Chapter 3 of Book One of
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD – by Neale Donald Walsch
Well, I have a hundred questions. A thousand. A million. And the problem is, I sometimes don’t know where to begin.
Just list the questions. Just start somewhere. Go ahead, right now. Make a list of the questions that occur to you.
Okay. Some of them are going to seem pretty simple, pretty plebeian.
Stop making judgments against yourself. Just list them.
Right. Well, here are the ones that occur to me now.
1. When will my life finally take off? What does it take to “get it together,” and achieve even a modicum of success? Can the struggle ever end?
2. When will I learn enough about relationships to be able to have them go smoothly? Is there any way to be happy in relationships? Must they always be constantly challenging?
3. Why can’t I ever seem to attract enough money in my life? Am I destined to be scrimping and scraping for the rest of my life? What is blocking me from realizing my full potential in this regard?
4. Why can’t I do what I really want to do with my life and still make a living?
5. How can I solve some of the health problems I face? I have been the victim of enough chronic problems to last a lifetime. Why am I having them all now?
6. What is the karmic lesson I’m supposed to be learning here? What am I trying to master?
7. Is there such a thing as reincarnation? How many past lives have I had? What was I in them? Is “karmic debt” a reality?
8. I sometimes feel very psychic. Is there such a thing as “being psychic”? Am I that? Are people who claim to be psychic “trafficking with the devil”?
9. Is it okay to take money for doing good? If I choose to do healing work in the world— God’s work—can I do that and become financially abundant, too? Or are the two mutually exclusive?
10. Is sex okay? C’mon—what is the real story behind this human experience? Is sex purely for procreation, as some religions say? Is true holiness and enlightenment achieved through denial—or transmutation—of the sexual energy? Is it okay to have sex without love? Is just the physical sensation of it okay enough as a reason?
11. Why did you make sex so good, so spectacular, so powerful a human experience if all we are to do is stay away from it as much as we can? What gives? For that matter, why are all fun things either “immoral, illegal, or fattening”?
12. Is there life on other planets? Have we been visited by it? Are we being observed now? Will we see evidence—irrevocable and indisputable—of extraterrestrial life in our lifetime? Does each form of life have its own God? Are you the God of It All?
13. Will utopia ever come to the planet Earth? Will God ever show Himself to Earth’s people, as promised? Is there such a thing as the Second Coming? Will there ever be an End of the World—or an apocalypse, as prophesied in the Bible? Is there a one true religion? If so, which one?
These are just a few of my questions. As I said, I have a hundred more. Some of these questions embarrass me—they seem so sophomoric. But answer them, please—one at a time— and let’s “talk” about them.
Good. Now we’re getting to it. Don’t apologize for these questions. These are the questions men and women have been asking for hundreds of years. If the questions were so silly, they wouldn’t be asked over and over again by each succeeding generation. So let’s go to question one.
I have established Laws in the universe that make it possible for you to have—to create—exactly what you choose. These Laws cannot be violated, nor can they be ignored. You are following these Laws right now, even as you read this. You cannot not follow the Law, for these are the ways things work. You cannot step aside from this; you cannot operate outside of it.
Every minute of your life you have been operating inside of it—and everything you have ever experienced you have thusly created. You are in a partnership with God.
We share an eternal covenant. My promise to you is to always give you what you ask. Your promise is to ask; to understand the process of the asking and the answering. I’ve already explained this process to you once. I’ll do so again, so that you clearly understand it. You are a three-fold being. You consist of body, mind, and spirit. You could also call these the physical, the non-physical, and the meta-physical. This is the Holy Trinity, and it has been called by many names.
That which you are, I am. I am manifested as Three-In-One. Some of your theologians have called this Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Your psychiatrists have recognized this triumvirate and called it conscious, subconscious, and superconscious.
Your philosophers have called it the id, the ego, and the super ego. Science calls this energy, matter, and antimatter.
Poets speak of mind, heart, and soul. New Age thinkers refer to body, mind, and spirit.
Your time is divided into past, present, and future. Could this not be the same as subconscious, conscious, and superconscious? Space is likewise divided into three: here, there, and the space between.
It is defining and describing this “space between” that becomes difficult, elusive. The moment you begin defining or describing, the space you describe becomes “here” or “there.” Yet we know this “space between” exists. It is what holds “here” and “there” in place—just as the eternal now holds “before” and “after” in place.
These three aspects of you are actually three energies. You might call them thought, word, and action. All three put together produce a result—which in your language and understanding is called a feeling, or experience.
Your soul (subconscious, id, spirit, past, etc.) is the sum total of every feeling you’ve ever had (created). Your awareness of some of these is called your memory. When you have a memory, you are said to re-member. That is, to put back together. To reassemble the parts. When you reassemble all of the parts of you, you will have re-membered Who You Really Are.
The process of creation starts with thought—an idea, conception, visualization. Everything you see was once someone’s idea. Nothing exists in your world that did not first exist as pure thought. This is true of the universe as well.
Thought is the first level of creation.
Next comes the word. Everything you say is a thought expressed. It is creative and sends forth creative energy into the universe. Words are more dynamic (thus, some might say more creative) than thought, because words are a different level of vibration from thought. They disrupt (change, alter, affect) the universe with greater impact.
Words are the second level of creation. Next comes action.
Actions are words moving. Words are thoughts expressed. Thoughts are ideas formed. Ideas are energies come together. Energies are forces released. Forces are elements existent. Elements are particles of God, portions of All, the stuff of everything.
The beginning is God. The end is action. Action is God creating—or God experienced.
Your thought about yourself is that you are not good enough, not wondrous enough, not sinless enough, to be a part of God, in partnership with God. You have denied for so long Who You Are that you have forgotten Who You Are.
This has not occurred by coincidence; this is not happenstance. It is all part of the divine plan—for you could not claim, create, experience—Who You Are if you already were it. It was necessary first for you to release (deny, forget) your connection to Me in order to fully experience it by fully creating it— by calling it forth.
For your grandest wish—and My grandest desire—was for you to experience yourself as the part of Me you are. You are therefore in the process of experiencing yourself by creating yourself anew in every single moment. As am I. Through you.
Do you see the partnership? Do you grasp its implications? It is a holy collaboration —truly, a holy communion.
Life will “take off” for you, then, when you choose for it to. You have not so chosen as yet. You have procrastinated, prolonged, protracted, protested. Now it is time that you promulgated and produced what you have been promised. To do this, you must believe the promise, and live it. You must live the promise of God.
The promise of God is that you are His son. Her offspring. Its likeness. His equal. Ah… here is where you get hung up. You can accept “His son,” “offspring,” “likeness,” but you recoil at being called “His equal.” It is too much to accept. Too much bigness, too much wonderment—too much responsibility. For if you are God’s equal, that means nothing is being done to you—and all things are created by you.
There can be no more victims and no more villains—only outcomes of your thought about a thing.
I tell you this: all you see in your world is the outcome of your idea about it.
Do you want your life to truly “take off”? Then change your idea about it. About you.
Think, speak, and act as the God You Are.
Of course this will separate you from many—most—of your fellow men. They will call you crazy. They will say you blaspheme. They will eventually have enough of you, and they will attempt to crucify you.
They will do this not because they think you are living in a world of your own illusions (most men are gracious enough to allow you your private entertainments), but because, sooner or later, others will become attracted to your truth—for the promises it holds for them.
Here is where your fellow men will interfere—for here is where you will begin to threaten them. For your simple truth, simply lived, will offer more beauty, more comfort, more peace, more joy, and more love of self and others than anything your earthly fellows could contrive.
And that truth, adopted, would mean the end of their ways. It would mean the end of hatred and fear and bigotry and war. The end of the condemning and killing that has gone on in My name. The end of might-is- right. The end of purchase-throughpower.
The end of loyalty and homage through fear. The end of the world as they know it—and as you have created it thus far.
So be ready, kind soul. For you will be vilified and spat upon, called names, and deserted, and finally they will accuse you, try you, and condemn you—all in their own ways—from the moment you accept and adopt your holy cause—the realization of Self.
Why, then, do it?
Because you are no longer concerned with the acceptance or approval of the world. You are no longer satisfied with what that has brought you. You are no longer pleased with what it has given others. You want the pain to stop, the suffering to stop, the illusion to end. You have had enough of this world as it presently is. You seek a newer world.
Seek it no longer. Now, call it forth.
Can you help me to better understand how to do that?
Yes. Go first to your Highest Thought about yourself. Imagine the you that you would be if you lived that thought every day. Imagine what you would think, do, and say, and how you would respond to what others do and say.
Do you see any difference between that projection and what you think, do, and say now?
Yes. I see a great deal of difference.
Good. You should, since we know that right now you are not living your highest vision of yourself. Now, having seen the differences between where you are and where you want to be, begin to change—consciously change— your thoughts, words, and actions to match your grandest vision.
This will require tremendous mental and physical effort. It will entail constant,moment-to-moment monitoring of your every thought, word, and deed. It will involve continued choice-making—consciously. This whole process is a massive move to consciousness. What you will find out if you undertake this challenge is that you’ve spent half your life unconscious. That is to say, unaware on a conscious level of what you are choosing in the way of thoughts, words, and deeds until you experience the aftermath of them. Then, when you experience these results, you deny that your thoughts, words, and deeds had anything to do with them.
This is a call to stop such unconscious living. It is a challenge to which your soul has called you from the beginning of time.
That kind of continual mental monitoring seems as though it might be terribly exhausting—
It could be, until it becomes second nature. In fact, it is your second nature. It is your first nature to be unconditionally loving. It is your second nature to choose to express your first nature, your true nature, consciously.
Excuse me, but wouldn’t this kind of non-stop editing of everything I think, say, and do “make Jack a dull boy”?
Never. Different, yes. Dull, no. Was Jesus dull? I don’t think so. Was the Buddha boring to be around? People flocked, begged, to be in his presence. No one who has attained mastery is dull. Unusual, perhaps. Extraordinary, perhaps. But never dull.
So—do you want your life to “take off”? Begin at once to imagine it the way you want it to be—and move into that. Check every thought, word, and action that does not fall into harmony with that. Move away from those.
When you have a thought that is not in alignment with your higher vision, change to a new thought, then and there. When you say a thing that is out of alignment with your grandest idea, make a note not to say something like that again. When you do a thing that is misaligned with your best intention, decide to make that the last time.
And make it right with whomever was involved if you can.
I’ve heard this before and I’ve always railed against it, because it seems so dishonest. I mean, if you’re sick as a dog, you’re not supposed to admit it. If you’re broke as a pauper, you’re never supposed to say it. If you’re upset as hell, you’re not supposed to show it. It reminds me of the joke about the three people who were sent to hell. One was a Catholic, one was a Jew, one was a New Ager. The devil said to the Catholic, sneeringly, “Well, how are you enjoying the heat?” And the Catholic sniffled, “I’m offering it up.” The devil then asked the Jew, “And how are you enjoying the heat?” The Jew said, “So what else could I expect but more hell?” Finally, the devil approached the New Ager. “Heat?” the New Ager asked, perspiring. “What heat?”
That’s a good joke. But I’m not talking about ignoring the problem, or pretending it isn’t there. I’m talking about noticing the circumstance, and then telling your highest truth about it. If you’re broke, you’re broke. It’s pointless to lie about it, and actually debilitating to try to manufacture a story about it so as not to admit it. Yet it’s your thought about it —“Broke is bad,” “This is horrible,” “I’m a bad person, because good people who work hard and really try never go broke,” etc.—that rules how you experience “broke-ness.” It’s your words about it—“I’m broke,” “I haven’t a dime,” “I don’t have any money”—that dictates how long you stay broke. It’s your actions surrounding it —feeling sorry for yourself, sitting around despondent, not trying to find a way out because “What’s the use, anyway?”—that create your long-term reality.
The first thing to understand about the universe is that no condition is “good” or “bad.” It just is. So stop making value judgments. The second thing to know is that all conditions are temporary. Nothing stays the same, nothing remains static. Which way a thing changes depends on you.
Excuse me, but I have to interrupt you again here. What about the person who is sick, but has the faith that will move mountains —and so thinks, says, and believes he’s going to get better… only to die six weeks later. How does that square with all this positive thinking, affirmative action stuff?
That’s good. You’re asking the tough questions. That’s good. You’re not simply taking My word for any of this. There is a place, on down the line, when you’ll have to take My word for this—because eventually you’ll find that we can discuss this thing forever, you and I—until there’s nothing left to do but to “try it or deny it.” But we’re not at that place yet. So let’s keep the dialogue going; let’s keep talking— The person who has the “faith to move mountains,” and dies six weeks later, has moved mountains for six weeks. That may have been enough for him. He may have decided, on the last hour of the last day, “Okay, I’ve had enough. I’m ready to go on now to another adventure.” You may not have known of that decision, because he may not have told you. The truth is, he may have made that decision quite a bit earlier—days, weeks earlier—and not have told you; not have told anyone.
You have created a society in which it is very not okay to want to die— very not okay to be very okay with death. Because you don’t want to die, you can’t imagine anyone wanting to die—no matter what their circumstances or condition.
But there are many situations in which death is preferable to life—which I know you can imagine if you think about it for even a little bit. Yet, these truths don’t occur to you—they are not that self-evident—when you are looking in the face someone else who is choosing to die. And the dying person knows this. She can feel the level of acceptance in the room regarding her decision.
Have you ever noticed how many people wait until the room is empty before they die? Some even have to tell their loved ones—“No, really, go. Get a bite to eat.” Or “Go, get some sleep. I’m fine. I’ll see you in the morning.” And then, when the loyal guard leaves, so does the soul from the body of the guarded.
If they told their assembled relatives and friends, “I just want to die,” they would really hear it. “Oh, you don’t mean that,” or “Now, don’t talk that way,” or “Hang in there,” or “Please don’t leave me.”
The entire medical profession is trained to keep people alive, rather than keeping people comfortable so that they can die with dignity. You see, to a doctor or a nurse, death is failure. To a friend or relative, death is disaster. Only to the soul is death a relief—a release. The greatest gift you can give the dying is to let them die in peace —not thinking that they must “hang on,” or continue to suffer, or worry about you at this most crucial passage in their life.
So this is very often what has happened in the case of the man who says he’s going to live, believes he’s going to live, even prays to live: that at the soul level, he has “changed his mind.” It is time now to drop the body to free the soul for other pursuits.
When the soul makes this decision, nothing the body does can change it. Nothing the mind thinks can alter it. It is at the moment of death that we learn who, in the body-mind-soul triumvirate, is running things.
All your life you think you are your body. Some of the time you think you are your mind. It is at the time of your death that you find out Who You Really Are.
Now there are also times when the body and the mind are just not listening to the soul. This, too, creates the scenario you describe. The most difficult thing for people to do is hear their own soul. (Notice that so few do.)
Now it happens often that the soul makes a decision that it is time to leave the body. The body and the mind—ever servants of the soul—hear this, and the process of extrication begins. Yet the mind (ego) doesn’t want to accept. After all, this is the end of its existence. So it instructs the body to resist death. This the body does gladly, since it too does not want to die. The body and the mind (ego) receive great encouragement, great praise for this from the outside world—the world of its creation. So the strategy is confirmed.
Now at this point everything depends on how badly the soul wants to leave. If there is no great urgency here, the soul may say, “Alright, you win. I’ll stick around with you a little longer.” But if the soul is very clear that staying does not serve its higher agenda—that there is no further way it can evolve through this body—the soul is going to leave, and nothing will stop it—nor should anything try to.
The soul is very clear that its purpose is evolution. That is its sole purpose—and its soul purpose. It is not concerned with the achievements of the body or the development of the mind. These are all meaningless to the soul.
The soul is also clear that there is no great tragedy involved in leaving the body. In many ways, the tragedy is being in the body. So you have to understand, the soul sees this whole death thing differently. It, of course, sees the whole “life thing” differently, too—and that is the source of much of the frustration and anxiety one feels in one’s life. The frustration and anxiety comes from not listening to one’s soul.
How can I best listen to my soul? If the soul is the boss, really, how can I make sure I get those memos from the front office?
The first thing you might do is get clear about what the soul is after—and stop making judgments about it.
I’m making judgments about my own soul?
Constantly. I just showed you how you judge yourself for wanting to die. You also judge yourself for wanting to live—truly live. You judge yourself for wanting to laugh, wanting to cry, wanting to win, wanting to lose—for wanting to experience joy and love—especially do you judge yourself for that.
Somewhere you’ve come across the idea that to deny yourself joy is Godly—that not to celebrate life is heavenly. Denial, you have told yourself, is goodness.
Are you saying it is bad?
It is neither good nor bad, it is simply denial. If you feel good after denying yourself, then in your world that is goodness. If you feel bad, then it’s badness. Most of the time, you can’t decide. You deny yourself this or that because you tell yourself you are supposed to. Then you say that was a good thing to do—but wonder why you don’t feel good.
And so the first thing to do is to stop making these judgments against yourself.
Learn what is the soul’s desire, and go with that. Go with the soul. What the soul is after is—the highest feeling of love you can imagine. This is the soul’s desire. This is its purpose. The soul is after the feeling. Not the knowledge, but the feeling. It already has the knowledge, but knowledge is conceptual. Feeling is experiential.
The soul wants to feel itself, and thus to know itself in its own experience.
The highest feeling is the experience of unity with All That Is. This is the great return to Truth for which the soul yearns. This is the feeling of perfect love.
Perfect love is to feeling what perfect white is to color. Many think that white is the absence of color. It is not. It is the inclusion of all color. White is every other color that exists, combined.
So, too, is love not the absence of an emotion (hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, covetousness), but the summation of all feeling. It is the sum total. The aggregate amount. The everything. Thus, for the soul to experience perfect love, it must experience every human feeling.
How can I have compassion on that which I don’t understand? How can I forgive in another that which I have never experienced in Myself? So we see both the simplicity and the awesome magnitude of the soul’s journey. We understand at last what it is up to:
The purpose of the human soul is to experience all of it—so that it can be all of it. How can it be up if it has never been down, left if it has never been right? How can it be warm if it knows not cold, good if it denies evil? Obviously the soul cannot choose to be anything if there is nothing to choose from. For the soul to experience its grandeur, it must know what grandeur is. This it cannot do if there is nothing but grandeur. And so the soul realizes that grandeur only exists in the space of that which is not grand. The soul, therefore, never condemns that which is not grand, but blesses—seeing in it a part of itself which must exist for another part of itself to manifest.
The job of the soul, of course, is to cause us to choose the grandeur—to select the best of Who You Are—without condemning that which you do not select.
This is a big task, taking many lifetimes, for you are wont to rush to judgment, to call a thing “wrong” or “bad” or “not enough,” rather than to bless what you do not choose.
You do worse than condemn—you actually seek to do harm to that which you do not choose. You seek to destroy it. If there is a person, place, or thing with which you do not agree, you attack it. If there is a religion that goes against yours, you make it wrong. If there is a thought that contradicts yours, you ridicule it. If there is an idea other than yours, you reject it. In this you err, for you create only half a universe. And you cannot even understand your half when you have rejected out of hand the other.
This is all very profound—and I thank you. No one has ever said these things to me. At least, not with such simplicity. And I am trying to understand. Really, I am. Yet some of this is difficult to grapple with. You seem to be saying, for instance, that we should love the “wrong” so that we can know the “right.” Are you saying we must embrace the devil, so to speak?
How else do you heal him? Of course, a real devil does not exist—but I reply to you in the idiom you choose.
Healing is the process of accepting all, then choosing best. Do you understand that?
You cannot choose to be God if there is nothing else to choose from.
Oops, hold it! Who said anything about choosing to be God?
The highest feeling is perfect love, is it not?
Yes, I should think so.
And can you find a better description of God?
No, I cannot.
Well, your soul seeks the highest feeling. It seeks to experience—to be—perfect love.
It is perfect love—and it knows this. Yet it wishes to do more than know it. It wishes to be it in its experience.
Of course you are seeking to be God! What else did you think you were up to?
I don’t know. I’m not sure. I guess I just never thought of it that way. There just seems to be something vaguely blasphemous about that.
Isn’t it interesting that you find nothing blasphemous about seeking to be like the devil, but seeking to be like God offends you—
Now wait minute! Who’s seeking to be like the devil?
You are! You all are! You’ve even created religions that tell you that you are born in sin—that you are sinners at birth—in order to convince yourselves of your own evil.
Yet if I told you you are born of God—that you are pure Gods and Goddesses at birth—pure love—you would reject me.
All your life you have spent convincing yourself that you are bad. Not only that you are bad, but that the things you want are bad. Sex is bad, money is bad, joy is bad, power is bad, having a lot is bad—a lot of anything. Some of your religions have even got you believing that dancing is bad, music is bad, celebrating life is bad.
Soon you’ll agree that smiling is bad, laughing is bad, loving is bad.
No, no, my friend, you may not be very clear about many things, but about one thing you are clear: you, and most of what you desire, are bad. Having made this judgment about yourself, you have decided that your job is to get better. It’s okay, mind you. It’s the same destination in any event—it’s just that there’s a faster way, a shorter route, a quicker path.
Acceptance of Who and What You Are right now—and demonstration of that.
This is what Jesus did. It is the path of the Buddha, the way of Krishna, the walk of every Master who has appeared on the planet. And every Master has likewise had the same message: What I am, you are. What I can do, you can do. These things, and more, shall you also do. Yet you have not listened. You have chosen instead the far more difficult path of one who thinks he is the devil, one who imagines he is evil. You say it is difficult to walk the path of Christ, to follow the teachings of the Buddha, to hold the light of Krishna, to be a Master. Yet I tell you this: it is far more difficult to deny Who You Are than to accept it.
You are goodness and mercy and compassion and understanding. You are peace and joy and light. You are forgiveness and patience, strength and courage, a helper in time of need, a comforter in time of sorrow, a healer in time of injury, a teacher in times of confusion. You are the deepest wisdom and the highest truth; the greatest peace and the grandest love. You are these things. And in moments of your life you have known yourself as these things.
Choose now to know yourself as these things always.