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Life Is Eternal

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"Life Is Eternal"

 Neale Donald Walsch author of the bestselling “Conversations with God”

An Exclusive Magazine Interview By Veronica M. Hay
 

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 humor, 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 three-year 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.

Released in a small press edition by Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Conversations with God has sold over 100,000 copies by word of mouth alone. The book has developed a tremendous following.

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."

Neale Donald Walsch lives with his wife, Nancy, at a retreat site they have founded in the woodlands of southern Oregon. Together they have formed ReCreation, an organization whose goal is to give people back to themselves.

Conversations with God, Book 1 is the first book in a trilogy. Book 2 will be released in May 1997 - Look for it! And Book 3 will be released in September of 1998.


THE INTERVIEW:

Veronica: 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 turning point?

Neale: Little 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.

Veronica: Is that financial success a direct result of the book or did it begin even before the book was published?

Neale: Even 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.

Veronica: Isn't it difficult to think of struggle as a gift?

Neale: Yes! 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 realities.

Veronica: 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 becoming that?

Neale
: Indeed! 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.

Veronica: What is the most important message of book 1, as you see it?

Neale: That 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 world.

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, why not?"

Veronica: Can you talk about the part in the book where God said you were one of his messengers?

Neale: Yes, 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.

Veronica: Did the huge success of the book surprise you?

Neale: Well, 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.

Veronica: Has it brought you closer to God yourself.

Neale: Yes and extraordinarily so. I have come to a living experience of God rather than a conceptual one and that's a delicious place to be.

Veronica: It sounds so exciting from that very day when you wrote your first angry words. To me it was kind of extraordinary.

Neale: Even 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 that place.

Veronica: Is that how you communicate even now, through writing to God, or through prayer or in different ways?

Neale: My 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.

Veronica: Book 1, I understand was the first in a trilogy of book to be produced. When will Conversations with God books 2 and 3 be released?

Neale: Book 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 completed.

Veronica: The focus of this new book - Book 2, is it very different from your first one?

Neale: Vastly 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 to go.

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.

Veronica: So it's more a collective kind of book than for the individual?

Neale: 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.

Veronica: Would you talk a bit about the organization you have founded- ReCreation.

Neale: Yes, I choose to make my life a grand statement of some extraordinary principles of life and I choose to use my life to assist and help others, so I have formed a non-profit organization. In 1999, our foundation will sponsor (and we are now beginning to lay early plans for) the First International Symposium on the Integration of Spirituality and Governance. We will call to a central place at a particular time toward the very end of 1999, just before the new millennium, people from all over the world. Philosophers and politicians, opinion leaders and opinion makers, persons of letters and science and the arts, to a time of consideration with regard to the question of HOW we can overlay our grandest spiritual notions, wisdoms and understandings on our various systems of governance as devised currently on this planet.

It will be an extraordinary event and just one of many extraordinary impacts and results of the trilogy Conversations with God, which we choose to cause to eventuate itself through the work of ReCreation, the foundation for personal growth and spiritual understanding which I have created in the aftermath of this material coming through. That foundation has been named ReCreation, out of the clarity to which I have arrived. That the purpose of all of life is to re-create ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision we ever held about who we are.

Veronica: Thank you so very much Neale for sharing with us.

"We Are All One"


Conversations with God Index
 

Inspire the World website

Visit the "Conversations with God" website

Conversations with God Books at Amazon.com

Link to "The New Revelations" at Amazon.com


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