October, 2012

Do you believe that Hurricane Sandy is God’s punishment for the wicked ways of America, and that God is systematically destroying America? If you do, what is the basis of your belief? If not, what do you think could cause someone else to believe this?

Understand that you are living An Illusion, and that none of it is Real. Yet The Illusion points to what is Real, and can give you an experience of it.

How can you see The Illusion as an Illusion when it appears to be so real? And how is it that it seems so real if it IS an Illusion?

The second question will be answered first.

The Illusion seems so real because so many people believe that it is not an Illusion.

In your Alice in Wonderland world, everything is as you believe it to be.

There are thousands, millions, of examples of that. Here are two.

Once, you believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth — and, indeed, for you it did. All of your evidences proved that it did! So certain were you of this “truth” that you developed an entire science of astronomy around it.

Once, you believed that everything physical moved from one point to another through Time and Space. All of your evidences proved it!  So certain were you of this “truth” that you built an entire system of physics around it.

Now listen carefully. The wonder of these sciences and these systems is that they worked.

The astronomy that you created out of your belief that the Earth was the center of the universe worked to explain the visual phenomena you saw in the movement of the planets in your sky each night. Your observations supported your belief, creating what you then called “knowledge.”

The physics that you created out of your belief about particles of matter worked to explain the visual phenomena you saw in the physical world around you. Your observations supported your belief, creating what you then called “knowledge.”

Only later, when you looked more closely at what you were seeing, did you change your mind about these things. Yet that change of mind did not come easily. The first persons who suggested such a change of mind were called heretics or, in later times, foolish and mistaken. Their ideas of a new astronomy, with the Earth revolving around the sun, or of quantum physics, in which particles of matter did not move in a continuous line through time and space, but were seen to disappear in one place and reappear in another in what came to be known as “the quantum leap,” were labeled spiritual and scientific blasphemy. Their proponents were discouraged, denounced, and, in some of the early years, even put to death for their beliefs.

It is your beliefs that were “true,” the majority of you insisted. After all, were they not supported by every observation? Yet, which came first, the belief or the observation? That is the central question. That is the inquiry you did not wish to make.

Is it possible that you see what you want to see? Could it be that you observe what you expect to observe? Or perhaps more to the point, look right past what you do not expect to observe?

And I tell you, the answer is yes.


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 the book: Communion with God.


About Book-On-A-Bench…

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).)

Conversations with God was given to humanity to bring us answers to Life’s Great Questions. And the greatest of all our Great Questions has been, and continues to be: “Who and what is God?”

Most of us clearly understand that God is not a very large and handsome man in the sky, with a long white beard and a flowing robe, sitting on a golden throne in a bejeweled room, surrounded by wing flapping angels.

Yet while we are pretty clear about what God is not, we are not nearly as clear about what God is.

So let’s see what God has to say on the subject.

In Conversations with God, God made it clear that God is without form, gender, or substance in the way that we know it.  God is, rather, that of which all things are made.  The Essential Essence of which everything in existence is comprised.  That essence contains Supreme Intelligence.  And Total Awareness.  And Absolute Power.

It is omnipresent and omniscient.  It is everywhere because it is everything that exists in any place at all.  It knows everything because without that which it knows, nothing that exists could come into being.  It is the Source and the Substance at once; it is the Creator and Created.

It always was, is now, and always will be.  It knows no beginning and no end.  There is nothing that exists outside of it and there is nothing that exists inside of it without it.  That is, simply put, there is nothing that is not God.

This Essential Essence uses Itself to recreate Itself, and calls upon Itself to empower Itself, to be Itself, all by Itself.

It needs nothing, requires nothing, demands nothing, punishes nothing.  For what could It possibly need?  What could It in any case require?  Why would It demand anything?  And who—pray tell, who in the world—would it command or punish?

That which has everything and is everything and wants and needs nothing holds only one desire: to express and to know Itself through the glorious experiencing of Itself…and to create this possibility.

That is the reason that life as we know it was created.

Every human being who has stepped into the living of this possibility has achieved all the things we as a sentient species say we want to achieve.  And they have done so without hurting, without damaging, without killing.  We say they have lived the lives of “saints.”  Yet they have merely lived life as it was intended to be lived ‑‑ a way in which most human beings have adamantly refused to live, for the most ironic reason of all:  We think it is too good to be true.

“I am so lonely, and I want so much for someone to love me.  I’ve been trying so hard to be centered and forgiving and understanding of others.  I need someone to understand me for a change.  My friends say that I am too negative and that my words have energy. What do they mean?”  C.L.

Dear C.L.

When you are in the situation where it seems like everything you desire from life is being kept from you, it is difficult to see just how words reflect where we are sending our energy.  From a distance, however, one can see where your energy resides. In “want” and “need” and “try.” What we often can not see, when we want and we need, is that we get exactly what we ask for…want and need. There is a quote attributed to Dr. Michael Beckwith, “Trying is failing with self-protected honor.” Always, in reality, honoring the possibility of failing, and not honoring what you are actually doing and desiring.

C.L., one of the least understood things about the Universe, is that its greatest desire is to give you exactly what you ask for. It has no judgment as to how good or bad it is for your life. It only knows what you are giving your energy to. Are you giving your energy to want and need? Voila! The Universe joyfully gives you want and need!

(Now, I am not saying that every time we use those words we are going to be asking for want and need. Let me be clear that I know we use all words casually, and they have no impact on what we are energetically asking for.)

The power of words is by no means simply a personal thing. Since this is the end of a particularly vocal political season here in the United States, let me share my personal observations of the energy of words on a larger group of society.

During the last election, I was asked if I really believed the words I was hearing. Words like hope, change, “Yes, we can!”  Yes, I did.

This election I have been asked if those words don’t now ring hollow.

My answer is that those words still have power. It doesn’t even matter if the person saying them believes them, it matters if the person hearing them believes them. The words “hope and change,” the words “change starts with you and works up,” the words of Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see,” affected me, and others, greatly. Those words caused me to do things in my own life, and in my own community to make my world a better place, and caused others to do the same thing. Those words caused me to move away from fear and hatred, and the feeling of being divided from my fellow American, and into a powerful, unifying energy, symbolized by those words.

So, in this election cycle, I look at the power of the words being used. I listen to my body when I hear the words of people who would represent me and my country. Do I feel hopeful and motivated, or do I feel fearful and immobilized? Do I feel I want to reach out to my fellow human being, or do I want to protect myself and my things? Do I look at others as part of Divinity, or do I look at them as opponents and enemies?

C.L.,  we are all letting the energy of our thoughts and words enter into our every day lives, so you are definitely not alone in not understanding the power of those words. What energy are you sending out most powerfully?  I would suggest you change to words like, wish, hope and prefer…prefer to have a certain thing or outcome, but do not expect anything in any certain way.  This keeps you open to whatever way the Universe wishes to give to you.

What we also often fail see is that the energy of our words doesn’t stop with us.  From us that energy expands to our family, community, country and our world.

Most of us are using this power process unconsciously.

My advice would be to know that we can all change this, and that the change does begin with us.  We can change how we use our words and the thought we have associated with those words.

In “When Everything Changes, Change Everything” it says:

An event is one thing; your reality of it is another. Events are created by conditions and occurrences outside you. Reality is created by conditions and occurrences inside you—in your mind. It is here that events are turned into data, which are turned into truths, which are turned into thoughts, which are turned into emotions, which are turned into experiences, which form your reality.”

Words, you see, are the expression of our thoughts. If we can make a change, right there in the process, imagine how different our reality might be…personally and globally.


 (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.)

(Therese Wilson is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net, which offers spiritual assistance from a team of Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less, and offers insight, suggestions, and companionship during moments of unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome change on the journey of life. She may be contacted at Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

God is punishing America “right before our eyes,” according to a Christian preacher, and Hurricane Sandy is part of God’s judgmental backlash.

Author and chaplain John McTernan has declared that Hurricane Sandy is part of God’s plan of “systematically destroying America” as punishment for its wicked ways—part of which is exemplified, he said, by the fact that both U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney “are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda.”

McTernan has posted a statement on his website saying that Sandy is ravaging the U.S. East Coast “21 years to the day” in October 1991 when “President George Bush Sr. initiated the Madrid Peace Process to divide the land of Israel, including Jerusalem. America has been under God’s judgment since this event.”

Twenty-one years “breaks down to 7 x 3, which is a significant number with God,” the Christian preacher said, adding that “three is perfection as the Godhead is three in one, while seven is perfection.” Carrying his God-Is-Destroying-America theme forward, he said that “just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina. Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!”

McTernan’s website statement also said, “It appears that God gave America 21 years to repent of interfering with His prophetic plan for Israel; however, it has gotten worse under all the presidents and especially Obama. Obama is 100 percent behind the Muslim Brotherhood, which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem.”

In addition to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, “there was an incredible heatwave and drought that destroyed massive amounts of the crops” in America, McTernan’s statement notes. “This drought has not let up and now covers about 65 percent of the country.”

The drought, he said, “triggered record forest fires in the West. If you add the area of the drought and now the hurricane together, it would be about 80 percent of the country! As I said, the Holy God of Israel is systematically destroying America right before our eyes.”

The Christian preacher’s statement ends with a lament: “With all of this, there is almost zero repentance by the church: zero! The fear of God has disappeared from His people. The church in America is now EXACTLY like ancient Israel before the Babylonians destroyed them. Both ancient Israel and the modern American church completely lost the fear of God.”

Can all of this be true? It probably is true that many millions of people have “lost the fear of God” — but is this bad? And can it be true that God is punishing human beings, systematically destroying an entire nation, for committing offenses against the Lord?

This is exactly the opposite of what The New Spirituality, as represented in the message of the 9 texts in the Conversations with God cosmology, tells us. It is why I launched, with the creation of Humanity’s Team, a “civil rights movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its beliefs in a violent, angry, and vindictive God.”

The challenge now facing humanity: thought is creative…and collective thought, all pointing in the same direction, is highly creative…leading to the intriguing question: What is creating the disasters befalling not just America, but the whole human race in these days and times? Is it a violent, angry, and vindictive God, or our belief in a violent, angry, and vindictive God?

Are the billions of people who continue to persistently believe in a God of retribution producing a force field — a vortex, if you will — that is generating exactly the kind of negative and destructive energy that could create a self-fulfilling prophecy?

If positive thinking is powerful and produces results, is negative thinking just as powerful?

If Collective Consciousness produces Collective Experience, might it be time to change our Collective Consciousness?

It is critical to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.

The election is just a week away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally like mine — progressives, especially activists — to make this a high priority.

An activist colleague recently said to me: “I hear you’re supporting Obama.”  I was startled, and took offense.

“I lose no opportunity,” I told him angrily, “to identify Obama publicly as a servant of Wall Street: a man who’s decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who’s launched an unconstitutional war, who claims authority to detain American citizens and others indefinitely without charges or even to execute them without due process, and who has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together. Would you call that support?”

My friend said, “But on Democracy Now you urged people in swing states to vote for him!  How could you say that?  I don’t live in a swing state, but I will not and could not vote for Obama under any circumstances.”

I said to him: “Like it or not, we have a two-party system in America.” (Why a Two-Party System is Inevitable in the United States and What to do About it)  The only real alternative for the next four years is Mitt Romney, who has endorsed every one of those criminal and unconstitutional offenses. And those are promises I believe he will keep.  That’s a terrible situation, but it won’t be improved by replacing Obama with Romney.

“I don’t ‘support Obama.’ I oppose the current Republican party. Obama’s policies, as I see them, range from criminal to–at their best–improvements on the recent past, partial and inadequate.  But current Republican policies range from criminal to disastrous.  That’s not really a hard choice.”

This not a contest between Barack Obama and a progressive–primary challenger or major candidate–or even a Republican who’s good on foreign policy and civil liberties like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. What voters in a handful or a dozen close-fought swing states are going to determine on November 6 is whether or not Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to wield great political power for four, maybe eight years.

A Romney/Ryan administration would be no better on any of the constitutional violations I mentioned, or on anything else. But it would be catastrophically worse on many other important issues: The likelihood of attacking Iran, Supreme and Federal Court appointments, the economy and jobs, women’s reproductive rights, health coverage, the safety net, green energy and the environment.

As Noam Chomsky said recently (The Role of the Executive): “The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It’s worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives.”

He also told an interviewer (How Progressives Should Approach Election 2012): “Between the two choices that are presented, there are I think some significant differences. If I were a person in a swing state, I’d vote against Romney/Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice. I happen to be in a non-swing state, so I can either not vote or — as I probably will — vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein.”

I see it the same way.  Chomsky lives in Massachusetts, a “safe” blue state.  I too live in a non-swing state, blue California, so I, too, intend to vote for a progressive candidate, either Jill Stein or (as a write-in) my friend Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.

Along with Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frances Fox Piven, Cornel West, and others, I have encouraged others in non-swing states (including red states like Texas and Mississippi) to consider doing the same, in contrast to what we urge progressives in swing states to do, which is to vote against Romney/Ryan by voting for Obama/Biden (Make Your Progressive Vote Count for President).

We see long-term merit for our movement in registering a large protest vote against both major candidates and in favor of a truly progressive platform.  In the almost 40 non-swing states–red or blue–that can be done without significant risk of affecting the electoral votes of those states or the final outcome in favor of the Republicans.

But that isn’t true in the dozen or less battleground states—Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, along with Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania—where decisions by relatively small numbers of progressives to vote for a third party or not to vote at all would risk and might well result in a Republican triumph. That risk, as we see it, outweighs any benefits there might be in pursuing votes for a progressive third party in those states.

I personally agree with almost everything Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson have to say–except when they say “Vote for me” in a swing state.

This election is a toss-up.  That means this is one of the uncommon occasions when we progressives—a small minority of the electorate—could actually determine the outcome of a national election. We might swing it one way or the other by how we vote and what we say about voting to fellow progressives in the battleground states.

Given that third-party candidates with genuinely progressive platforms are on the ballots of most of these swing states, their supporters—who might successfully encourage those with the same values to vote for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson instead of Obama—could well provide the margin for Romney that would send him to the White House.

If, to the contrary, such voters in those states could be convinced to overcome their disinclination to vote for Obama ,  they could crucially block the far more regressive agenda of the Republican Party.

Our task is clear. The only way to block Romney/Ryan from office is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama–not stay home or vote for someone else.  And that has to include progressives and disillusioned liberals who are inclined not to vote at all or vote for a third-party candidate (because like me, they’re not just disappointed but disgusted and even enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).

This is not easy.  But it’s precisely the effort Chomsky says is worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans’ rise to power.  And it will take progressives—some of you reading this, I hope—to make that effort effectively.

It’s true the differences between the major parties are not nearly as large as they and their candidates claim, let alone what we would want. In many aspects, especially in the areas of foreign and military policy and civil liberties that are the focus of my own activism, their policies closely converge (though small differences remain significant, all favoring Obama/Biden over Romney/Ryan).

It’s even fair to use Gore Vidal’s metaphor that they form two wings (“two right wings”) of a single party, the Money or Plutocracy Party, or, as Justin Raimondo calls it, the War Party.

Still, the reality is there are two distinguishable wings, and one is even worse than the other.   To deny that reality serves only the possibly imminent, yet still avoidable, victory of the worse.

The traditional third-party mantra, “There’s no significant difference between the major parties” amounts to saying: “The Republicans are no worse, overall.”  And that’s absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended.  It’s crazily divorced from the present reality.  (I say that, although I agree with virtually every passionate criticism of Obama’s policies I’ve ever heard from the left.  What I don’t hear from third-party partisans is comparable realism about the Republicans.)

Some progressives who do acknowledge that the Romney/Ryan party is “marginally” worse in some respects nevertheless believe that “worse is better” for progress in the longer run, by evoking more effective protest and resistance—especially from Democrats in Congress and the media—and a popular turn to leftist leadership and policies. But, historically, they’re profoundly wrong. That hoary theory would seem to have been well-tested and demolished by eight years under George W. Bush.

And it’s very harmful to be propagating either of those false perspectives.  They encourage progressives in battleground states either to refrain from voting or to vote for someone other than Obama, and, more importantly, to influence others to do the same. That serves no one but the Republicans and the 1%, and not only in the short run.

It is true that Obama has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or “disappointingly.”  If impeachment on constitutional grounds were politically imaginable, he’s earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!)  It is entirely understandable to not want to reward him with another term or a vote that might be taken to mean trust, hope, or approval.

But to punish Obama by depriving him of progressives’ votes in battleground states and hence of office, in favor of Romney and Ryan, would serve to punish most of the poor and marginal in society, along with women, workers and the middle class. It would mean the end of Roe v. Wade, via Supreme Court appointments.

And the damaging impact would be not only in the U.S. but worldwide. In terms of the economy, I believe the Republicans would not only deepen the recession, but could convert it to a Great Depression.  They would attack women’s reproductive rights globally, and further worsen the environment and the prospects of climate change.  Disastrously, it could lead to war with Iran (a possibility even with Obama, but far more likely under Romney).

The re-election of Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law.  That’s for us and the rest of the public to bring about after this election and for the rest of our lives — through organizing, building movements, and agitating.

But to urge people in swing states to “vote their conscience” by voting for a third-party candidate is dangerously misleading advice. I would say to a progressive in a battleground state that if your conscience is telling you to vote for someone other than Obama, you need a second opinion. Your conscience seems to be ignoring the realistic impact of your actions or inactions.  You need to reexamine your estimates of likely consequences and moral reasoning.

Our demonstrations, petitions, movement building and civil disobedience—including protest and resistance to the wrongful practices of the incumbent administration–are needed every month, every year, including campaign seasons like this one. [I faced trial two weeks ago, with fourteen others, for civil disobedience protesting Obama’s continued tests of the Minuteman III ICBM’s, my fifth arrest protesting policies of President Obama, including the treatment of Bradley Manning and the continuation of war in Afghanistan).

But it has been clear for months that this is a moment when effective resistance to an even worse alternative administration that is within sight of power is also urgently needed, leading up to and on Election Day.

In this last week of this campaign, there is no more effective or pressing political effort which progressives can undertake than to make their voices heard–through e-mails, blogs, social media, and public appearances–to encourage citizens in swing states to vote against a Romney victory by voting for the only real alternative, Barack Obama.

(Daniel Ellsberg is a former State and Defense Department official who released the top secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, for which he faced 115 years in prison (charges dismissed for governmental misconduct figuring in the impeachment hearings for Richard Nixon that led to his resignation).  He has been arrested more than 80 times subsequently for actions of non-violent civil disobedience.  He is the author of “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers,” and is currently writing a book on his experience as a nuclear war planner.  He lives in Kensington, California, with his wife Patricia, sister of Barbara Marx Hubbard.)

(If you have a Guest Column that you would like to submit, send it to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.  Not all material submitted is accepted for publication, but we appreciate each submission.)


The biggest quest in this life, if you are a parent, is to assist your child/ren to know Who They Really Are, and the fact that you are their gateway into this world can make the feeling of responsibility overwhelming. The first thing you have to do is understand that you have absolute freedom to be the human/person you wish to be–and that it has nothing to do with how much money you have or don’t have, how much love you had or didn’t have, or even how you were treated as a child yourself. Once you understand that, showing your children how they can be Who They Really Are is much, much easier.

Every child has the same basic question, and you can be sure that it is in their mind, whether they ask it out loud or not. The question is:  “Who am I?” And the older children grow, the more urgent the question becomes. Life — for all of us, but for children, especially — is a search for personal identity. Children learn that the way they comb their hair, the clothes they put on, the way they walk and talk–everything, in fact, about the way they are, begins to form their identity.

Not coincidentally, in Conversations with God some of the most important questions asked are “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”  Answering those questions leads to an understanding of “Who We Really Are,” the exploration of which begins with the Soul. 

Who You Really Are is, of course, about much more than what you do for a living, where you live, how you look, how much money you make, how you dress, etc., as we noted above. Most adults know this. Children, on the other hand, may not. Which is why they will beg for that new piece of clothing that is now the fad. (“Mommy, I’ve just got to have it!”) Or that new gadget that has hit the streets. (“Everybody but me has one!”)  It’s not easy to teach your children that Who You Are is more about how you see yourself, your intrinsic self-worth, and the love you extend to yourself and others. These are adult concepts that children cannot be taught through talking nearly so effectively as through showing.

That will be very challenging if we have not asked and answered life’s most important question ourselves.

Because “Who am I?” is asked so much, it makes me deeply aware that we, especially parents, are, in fact, on a great quest to find out Who We Really Are, and who our children are in relation to ourselves. That, it seems to me, is the whole purpose of life. It is a pretty deep thing to think about (unless, as Neale Donald Walsch would say, it is not!) So the big question here is, if I am still learning who I am, then how in the world do I show my children who they are?

Here is my thought. Maybe, just maybe, we each already know, but ignore it. Perhaps we come here to remember who we are. Perhaps through our remembering, disguised as a quest of discovery, we experience the true magnificence of being, and of our connection to everything.

What we are invited to remember is that we can be anything we wish to be.  We are each constantly creating a new “Me” in every moment, just as if we are each a division of cells, sloughing off and rebuilding ourselves. There is no amount of knowledge that can show us to ourselves. Reading, taking a class, and listening to the world around us are all great ways to gather ideas of who we can be, but the “Who” we are must come from inside of us. How we live, act/react, hear and interpret our inner selves (and the world) make up “Who” we are.  And that is the message we are invited to send to our children.

How do we best send it? By demonstrating it. Children watch us. They watch us more closely than we might think. We are “modeling” for them every day in every way. And they will soon begin to imitate us. You can watch it happen!

No one can truly change or mold your children into someone different than that which they naturally are. The attempt by some parents to do so is one of the biggest mistakes that parents can make. We each, alone, get to do that for ourselves; we each, alone, get to choose Who We Really Are.  As your children watch you do this, they will learn how to do it for themselves.

As an adult you can do this by understanding your own voice and accepting it…not only listening to your inner voice and the power of your words, but also the simple action of hearing (listening) to your outer voice…the sound of your own voice. Listening to and honoring your real self is the only way to consistently present your true self in the world. And doing that will be a wonderful modeling for your children.

Looking for tools in this? Well, I can tell you that understanding the messages of Conversations with God assists me in every moment of my life as a parent and in my connection with my spirit. I have been lucky. Since I was a child I have had the understanding that we are free to love the things we love, dislike those things that make us uncomfortable, and feel freedom in making those choices.  But I am not certain that most people truly understand how free they are to think and feel as they choose.  And the CWG books have put me back in touch with what I, myself, knew as a child.

Just think about that for a few moments.  Ask yourself, and then ask your child (at an appropriate age, of course):  Do you feel free to make your own decisions? If they say “no,” ask them why not.  But be ready for answers that may relate directly to you.

If we do not feel the spiritual freedom of which I speak to define ourselves, for ourselves, based on our own inner understandings from a very young age, then we might actually begin to limit our understanding of ourselves. Through this limitation, we might actually take steps down a path which leads to what I call a “society box” in which we cage the human emotions that we all have, contradicting the messages of our own knowing and doing what others think is best.

To help your children avoid this trap, begin by showing and telling them that none of those things mentioned a minute ago matter, that all that really matters is how they see the world, how they feel in it, how nature brings life effortlessly to itself, to them (and to us), and that Life just happens.

It feels to me that being Who You Really Are should happen effortlessly even through the uncomfortable times. What does “effortlessly” mean? It means allowing life to unfold naturally, as it comes, without struggling for or against it. In this you will automatically be Who You Really Are.

Interesting that we are told by others to “just be ourselves.”  Why would that even come up? Shouldn’t being ourselves be obvious, natural, and effortless to us?  How is it really even possible to be anything other than “yourself?”

Teach your children to just be themselves, and do this by you just being yourself, authentically and openly in every moment, and you will have taken a huge first step in answering parenting’s toughest question: Who Am I?

(Laurie Lankins Farley has worked with Neale Donald Walsch for 10 years. She is the Executive Director of his non-profit School of the New Spirituality and creative co-director of CwGforParents.com. Laurie has published an inspirational children’s book “The Positive Little Soul.”  She can be contacted at Parenting@TheGlobalConversation.com.)


(This article was contributed by Guest Author Herby Bell, DC)

Substance and behavior abuse have reached epidemic proportions in our country. This, coupled with the emotional repression and stress associated with living in our outside-in consumer culture, has produced America’s number 1 health challenge: Addiction.

The cost of treatment, the repercussions on society and our family structures are devastating, not to mention the high number of ancillary deaths that are directly associated with the disease of addiction – from auto accidents to heart failure.

It is a well-known statistic that only 25% of those who seek addiction treatment have successful results. In other words, 75%, or 3 out of 4, of the individuals who do seek treatment for addiction fail and fall back into the seemingly endless revolving door of relapse-remission-relapse from this destructive brain disorder. The strongest implication is that the culture that fosters addiction, begets addiction.

In lieu of reinventing our culture, but in the spirit of re-visioning addiction treatment, it is time to try different approaches and combinations of approaches when it comes to addiction recovery.

Addiction is a mind-body-spirit disorder, as spelled out by the mainstream, American Medical Association’s, American Society of Addiction Medicine (http://www.asam.org/for-the-public/definition-of-addiction). It stands to reason that its treatment should include mind, body and spiritual modalities as an integrated, comprehensive approach.

The “target organ” for addiction is the brain (just as the pancreas is the target organ for diabetes) and specifically the meso-limbic or mid-brain. Historically, addiction treatment has focused upon healing the mind with brain treatment modalities like psychotherapy and drug therapy.

Since 1935, and while there are many other approaches, Alcoholics Anonymous has been the mainstay for the “spiritual” piece in the equation.

But in keeping with a more comprehensive approach, what about an integral modality that focuses attention on the physical body – mind-body-spirit? – equally, and as important as the mind and the spirit? Can the body contribute to healing the mind and the spirit?

After all, the body is truly an extension of the mind–an actual projected map of the brain–with remarkable knowledge, wisdom and inherent healing and recuperative capabilities from head to toe. Our bodies are veritable learning domains. Ever had a “gut feeling?” In fact, most of the receptor sites for many neurotransmitters–the “well-being” brain chemicals–are in the gut and not in the brain proper.

No wonder then, and who has not felt remarkably inspired and well, after exercising the body as it releases all of these inherent, feel-good chemicals? A neverending feedback loop from the brain to the body, and vice-versa, inform every fiber of our beings every moment we live.

Intervening at the level of the body through techniques that deliberately remove interference from this pristine system is unfortunately just what the present-day addiction doctor is not ordering. Chiropractic care is just such an indicated and effective approach and often a missing link in the addiction treatment community. Chiropractic helps ensure that a clear, uninterrupted signal is getting from the brain to all of the body parts and back to the brain again. And people who undergo chiropractic care are taught that without good lifestyle habits, including flexibility, strength and cardiovascular exercise, good nutrition and a psychological/spiritual practice–chiropractic care is incomplete and will be less effective.

Similarly, the same “missing piece” dynamic holds true for what’s missing in addiction treatment, and chiropractic care addresses the “body” piece of the mind-body-spirit equation effectively and seamlessly. Chiropractic is not a panacea but a time and cost-efficient, conservative, minimally invasive way to bridge this gap in addiction treatment.

The idea of wedding mind and body approaches to healing is not a new one. For centuries and long before the first traces of modern science, healing arts practitioners from the mainstream to the esoteric alike have acknowledged that the way people felt in their minds could influence the way they responded in their bodies–and vice-versa.

There is no separation of body and mind, and we are just coming to understand how profoundly and inextricably entwined these two parts of our being, along with spirit, interact in communion for our well-being.

Including chiropractic care in a comprehensive addiction treatment protocol, especially in the first 90 days of treatment, is important for the following reasons:

Providing human touch/compassion fostering neuroplasticity to help “re-write” dysfunctional brain circuitry

Removes interference from normal nerve function

Reduces anxiety and depression

Better sleep patterns

Decreases use of chemical pain relievers and psychiatric drugs

Greater sense of well-being

Increases energy levels

Decreases stress levels

Decreases joint and muscle pain

A mind-body-spirit approach to addiction is synergistic in action.  In other words, the sum total is greater than its parts. As our health systems and institutions move from the compartmentalized, mechanistic approach of yesterday to the integrated, vitalistic, and holistic framework of today, let the mind-body-spirit approach of addiction medicine and treatment help blaze this new trail by incorporating in this endeavor the largest, drugless, hands-on healing profession in the world: chiropractic.

(Dr. Herby Bell is owner and director of Recovery Health Care, an integrated approach to addiction treatment in Redwood City, California. For more information, please email: herbybell@me.com)

Catarina Migliorini is a beautiful 20-year-old Brazilian woman…who also happens to be a virgin. She will be engaging in her first sexual experience in an airplane in-flight between the countries of the United States and Australia with a man from Japan named Natsu. While this may sound like an unusually exotic and romantic experience, this arrangement’s unique set of circumstances have thrust this story onto center stage, where it is receiving worldwide attention and is being met with overwhelming criticism.

The man known only as “Natsu” beat out several other wealthy men from around the world as the highest bidder in an online auction at VirginsWanted.com where he paid $780,000 to have sex with a virgin.

Where the story gets even more interesting, and perhaps slightly more morally complicated, is that Catarina has pledged to donate 90% of the money to charities that will build homes in the struggling Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

In an effort to circumvent any laws regarding prostitution, the tryst is scheduled to take place in an airplane flying 30,000 feet in the air.  Answering to the outcries of engaging in prostitution, in an article in New York Daily Mail, Catarina responded, “If you only do it once in your life, then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer. The auction is just business, I’m a romantic girl at heart and believe in love. But this will make a big difference to my area.”

Do the proposed altruistic intentions of Miss Migliorini outweigh or mitigate the morality questions that this arrangement gives rise to for so many outraged observers?

Why is it that the bulk of the public disapproval is being aimed at Caratina’s involvement in this peculiar relationship and not equally levied against “Natsu” (who is remaining curiously anonymous)?

And perhaps most importantly:

Is there truly anything “wrong” with this mutually agreed-upon rendezvous?

Within the teachings of Conversations with God, God reminds us that there is no such thing as “wrong” or “right,” that if such a concept were true, upon whose definition of “wrong” or “right” would a thing be judged as so? As demonstrated by the mere fact that prostitution is legal in one out of the 50 states in the United States — and legal in some countries around the world, but not others — even laws that have been designed and created to draw a distinction between “wrong” and “right” do not across-the-board define wrongness or rightness.

Setting aside for a moment questions surrounding the legality of this arrangement, does the purchase of the presumed sexual innocence of this young lady create any larger questions around what our relationships are intended to provide? Larger questions around what the sexual experience, both physically and spiritually, is intended to serve? Larger questions around whether sex is best reserved for only the most committed and monogamous partners…or whether it is a gift to be enjoyed freely and playfully between consenting, passionate, creative, spirited adults?

Examining our thoughts and perspectives, and questioning the data that we are relying upon, creates opportunities for us to stretch and flex our “belief” boundaries and helps us to understand more fully what it is we hold true about ourselves, what it is we hold true about relationships, and ultimately what it is we hold true about God.

With the November 6 presidential election right around the corner, stories like this one serve as a bold reminder to me that many, many people will be casting their votes largely — or perhaps even solely — based upon morality issues and deeply held values. However, if we do not know what it is we believe, why we believe what we believe, or even take the time to think about it, how can we expect to be purposeful and creative participants in this Game of Life?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation.  She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

Did former U.S. Secretary of State and retired four star Army general Colin L. Powell, a prominent Republican, just endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States because both men are black?

A top surrogate for the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney said so Thursday, bringing race into the presidential contest just days before ballots are cast in America on Nov. 6.

Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, who has spoken in support of the Romney campaign for over a year, suggested on CNN Thursday night that Mr. Powell’s announced objections to Mr. Romney’s proposals and policies were not the real reason that Mr. Powell has broken with his own party to openly endorse and support President Obama.

“Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues, or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Mr. Sununu told CNN’s Piers Morgan on Morgan’s nationally telecast interview program. Asked by Mr. Morgan what that “different reason” might be, the Romney campaign surrogate said:

“Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

Facing an immediate backlash for calling Colin Powell’s endorsement essentially disingenuous, Mr. Sununu backtracked a few hours after the Morgan interview, releasing a statement directly contradicting his own earlier pronouncement. “Colin Powell,” Mr. Sununu said, “is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies.”

For his part, the Republican Powell made it crystal clear why he was not supporting Mitt Romney, his own party’s nominee. Appearing on the a.m. news program CBS This Morning, Mr. Powell said he had the “utmost respect” for Mitt Romney, but was concerned about what he termed Mr. Romney’s shifting foreign policies. “The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he’s said earlier, so I’m not quite sure what Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Powell was Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 during the administration of President George W. Bush, yet had no problem praising President Obama for his handling of the U.S. economy. “When he took over, the country was in very, very difficult straits, we were in one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression,” Mr. Powell said. “We were in real trouble. I saw over the next several years stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years, it’s starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising. So I think generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude.”

The retired four-star general went on to call Obama’s actions to protect the U.S. from terrorist threats “very, very solid.”

Was former Gov. Sununu’s remark on a widely televised interview concerning Mr. Powell’s endorsement of President Obama a last-minute attempt to “play the race card” a little over a week before a national election?

Only Mr. Sununu knows the answer to that inquiry, but there is little question that the endorsement of Mr. Obama by a Republican as prominent as the former secretary of state (Mr. Powell was only a few years ago being encouraged by his party to run for President himself) had to have stung the Romney campaign, which would no doubt have preferred Mr. Powell to simply keep silent if he did not feel he could openly endorse Mr. Romney.

Perhaps Romney supporters felt that the only way to mute the Powell endorsement of President Obama was to marginalize it as simply one black man assisting another. In the world of a New Spirituality, where fairness and transparency would be the hallmark, Mr. Sununu would return to the Piers Morgan program and make an apology to the same nationwide audience for his remark, and then say on national television what he put into a written statement released hours after the CNN program aired: “I respect the endorsement decision he (Colin Powell) made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies.”

Wouldn’t that have been refreshing? It would have been far better than saying something blatantly racist on nationwide TV, then issuing a corrective statement hours later–a statement that everyone knows is far less likely to be seen in print by as many millions as watch CNN.

In some circles this is called Get-Away-With-It Politics, in which you do something outrageous Big, apologize for it Small, then say you did your best to correct yourself, while really doing very little to alter the original impression that you so powerfully created.

This kind of political handiwork is usually done by political hacks known as “hatchet men.” Generally these are well known former political figures, now cronies who hang around on the edges of campaigns issuing supportive statements on behalf of the candidate, but without official portfolio, so they can get away with saying what the campaign itself cannot.

In other words, people like former governor John Sununu. And if the Romney Campaign wanted to do something showing real class, it, too, would disavow Mr. Sununu’s racist remark about the Powell endorsement of President Obama.

Don’t count on it.


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