The Storm Before the Calm
The website you are currently visiting is a direct outgrowth of the writing in the book The Storm Before the Calm, in which you have been invited to co-author a New Cultural Story for Humanity as part of a global Movement. That book is now being posted here, one chapter at a time. (See the first SIX CHAPTERS below.) You will find it very beneficial to read this if you wish to become part of the Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, which is a spiritual activist project that Neale Donald Walsch is heading up for Humanity’s Team, a global organization that he founded. Says Neale:
“I invite people to join a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its belief in a vengeful, violent, and vindictive God, and releasing our species from a global doctrine that creates separation and vicious competition, replacing it, finally, with an ethos of unity and cooperation, understanding and compassion, generosity and love.”
Step One: Read the book The Storm Before the Calm. It may be purchased here. Or, you may read it for free online on this website, where it is being published chapter-by-chapter.
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter One: Can we talk?
My dear, dear friends…my wonderful companions on this human journey…
I’m so glad that you’re here, and I hope that your answer to the question just above is yes, because it’s very important that you hear this: We’re experiencing something quite extraordinary on the earth right now. I’m going to give it a name here.
We are experiencing The Overhaul of Humanity.
This is not an exaggeration. This is reality. It is observable at every turn.
Yet here is something that is not so observable: Things are not as they seem.
And I think, before the world and its people get too far along this road, we all need to be aware of that.
We also need to be aware that there’s nothing to be afraid of in our future if we will all but play our role in creating it. And that role—the role we are being invited to play by Life Itself—is going to be very easy to play.
I have more that I want to share with you around all this. Let me give you a summary of everything I have come here to say:
* A major shift is occurring on our planet
* There is nothing to be afraid of if we all play our role in this shift
* Our role is easy to play, and it can actually be fun
* It involves having fabulous conversations revolving around seven simple questions
* The asking and answering of these questions can result in the creating of solutions to humanity’s biggest problems
* It is time for us to place before humanity a New Cultural Story, sending us in brand new directions in politics, economics, culture, education, relationships, work, marriage, sexuality, parenting, and every area of human endeavor; a manifesto created by all of us, working as co-authors.
* There are some exciting opening thoughts about what that document could contain that I think you should hear.
Oh, and I don’t want to talk with you just about “world conditions” or “the global situation” or “our planetary crisis.” As important as those topics are, I’m clear that the Overhaul of Humanity is overhauling each of us. One look at how much has changed in your life in the past three years will tell you that.
So I’d like to have some exchanges with you as well about easing any struggle or negativity that may be present in your own personal life.
Okay, there you have it. The whole agenda. Can we talk?
The Overhaul of Humanity is not a small thing. The words I’ve used to describe this phenomenon are dramatic because the event is dramatic.
It is going to involve (indeed, it is already involving) every aspect of our lives: our governance and politics, our economics and financial stability, our commerce and industry, our social conventions and constructions, our educational systems and approaches, our religions and beliefs, our customs and traditions—in fact, our entire Cultural Story.
We can participate in the Overhaul of Humanity or we can merely witness it—but we cannot stop it. Nor would we want to.
This can be the greatest thing that has happened to our species since our appearance on this planet. The years just ahead, and some of the trials and tribulations we’re going to see, can bring our planet to a new and wonderful place when the process is complete. And the process will be complete in a relatively short period of time.
And you can help bring about that completion if you choose to.
You don’t have to simply read this
Life is inviting you to not have this be a book that you simply read. Life is inviting you to have this be an experience in which you participate. This is your opportunity to join me and others from around the world in the conversation that is being initiated here. You may do so at any time by simply stopping your reading, marking your place, then getting on the Internet and navigating to…
There, click on the icon labeled The Storm Before The Calm. Find and post any comment you wish at the numbered “Conversation” you’re currently reading. (You’ll notice that this book is not broken down into “Chapters,” but rather, into “Conversations.”)
At this special website there’s also a separate icon inviting you to post your ideas, your thoughts, your concepts, and your inspirations regarding the contents of Humanity’s New Cultural Story. It is for this purpose that you have come to this material.
If you are like many others, you have long been asking, “What can I do? How can I help to make things better?” This is an answer to that question.
The New Cultural Story co-created here by adding your insights and inspirations and heartfelt hopes and dreams for our world will be placed before humanity in a separate book: Our Collective Dream: A New Cultural Story for Humanity. This will be a book read around the world, and a book that you co-author.
So what you are reading now is not an ordinary text. This is your gateway to participation in what I am clear could very well be The Conversation of the Century. Your voice is valuable and needed in this exchange, in order that the exchange itself may sparkle with the vitality of a wide variety of ideas, insights, and visions. So do, please, consider interacting with this book, as well as reading it, yes?
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* A major shift is occurring on our planet.
* There is nothing to be afraid of if we all play our role in this shift.
* Our role is easy to play, and can actually be fun.
* What Life is inviting us to change is our Old Cultural Story.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Check out the website that has been specially created to allow the conversation that has been started here to continue. Go to www.TheGlobalConversation.com and see what you think.
* Return to that website any time during your reading of this book that you see something you want to discuss further. Create your own Topic Board if you don’t find the subject you wish to discuss already being explored there.
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter Two: The answers to ‘why’ & ‘when’
My dear companions…
As we contemplate all that’s occurring on our planet these days it is fair to ask, “Does this have to happen? Why is this happening???”
The answer is yes, it has to happen. What is happening is happening because Life Itself is happening—and all of life moves in cycles, according to a formula. This formula requires that life progress through phases, based on principles of functionality, adaptability, and sustainability.
Whenever the functionality of life in any of its many forms is threatened, it adapts that manifestation, thus rendering itself sustainable in a new form.
This is the reason for the human experience that we call death. Death is not the end of life at all, but the continuation of life through the adaptation of the manifestation of a given life form, thus rendering that life sustainable in a new form.
This is true of everything in existence. Nothing “dies,” and you cannot “kill” a thing. Not anything at all. You cannot kill a person, you cannot kill an animal, you cannot kill a plant.
This is important to understand during this time, especially, for there are those who have died, and those who will die, during this Overhaul of Humanity, and it is both helpful and healing to know that death is not a process that takes a life, it is a process that changes a life.
We miss their presence here with us—we miss them terribly—but we need not mourn for them. The new form they have embraced has brought them great joy.
Wouldn’t this mean that it’s a splendid idea for us to end our own lives in our present form?
I get that question a lot, from people in many audiences and many cultures. My answer is always no. The soul’s departure from this physical life is never a sadness, but always a joy, whenever and however it happens.
This does not mean, though, that it is a “good idea” to simply exit this physical life. The soul’s agenda is what is being served here on the earth, and if the soul’s agenda is complete, the right and perfect circumstances will be co-created for its departure. But those circumstances will never be artificially produced by the mind.
Just as it is a joy to leave the physical body, so is it a joy to stay, and if life in the physical is not a joy, it is because we are not looking at it from the perspective of the soul, but rather, trying to figure it out with our mind.
Life will never make sense to the mind. It will only make sense, and can only produce long-term, sustained happiness, peace, and joy when embraced from the perspective of the soul.
The trick then, if we are not happy in life, is not to leave the body, but to join the soul. This can be done while one is with the body. Yet most people are not bringing the soul into their daily experience.
Before this conversation is over I will share with you exactly how do that. And when you communicate with your soul you will understand fully what is going on here—on our planet I mean. You will know that when the ability of any life form to continue in its present expression is compromised, that life form adapts its expression to allow it to immediately become sustainable again. It is in this way that life renders itself eternal.
Now there’s no questioning that the life expression that we call Earth (what some have come to name Gaia) has had its ability to continue in its present expression compromised. The conditions leading to this threatening circumstance have been created in part by the human life forms inhabiting the Earth. Those human forms, in turn, have had their own expression threatened.
In short, neither the planet nor its people can continue to go on as they have been.
Don’t worry. They won’t.
Having reached the limit of its ability to produce sustainability in the earth’s environment under present conditions, the Cycle of Life is now playing its effect, adapting all life forms in this environment, so that all life expression here may once again be rendered sustainable.
In other words, life on earth is changing in order to continue. The fact that it is changing is the guarantee that it will continue.
So that’s the why of what’s going on. Before I get to the when, let me explain where that question that was asked just above came from.
Voices that differ
A conversation is not a “conversation” if it’s a monologue. So from the very moment that I contemplated having this conversation with you through this book, I knew I wanted to avoid creating a single-voice oration, a soliloquy, a sermon or homily.
It’s all very nice to invite you to jump into a discussion online, but that doesn’t change what’s appearing here—which would, in fact, be a monologue.
Unless it wouldn’t. Unless I could find a way to convert what could come off as a “lecture” into an actual conversation, right on these pages.
Here’s what I came up with: I could create a “dialogue” growing out of conversations that have already taken place.
I could include here the thoughts, questions, and comments of other people, not just my own—offered in their voice. I could have a “conversation” that has been retrieved from my memories of previous exchanges with others.
In this way I could give voice to some who differ with what’s on these pages. I think that’s important. Voices that differ are voices that enlarge the scope of every conversation. They are also voices that represent a great many people. I hope we hear voices that differ in the online dialogue as well.
As for the voices that differ here, in this book…let me explain where they could come from.
I’ve been sharing the ideas being explored here for a good while, on the road. During a long string of evening lectures and weekend workshops, television appearances and talk show guestings, I’ve received some pretty tough questions and engaged in many vivid, spritely, sometimes challenging and once-in-a-while mildly aggressive exchanges—all of which have been totally okay with me, because I knew that all of them were serving me.
They were showing me where my thinking was perhaps a bit fuzzy, when my logic was perhaps faulty, which of my comments were hitting the nail on the head, and, in general, how other people were thinking about these same issues.
Over my 20 years as a member of the working press, I trained my mind to remember such encounters, often word for word—especially the more memorable ones—and I knew that I could bring the essence of these exchanges forward with the slightest stimulation.
So I thought, if anything I put down as I wrote this book brought back memories of one of those prior conversations, I could include my memory of it here. In that way, the present expression would not be just a monologue, with me rambling on and on from my point of view, but a “monoconvologue”—a monologue that includes conversations derived from previous dialogues.
Conversations not simply quoted, but inserted into the narrative flow as if they were happening now. I could dialogue with a composite voice of the many folks who have dialogued with me in the past.
A conversation with humanity
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So I decided to do it! And that’s where the question that just popped into the narrative above came from. You’ll be hearing from this “composite voice” on the pages that follow as well.
And what kinds of people comprise this composite voice? Who will be represented in these remembered exchanges?
Well, my prior explorations of the life-changing ideas presented here have taken place with folks all over the world, from Denmark to Norway to Sweden to France, from South Korea to South America, from Ireland to Poland, from Jamaica to Japan…from the steps of Machu Picchu to the steps of the Great Wall of China, from Red Square in Moscow to Vatican Square in Rome, from down under (Australia and New Zealand) to up over (Iceland), from Central West Africa to Central America, from across the United Kingdom to across the United States.
The inquiries and the opinions I’ve heard in these many places and from these many sources reflect a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, religious affiliations, political convictions, and social conventions, making for a spirited—and definitely not one-sided—monoconvologue.
And when you add your point of view later, in the online discussion, we will really have what I believe our species could truly benefit from right now: a conversation with humanity.
So, on the pages that follow you’ll get a glimpse of what people from all over the world have been thinking and asking about our tumultuous times and about the messages that I’m sharing, which I believe could change our world. I’ll present their views here in a dialogue format, so that you can experience the exchanges very much as they originally took place, yes?
Now then, back to where I was going…
The when of the Overhaul
Several famous prognostications appear to indicate that the time of our species’ next great evolutionary step is now.
Looking back, we have seen that Life Cycles are actually not that difficult to predict. Beginning in ancient times people began to observe certain rhythms in events. Wise ones listened carefully to oral histories and began keeping track of the cycles. They used their observations to estimate the timing of future cycles.
This estimate of timing is what we find in the prognostications of Nostradamus, the prophesies of religious figures from all of the world’s great religions, the predictions of the Maya Calendar, etc., many of which point to this very moment in human history as being significant.
Wikipedia tells us “that numerous cases of prophecy exist among the Native American populations,” and that “the Onondaga and Hopi, among others, have prophecies that appear to relate to the times we are entering now.
“For example, the Onondaga talk of a time when the water will not be fit to drink from the streams. This, they say, will signify the beginning of a period they call the great purification, where the peoples will go through immense trials to purify themselves of the corrupting influences that have beset them.
“This, they say, will be seen as a period of joy for those who understand what is happening and engage this period as a time of purification, but will be a period of immense suffering for those who cling to their…worldview and lifestyles.”
There was a big twinkle in my eye and a huge smile on my face as I read this prophecy, because I couldn’t have put it better myself. That is exactly what I have come here to tell you. We are in for a period of joy—yet this period will include suffering for sure if we insist on clinging to our old worldview and lifestyles.
Just look at what that old worldview produced in just the few months before this book was published…
* Several nations had their future altered forever by revolutions.
* Other countries were devastated by the worst natural disasters in decades.
* People around the world saw their individual lives continue to be dismantled by a global financial meltdown that began 24-months earlier.
Add all that has happened in our world since then and we may well understand why much of humanity is looking to its future a bit nervously, wondering…Is this just the beginning of what the final month of that much-talked-about year, 2012, will bring? What lies ahead, not just in December 2012, but beyond?
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* The Overhaul of Humanity is part of a natural process by which life sustains itself.
* What would be beneficial right now is a conversation with humanity.
* The scope and sweep of events tells us that the Overhaul of Humanity has already begun; the time is now.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Think about ways in which you may be clinging to an old worldview and lifestyle. What does this mean to you? How does this look?
* Contemplate what’s been going on in this world and in your life between the time this book was written (early summer, 2011) and now. Ask yourself, does it feel as if a “shift” is taking place? Perhaps begin a personal journal about all that you’re observing, as part of your process.
* Begin thinking about what you would put into a New Cultural Story for humanity if you were asked to write it. (Which you are being asked to do, right here.)
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter Three: The one thing we know for sure
My wonderful fellow humans…The major disruptions in life as we know it will not be ending soon. Not before and not immediately after December 2012.
Yet—and I say this again, because it is important—things are not what they seem.
What is happening is not The End of History, but The Beginning of A New Era; not the Death of Modern Society, but the Birthing of a New Civilization.
Therefore, living in fear and apprehension, nervous caution and skittish timidity, warily searching for a safe place, hoarding food and hunkering down, preparing for a caveman survival mentality to overcome every human being on the earth as all the structures, conveniences, and technologies of our world simultaneously collapse, is not the answer.
The answer is to get into the game, not get out of the game by running from the playing field. And the game is not The Survival Game, the game is The Creation Game.
The answer is to join in the co-creation of magnificent days to come. I have something specific to suggest that we can all do, and it’s so easy we’ll wonder what took us so long to just jump in and do it.
My suggestion is that we all engage in a conversation with humanity—the part of humanity that we can personally touch.
That’s it? Have a conversation? That’s the Big Solution to Everything?
That’s it. And yes, that can be the Big Solution to Everything. Not directly, of course. But indirectly.
Doesn’t seem like much of a solution to me.
It can be, I promise you. And I’ll talk a bit more about the power of all this later. Right now let me just say that you can start your end of this “conversation with humanity” by simply telling everyone you know that if we do not play our part, some of those things could happen.
And so today, just as many years ago, it is exactly as American President Franklin Roosevelt said: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
What it’s all about—and what it’s not
How to proceed without fear will become clearer to all of us when we realize that what is taking place now all over our planet is not what it seems.
It has nothing to do at its basis with politics, so the upheavals in governance are misplaced and will do little or nothing to change things.
It has nothing to do at its basis with economics, so the protests about economic disparities are misdirected and will do little or nothing to change things.
It has nothing to do at its basis with military might, so the use of military power to quell dissent or resolve an issue will do little or nothing to change things.
It may look as if it has to do with all of those things, and it has to do with none of those things. Yet if we do not know what it does have to do with, and if we’re unwilling to look at what it might have to do with, we’re lost. If we don’t know what the problem is, how can we get the problem solved?
The irony here is that we want to solve it! Not a single person I know wants this to go on forever. (It’s true that there are some folks out there who are actually welcoming these events—joyously proclaiming that these occurrences herald the coming of Armageddon, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment, when they imagine that that and only they will be “saved” — but most human beings are yearning to see better times, not the end times.)
Indeed, what I observe everywhere I go is that the human race is losing patience with itself. We don’t want the kind of world we’ve created. Like a dissatisfied artist standing back from the canvas, we’ve decided that we’re not pleased with the picture we’ve painted.
We’ve also become very clear (finally) that we can’t paint a better picture by using the same brush strokes in the same places with the same colors we used before.
Something’s got to change.
It’s time to tear up the canvas and start over.
It is this awareness that is producing the Overhaul of Humanity.
The solution to the problem
Let’s go to the dictionary and look up that word. Overhaul: a comprehensive examination and repair of something.
Ah, yes…the repair of something. Not the destruction of something, the repair of something. That’s what this time on our planet is all about. A lot of people are running around declaring that this is the end of everything. It’s not. It’s the beginning. This is about repair, not destruction, of our world and our way of life.
In order for those repairs to be made, we have to be clear about what is needed.
What is needed here is not a revolution on the ground, it is a revolution in the mind.
It is our thinking we must change. In the past we kept trying to change conditions on the ground, and even when we did manage to do so (every so often we found a band-aid that helped), the same old (age old) problems eventually re-emerged—because nothing had been altered in our mindset.
All of that is changing. Large numbers of people are “getting” this now. And so, we are going to weather this storm, you and I. We’re going to give our children, and theirs, a wonderful world in which to live. We’re about to turn a page in human history.
Will you turn that page with me now?
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* We are approaching not the End of History, but the beginning of a New Era.
* It’s time to tear up the canvas and start over.
* Large numbers of people are getting this, and we are going to weather this storm.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Start the conversation with humanity by telling everyone you know about what you’re reading here.
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter Four: The first belief we have to change
Dear traveling companions…As we move into a new era the first thing we have to do is take responsibility for our past.
Now, now, don’t run from that. This is not about taking blame, it’s about taking control.
I’m not talking about “beating ourselves up” for what’s gone wrong or what’s gone before. What I am talking about is a moving into gentle, quiet knowing, a soft and compassionate holding, of a simple truth: We are not the victims here.
What’s happening in our lives and all over our planet right now is good, but that goodness will be wasted if we do not see what is so; if we insist on imagining that we are somehow the victims of what is occurring; if we declare with fist-pounding certainty that these things are happening to us, not through us.
The first belief we’re going to have to change is the belief in our own “bystanderness.”
That manufactured word captures perfectly the thought held by many that we are helpless, hapless, and hopeless, forced to suffer silently and shiver fearfully in the face of what’s going on and what appears to be coming. This is a false thought, an inaccurate thought, a misleading thought. More important, it’s a dysfunctional thought. It causes us, quite literally, to dysfunction.
So let’s get rid of this thought. Having turned the page, let’s now turn our attention to an important awareness. Let this fourth conversation that we are having here, then, be about cause.
Acknowledging our role in the scheme of things
All of us can easily see, simply by looking around us, just how bad things have gotten on this planet. But now, a question…
This is not one of the Seven Simple Questions that I mentioned earlier. This is a question that stands all by itself, alone. It precedes the Seven Simple Questions, and creates a context for them.
Not enough people are asking this preceding question, much less answering it. I’m going to do both. It’s part of that first belief we have to change. I’m going to stop being a bystander.
In a little booklet I wrote in Spring, 2011 I said something that I believe is worth sharing again here: Events on the earth are not created by Unseen Forces. We’re not here subject to the whims of the gods, or, as William Shakespeare put it, suffering “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
Even in the case of geophysical events, we are not entirely at the mercy of the elements. It may seem as though we are, but we’re not.
Take earthquakes, for instance. They are real, they are occurring, and they are something that we are at some level creating.
Take hurricanes and tornadoes and typhoons and tidal waves and tsunamis. They are all occurring, and they are all something that we are at some level creating.
Take global warming, for instance. It is real, it is occurring, and it is something that we are at some level creating.
Or, for that matter, take the incredible and rapid spread of bacterial diseases sweeping across the earth. This, too, is something that we are at some level creating.
Of course, we don’t have any intention of admitting any of this. At least, not the members of humanity’s “establishment.”
In a horrifying example of non-leadership, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 240-184 in the spring of 2011 to defeat a resolution that simply said that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.”
Now…are “we, the people” creating these events consciously? Of course not. Yet could we be creating these events unconsciously? Absolutely. Through our unconscious (that is to say, our unthinking or short-sighted) behaviors.
You’re asking me to accept a lot here. No one that I know sits around deciding to produce an earthquake—and they couldn’t do it if they wanted to. And there’s no proof that global warming is “caused largely by human activities.”
Would you agree to this—that human beings are more than passive observers in the rollout of life?
Depends on what you’re talking about. If you’re talking about tornadoes and stuff…
Well, let me ask you this. How many underground nuclear weapons tests do you think we can conduct before the massive explosions we produce loosen or dislodge the interconnecting plates that form the substructure of the planet’s undergirdment, eventually resulting in earthquakes?
How much carbon can we emit before we overload the earth’s natural greenhouse mechanism and cause significant warming of the planet, such that the rising temperatures of its massive waters produce geothermal conditions generating wind variations violent enough to call them hurricanes and tornadoes?
And please let me read a couple of paragraphs from the April 2011 issue of Scientific American:
“For more than 50 years microbiologists have warned against using antibiotics to fatten up farm animals. The practice, they argue, threatens human health by turning farms into breeding grounds of drug-resistant bacteria.
“Farmers responded that restricting antibiotics in livestock would devastate the industry and significantly raise costs to consumers.”
Would someone tell me how it could do both?
If it significantly raised prices (do you think meat-buyers would pay a bit more to live a lot longer?), how would the industry be devastated? The way the oil industry was devastated when gas prices shot up 30%?
This lapse in logic notwithstanding…who do you suppose won that debate? (Follow the money trail.)
Now the good news
Of course, I’m fully aware that there are those people who roundly poo-poo the notion that human activity has anything whatsoever to do with any of this, but I am here to declare (along with the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists, geophysicists, and medical researchers) that these activities are, in fact, intertwined, that we live in an interconnected world where one thing definitely and invariably leads to another, and that humanity is no more immune from causality than any other element of life itself.
To put this simply, we are at least part of the problem.
That’s good news. Because if we are part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution. If we are not part of the problem, then we have naught but to endure it. Yet if we are part of the problem (and can admit that we are), then we are not utterly at the mercy of Unseen Forces.
With regard to human affairs, as opposed to physical occurrences, this is obviously true. We are completely at cause in the matter of the geopolitical upheavals of humanity.
Well, yes and no. It’s true that political disasters are not caused by nature, but they are the result of human nature, and that is equally uncontrollable.
Really? I mean, is this true? Are human beings “just the way they are,” with certain proclivities so “built in” that there is nothing we can do about our more violent, competitive, or survival-oriented nature?
Hasn’t that pretty much been proven? Do you see human nature changing much?
Well I think this is something we’re about to decide. The collective called humanity, I mean.
We are about to decide—and to announce our decision through our thoughts, words, and actions—what we consider to be true about us, and about our nature.
We are also about to decide whether we are ready and willing to change what has been true about our nature, due to the immaturity of our species, in earlier years. It is this choice that will be tomorrow’s declaration; it is this demonstration that will be our new manifesto.
To me it seems perfectly clear: we can no longer move forward, advancing our own evolutionary process as a species, by demonstrating the behaviors of the past. It is as the late Walt Kelly’s comic strip character Pogo memorably pronounced: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Yet if most people continue to insist that what has got to change is unchangeable—that the basic nature of our species is simply what it is, and that there is no altering it—then we are surely doomed.
There is nothing for us to do but cut and run, hoard and hide, surviving as best we can while the world falls apart around us.
On the other hand, if we renounce the Doctrine of Impossibility, if we reject the notion of our impotence, if we abandon the thought that we have no control over our behavior because of our very nature, a New Future opens to us; a New Tomorrow beckons. It can be the Future of Our Preference, the Tomorrow of Our Chosen Reality.
Victims or creators?
The first step in the manifestation of this grander eventuality is the embracing of a grander truth about the role we are playing, and have played.
We must decide: is life something that is happening to us or something that is happening through us?
Even with regard to geophysical conditions and events on our planet (over which, at first glance, we might imagine we have no control), we must decide that we do have a collaborative role to play in how those occur and affect us.
The Japanese calamity of 2011 is a remarkable example. Even if we assert that we had no long-range role whatsoever in the earthquake and tsunami (a position that I, personally, am not prepared to take), there is not a one of us who can deny that humanity definitely had a role in the nuclear disaster that followed—and can have a big role in avoiding these disasters in the future.
There are those who understand this perfectly…
On May 30, 2011 Germany formally announced plans to abandon nuclear energy completely within 11 years.
Eight of the nation’s 17 plants that had been temporarily shut down would remain closed permanently, the government said. The remaining nine plants would be shut down by 2022.
This is a striking example of a world waking up. We’re beginning to understand and to acknowledge the role that we, ourselves, have played in creating the storm before the calm. We’re beginning to take a stand—not just to understand, but to take stand.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* We are not the victims here, we are at least part of the problem.
* We can no longer move forward with the behaviors of the past.
* We don’t need to take blame, we need to take control.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Change any belief you may have that you are a “bystander” in the way life is proceeding on the earth.
* Renounce the Doctrine of Impossibility.
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter Five: The most daring thing that humanity could do right now
Sweet human family…
I’m not sure where this item originally came from, but someone sent it to me in an email and it articulates cleverly and perfectly what I’m saying here:
An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
I’ve come here to invite you to decide right now not to do “nothing.” Choose to do “something.”
I hope I am not being too redundant when I say that life will not be the same when the Overhaul of Humanity is complete, yet if we all do “something,” the changes will be for the better.
Some souls will have left our planet, that is true (and we deeply honor them for their sacrifice of this present life on behalf of us all), but most souls are going to stay on the earth in order to move evolution in this particular environment forward, and to assist in dealing with the aftermath of events—doing so in such a way that the changes will be for the better.
I don’t personally believe there is much question about whether you and I will do “something” rather than “nothing.” You are ready, and so am I, to take up our positions, to hold up our end, to do our part. And we are in the majority. All we need is to be given something to do. A lot of people just don’t know what they can do, and so they assume there’s nothing they can do. That’s just not true.
There’s plenty to talk about, and that’s all we really have to do. So it can be easy and fun. And here’s more good news: You won’t be alone.
We are here. All of us who are involved in this conversation. And in just a bit I’ll place on the table one possible way that we might leverage the fact that we are all here together.
Then we can all ask together, “Why?” Why are the conditions on our planet today the way they are? People are not asking why either because they have asked the question many times before to no benefit, or, worse yet, because they think they already have the answer.
Some of them think that the answer has to do with the political doctrine of other people. If only people would embrace their political doctrine, everything would work out.
Some of them think that the answer has to do with the religious doctrine of other people. If only people would embrace their religious doctrine, everything would work out.
Some of them think that the answer has to do with the economic doctrine of other people. If only people would embrace their economic doctrine, everything would work out.
All of them are wrong.
The reason our species remains unable to create for all of us on the earth the life that we say we want for all of us on the earth is that most of us are embracing doctrines that are simply not true.
This is what we need to stop doing. It is our cultural story that has to change.
You’ve used the phrase “cultural story” now a number of times. Help me understand exactly what you’re referring to. You’re talking about our religions, right?
Oh, much more than that.
A Cultural Story is a very large tale that we tell our children, and that they tell theirs, of “how it is,” of “who we are,” of “the way things work,” and of the purpose of it all.
It’s the story that was told to us—and that was told to those who told it to us. It’s the narration that we heard every day of our lives, in one form or another.
It is the Passed-Down Understanding.
It is the Inherited Hypothesis.
It is the Standard Supposition.
It is the Memory Myth.
It is a story that provides the foundation for our religions—as well as our political process, our economic system, and all of our social interaction. It influences our lives at every level: our courting and relationship rituals, our sexual mores, our mating and marriage models, our parenting approaches, our conditions of friendship…everything.
Precisely because this story is so pervasive, this is what we should be talking about. Yet it is what so many people will not talk about.
I think it’s because folks know that this is the real problem. Their story is the problem. Yet it is a story that is sacred to them, an oft-told tale to which they fiercely adhere and which they do not intend to relinquish or abandon. To do so would seem to them to be abandoning their ancestors, devaluing their traditions, dishonoring their history.
A wonderful minister whose church I attended nearly 20 years ago, Rev. Terry Cole-Whittaker, used to ask in her Sunday morning sermons, “Who would you have to make ‘wrong’ in order for you to be ‘right’?”
She hit the bull’s eye with that question.
People know that if they change their story—their group story or even their individual story—they will have changed their minds about virtually everything of any importance that any person of any importance in their life has ever said.
And they know that this will affect their sense of who they are, their idea of what is so, even their plans and strategies for where they are going.
Such massive change is very difficult for people. For many people. Perhaps for most people. Most would rather keep things as they are, even if things are not so good, than make a change, because change produces the unknown—and that which people do not know, they often fear.
It is fear that stops most folks from changing. They may not like things the way they are, but at least they know what that is. And so, conversations that clearly could lead to significant change have not been enthusiastically welcomed or well tolerated.
And to give a full answer, I think it’s about more than just fear of the unknown. I think that many people know that if they really sat down together and objectively examined what they are repeating by rote to their children, they would see the folly in it. In a lot of it they would see just how wrong they are, how off base they’ve been, how misguided and mistaken and how incomplete their awareness is.
Thus, humanity appears to be stuck…one conversation from paradise.
We’ll have to do what we’ve never done before
Imagine, a single conversation that could change everything. Many people—perhaps most people—might never have that conversation…unless they were gently encouraged to get into it. That’s where you come in.
But what could one conversation possible reveal or involve that could bring us to paradise?
Well, it would be one conversation, but with many people. I’m saying that if hundreds of people…let’s say thousands, many thousands…found themselves in the same conversation in their small social groups or church gatherings or family parties, whatever…or if many folks were suddenly talking about the same thing on social networking Internet sites, as an example…this single conversation, with many people in many times and places, could result in us ultimately—and relatively quickly, actually—creating paradise on earth.
The seed of this idea was planted when I was sitting around sharing a quiet conversation with a handful of people who’d come to Ashland, Oregon to spend five days with my wife and me at our house for an event that we call The Homecoming.
(Each year a different small group—six to ten people or so—gathers with us for five days, exploring life on a very personal level.)
It was during the August 2010 Homecoming that someone remarked about the sheer power of some questions I’d been posing during our discussions. I called them the Seven Simple Questions.
“The whole world should be invited to ask and answer these questions!”, someone exclaimed.
“Yes,” I agreed, “it sometimes seems to me that if we all just ran around asking these seven simple questions, we’d be just one generation from paradise.”
The ring of that phrase hit all of us at once. After a stunned silence in the room someone in the group, a man from Great Britain, said, “Neale, that’s something that should be said everywhere. You could start a global movement around that.”
And so we did. Those of us in that room did, right then and there. And when some of us came back together for a planning session a few months later, we decided that we were not one generation from paradise…we could easily be just one conversation from paradise.
We simply needed to encourage everyone to have a simple conversation with as many others as they could, asking those Seven Simple Questions.
Out of that idea we created what we called The Conversations Movement. That man from the U.K., a chap named Steve Minchin, became its volunteer worldwide coordinator. And that, my friends, is how things happen. That’s how things that change the world begin.
I have to admit, though, that as good as the whole idea was feeling, I found myself asking what you just asked right now…What could possibly be said in one conversation that would create such an impact that it could begin humanity’s march to Paradise? I mean, will asking seven questions be enough?
Upon deep reflection, here’s what I realized:
Yes. Because those particular questions stimulate explorations of new ideas about who we are, about the real purpose of life, about who and what God is, and about our true relationship with each other. And because the purpose of such a conversation would not be to marginalize, ridicule, or abandon old beliefs, but simply to invite the consideration of new ones.
Yet to extend, and to accept, such an invitation will take courage. Human beings have been willing to consider new ideas—even so-called “heretical” ideas—in virtually every important area of human endeavor…except the most critical area of all: our most important personal and collective beliefs.
In order to consider new beliefs we would have to do what we have routinely done in science, in medicine, and in technology, but have not had the courage to do in religion or in many matters of personal belief. We would have to be willing to question the prior assumption.
This would be the single most daring thing that humanity could do right now.
A formula that works
Change does not come easy in any field. As Max Planck, one of the fathers of quantum physics, once observed:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
Or, as more whimsically paraphrased, “Science advances one funeral at a time.”
Still, at least Science eventually questions the basis on which a scientific conclusion was reached and, using this device, it one day comes up with even more answers, more brilliant solutions, more magnificent and miraculous outcomes.
Likewise, when Medicine comes up with an answer, those who engage in Medicine in any serious way eventually question the basis on which that conclusion was reached. And using this device, they come up with even more answers, more brilliant solutions, more magnificent and miraculous outcomes.
And so, too, is it in Technology.
This is a formula that works.
Yet with regard to the answers that we derive from Religion and from our other Cultural Beliefs, it doesn’t matter how many funerals there have been. It doesn’t matter how many generations have passed. Most people simply refuse to question the prior assumption. In fact, many have been known to declare that to do so is as act of apostasy.
This is the great tragedy of humanity. This is the greatest stumbling block of our species.
We have made breathtaking, almost unbelievable, advances in technology, medicine, and science precisely because those who practice these disciplines have ultimately avoided this stumbling block, even if it did take time.
Over decades and centuries they have been willing to make one key statement that most people who are officially associated with religious or cultural beliefs dare not make:
It is possible that all we think we know could be wrong.
At the very least it could be incomplete.
If humanity would engage in a global conversation about our religions, our beliefs, and our Cultural Story that began with this key statement, that conversation could result in new ideas that could produce new solutions that would make the advances we have seen in medicine, science, and technology look like child’s play.
We would create the life for which we have dreamed, the outcomes for which we were destined, the human experience for which we were designed.
Many people are actually producing this outcome for themselves individually right now, in the present moment. If they all simply started talking about it, they could spread this outcome to our entire species within one generation—one conversation at a time.
So yes, I think it would be wonderful for all of us talk.
Let me put it more urgently. I think we need to talk.
Not quarrel, not argue, not fight, not contradict or debate or dispute or wrangle, just converse—speaking with a gentle passion, listening with an open mind, sharing with a tolerant and tender heart, exploring with a generous spirit, and concluding with a willing invitation to not let the conversation end, but to talk and to share again, as part of an ongoing exchange that need never end.
Humanity can create, if it so chooses, a new Cultural Story—a fresh set of beliefs about who we are and why we are here and what is really “so” about each other and about life…and yes, even a new—or, to put it a better way, an enlarged—set of beliefs about God, so that Divinity may finally be rendered functional, and not merely doctrinal.
The role you were destined to play
We took a look earlier of the role that human beings have played in bringing about our present circumstance. I also spoke of the role we can play right now in bringing about a change in those circumstances more quickly. Now I want to say something daring about that.
It is a role I believe you have come here to play.
You have come here—to physical form, to this place called Earth, at this particular and critical time in history—to participate in the evolution of our species.
I realize that this may sound grandiose, yet I believe deeply that it’s true. This is not the only reason you are here, of course. You are here for reasons having to do with your own evolution, your own experience. Yet the more of the latter you achieve, the more of the former you desire, for you realize ultimately that they are one and the same.
But let’s talk about it. Let’s see what’s in your head about this.
Do you believe that you arrived here at this time by accident? Do you think that the events occurring all around you are somehow out of sequence? Do you imagine that things are happening that should not be happening?
Do you hold the idea that the timing of your life upon the earth during these crucial passages is a coincidence? Is it your thought that the impeccable synchronization of your arrival with the arrival of This Moment is by chance?
Let me know. Engage in this conversation. We’re talking about it now at www.TheGlobalConversation.com
Here is my own thought about it: No. That is not how life works. In life, nothing happens by chance. Life proceeds out of your intentions for it. Even your intentions before birth. You have a soul. You are much more than simply a body with a mind. And “life” for you extends far beyond the limits of your present physical incarnation.
It you do not believe this you may find it difficult to easily or comfortably embrace the idea that part of your journey on earth is to assist in the evolution of your species.
Such an agenda will feel huge, out of reach, beyond your ability. But it is not. You are very able to offer the gentle assistance life invites you to provide right now. And if you’re willing to offer it, you could truly—I am going to say it again—help to change the world.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* If we all agree not to “do nothing” during the Overhaul of Humanity, coming changes will be for the better.
* Most people are embracing doctrines that are simply not true.
* Because our cultural story, which contains those doctrines, is so pervasive, we need to be talking about it
* We could be just one conversation from paradise—if enough of us had that conversation, and ignited it, with others.
* You are destined to play a role in the evolution of our species.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Decide to learn all that you can about our Old Cultural Story and what it’s been telling us, so that you can discuss it with others.
* Contribute to the writing of proposals for our New Cultural Story by going to the website at www.TheGlobalConversation.com.
* Begin conversations wherever you go in a gentle, congenial way about both the old story and the new—and especially about the Seven Simple Questions, which we will discuss here soon.
THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM
Chapter Six: This is about your evolution, too
My courageous partners…
The good news is that to affect the course of human history you don’t have to be a public speaker or a best selling writer or a television presenter or a group facilitator or a workshop giver or whatever else you might think you have to be to make a difference. You don’t have to have a public profile or reach spiritual mastery or commit huge amounts of time or pledge tons of money.
And…should you choose to accept the call, you’ll be working not just on behalf of humanity at large, but on your own behalf as well.
So here’s the scoop:
Your participation in the evolution of our species is achieved through the work you do with your own soul.
I meant it when I said that humanity could be just one conversation from paradise. That conversation begins with a talk that you have with yourself. It involves you questioning the prior assumption—every assumption you may have had about yourself, about your world, and about life itself.
It could then involve you having a similar conversation with others. This is what The Conversations Movement is all about.
I love this idea of working with my own soul to personally evolve…but how does talking about all this with others accomplish that?
The work of your soul is not limited to the self. The work of the soul is to also care for the souls of others. It is to care for all souls. For your soul realizes that there is really Only One Soul, individualized in countless forms. Thus, caring for all souls is caring for Ourselves; working with all souls is working with one’s own soul.
That is why the impulse to help each other is built into our genes; it is coded within our species. We care for each other, and we do what we can to show it. We have a “soul contract” to do so. I’m convinced of it. We all, each of us, feel this impulse.
One way, one very easy way, that we can show that we care for each other is to enter with others into the same vivid and vital conversation we enter into with ourselves. In other words, do our soul searching together. Because the process of soul searching can be a lonely experience. Yet it need not be.
When a person enters into soul searching, that person can change. And when a group enters into soul searching together, that group can change. And when a whole society enters into soul searching together, that entire society can change. Soon the collective culture of many societies changes. Then, the World Entire.
It all starts with you deeply questioning yourself. And then carrying the questions to others.
The choice is yours
And so that is what I am describing here when I refer to “the work you do with your own soul.” It is one form of soul work. It is obviously not the only form, but it can be a powerful form. It is a form so powerful that it can transform a person, a group, a society, a culture, and a world.
You’re not “required” to do any of this work, of course. Nor are you required to do it in a particular way. You can do this work with your individual soul, or you can do it with your individual soul and with the collective souls of others. The choice is yours.
How do you work with your soul? How can I even connect with my soul to so this “soul searching”?
Fair questions. No one teaches this stuff in high school. Very little is written about it. Churches don’t even get very deeply into it. But we are going to here. I will share with you in this conversation all that I know about how to connect with your soul, daily, in a wonderful way that brings you right into the soul’s experience and allows you to access the soul’s wisdom. So stick around for that. It’s a three-step process that has changed peoples’ lives.
Can I ask you what may seem like an insolent question?
Of course. Ask me anything.
What is the basis of all of this for you? You keep talking about seven simple questions. Who made ‘em up? Where did they come from? What makes them so magical for you? For that matter, where is all this stuff about an “overhaul” and the need for a “new cultural story” coming from?
The basis of all that’s here
That isn’t insolent at all. I should think you’d want to know that. So thanks for letting me explain.
Just over a decade and a half ago I had an experience in which I was inspired by The Divine. I wrote a book about it, called Conversations with God.
That book created a global spiritual publishing phenomenon, selling over a million copies, being translated into 35 languages, and remaining on the New York Times Bestseller list for 137 weeks.
During the time since then, eight other books in this ongoing dialogue have been released, six of those also making the Times Bestseller list.
I am not telling you this to boast. I am telling you this to create a context within which to consider what I’ve been saying here—and all that I am going to say next.
God has brought a life-changing message to our world and, given the combined sales of all the CWG books and the hand-to-hand sharing of them, millions of people have been touched by it. There is a reason for this. It did not happen by chance.
The Overhaul of Humanity (remember that definition—Overhaul: a comprehensive examination and repair of something) is underway, and I believe that the sudden appearance of the CWG material is all a part of that.
Does this mean that I am somehow a messiah? No. It means that we all are. For the most important, the most prominent, and the most repeated message of Conversations with God is that all of us are having conversations with God all the time. We’re simply calling them something else.
We’re calling them moments of “inspiration.” Or “women’s intuition.” Or a “psychic hit.” Or a “bright idea.” Or a “deep insight.” Or an “epiphany.” We call the results of such encounters “serendipity” or “coincidence” or “chance.”
We deny, deny, deny that they could actually be interactions with the Divine because we’ve been culturalized to hold ourselves as being unworthy of such experiences. Indeed, to claim to have had personal contact directly from God is considered by many to be blasphemy.
Yet throughout human history women and men have experienced moments of deep connection with the heart and the source and the essence of life, by whatever name we call it, and across the span of time ordinary people have had extraordinary awakenings leading to both percipience and prescience.
Now it is time for all of us to claim that, and for a new conversation to take place. A conversation that proceeds from our conversations with God. Now it is time for us to have the conversation with ourselves that I just spoke of. And then, for all of us to have conversations with each other.
It is time for Conversations with Humanity.
For everywhere we turn today people are looking for wisdom, searching for clarity, seeking solutions, trying to figure out just what went wrong with us that we would now be acting the way we are acting—killing and maiming each other, ignoring the desperate needs of our fellow humans in spite of our basic impulse to care for each other, ruining our planet in spite of the fact that we say we love it, reaching, reaching, reaching endlessly for Bigger, Better, More while hundreds of thousands revolt because they have never had what others have right now.
The conversations I’m proposing can provide an avenue to wisdom, a roadway to clarity, a path to solutions for many. But they must be real dialogues, not simply the pontifications of those who think they have something important to say. They must be openings to mutual understanding, then mutual creation.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* Your participation in the evolution of our species has to do with the work you do with your own soul.
* That work is about deep inquiry, or what we call “soul searching.”
* The work of the soul is not limited to the self, but can involve the lifting of all other souls to peace and clarity.
* You are not required to do any of this work.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Read Conversations with God-Book One if you have not already done so or, if it has been some time since you read it, re-read it now.
* Engage in the process of deep inquiry with your soul, using the Seven Simple Questions, which are outlined in the next conversation in this book.
* Continue the process of igniting conversations with others, centered around their own look at these questions.
End of Chapters 1-6. You are invited to continue reading this book here in the days ahead, offering any input you wish to make in the Comments Section under this posting.
It is your participation in the interactive dialogue surrounding this book that makes it jump off the printed page and become a force for real change in every day life. We therefore truly hope that you will offer your responses and reactions to what appears in this book, and that you will do so often — just as the book itself invites you to do. Thank you.