my own.
And so, I really sought to move into
a place of elevated being-ness, not elevated doing-ness. I was
totally unconcerned with my apparent lack of physical resources,
financial resources, friends or close relationships, romantic
relationships that were satisfactory or any of those exterior
things. But really began to concentrate in depth and in a very
real way on who I was from the inside out.
Remarkably and somewhat miraculously,
although perhaps not surprisingly, given the information in Conversations
with God, that shift of emphasis and focus in the way I chose
to feel and live my life produced as I mentioned earlier in a
relatively short period of time, a change in my exterior circumstances
as well, the changes that I described earlier. However, I am
convinced that those exterior changes, more friendships, more
satisfactory romantic relationships, a far happier financial
outlook, better health and the like are the result of the interior
work that I did. I stand convinced of that and I am clear as
a result of my reading the material in Conversations with God
that I am right about that.
What is the most important message of book 1, as you see it?
we are all one. That there is only one being in the universe
and therefore only one being on this planet. The difficulties
and challenges facing the human race all revolve around our misunderstanding
of this crucial point. We imagine ourselves to be separate from
each other and also separate from God. We are neither. If we
understood that we are neither, then we would act accordingly
and our fundamental experiences on the earth would shift dramatically,
maybe even incomprehensibly, to some people. We would never again
do a thing which would damage another or fail to do a thing which
would potentially assist or bring joy to another. We would re-contextualize
the totality of our experience and create a new and far different
It would be as Robert Kennedy said
in his glorious words, "To seek a newer world." And
we would seek and create a newer world. You know most of us look
at the world as it is today and say, "Tsk, Tsk, isn't it
a shame, I wish things were better, why must it be like this."
Again, I refer to the words of Robert Kennedy who was a grand
visionary. Said Kennedy, "Others look at the way things
are and ask, why? I look at the way things could be and ask,
you talk about the part in the book where God said you were one
of his messengers?
well of course, it was made clear to me that we are all messengers
of God at some level. People who choose to be messengers at a
very high level are even numbering in the thousands on this planet.
And so, I don't see myself or view myself as particularly special
in this regard, but merely as one of many people on the planet
who have chosen themselves. Many are called, but few choose themselves.
I am one of many who has chosen himself to accept the responsibility
of being a messenger of God. Even as I say those words, it sounds
a bit scary if not to say pretentious, and I wish that none of
those feelings came up for me, but I am still very much human,
and they do.
Yet, I will not retreat from the words themselves because I do
see that I am that. I think that we all are to the degree that
we allow ourselves to be. I believe that we all have the opportunity
placed before us to both hear the truth of God and to re-send
it or to amplify it if you please, to the rest of those whose
lives we touch and through the daily thoughts and words and actions
that emanate from us. To that degree, we become messengers of
God. I don't think that many people are seeing themselves in
that way and even of those who do, perhaps many are intimidated
from accepting the responsibility.
I have done that. I have placed myself
in the public eye as a messenger of God in a most extraordinary
way and I now stand with the consequence of that, which is that
my private life has disappeared completely. It is not very possible
to stand up in front of the world and declare oneself to be a
messenger of God and not loose one's personal life, especially
since this book is being translated into 19 languages around
the world. It will be released between now and September in China,
Israel, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, South
America, all over the place.
Did the huge success of the book surprise you?
yes and no. If I could give that kind of an answer. Yes, I think
it did surprise me at one level and at another level, when I
thought about it more than 20 seconds, I realized that if in
fact it was God's intention for this book to touch the world,
then it wouldn't surprise me at all, it shouldn't, that it has
become such an instant success. And so, yes and no. I think that
from a limited physical perspective that I sometimes hold as
the personality known as Neale, I was a bit shocked at both the
speed and the enormity of its success but from a higher level,
when I move to my own highest place of being-ness, I see that
it is all perfectly natural and normal for this outcome to have
occurred, and for it not to have occurred would have been the
surprising thing given God's intentions in the matter.
Has it brought you closer to God yourself?
And extraordinarily so. I have come to a living experience of
God rather than a conceptual one and that's a delicious place
It sounds so exciting from that very day when you wrote your
first angry words. To me it was kind of extraordinary.
that night, I remember it vividly. It was 4:20 in the morning
and when the first process, the very first interaction was complete,
and I had would up with 20 or 25 handwritten pages on the yellow
legal pad, I remember feeling enormously becalmed, joy filled,
at a very deep level and "expanded" is the only word
I can really think of to say, expanded in my consciousness to
a point where the deepest, blackest feelings of my soul could
never visit me again.
Even after that first night, I already
knew too much. And while I had not healed all of it, all of the
stuff I am carrying around, and to this day I have not done that,
I did begin to feel that sense of a movement away, forever, from
the deepest, darkest, blackest places to which my mind would
wander in its days of enormous depression. And I knew even after
that first night, that while the exterior circumstances had not
changed in that short 3 hours, it was now 7:30 in the morning,
and while I did not really think they would change, certainly
not overnight, I knew that I would never return again to that
place of deep despair, which I had visited on that night, which
eventuated and caused me to go to the couch and begin writing.
I knew that my time of deep despair in this lifetime was over,
and over forever. And so, to that degree, there was a miracle
performed even that night, because I would never again re-visit
Is that how you communicate even now, through writing to God,
or through prayer or in different ways?
communication with God takes the form of my life lived. These
days and specifically I talk to God in the shower, in the car,
when I have my paper and pencil out, or even for that matter
when I am chatting with my wife, who I see as God personified,
through and as her. And my conversation with God continues even
in these very moments as I talk with you.
Book 1, I understand was the first in a trilogy of books to be
produced. When will Conversations with God books 2 and 3 be released?
2 has been written and will be released in May of this year and
book 3 will be released in September of 1998. It has yet to be
The focus of this new book - Book 2, is it very different from
your first one?
different! The first book really is a warm embrace about the
shoulders where we feel or at least I felt, held close by God,
who in essence said, "It's safe, it's okay, I love you truly,
there is no condition to that love. You will never be hurt or
harmed by me and you cannot fail to return to my home."
And so it was a very warm and wonderful loving feeling that I
received and most people judging from the mail, received that
feeling as well. We are now receiving around 400 letters a week
here and the number is rising rapidly from people all over the
world, of all demographics, from 17 year olds to 84 year olds,
and everything in between.
So, the first book was that very
warm fuzzy feeling. The second book is not an embrace around
the shoulders but a gentle shaking of those shoulders as God
having announced to us that we are perfectly safe and always
welcome in his arms, now chooses to wake us up a bit. It's a
wake up call - "Hello" God is saying in book 2, "You
keep saying this is where you want to go and you might be interested
in discovering that you are not headed in that direction."
As a person who insists that they want to go to San Jose and
keeps heading towards Seattle.
And so, in book 2, God says to us,
"This is not where you say you want to go. The way you are
heading is not where you say you want to go as a human race or
as individuals. And you may be interested in learning how to
get where you say you want to go and so I will tell you."
And so, book 2 is a question and answer session, again, of course
a dialogue between myself and God in which I ask, "Okay,
given where we want to be, given at least where we say we want
to be, as a human race and as individuals, how can we get there?
How can we get from where we are to where we want to be?"
And God answered. And those answers
are very direct. They pull no punches. They are very candid.
The language is very strong and it tells us essentially that
we are absolutely headed in the wrong direction. That we are
not doing it in a way which will get us where we say we want
Book 2 is nothing less than an outright
call for a social, psychological, sexual, political, economic,
educational and theological revolution of the first rank on this
planet that would turn the entire paradigm of our experience
upside down. And because it is so revolutionary in its thought,
it will I believe, meet with a far greater resistance from the
largest number of people, than book 1 has met with. Because book
1 really wasn't terribly challenging, except perhaps in a few
spiritual areas which don't bear any resemblance to the day to
day lives of the majority of people.
Book 2 addresses very real and present
day to day issues that we confront in our lives on this planet,
issues of governance, issues of world wide and localized economies,
issues of our social relationships, issues of our classroom activities
in the educational systems of the world, issues of our sexual
interactions and our sexual politics, and issues of our religious
constructions. Because Book 2 is so pointed in its recommendations
and suggestions about these day to day functionings of the human
race, there will be less comfort found in book 2, but greater
challenge perhaps, and only in the midst of challenge can be
found the promise of growth.
So, it's more a collective kind of book than for the individual?
Yes, as it was indicated in book 1. The trilogy was designed
to move from the considerations of the individual human being
to the considerations and implications of the whole cosmology
of life itself universally. It is therefore God's latest word
on things throughout the spectrum of the life experience itself.
Thank you so very much Neale, for sharing with us.
To learn more about Neale Donald
Walsch and his work, visit his website at www.nealedonaldwalsch.com
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Neale Donald Walsch - Conversations