The true purpose of romantic relationships
GOD: Let Me address Myself specifically, and at length, to human love relationships—these things which continue to give you such trouble!
When human love relationships fail (relationships never truly fail, except in the strictly human sense that they did not produce what you want), they fail because they were entered into for the wrong reason.
(“Wrong,” of course, is a relative term, meaning something measured against that which is “right” —whatever that is! It would be more accurate in your language to say “relationships fail—change—most often when they are entered into for reasons not wholly beneficial or conducive to their survival.”)
Most people enter into relationships with an eye toward what they can get out of them, rather than what they can put into them.
The purpose of a relationship is to decide what part of yourself you’d like to see “show up,” not what part of another you can capture and hold.
There can be only one purpose for relationships—and for all of life: to be and to decide Who You Really Are.
It is very romantic to say that you were “nothing” until that special other came along, but it is not true. Worse, it puts an incredible pressure on the other to be all sorts of things he or she is not.
Not wanting to “let you down,” they try very hard to be and do these things until they cannot anymore. They can no longer complete your picture of them. They can no longer fill the roles to which they have been assigned. Resentment builds. Anger follows.
Finally, in order to save themselves (and the relationship), these special others begin to reclaim their real selves, acting more in accordance with Who They Really Are. It is about this time that you say they’ve “really changed.”
It is very romantic to say that now that your special other has entered your life, you feel complete. Yet the purpose of relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.
Here is the paradox of all human relationships: You have no need for a particular other in order for you to experience, fully, Who You Are, and. . .without another, you are nothing.
This is both the mystery and the wonder, the frustration and the joy of the human experience. It requires deep understanding and total willingness to live within this paradox in a way which makes sense. I observe that very few people do.
Most of you enter your relationship-forming years ripe with anticipation, full of sexual energy, a wide open heart, and a joyful, if eager, soul.
Somewhere between 40 and 60 (and for most it is sooner rather than later) you’ve given up on your grandest dream, set aside your highest hope, and settled for your lowest expectation—or nothing at all.
The problem is so basic, so simple, and yet so tragically misunderstood: your grandest dream, your highest idea, and your fondest hope has had to do with your beloved other rather than your beloved Self. The test of your relationships has had to do with how well the other lived up to your ideas, and how well you saw yourself living up to his or hers. Yet the only true test has to do with how well you live up to yours.
Relationships are sacred because they provide life’s grandest opportunity—indeed, its only opportunity—to create and produce the experience of your highest conceptualization of Self. Relationships fail when you see them as life’s grandest opportunity to create and produce the experience of your highest conceptualization of another.
Let each person in relationship worry about Self—what Self is being, doing, and having; what Self is wanting, asking, giving; what Self is seeking, creating, experiencing, and all relationships would magnificently serve their purpose—and their participants!
Let each person in relationship worry not about the other, but only, only, only about Self.
This seems a strange teaching, for you have been told that in the highest form of relationship, one worries only about the other. Yet I tell you this: your focus upon the other—your obsession with the other—is what causes relationships to fail.
What is the other being? What is the other doing? What is the other having? What is the other saying? Wanting? Demanding? What is the other thinking? Expecting? Planning?
The Master understands that it doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.
The most loving person is the person who is Self-centered.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to COMMENT on the above excerpt, please scroll down to the bottom of the ancillary copy below.
If Conversations with God has touched your life in a positive way, you are one of millions of people around the world who have had such an experience. All of the readers of CWG have yearned to find a way to keep its healing messages alive in their life. One of the best ways to do that is to read and re-read the material over and over again — and we have made it convenient and easy for you to do so. Come here often and enjoy selected excerpts from the Conversations with God cosmology, changed on a regular basis, so you can “dip in” to the 3,000 pages of material quickly and easily. We hope you have enjoyed the excerpt above, from Conversations with God-Book 1.
If you believe that the messages in Conversations with God could inspire humanity to change its basic beliefs about God, about Life, and about Human Beings and their relationship to each other, leave those messages lying around.
Simply “forget” or “misplace” a copy of Conversations with God on a bench somewhere. At a bus stop, or a train station, or an airport—or actually on the bus, train, or plane. At a hairstyling salon, a doctor’s office, a chiropractor’s office, a park bench, or even just a bench on the street. Just leave a book lying around.
If everybody did this, the message of Conversations with God could “go viral” in a matter of weeks. So I invite you to participate in the Book-On-A-Bench program and spread ideas that could create a new cultural story far and wide.
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ABOUT the author of Conversations with God…
Neale Donald Walsch is a modern-day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now-famous conversation with God. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching the lives of millions and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day living.
Neale was born in Milwaukee to a Roman Catholic family that encouraged his quest for spiritual truth. Serving as his first spiritual mentor, Neale’s mother taught him not to be afraid of God, as she believed in having a personal relationship with the divine — and she taught Neale to do the same.
A nontraditional believer, Neale’s mother hardly ever went to church, and when he asked her why, she told Neale: “I don’t have to go to church — God comes to me. He’s with me and around me wherever I am.” This notion of God at an early age would later move Neale to transcend traditional views of organized religion.
Neale grew into an insatiably curious child whose comments about life seemed to possess a wisdom beyond his years, and often caused relatives and family friends to ask, “Where does he come up with this stuff?” While attending a Catholic grade school, Neale would often pose questions in catechism class that would extend past the traditional grade school curriculum.
Finally, the parish priest invited Neale to his rectory to answer the difficult questions that he didn’t wish to address in front of the rest of the class. This meeting turned into a once-a-week visit that blossomed into an open forum in which Neale learned not to be afraid to ask questions about religion and spirituality—and also learned that his asking these types of questions did not mean that he would offend God.
Joyless spirituality is observed.
Is rigidity and anger sometimes produced by religion?
By the age of 15, Neale’s involvement with spiritually based teachings led him to observe that when people got involved in religion they too often seemed less joyful and more rigid, exhibiting behaviors of prejudice, separateness, and even anger. Neale concluded that for many people the collective experience of theology was not positive.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, but academic life could not hold him and he dropped out of college after two years to follow an interest in broadcasting that eventually led to a full-time position at the age of 19 at a small radio station far from his Milwaukee home, in Annapolis, Maryland.
Restless by nature and always seeking to expand his opportunities for self-expression, Neale in the years that followed became a radio station program director; a newspaper reporter and, ultimately, managing editor; public information officer for one of the nation’s largest public school systems; and, after moving to the West Coast, creator and owner of his own public relations and marketing firm. Moving from one career field to another, he could not seem to find occupational satisfaction, his life was in constant turmoil, and his health was going rapidly downhill.
A life-changing accident.
A desperate questioning that touches the world.
He had relocated in Oregon as part of a change-of-scenery strategy to find his way, but Fate was to provide more than a change of location. It produced a change in his entire life. One day a car driven by an elderly gentleman made a left turn directly into his path. Neale emerged from the auto accident with a broken neck. He was lucky to escape with his life.
More than a year of rehab threw him out of work. A failed marriage had already removed him from his home, and soon he couldn’t keep even the small apartment he’d rented. Within months he found himself on the street, homeless. It took him the better part of a year to pull himself together and get back under shelter. He found, at first, modest part-time jobs, once again in broadcasting, then worked his way into full time employment and an eventual spot as a syndicated radio talk show host.
He had seen the bottom of life living outside, gathering beer and soft drink cans in a park to collect the return deposit, but now his life seemed to be on the mend. Yet, once more, Neale felt an emptiness inside. In 1992, following a period of deep despair, Neale awoke in the middle of a February night and wrote an anguished letter to God. “What does it take,” he angrily scratched across a yellow legal pad, “to make life work?”
The books that began a spiritual revolution.
The words that opened doors again.
Now well chronicled and widely talked about, it was this questioning letter that received a divine answer. Neale tells us that he heard a “voiceless” voice, soft and kind, warm and loving, that gave him an answer to this and other questions. Awestruck and inspired, he quickly scribbled these responses onto the tablet.
More questions came, and, as fast as they occurred to him, answers were given in the same gentle voice, which now seemed placed inside his head, but also seemed clearly beyond his normal thinking. Before he knew it, Neale found himself engaged in a two-way, on-paper dialogue. He continued this first “conversation” for hours, and had many more in the weeks that followed, always awakening in the middle of the night and being drawn back to his legal pad.
Neale’s handwritten notes would later become the best-selling Conversations with God books. He says that the process was “exactly like taking dictation,” and that the dialogue created in this way was published without significant alteration or editing. He also says that God is talking to all of us, all the time, and that he has come to understand that this experience is not unusual, nor does it make him in any way a special person or a unique messenger.
In addition to producing the renowned With God series, Neale has published 18 other works, as well as many video and audio programs. Available throughout the world, seven of the Conversations with God books made the New York Times bestseller list, with Conversations with God: Book 1 occupying a place on that list for more than two-and-half years. Walsch’s books have sold more than seven million copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages.
The With God series has redefined God and shifted spiritual paradigms across the planet. In order to deal with the enormous global response to his writings, Neale formed the Conversations with God Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love.
The work expands.
A movement begins.
Neale founded the School of the New Spirituality and its CWG for Parents program to bring parents the tools to share new spirituality principles of a loving, non-condemning God with their children. He also founded Humanity’s Team, with branches in over 30 countries, now promoting the concept of the Oneness of all people and of all of life.
What Neale calls his “final creation” is The Global Conversation, an Internet Newspaper dedicated to exploring day-to-day events on our planet within the context of The New Spirituality, and offering people across the globe the opportunity to not only witness the playing out of humanity’s Cultural Story in the news, but participate in re-writing that Story, through their contributions and posted comments on the newspaper’s site.
Neale’s work has taken him from the steps of Machu Picchu in Peru to the steps of the Shinto shrines of Japan, from Red Square in Moscow to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Everywhere he has gone—from South Africa to Norway, Croatia to The Netherlands, the streets of Zurich to the streets of Seoul—Neale has found a hunger among the people to find a new way to live; a way to co-exist, at last, in peace and harmony, with a reverence for Life Itself in all its forms, and for each other. And he has sought to help them develop a new, expanded understanding of God, of life, and of themselves that allows them to create and experience this.
(Neale Donald Walsch lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife, the American poet Em Claire (www.emclairepoet.com).)