As I said in the first entry in this series of articles, I have been asked many times how people can have a conversation with God of their own, and so I have looked at my own experience carefully, and I have come up with a sort of informal Seven Step Process to help people do this.
I have already explained that the first step is to admit to the possibility that such a thing can take place, that people can actually have conversations with God; to simply accept at last that these things are not only possible, but that they are occurring right now, and have always occurred, in the experience of humanity.
In order to hold this as a possibility, one would have to hold as a possibility the existence of a God at all. So I call Step One: Possibility.
Moving now to the second step…we are invited to include ourselves in the circle of those beings we consider worthy of having such experiences.
For instance, we already know that people have had conversations with God. Moses said he did, and many believe him, Mohammed said did, and many believe him, the Buddha said he did, and many believe him, Joseph Smith said he did, and many believe him. These beings and others had some kind of personal revelation that made them feel touched by the hand of God.
Jesus said he talked to God and went so far as to say that he and his Father were One. Many believe him. Krishna, likewise, was said to be God made Man. This is the ultimate in “talking to God.” This is when the “talker” and the “talkee” become One. This is when the one conversing and the one being conversed with are One And The Same.
So we already acknowledge that some people have had these kinds of experiences. Then why couldn’t we?
Well, because often we think that those others who have been mentioned are somehow better then we are. They’re more holy or they’re more wise or they’re more pure or they’re something that we are not. Yet the fact is that they are nothing we are not. So the second step of the process leading to our own conversation with God is to acknowledge our own worthiness—that I am just as worthy to be spoken to by God as anyone else.
So I call Step Two: Worthiness.
The third step in the process is to move to a place of willingness to receive such communications—and that must manifest itself in behaviors that demonstrate willingness.
For instance, I set aside a few minutes each day for quiet contemplation. I don’t keep running my life as if I don’t have time to do that. I demonstrate a willingness to receive such communications from God by preserving and arranging for sufficient time for that to occur, and by creating environmental conditions that allow it to occur.
In my own case, I arise in the morning and I try very hard to spend some quiet time thinking and writing before I do anything else. Some mornings I get up early as 4:30 and some mornings it might be closer to 5:30 or 6:30, but it’s almost always before or as the sun comes up. And I set aside that time for myself, to be quiet. Maybe I do some writing, perhaps I do some reading, or I might do some in-place meditating.
(One doesn’t have to go to a special room or a particular location and sit down and light a candle or put on some special music to meditate. That’s a nice thing to do, but that’s not required. One can meditate anywhere. Right where you are when you decide to meditate, you can do that. Lying in bed just after you awaken. Standing in the kitchen while the coffee is brewing. Sitting in your favorite armchair.
And meditation does not have to take a certain amount of time or look a certain way. It can take just a quick few moments, and look like gentle observation, or thinking—but thinking from the level of Soul, not the level of Mind. This is really not thinking at all, but quiet contemplation…just being “still” in your mind.
It is written: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Whatever it looks like to you, work ten minutes of this into your daily routine and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to “find time to meditate.”
With me, it’s not the same every day. But I do give myself time every morning to be alone with my soul, and most people do not do that. If I miss that time in the morning…if life just will not allow that on a certain day, then I make sure that I find some time during that day to just STOP—just stop for a moment—and give myself even just ten seconds of peace.
This is what I call “Stopping Meditation.”
It’s when you just stop everything you are doing, just for 10-Blessed-Seconds, and do nothing. Say nothing, Think nothing. Just BE.
This “stopping” can occur, you can make this happen, at any time. While walking down the street. While doing the dishes. While standing in the shower.
What I described just now is unusual, I’m sad to say. Most people live their whole lives, and maybe they give their Mind a rest once or twice a month. They get inspired, read a book—“I’ll try it”—but after three days the rest period is over and they get back to “regular life.”
Yet if this becomes a regular part of “regular life,” if you set aside a time to commune with your soul every day, after a very few days you’ll find that you’re having the “conversations with God” that you’ve asked about. For God talks in the spaces between our thoughts, not during our thoughts.
Or better yet, I should say that God talks all the time, but we can hear God better in the spaces between our thoughts. And between our actions, Yes?
So I call Step Three: Willingness.
Just be willing to hear God—and demonstrate that by giving yourself some holy moments each day to just listen.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am excited to be able to use this space on the Internet as a place in which we can join together to ignite a worldwide exploration of some of the most revolutionary theological ideas to come along in a long time.
The ideas I intend to use this space for in the immediate future are the ideas found in GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. I believe this book (published by Rainbow Ridge Books) places before our species some of the most important “What if” questions that could be contemplated by contemporary society.
The questions are important because they invite us to ponder some of the most self-damaging ideas about God ever embraced by our species. For example, the statement that…God honors self-sacrifice, long-suffering (preferably in silence), and martyrdom.
There is an idea about God, shared by many, many people in the world, that God is pleased when human beings make a personal sacrifice—and that the bigger the sacrifice, the more pleased God is.
God’s pleasure, we are told, comes from knowing that we are “putting others first,” even in the face of great personal emotional, physical, or financial loss.
In addition, God is said to reward the long-suffering— particularly when we suffer in silence. Complaining about some circumstance or condition besmirches and lessens the value that has been gained through the suffering itself. So to gain optimal value in heaven, keep your suffering to yourself. That’s been the basic message.
When I was a child, the nuns in our parochial school told us, if we fell and got hurt, to “offer it up to God.”
Martyrdom in any form was, we were taught, the highest form of suffering, for which we were accorded a special place in heaven. And martyrdom for God was the highest of the highest, garnering the greatest reward: sainthood.
I am not the only person to have gotten these messages. They have lived long, primarily (but not exclusively) in the Christian tradition. Now comes The Great What If . . .
What if God does not offer a special reward in heaven for any particular behavior—and, in fact, wants us to know that self-sacrifice and suffering do not have to be part of the human experience?
Would it make a difference? Does it matter? In the overall scheme of things, would it have any significant impact in our planetary experience?
Yes, it surely would. Billions of people across the globe would stop seeing self-sacrifice and long-suffering as qualifications for the highest honors in heaven.
This shift in understanding would eliminate an enormous amount of human sadness and loss produced by self-induced behaviors generated by people who think that they are pleas- ing God by displeasing themselves.
In addition, invalidating “martyrdom for God” as “automatic passage” into heaven would mean that ending one’s life in order to kill scores of innocent people would lose its spiritual credentials—making it impossible for the trainers of terrorists to promise young male suicide bombers that they will be rewarded with everlasting joy and twenty-two black-eyed virgins in paradise if they will just go out and blow themselves up in public places.
The biggest change that would occur if humans were certain that self-sacrifice, long-suffering, and martyrdom not only brought no special reward from God, but that God says that none of this even needs to be part of the human experience, is that people would begin to ask, “Why, then, is it so normal?”
The answer to that question is so huge that, if it were shared and lived widely, it would transform life for our species forever.
God has been telling us from the very beginning, and it is becoming more clear to us every day, that humanity’s Ancient Cultural Story about God according higher honors to the soul for self-sacrifice, long-suffering, and martyrdom is plainly and simply inaccurate.
It is okay now to remove this ancient teaching from our current story, and to stop telling this to ourselves and to our children.
Self-sacrifice is never necessary, suffering need not be a common part of human life, and martyrdom “for God” does not earn anyone a special place or the highest honors in paradise.
What is called “self-sacrifice” is the result of an assessment by a human being that something they are choosing to do is producing loss or self-injury in some way.
What is called “suffering” is the direct result of an assessment by a human being that something they are experiencing they should not be experiencing.
What is called “martyrdom for God” is the result of an assessment by a human being that something they are doing that is producing enormous self-injury (perhaps even death) pleases God because of this, and will therefore generate rewards in heaven proportionate to, and in recompense for, the injury experienced on the earth.
All of these assessments are inaccurate.
Looking at these concepts one by one, we see that it may be perfectly normal within our present human understanding to think that when one is doing something for another at great inconvenience, and especially at great emotional, physical, or financial loss, one is “sacrificing the self for another.” Yet such a mental holding is both inaccurate and self-serving.
Yes, rather than self-sacrificing, it is self-serving.
The truth is that no one does anything they don’t want to do. It sometimes serves us, however, to do exactly what we want to do, and then to tell ourselves (and others) that we “had no choice,” or that we did it “at great personal sacrifice.” In this way, we can feel self-satisfied and victimized at the same time.
Everything that human beings do willfully they do at their own choice, of their own volition. It is true that some people feel that certain things have to be done, or that there really is no choice when one is under duress—and within the context of humanity’s extremely limited comprehension, such a view might be understandable. But in reality, even “duress” is just a fancy word meaning “a situation in which I am confronted with a condition I do not consciously desire, or an outcome that—for my own good reasons— I seek to avoid.”
Yet when you consciously sidestep a condition you do not desire, you are serving yourself. And if you seek to avoid something for your own good reasons, then when you avoid it you are once again clearly serving yourself. This does not mean that your reasons are not good, it merely means that the goodness of your reasons does not make them less self-serving. Indeed, just the opposite is true.
(The better is your reason for doing or not doing something, the more self-serving it is—obviously.)
Yet we have been trained to think that anything that is self-serving is “bad,” and so we would much rather say that we “had no choice” than to say that we indeed had a choice, and took the option that we chose because it felt best to us—and thus, served us.
Even the decision to do something for another at great personal inconvenience or loss falls into that category, or you can be assured that it wouldn’t be done. There is some reason that a person makes the decision to do something extraordinary for another, even at their own expense or risk.
Perhaps the reason is that it makes them feel good. Perhaps the reason is that it brings them a direct experience of the kind of person they see themselves being, or wish to be. Perhaps the reason is that it allows them to feel true to a life principle they’ve committed to live by, or to an obligation they genuinely feel, or to a promise they have made.
All of these reasons, and many more that one could come up with, serve the ultimate interest of the self. And there is nothing wrong with this. What is not beneficial is serving the self, then telling oneself (and others) that one is not doing so.
We see, then, that true self-sacrifice is not possible, but faux self-sacrifice is, within the limited framework of most human understanding. Yet our larger awareness—the awareness of the Soul—tells us exactly why we do everything . . . and the reason always serves the agenda of the doer, thus is always self-serving. Further, it ought to be. It is intended to be. For the purpose of life itself is to allow us to “show up” in every moment as the grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are.
When we become clear about this we eliminate the possibility of harboring anger or resentment toward anyone else regarding anything we have ever done for them, may now be doing, or may think that we “have to do.”
We can no longer feel victimized by another, nor even by our own choices, but are invited to claim our place as the powerful sentient being that we are, clearly seeing all the options and outcomes before us in any given moment, and clearly choosing the ones that we see serving us in the best way.
What we may be missing here—an insight that would turn everything around for us if we saw it clearly—is that all self-service is service to the whole. It may take a deeper level of thinking for all members of a species to “get” this, but all members of all species eventually do. Ultimately, at a certain point in the evolutionary development of a species, this becomes crystal clear:
All self-service is service to the whole.
There are multiple reasons this is true, as will become apparent before this narrative is concluded. The lens of humanity’s understanding is clouded, at best, and totally obscured in our worst moments, due to the extraordinarily young age of our species. Our immaturity is revealed and demonstrated when, upon encountering severe physical or emotional pain, we feel that “this should not be happening,” and that its occurrence is somehow a “violation” of the human contract. A reversal of this single assessment can eliminate “suffering” from the human experience.
While such a change of mind does not erase the pain, it transmutes it, turning it into something that can be encountered with a higher degree of even peaceful acceptance, and certainly with a great deal less—if any—objection or opposition.
It is objection or opposition that creates the brittle rigidity that produces suffering—and prolongs it. For it is as Conversations with God tells us: What you resist, persists, and what you look at, disappears. That is, it ceases to have its illusory form.
A classic example of this can be a woman in childbirth. She is in pain, but if she relinquishes any opposition to it, she can reduce—and often completely eliminate—”suffering.” She can even, by this device, reduce the pain itself.
There are those who understand this very well, and who see pain as a natural part of every birthing process. Not just the birthing of a baby, but even the emerging of a new and greater aspect of the Self.
In children we often call these experiences “growing pains.” They are precisely the same in adults.
Fair enough, some may concede, but must these “growing pains” continue throughout one’s entire life? Is there to be no relief, ever, from this ongoing and ever-visited experience? Is the human journey to be an endless rush through tiny valleys of happiness to the next mountain of physical or emotional pain?
No. It does not need to be this way. Tiny valleys of happiness can turn into expansive plains of joy. The scales of life need not be heavily tipped toward emotional or physical discomfort—and even if certain physical pain is chronic, the abandonment or prohibition of joy is not a required accompaniment to that condition.
Many people who experience chronic physical pain have nevertheless found joy and happiness to be the prevalent circumstance of their life. Persons encountering ongoing emotional pain have likewise discovered that there are effective ways to ameliorate that condition and that they need not automatically forfeit delight, pleasure, and merriment in their lives.
It is quite amazing to observe the degree to which a non-combative, non-oppositional attitude toward pain can begin to immunize a person to the worst ravages of it. A person’s subjective, or inner, decision can and does affect a person’s objective, or outer, experience. There is not a psychologist in the world who would disagree with that.
Metaphysics goes one step further. It says that a person’s interior holding of an event can actually change the event itself. In other words, a positive attitude about any negative occurrence can actually transmogrify the occurrence itself—even as it is occurring.
How is this possible?
It is possible because everything in life is energy. And energy affects energy. It is a phenomenon that impacts upon itself. Science observes this through quantum physics, which posits that nothing that is observed in unaffected by the observer. This is pure science, not hocus-pocus.
So let’s highlight this intriguing statement once again here, so that you can get the full impact of it: A person’s subjective, or inner, decision can and does affect a person’s objective, or outer, experience.
It is within this context that the statement is made that long-suffering need not be part of the human condition. Not only does God not specifically reward it, God promises that it is not even necessary.
As well, it should be made clear that affecting one’s own happiness in an irreversible way—to say nothing of ending one’s life—through an act that is labeled “martyrdom for God” is not something for which God offers a special reward. The act of taking the lives of others along with one’s own as the very point of such “martyrdom” likewise will not, and will never, be rewarded with special honors or special treatment in paradise.
Persons who imagine that by killing themselves in an act of terrorism that kills others they will earn a unique, distinct, and exclusive “payoff ” in the afterlife will find that no such unique payoff is waiting.
Unlike on the earth, everyone is treated exactly alike in heaven. No one is raised higher, nor placed lower, than anyone else, no matter what they have or have not done during their physical life, and the wonders of the afterlife are not merit awards that are earned.
To put this simply: heaven is not a meritocracy. The joys of the spiritual realm—as with the joys of the physical realm—are the gifts of life itself, joyously created and freely given to all by God.
The doctrine of a God who parcels out rewards in heaven based on the quality and the content of one’s “performance” on the earth reduces the whole of life’s magnificent process to the monotonous mechanics of a mundane meritocracy.
As well, such a dogma makes a muddle of the concept of reincarnation, for if one’s particular status in heaven is a “reward” for exemplary behavior on the earth, that status would have to be revised with each succeeding incarnation—raising the almost silly question: Does one’s “standing” go up or down based on the “achievements” or “failures” of one’s most recent physicalization? No.
Heaven is not a meritocracy.
It is time to let go of our notion of a God who admires, honors, and rewards self-sacrifice more than self-service, long-suffering more than lifelong joy, and martyrdom more than merry-making.
We have lived long enough with our childish concept of a God who has gone so far as to say that even music and dancing is “bad,” that sex without the intention of procreation is lustful and bestial, that glorious self-celebration is worth less than continuous self-denial, and that the foregoing of some of the grandest joys of our oh-so-short life on the earth is what earns us the grandest joys of everlasting life in paradise.
We have lived long enough with our childish idea of a God who lays down “rules” for human behavior that dictate what we may or may not eat, may or may not wear, may or may not say, and may or may not believe. These jejune and puerile theological constructions have nothing to do with Ultimate Reality.
Or, as one observer wryly put it: “No more Jonah and the Whale.”
Look at what you are doing on this day. Are you spending most of your energy gathering, or giving? And if you are giving, are you giving in order to gather? Do you do the work you do in order for it to pay off for you? And what, exactly, is the payoff? What are you gathering?
God, of course, cannot gather. That is the one thing that God cannot do.
God cannot gather anything. That is because everything God would gather, God is. There’s nothing to gather.
I gather that you understand this.
Yet if God cannot gather, and if you are God, then you cannot gather, either. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this. Perhaps you’ve already noticed that, even if you do manage to collect a few things along the way, sooner or later it all disappears. At the end, none of it is there. You go on, but none of it goes with you.
What is it they say? “You can’t take it with you.”
In fact, it’s all starting to disappear right now. You don’t have the friends you had. You don’t have the stuff you had. You don’t even have the feelings you had. Everything you thought was “you,” or that at least helped to define you, has disappeared. There is nothing that is permanent. There is nothing that stays.
Everything goes. Which is an interesting fact about life.
And when you understand this, everything goes. There are no restrictions anymore. You can do anything you wish, say anything you wish, think anything you wish, because you’re not trying to hold onto anything anymore.
What’s the point? You can’t hold onto it anyway. It’s all going to go away.
In the end, if not before.
This may sound like a desolate and despairing scenario, yet the truth is, it’s liberating. You can’t have anything forever. If you had it forever, the having of it would mean nothing.
The Holy Experience is knowing this.
Each moment becomes truly holy, because each moment ends. It cannot be held onto forever. Not a single moment can. Therefore, every single moment is sacred.
Like a snowflake, the moments fall and form a collection that melts into the stream of our lives that evaporates into nothingness, disappearing from sight but not from Reality, condensing and forming cloudy formations, which then drop down as new snowflakes, new lives, starting the whole cycle over again.
Each snowflake, each moment, is utterly magnificent; cryingly, achingly, tearfully beautiful, unfathomably perfect. As is each life.
In the last year the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has added to the dialog, and to the polarization of the world. It has become another contentious dialog between those who wish to see change vs. those who believe nothing should ever change; that the Bible is a tool of God vs. the indisputable word of God. It is the people who believe the Pope is the spiritual Head of the Church vs the Pope is the spiritual Head of the Church, but spirituality and politics don’t mix. It seems that talk about money/politics and faith are separate conversations, not one ongoing conversation.
This Pope has had the temerity to suggest, among many things, that we should be kind to homosexuals, review policies that exclude divorced couples from the sacraments, that we shouldn’t judge others, and, worst of all, has suggested that an equitable way of redistributing the worlds wealth should be sought!
We live in an age of ever increasing mechanization of labor, and still increasing population, and stagnant wages. Labor is told to get a job, but jobs are dwindling, and the real buying power of wages has shrunk dramatically. All the while the rich are getting disproportionately more wealthy.
The Pope sees this as against the teachings of Christ, around whom Christianity was born.
What is the response I have seen most often to this Pope’s stand on our world capitalist (Trickle down) economy model? The Pope is a Socialist! The Pope is a Communist! The Pope doesn’t “get it”, when it comes to Capitalism, because he took a vow of poverty and because he lived in a poor country! These are the cries I hear from people in the media…and from many people I speak to.
I, personally, think this means the Pope “gets it” more than any one of the media pundits, or anyone who lets others form their opinions for them. This Pope has seen first hand, and in grinding reality, what poverty really is, and how the “trickle down” economic model is not working. He has demonstrated that happiness comes from within not without. He has seen the effects of entitlement and separation from one another…and Divinity.
There is a whole discussion one could have right now on exactly what “Socialism” is, but I will only say that there is no one definition, and that it is a fluid thing, with, at its core, parity for all, with each culture defining what is of “value”, and what defines an individuals “value”.
What “Socialism” isn’t is an end to individualism, nor does it necessarily mean the government runs the whole thing. It is a fluid thing. What it means is that we can decide what our unique version of “Socialism” looks like, and then declare what we value and deem “productive” or having “value”…and isn’t that the same thing as deciding how we wish to express Divinity in our lives? America can invent and refine and define what “Socialism” means in America, other countries can determine how it would work for them.
Socialism does mean a shift back to production for use, not strictly for capital gains. It means that we will have to re-examine just how influenced by the attitudes of buy, buy, buy and begin to know that there is enough for everyone…and understand who benefits, and who does not, if these attitudes change. It means that a thing or persons value is determined by its usefulness, not by its exchange value. It means that when enough of a thing has been produced, we may have to share and repair!
Who, we must ask ourselves, is feeling the heat from the words of a Pope who also believes there is enough for all if we have the will to see life as being filled from within, and not from without?
So many of the issues that this Pope has brought up, and which are getting so much reaction, are also those that effect the marginalized or some minority… women, the poor, gays and lesbians. Why is it so upsetting to so many? What would happen if these suppressed groups changed their minds about themselves…what power do they possess?
This Pope says to welcome the immigrant, which usually translates to “the poor”, who will not, in economic terms, “contribute” in the short term fiscal picture. I believe very person of any strata of society in any contributes to the “system”, if not through income tax, then through sales taxes, labor, knowledge, spirituality, and even, simply, the belief in something better. None of these are small things, and most people do not see, minus the immigrant, their country would not look like it does today. The idea that the immigrant population pollutes the pure genetic strain is ridiculous and completely denies that we are all One. I don’t believe for one moment that different skin colors were created by Divinity as a social ranking tool, but merely as a means to know who we are through contrast, in this human experience….and I believe this Pope sees exactly that.
I ask…who and what is your God? Does your God represent all or just the privileged? Does your God ask you to fear change and your fellow man, or to know it is all God? Does this Pope create fear in you, or anticipation? Should this Pope stick to strictly “spiritual” issues, or is, as CWG says politics our spirituality expressed?
(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at www.cwghelpingoutreach.com She may be contacted at: Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
Every individual undertaking, every individual thought, word, or action which leads to the transformation of the Self and to the lifting of any other being, is of extraordinary importance. It is not necessary to move mountains to move mountains. It is necessary only to move pebbles.
We must become People of the Pebbles. We must do our work on a person-to-person basis. Then we shall move mountains. Then the mightiest obstacles shall crumble, and the way shall be made clear.
So let us undertake to deeply understand on an individual level (and then to demonstrate on an individual level) how and why it is possible for The Divine to want nothing for Itself, and to seek only to distribute.
We begin by coming to clarity on who and what The Divine is.
The Divine is Everything. All that is seen and all that is unseen is The Divine. All that is known and unknown is The Divine. All that is experienced and unexperienced is The Divine. All that is here and all that is not here, all that is now and all that is forever, all that is limited and all that is unlimited is The Divine. All that is comprehensible and all that is incomprehensible is The Divine.
There is nothing that Is that is not The Divine. Divinity is everywhere at once, and thus, it is nowhere in particular.
Divinity is NOWHERE. Divinity is NOW/HERE.
All of this has been given to us in Conversations with God. None of this is new. It has been given to us a thousand times before Conversations with God. It has been given to us a thousand times since. Indeed, in every moment of every day, through a thousand individual manifestations of Itself, is Divinity revealing Itself. Yet we do not see. Or we see, but do not believe.
We do not believe the evidence of our own eyes. We do not hear the truth in the sounds of silence.
Yet, for those who have ears to hear, listen. And Watch. Observe. Observe the Self. Watch over your Self.
If you call someone a “Judas”, most people in the western world will understand that you’re calling someone a traitor or a false friend or a turncoat. Someone who will “sell out” their friends. Someone who values money above human life and above truth and above Love.
The reference, of course, is to Judas Iscariot, who, according to most interpretations of the four gospels of the Christian Bible, betrayed Jesus to the Romans for 30 silver pieces. Most people seem to despise Judas and blame him for the death of the Son of God. For his part, according to some accounts, Judas felt so guilty that he later hung himself and, if asked, most people would suggest that he now rots in hell in eternal torment.
I have a very different view of Judas. Jesus states that one of his twelve chosen disciples will betray him. And he knows it’s Judas. So if Judas is not “in on” the plan for Jesus to be crucified, then God/Jesus is using Judas as a pawn, against his free will. And this is something that God will not do! Therefore, Judas is an integral part of Jesus’ soul’s plan: to be crucified and rise from the dead after three days to show all of humanity that death is not the end. That life and Love go one forever without end.
And, in fact, if it were NOT for Judas’ “betrayal”, the Romans would have had no reason to crucify Jesus and his soul’s agenda would have been unfulfilled. The way Jesus led his life, the only way TO be crucified was to have Judas “betray him”. So if it was NOT Judas’ choice to help Jesus to fulfill his soul’s agenda, then he was “used” by God/Jesus and that is simply not possible.
So I believe that Judas accepted the role of Jesus’ betrayer, knowing full well that his name would be vilified and demonized for thousands of years afterwards. That he would be hated and scorned and, if others had their way, would be severely punished for his “betrayal”. I view Judas as Jesus most trusted friend. As the one who Loved Jesus the most because he was willing to be forever hated to help Jesus fulfill is soul’s agenda.
So when police in Missouri recently arrested Craig Michael Wood on suspicion of murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens and later reportedly found child porn on Wood’s computer, my initial reaction was the same as everyone else. “What a monster! Lock him up and throw away the key!”
Then I remembered Judas.
Most Christians— both back then and nowadays— would, I think, have said the same thing about Judas. “Lock him up and throw away the key!” (As an aside, many of the comments I read on various news sites and social media sites proposed punishment for Wood (who is still innocent until proven guilty in our legal system!) and other pedophiles/child murderers that was much more cruel, violent and ruthless than simply removing him from society for the rest of his life!)
Judas sacrificed his “good name” and his “reputation” for the greater good. Jesus chose to die the kind of death he did to help every soul who lived after him to remember that death is not the end. Judas accepted the scorn and contempt of generations that would follow him to help Jesus get this message out to the world.
God tells us in CwG that there are no victims and there are no villains, even if it appears that way sometimes. So Craig Michael Wood is not a villain and Hailey Owens is not a victim, although most people will see it that way. On some level, their souls (apparently— remember innocent until proven guilty) chose to meet in this lifetime in this manner so that we, collectively as the human race, might learn from the experience. So that we might be able to more fully express our divinity after Hailey’s death.
Please understand, I do not condone what Wood has been accused of doing. But I recognize that there are many, many souls alive today that sacrifice their physical, mental and even emotional well-being to provide us with opportunities to demonstrate Who We Really Are. As history has demonstrated to us over and over, and as personal experience has shown us over and over, it is the most trying times and the most heinous acts that give us the greatest opportunity to grow the most spiritually.
I am relatively certain that many people reading this are going to be very angry at my words. At the challenge they present us as Divine Children of God to Love everyone, even the “least of our brothers”, unconditionally. Maybe even at me. Some may even think I’m as “bad” as her alleged murderer for suggesting that Hailey “planned” this and that Wood was (allegedly) helping her fulfill her soul’s agenda.
That’s okay, because sometimes I myself wonder if these kinds of thoughts are “valid”. And yet when I look back on my life, I realize how many important relationships in my life were with survivors of childhood abuse. I volunteer to help in domestic violence shelters and on sexual assault hotlines. I wonder if maybe the reason for so many relationships of all kinds with survivors of abuse is so that I could think these very thoughts. That I could come to understand that even those who society despises the most are still Divine Children of God. Are still worthy of unconditional Love. Are still contributing members of the human race.
What message was Hailey Owens trying to get out to the world? Did Craig Michael Wood give up his “good name” just as Judas did by committing an act that most of us find vile and inexcusable? What message was he trying to teach the world? And, just as importantly, are we willing to learn those lessons?
My boyfriend can’t forgive me because for the first year we dated I never invited him to my apartment. I was embarrassed because his apartment is so much nicer than mine, so I was always making excuses not to have him over. He thinks it was because I was unfaithful and living with another guy but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve tried to explain it to him but he’s still holding it against me. I love him so much and miss the good times we had together. How can I regain his trust?… Mandy
You’ve learned the hard way, I’m afraid, that relationships can’t prosper fully when one is intentionally withholding information from another. That said, if you’ve sincerely apologized and explained your reasons and he still won’t forgive you, it’s probably time you have a heart to heart talk and try to find out what’s really going on with him. Set an intention for clarity and honest, open, peaceful communication. Here are a few talking points that might help get you started:
The way I see it—and please correct me if I’m wrong—if you haven’t yet forgiven me, it must be for one of these three reasons:
1. Because I haven’t explained why I did what I did, well enough for you to understand. I’ll gladly try one more time if you want me to.
2. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying, but you choose not to believe me, there is nothing I can do about that.
3. If I have explained it fully and you understand what I’m saying and you do believe me, but you choose to hold and carry a grudge, there is nothing I can do about that, either.
Are any of these scenarios true for you or are you using what I did as an excuse because you don’t have the courage to tell me that your feelings about me have changed? Or maybe you never really felt the same way about me that I feel about you?
CWG says there is nothing to forgive; there is only to understand. God fully understands the reasons behind everything we’ve ever done—what our fears were, what our thought processes were about that fear, and why it drove us to make that “mistake” (of course, there really are no mistakes in the Universe). That is why we need not ask forgiveness from God. Even before we ask it is already given.
Also, Mandy, we must always understand and forgive ourselves if we expect to receive understanding and forgiveness from others. This is how the Universe works at a metaphysical level—it reflects back our own thoughts about it. So perhaps the larger question is, Have you forgiven yourself?!
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Life Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com.
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
An additional resource: The CWG Helping Outreach offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services. The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions. What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God. It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.
What specific word will spur a child to a life of discovery? What influence, person or otherwise, will cement the ideas by which a child will formulate his or her worldview? What subject in school will lead a child to be a “success?” By what standard do we measure success?
The meanings of questions change as we become more aware of our individual spiritual purpose, our reason for Being. Conversations with God encourages us to embrace a new way of measuring success. In the Old Cultural Story, success was measured by how much stuff you accumulated, often at the expense of another. Scarcity was used as a motivational factor and competition was encouraged.
In the New Spirituality, we learn that Our purpose is to recreate ourselves anew every day in the next grandest version of the greatest vision we ever held about ourselves. Instead of glorifying the scarcity and “do anything to get ahead” mentality, we come to understand that There is enough, Human beings do not have to struggle with each other to get what they want, and The wonderful ways to be are truthful, aware and responsible. In fact, Conversations with God even says that No human being is superior to another. And this is just a retelling of just a few of the core concepts from the CwG body of work.
I recently watched an enlightened young man, Logan LaPlante’s, TEDx University Talk about his ideas about home school education. You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/h11u3vtcpaY
Logan’s parents have allowed him, to a certain degree, to direct his own education based on his interests. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, his answer is simple: He wants to be happy.
He says adults ask the wrong questions. He is unsure what career he will pursue, although he is leaning toward designing outdoors sports and recreation equipment. He thinks focusing on what to be or do in the future is a mistake. He is, instead, choosing to focus on what to be and do now. He believes that the only way to have a fulfilled life is to start by having a happy and fulfilled childhood. So he pursues his interests now, focusing on being happy and learning the things that are interesting. He calls this “hacking” his education.
While I watched, I couldn’t help but see similarities between his ideas about growing up, his education, and his ideas about the future and people on a spiritual path. (That’s not to say that I assume he has read CwG or would agree with its messages.) It shows that children, when allowed to have some self-direction will flourish; that once we remove the walls and restrictions their own ideas and creativity can flourish. This, contrary to old ideas, will not lead to uncontrolled hedonism, it actually leads to growth.
After watching Logan and really listening to what he had to say, I reevaluated my own approach to my daughter’s homeschooling. I noticed that I had gotten into a rut, and honestly, taken some of the fun out of our schooling because I felt pressure to get through and finish tasks. Logan’s enthusiasm, courage and innovative ideas inspired me. I have rededicated myself to giving her more control in directing her education because I know that she will enjoy, and thereby learn, more. It will also, allow her to Be Happy now, rather than waiting for her to become something in the future.
Children like Logan know the answers to the questions above about success, inspiration and discovery can be answered in many ways. They don’t have to be tied to how many good grades a child gets, if they get into certain colleges, or how much money they make. They can be about enjoyment, finding inspiration and value in things that make them happy, lead them to think, and give them a reason to feel passionate about a subject.
Thank you for the pep talk, Logan!
(Emily A. Filmore is the Creative Co-Director of www.cwgforparents.com. She is also the author/illustrator of the “With My Child” Series of books about bonding with your child through everyday activities. Her books are available at www.withmychildseries.com. To contact Emily, please email her at Emily@cwgforparents.com.)
I’m not vegan or even vegetarian every day. I still eat some chicken, sushi, and a few dairy products. But I’ve reached the point in my journey where I want to know how the animals are treated that produce my food. One of the largest groups of animal products you may consume is dairy products – cheese, yogurt, butter, or milk – and I am disturbed by the way the cows are farmed and cared for. It’s not healthy for us and it’s even worse for the cows.
How much dairy do you consume and why? How much calcium do you really need? These are extremely important questions when looking at your own eating habits. Most of us eat or drink dairy because we have been told that we need the calcium for strong bones and health. Here are some important things for you to consider.
The United States is one of only a few countries in the world in which adults drink milk. The facts show that countries with the highest consumption of dairy products (including the United States) have the highest incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis. The countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products (including Japan) have the lowest rates of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
We have been blasted with marketing campaigns telling us that we need milk in order to be healthy. There is an increased risk of ovarian and prostate cancer if you consume 3 or more servings of dairy per day according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Dairy can also cause allergies, mucous, asthma, and skin conditions.
Dairy cows are farmed in unnatural ways and using hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feed. Cows are kept pregnant throughout their lives to ensure that they continue to produce milk. Their hormone levels are already completely out of balance. They are packed into tight, filthy living quarters. If you choose to consume dairy, please consume organic dairy to ensure that there have been no added chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics to the cow’s diet.
If you feel you need extra calcium, there are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium and other necessary nutrients such as green vegetables and sea vegetables. Plant-based sources of calcium do not have the negative impact that dairy has on our health. We also need to consider that we need many other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, other vitamins, and especially collagen. Too much calcium will make your bones brittle, but increasing the collagen in your body will make bones more flexible.
It might be time to rethink the amount of dairy products you consume. Take some time to think about it. Find out where your dairy products come from and how the animals are treated. We have to stop using ignorance as an enabler to continue unhealthy practices.
(Beth Anderson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner. She is the founder of Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana and author of The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life. Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. An expert in holistic and alternative health, Beth thoroughly enjoys educating and inspiring people to learn about the truths of food, consumer products, environmental issues, and life choices. She speaks nationally and publishes articles regularly on several internet wellness sites. Beth provides individual and group holistic health coaching and works with companies to provide wellness programs, workshops, and individualized coaching services for employees. You can find Beth on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are all saddened by the recent events in Boston. Our hearts go out to those touched by this tragedy. And who is not touched? Now more than ever is a time to come together in love and light. I hope and pray that we do. I hope and pray that we have learned from other similar kinds of tragedy and that we will respond as Martin Luther King suggested to us not that long ago:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Now more than ever it is up to us to spread love and light into the world. Now more than ever it is up to us to demonstrate forgiveness, which does not mean to condone behavior, but rather to release resentment and the behavior that it sponsors, like retaliation. Have we not learned from our past? Do we not clearly see where our energy goes it grows? Have we not compounded tragedy with more tragedy, like war? It would be one thing if war solved problems, but it does not and has not. How high must the cost be before we awaken? Having a war with something only more firmly places it there…what you resists, persists.
The messages of God are clear. Now more than ever it is time for messages like Martin Luther King’s to be embraced, rather than fear. Turn off your TV and pick up any spiritual book. Commit this month to reading it. Commit this month to living its messages. Like the 34 Core Concepts that live within the pages of Conversations with God. Or take on the daily messages of The Course in Miracles. Or any other book that inspires you to be who you really are, rather than being sucked into the fear of the world being broadcast constantly through the television airwaves. Switch it off.
Commit to being who you really are, Love and the Light, and spread your loving energy everywhere you go. Not only will your life change, but so will those around you. You heal the world by first healing yourself.
Peace begins with me. It begins by my healing all of the wrong and small thinking (fear), which creates hell within me and on earth. Love creates the opposite.
Please consider that you have a greater impact on the planet than you may believe or understand. Consider that participating in the healing of the limiting voice within you would make a greater difference than you can even imagine. You know the one I speak of. You know the voice that steals and robs your joy, passion, and freedom to be who you really are. The voice that is denying its existence in your mind right now!
You misunderstand the power of love if you believe that healing yourself would do little to heal the world. It begins with you. When you become who you really are, Love, in every area of your life, the power of your life to heal others is a thousandfold more powerful than that of fear. That is, fear ceases to exist.
The same is true for darkness. Flip the switch in a darkened room and light immediately removes the darkness. If we all commit to flipping our switch — that is, we switch our thoughts, words and actions to love — fear disappears. Today! If we all commit to being the words express by Martin Luther King, inspired by the King of Kings, we would heal the world this moment. That is what every master that has walked this earth taught and teaches to this very day. Will today be the day?
You have the power to heal the world and now more than ever, joining with others to awaken us to the truths that are attempting to reveal themselves through our life circumstances and experiences.
We not need reach a bottom in life to have access to that same kind of wisdom that became available to Neale Donald Walsch in his conversation with God. Whatever your circumstances are in life, having a conversation with God just makes sense. Paying attention to what and where your life is leading you and the wisdom that becomes available because of it is always possible to see. That’s what conscious awareness is, the ability to look and see clearly.
We all, no matter what we have been through, have access to that kind of wisdom. The only question is, will we use the wisdom the process reveals? Will we allow the circumstances of our life to consume us or will we turn to that which is always present and allow that divine process to lead us to our own salvation?
When you are caught in a riptide, attempting to swim against the power of the tide will be your demise (what you resist, persists). When you go with the flow of the energy, and use the power to guide you downstream to safe shores, you allow the experience to present wisdom that only an experience like that can bring…don’t swim against the tide, or said in the positive, go with the flow.
Looking back on any experience to see the wisdom the circumstances were attempting to reveal creates the clarity of the need for the experience itself. Only if you fail to use your experience will you find yourself in similar experiences once again. I call them God Reminders. No matter where you are in life, no matter what is happening, this wisdom and presence is available to you.
Will we use that wisdom now? Will we see clearly? Or will we allow ourselves to fall back into that old familiar pattern that resentment sponsors? Will we use fear to deal with our common human experience or will we break free of the addiction and begin to heal ourselves?
If you could be a King today, would you turn it down? Every messenger like MLK has brought the wisdom to us. Every master like Jesus has demonstrated the wisdom to us. Will you be King for a day? Just one day?
My work and the mission and purpose of the Conversations with God Foundation has never been more important. Your energy and commitment to our work is needed now more than ever, for where your energy goes, it grows. Help me spread the messages of Love and Light to the world, and help me heal the world by committing to healing the kind of thinking that robs you of your joy, peace, and freedom. Help me help others be a king for a day. One day would change everything!
Grieve for what has happened. Forgive others and yourself. And commit to a life and a world where peace is the order of the day. Peace begins with me. Choose to be a King for a day and watch what happens. The only thing you have to lose is the negative experience the old thinking sponsors.
Finally, please check out our upcoming Recovery Retreat – “ A Path to Peace” at www.cwg.org – could also be called “King for a Day”!
Until then, may the light and love of God touch you all. – JR
J.R. Westen, D.D., C.A.d
(J.R. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation.)