What is the case for secrecy? What is the case for privacy? How do you think the world would change if there were neither?
Should people’s “privacy” be protected, even if it allows them to get away with breaking the law? Even if it allows them to get away with murder?
Should women be allowed to travel without their husbands being notified by the government?
Should businesses be allowed to pay two different employers different wages for doing the same work in the same way in the same amount of time?
Should anyone ever have “secrets” from anyone? And if so, why? Why is it so hard for human beings to simply live with the truth?
These are the questions that are going to be placed before humanity in the years just ahead as technology races ahead of individuals’ ability to control it, and governments seize more and more power to use it to enter people’s “private” lives.
A remarkable police case in Rhode Island in 2009 brings the case for transparency home in major ways, and in very clear ways. In that case, a woman had called emergency services at 911 to say that she had found her 6-year-old son was not moving that morning.
An ambulance crew arrived at the woman’s apartment, found the child unconscious in his bed, and raced him to the hospital. A police officer who also responded to the call stayed behind for a moment, talking with the mother’s boyfriend, who was in the apartment at the time, as the child was taken to the hospital with the mother.
The officer heard a cellphone beep in the kitchen, papers filed with a court said, and when he picked up the phone from the counter he saw a message: “Wat if I got 2 take him 2 da hospital wat do I say and dos marks on his neck omg.”
The message appeared to be from the child’s mother to her boyfriend, court documents said. The man was taken to the police station for questioning, and his cellphone was seized.
The boy died by nightfall, court records indicating that the cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the abdomen which perforated his small intestine,” according to press reports.
Police then obtained search warrants for the cellphones of both the man and the child’s mother, as well as their relatives. In addition, they obtained records from the cellphone companies that provided carrier services to the phones in question, with records of phone calls and voice mail messages.
But a judge in the case ruled almost three years later that police had no right to look at the phone without a search warrant. The phone, she said in her ruling, was not in plain view, nor did the owner of the phone give consent to have it searched. The boyfriend should be able to have a reasonable expectation that text messages to and from the child’s mother would not be seen or seized, the court ruled, and then threw out all the evidence that police had gathered with their warrants. The judge also suppressed evidence regarding the original text message that had drawn the police officer’s attention to begin with.
That case is now on appeal to the Rhode Island supreme court, with the defendant remaining in custody during the appeal process.
Meanwhile, in a far less serious, but nonetheless groundbreaking incident last week, a Saudi Arabian couple was traveling outside their country when the husband received a text message on his cellphone alerting him that his wife had left the country. Both the husband and the wife were surprised — and outraged — that the government had informed the husband of his wife’s travels without her permission or his request.
They found out that in Saudi Arabia, when a woman presents her passport to border control agents, her “guardian” is immediately notified — whether he requested to be told or not.
Every female in Saudi Arabia has a male “guardian,” or mahram. Traditionally this is a father, husband, or brother. The mahram can register with the country’s Interior Ministry to be notified if the woman over whom he has guardianship has traveled outside the nation’s borders. But apparently, as of last week, mahrams are now being automatically notified whether they registered and requested to be or not.
This may not seem strange in a country where women are not given the right to drive (the only country in the world where this is true). They are also not allowed to go to school or hold a job without permission from their “guardian.”
But the question of a mahram being notified by text message of the travels of the woman of whom he is the “guardian” raises larger issues within the context of the new world within which we now live — and are going to increasingly be encountering. The question is: What, if anything, is “wrong” with Total Transparency as a lifestyle? And, of course, the same kind of transparency would have to apply to men as well as women. Wives would then be notified of the whereabouts of their husbands at all times.
Conversations with God says that in highly evolved societies there would be no secrets of any kind, and that all things would be known by everyone. Moreover, says CWG, highly evolved beings would have no need or desire for secrets or privacy of any kind.
Total transparency in personal relationships, in governance, in business and industry, in commerce, and in all areas of life would be the standard practice.
Prices and costs for goods and services, for instance, would be transparent, with businesses voluntarily placing two figures on their price tags: “Our Cost/Your Price.”
Companies, likewise, would voluntarily pass around information sheets each month to all employees, listing the income and benefit packages of all workers, so that everyone would know to the penny what everyone else is getting for the services they are providing.
What do you think? Assuming the standard of complete visibility was applied equally to all companies, agencies of government, and individuals (which, many would argue, will never happen…but, assuming that it did)…would you be willing to live in a society of Total Transparency?
What “secrets” and “privacy” do you think people, companies, or governments should have a right to maintain…and why? What reason would anyone have to keep something a secret from anyone else? If all things were known by everyone, wouldn’t the world be a better place? Does WikiLeaks make you angry, or happy, that government maneuverings are becoming more and more revealed?
The mere mention of a “man with muscle” conjures up images of a male with rippling abs and bulging biceps. However, I am NOT speaking to the kind of muscle that develops as a result of sweat-filled hours in a gym or the kind of muscle whose size grows and whose form is sculpted against the resistance of heavy dumbbells.
I am talking about a man who is developing his spiritual muscles.
…A man who, rather than gazing into the bathroom mirror, sees All of Life as a reflection of who he is.
…A man who measures his strength not by his physical attributes or material gains, but instead gauges his greatness by his life experiences of compassion, service, and gratitude.
…A man whose purpose in life is not to see how much he can get out of it, but rather to see how much he can place into it.
In a spiritual partnership, brute strength has little value at the end of the day. A Partnership of Souls requires no more than a common desire to experience God. A man who knows Who He Is and Why He is Here and Where He is Going brings into a relationship a level of authenticity and presence that cannot be bought, controlled, coerced, manufactured, strong-armed, fabricated, or misunderstood.
The spiritual muscle of a man is not cultivated through acts of aggression or power. It is not fine-tuned through abusive or dominant behavior. It is not crafted through apathy or indifference. A spiritual muscle’s potency is not fed by its need to be right or its willingness to simply blend in. The magnitude of a man’s soul is not dependent upon bulging biceps or powerful careers or financial wealth.
A man’s spiritual muscle is developed through awareness and intention, through humor and humility, through presence and purpose. A gentle and consistent introspection is the type of exercise the muscles of the soul yearn for and respond to. The female spirit is drawn to empathic energy. Passion between the feminine and masculine is ignited within the light of truth and transparency. And intimacy is fostered and experienced within the realm of vulnerability and emotional nakedness.
Society, unfortunately, has got it all backwards. A cursory glance at some of today’s top headlines demonstrates that. As a result of society having it backwards, the outgrowth is a large percentage of men who are confused into thinking that their masculinity is defined and preserved through their high-ranking positions or their sexual prowess or their exertion of physical or intellectual control over another. This same percentage of “confused” men wind up in relationships with women, equally confused, who are buying into the same illusion and collectively expecting the same return. And at the end of the day, the quest for more…more sex, more physical control, more money, more power…produces the same stark realization: Something is still missing.
Gimme a man who flexes his spiritual muscles regularly, a man who “works out” every day, a man who exercises his greatness, a man whose presence in a room exudes an unmistakable knowing and an unquestionable understanding of Who He Is.
Gimme a man who knows himself as God.
(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.)
The numbers below reveal the deadening effects of inequality in the United States, and confirm that tax avoidance, rather than a lack of middle-class initiative, is the cause.
1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.
According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.
In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.
3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.
Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.
4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.
After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.
U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the
1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.
5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.
That’s enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.
That’s enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN’s World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.
For the free-market advocates who say “they’ve earned it”: Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.
6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.
Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.
Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.
7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.
The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That’s much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).
Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.
8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households.
Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.
9. Young adults have lost TWO-THIRDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.
21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984. It’s now less than $4,000.
That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you’re still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt.
With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.
10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks.
That’s about the same amount of money made by America’s richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding.
Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S.
The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the United States. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.
A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO.
It’s not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.
(Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.)
I remember from reading the CWG books that Neale mentions here and there the concepts of building and maintaining a conscious relationship. However, I was wondering whether there is any specific material out there that is solely focused on this topic. Blessings and joy to you…Annalisa
Dear Annalisa…Neale addressed a similar question in our Spiritual Mentoring Program call on Saturday by saying this:
“1. Need nothing. 2. Understand everything. 3. Love all.”
Please allow me to elaborate:
1. In a relationship if we Need nothing specific from the other, we can save ourselves a lot of grief. For example, I have found that with my family, sometimes we are pulled in different directions, each of us having our own agenda, especially around the holidays. Things run much more smoothly for me if I don’t attach myself to any particular plan—if I don’t Need anything in particular to happen—allowing Life to lead me where it will. This appeases everyone, so therefore, I am at peace as well!
2. Entire relationships, indeed, entire lives have been ruined by people who misunderstand the actions of another and hold grudges against them, rather than sitting down, talking things out, and arriving at mutual understanding about why they did what they did. When we Understand the reasons why others do what they do, forgiveness is automatic. Neale calls this “Forgiveness Forgone” because forgiveness is a foregone conclusion when we Understand the reasons people do things we might consider negative.
3. To Love all doesn’t mean “free love” in the 1960s sense, as the hit song from that era, “Love the One You’re With” recommended. Rather, it means, Love everything that shows up. Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is explains this beautifully. Another author, Rick Steves, who is my favorite travel writer, says, “If something isn’t to your liking, change your liking.” This is a very profound statement that takes on a much deeper meaning than simply what to do while traveling. If we learn to love Life exactly as it is showing up—if we can see the perfection in all of Life—then we live the path of least resistance. This is not to say we are not at choice in every moment. We are, and we’re always invited by Life to Choose Again… to re-create ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are. Yet, to do this while living a life resisting nothing is to walk the path of the great Masters.
(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at Annie@TheGlobalConversation.com.
(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com where our team is waiting to hear from you.)
What I am about to share with you is not a new idea and it’s not my own idea. In fact, I am sure you have probably heard of this concept before. But the day I truly saw the living reality of it, it began to transform my life—and my children’s lives. And it was also the day that I realized I had been fooling myself for many, many years.
I finally understood in a flash of a moment, that everything I project “outwardly”onto others is a reflection of what is going on “inwardly.” The more I became aware of this and started to test this concept out, the more my life began to change for the better! And for the “betterment” of my children! Although most of us who have (bravely and courageously) put even one toe on the “spiritual path” are already familiar with this metaphysical principle, how often do we consider it within the context of Parenting?
It’s likely that when we’ve worked with this idea in the past we’ve drudged up the most recent interactions not with our children but with our romantic partner or co-worker or employer or close friend—and then humbly saw what might need attention within ourselves. But how can this awareness be applied in the dynamic of parent-to-child and child-to-parent?
I don’t believe parenting with the New Spirituality requires anything unusual or unrealistic. And — much like the “effortless parenting” practice I pointed to in my last article — I think there is a skill lying dormant in us that can be easily awakened when we gently notice that what’s appearing outside of us is really the very same thing that’s appearing inside of us. “Fooling myself” is how I first referred to this back when I began to recognize my tendency to imagine that what my children were displaying “out there” was anything different or other than what was already living “in here.”
Fooling ourselves is an innocent daily ritual for most of us, and usually we don’t even know that we’re doing it. Think of all of the times you have lost patience with your children, felt angry or overwhelmed. These feelings are usually experienced and believed to be your natural outward reaction to the challenging situation of the moment. But what if you noticed that the lack of patience you are having with your child might be because you are feeling little patience with yourself that day? What if your anger is on the rise not because your child is displaying anger, but because you were angry with yourself already? And suppose your intolerance toward your child is because you are not feeling very tolerant of the perfectly imperfect human being that your Soul came here to experience! What if all of these emotions stem from the fact that you have forgotten in the flurry of parenting to tend to your own emotions; your inner self; your Soul?
First, it’s a high level of Mastery to even notice and want to take responsibility for what we are experiencing on the “inside”– so let’s acknowledge what a huge shift that is in and of itself!
As a parent — and especially a new one — it’s easy to imagine that because we are now in this society-created role, we should have it all figured out, and that losing patience or feeling angry or overwhelmed is no longer okay to experience. There are a number of principles from the Conversations with God messages that might help ease the self-judgment that comes swimming in (sometimes like a tsunami!) in our daily interactions with our children. In this article, let’s add the concept “We Are All One” and notice that if this is a reality, how might both you and your children be working to heal the same Illusions? Perhaps viewing your own ups & downs mirrored by your child back to you can remind you that your souls are always “on the same team,” and help you to feel more compassion and empathy for the whole dance you’re doing together on any given day.
Even though it can at first seem more convenient to get past the moment and live in denial of what we’re feeling or what judgment we’re placing on our self, learning to pause and to take even one full minute to examine what is going on inside can improve our natural skills in dealing appropriately with the situations appearing on the outside.
If we were to practice a 1-Minute meditation many times a day (because sometimes those short segments of time are all we’ve got!), how might it affect our overall experience of parenting and the exchanges we have with our children? If you decided that the greatest gift you could give yourself today was to be patient or compassionate or understanding and tender with you, there would most likely be a natural tendency to then offer the same with your children, and continue to work on healing Illusions together.
A “Mama Laurie Mantra” that might help (and one I still use often!): “If I see it Out there, I’m looking In here!”
(Laurie Lankins Farley has worked with Neale Donald Walsch for approximately 10 years. She is the Executive Director of his non-profit The 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.)
In the next several weeks here I am going to do something different in this column. I am going to present occasional excerpts from a transcript of a Conversations with God Spiritual Renewal Retreat that took place in October, 2012 in Medford, Oregon. I can think of no better way to give you an idea of one approach to interpreting the CWG material than by showing you how it is interpreted by me for participants in such an event.
Below, then, is an excerpt #1 from this CWG retreat, in which I welcome the participants into the room. It offers a wonderful invitation — not only to the people who were in that room, but to everyone who is gathered here, at this website.
NEALE: Welcome to the space. You’ve traveled so far to be here, not just in miles, but in years and moments. Each of us journey along the highways of our life, and here we are in this perfect moment, perfectly situated, perfectly prepared, perfectly ready for perfection itself to visit our lives at last.
There is more going on here than meets the eye. And by “here,” I don’t mean in this room. I mean in life, for most people. And every so often a chosen few — and it’s usually a handful really, a veritable handful of people — decide to gather together in one place to look at what’s going on, out of a thought that sometimes, once in a while, looking at it together with some others who are on the same journey can be more productive and bring us greater insights, in some cases bringing those insights to us faster and in a more impacting way, than if we continue traveling alone on our path.
So we find that from time to time it feels good to join together with others who are on the same journey, even if they may not define the journey or describe it in exactly the same way, but we know broadly in the largest sense that they’re on the same journey, this journey through life. But the journey is more than the journey through life from birth to death, from my awareness. A great more than that. We’ll talk about all of that during this retreat.
Of course, people have historically gathered like this. We’ve gathered around campfires at the very beginning. Not just family and kin, but increasingly as our experience of life went on, others who we joined at the campfire, so that we might share experiences, so that we might say to each other: How has it been for you? This is how it is for me. What’s true for all of us?
We say this to each other in a struggle, a fight, to find common ground, and out of common ground, common understanding — because it is when we find common ground that we share a common experience which gives us a common understanding.
And that common understanding is what binds us together and allows us to move forward as a species, as a culture, and thus to know ourselves as a culture in a way that only the sharing of the individual members of that culture could possibly create. So your story and mine are very important.
They are the keys that unlock the mystery of life itself. The challenge is getting to know that story; your story and mine. People interestingly enough don’t want to share their story often. They think they’re either wasting the time of others, or perhaps they’re embarrassed about it or they don’t have all the answers yet, or they don’t want to look bad, or they’re too hurt by the story and it brings up too many damaging or hurtful memories.
For whatever the reason, we largely keep our story to ourselves, and perhaps we share it with one or twos others, maybe with our beloved other with whom we’re going through life, a dear companion or partner or lover, and perhaps with a close friend as well. But the number of people who know our story in many cases can be counted on one hand.
There was a wonderful movie a few years ago, Richard Gere was in it, called Shall We Dance? And in the film, there was a wonderful scene. I won’t bother going through the whole scenario with you, but there is a scene in the film where a woman is sitting at a table with a private detective, and she’s hired the private detective to follow her husband. She’s convinced he’s having an affair because he’s gone every Tuesday and Thursday night on a regular basis after work and he was always saying to her, “Well, I had to work late,” or whatever. But she caught him at one point. She called his office, he wasn’t there, and all of that. So she thought, well, rather than confront him with what I don’t know about this, I’ll find out.
So she hired a private detective. And he follows her husband. Then he finally ‑‑ the scene in the movie is that she’s meeting him at a restaurant for lunch and he’s got the photographs of her husband going in and out of places. He’s been trailing her husband for weeks. He says, “I don’t know how to tell you this because your husband is not having an affair. And I hate to ruin the surprise.” She says. “What surprise?” He says, “Well, he’s been taking dancing lessons. He wants to learn how to ballroom dance because you’ve always wanted him to be a ballroom dancer with you and he was clumsy and didn’t know how to do it. So for your 25th anniversary, he wanted to take to you a ballroom dancing competition and show you how you guys could win it.” It turns out that the wife was a very good dancer and she just needed a partner.
So he was gone every Tuesday and Thursday night for months to this dance class. And the private detective has got pictures of him going in and out of the class and so forth. Now, he says, you must let him have this surprise. You can’t let him know that you know. She said, of course not.
But I always remember the scene in the movie, not for that content so much, but for a single line in the picture that in a sense almost devastated me when I heard it, because it was so impactful. She says to the private detective, you must have been hired on a hundred of these surveillance things by spouses who think their other is cheating on them. He says, “Yeah, I have. It kind of makes you cynical about marriage and the whole trip.”
This spurs her to say, “Why do you think people get married anyway?” And the detective gives, well, you know, a variety of reasons. “I’ve been looking at it for 25 years. Sex, companionship, bring an end to loneliness, have a partner to carry the load.” He gives all the answers you would expect to hear.
She say, “I don’t think that’s the reason.” He then asks, “What do you think the reason is?” She replies, “I think people marry so that they can have a witnesses to their lives.”
That’s got to be one of the great movie lines of all time. The wife goes on, “People want, they need, someone who saw it all, the worst of it, the best of it, the highs and the lows, the struggles, the losses, and the victories. Someone who saw it all happen to them, so that their experience doesn’t have to be questioned in their own mind…like, is any of this real?”
So I observe that people gather around and gather together in many of the places where other people collect: Sunday services, Saturday events, Friday night gatherings at the temple or at the synagogue or at the church or in many other places…the corner tavern, and so forth…to see if there is some way they can share and create a common experience, and be witness to each other lives.
These moments are precious and few, representing a tiny percentage of the number of days and hours and minutes in your life, when you look at these moments on a percentage basis. Most of the time we’re in our mind, and more or less by ourselves.
Don’t miss any opportunity, then, that you have created to explore together the common ground we all share; to witness each other lives. Let us know your story. Let us know about your ups and your downs, your challenges and your victories.
I, as God, will never interfere with your choices—but I will always know what they are. Therefore, you may assume that if a thing happens to you, it is perfect that it did so—for nothing escapes perfection in God’s world.
The design of your life—the people, places, and events in it—have all been perfectly created by the perfect creator of perfection itself: you. And Me . . . in, as, and through you.
Now We can work together in this co-creative process consciously or unconsciously. You can move through life aware, or unaware. You can walk your path asleep, or awake. You choose…
…If all you desired is what your soul desired, everything would be very simple. If you listened to the part of you which is pure spirit, all of your decisions would be easy, and all the outcomes joyous. That is because . . .
. . . the choices of spirit are always the highest choices.
They don’t need to be second-guessed. They don’t need to be analyzed or evaluated. They simply need to be followed, acted on.
Yet you are not only a spirit. You are a Triune Being made up of body, mind, and spirit. That is both the glory and the wonder of you. For you often make decisions and choices at all three levels simultaneously—and they by no means always coincide.
It is not uncommon for your body to want one thing, while your mind seeks another, and your spirit desires yet a third. This can be especially true of children, who are often not yet mature enough to make distinctions between what sounds like “fun” to the body, and what makes sense to the mind—much less what resonates with the soul. So the child waddles into the street.
Now, as God, I am aware of all your choices—even those you make subconsciously. I will never interfere with them, but rather, just the opposite. It is My job to ensure that your choices are granted. (In truth, you grant them to your Self. What I have done is put a system into place that allows you to do that. This system is called the process of creation, and is explained in detail in CWG-Book 1.)
When your choices conflict—when body, mind, and spirit are not acting as one—the process of creation works at all levels, producing mixed results. If, on the other hand, your being is in harmony, and your choices are unified, astonishing things can occur.
Your young people have a phrase—“having it all together”—which could be used to describe this unified state of being.
There are also levels within levels in your decision making. This is particularly true at the level of the mind.
Your mind can, and does, make decisions and choices from one of at least three interior levels: logic, intuition, emotion—and sometimes from all three— producing the potential for even more inner conflict.
And within one of those levels—emotion—there are five more levels. These are the five natural emotions: grief, anger, envy, fear, and love.
And within these, also, there are two final levels: love and fear.
The five natural emotions include love and fear, yet love and fear are the basis of all emotions. The other three of the five natural emotions are outgrowths of these two.
Ultimately, all thoughts are sponsored by love or fear. This is the great polarity. This is the primal duality. Everything, ultimately, breaks down to one of these. All thoughts, ideas, concepts, understandings, decisions, choices, and actions are based in one of these.
And, in the end, there is really only one.
In truth, love is all there is. Even fear is an outgrowth of love, and when used effectively, expresses love…Everything expresses love, when the expression is in its highest form.
Does the parent who saves the child from being killed in traffic express fear, or love?…Here we see that fear in its highest form becomes love . . . is love . . . expressed as fear. Similarly, moving up the scale of natural emotions, grief, anger, and envy are all some form of fear, which, in turn, is some form of love.
One things leads to another. Do you see?
The problem comes in when any of the five natural emotions become distorted. Then they become grotesque, and not recognizable at all as outgrowths of love, much less as God, which is what Absolute Love is.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to COMMENT on the above excerpt, please scroll down to the end of the blue, ancillary copy that appears just below, which has been placed here for First Time Readers…
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 3.
Now, may we tell you about a very easy way that you can share these wonderful messages with others? Please keep reading…
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 very short period of time. So you are invited 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 experiencing his now famous conversation with God. His Conversations with God series of books has been translated into 37 languages, touching millions and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.
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.
By his late teens Neale’s involvement with spiritually-based teachings led him to begin dipping into a variety of spiritual texts, including the Bible, the Rig Veda, the Upanishads and Divine revelation according to Sri Ramakrishna. He noticed that when people became involved in organized religion they sometimes seemed less joyful and more angry, occasionally exhibiting behaviors of prejudice and separateness. Neale concluded that humanity’s collective experience of theology was not as positive as it was meant to be. It seemed to him that there was something missing in standard theological teachings; that they might contain very good lessons, he concluded, but that they might not be complete.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, but academic life could not hold his interest and he dropped out of college after two years to follow an interest in radio 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 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 relationship life was in constant turmoil, and his health was going rapidly downhill.
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.
Over 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 two weeks shy of a year to pull himself together and get back under shelter. He found a modest part-time job, once again in broadcasting, then worked his way into full time broadcasting, eventual landing a spot as a nationally 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 that he could not define, and the daily difficulties that everyone faces continued.
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 to make life work?” he angrily scratched across a yellow legal pad. “And what have I done to deserve a life of such continuing struggle?”
What followed has been well chronicled and widely discussed around the world. Neale says his questioning letter received a Divine answer. He tells us that he heard a voice just over his right shoulder—soft and warm, kind and loving, as he describes it—that offered a reply. Awestruck and inspired, he quickly scribbled the response onto a yellow legal pad he’d found on a coffee table before him.
More questions came, and as fast as they occurred to him, answers were given in the same gentle voice, which now seemed to have moved 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 the process was “exactly like taking dictation,” and that the dialogue that was created in this way was published without 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 With God series of books, 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 7.5 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages. Anecdotal evidence suggests that CWG is one of the most widely distributed hand-to-hand books ever published, with estimates that, on average, at least two people have read every copy purchased — meaning that something more than 15 million people worldwide have read the CWG messages.
The With God series has redefined God and shifted spiritual paradigms around the globe. In order to deal with the enormous response to his writings, Neale has created several global outreach projects dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love revolving around their core messages.
The projects include: (1) the Conversations with God Foundation, an adult education outreach; (2) Humanity’s Team, a global spiritual activist outreach; (3) CWG for Parents, an outreach providing resources to those who wish to bring their children the messages of CWG; (4) the Changing Change Network, a CWG helping outreach to persons facing major life challenges; (5) The Global Conversation, an internet newspaper outreach relating the spiritual messages of CWG to the news of the day; and (6) CWG Connect, a multi-media communications outreach creating a worldwide CWG community featuring Video and Audio On-Demand services, together with ongoing personal interaction with the author of CWG. Access to all of these programs will be found at the gateway internet site: www.CWGPortal.com
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’s latest book, The Only Thing That Matters, was published in October, 2012. He lives in Ashland, Oregon and is married to the American poet Em Claire (www.emclairepoet.com).
The lay members of the top legislative body of the Church of England have voted never to allow any priest among its clergy who does not have a penis to be consecrated as a bishop within their church.
In a vote that defied outright the wishes of a striking majority of its own present bishops and priests, members of the House of Laity of the General Synod of the church fell a handful of votes short of reaching the two-thirds majority within their category of the synod required to approve a change of rules that would allow persons with a vagina to rise to the level of bishop within the leadership of the church.
The synod is divided into three units: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity. All three units must each separately reach a two-thirds majority of its voting members in order to overturn present church law, according to media reports.
On the matter of allowing females to become bishops, the three houses voted collectively to approve the measure by a 75% majority. But the breakdown came when one of the houses did not reach a two-thirds majority in its indivivdual vote. The House of Bishops last Tuesday voted 44-3 in favor, with two abstentions. The vote in the House of Clergy was 148-45 in favor. The vote in the House of Laity was 132-74 — just six votes short of the two-thirds majority needed in that body, the New York Times and CNN both reported.
Women are presently allowed to be ordained as priests in the Church of England, and indeed, one-third of its priests are female. Women may hold other senior positions as well, such as canons or archdeacons, so it is apparently not a question of the spiritual or intellectual qualifications of females that causes conservative lay members to consistently vote against female elevation to the highest offices within the church. It is, it would seem, a lack of a particular physical characteristic. The church’s lay persons have laid down the law: No penis, no mitre.
The overwhelming support of the House of Bishops itself could not persuade enough of the church’s regular members to support a reform that has been 15 years in the attempting. A sufficient number of lay people within the church have made it clear: In the House of Bishops it shall always be: Vaginas Not Allowed.
Unless something radical occurs within the Church, the three houses of its General Synod will not even have another opportunity to vote again on the proposal to allow female bishops for another five years, according to procedural rules.
Reaction to last week’s vote was negative and strong from the majority of priests and bishops within the church — perhaps the most candid from the spiritual leader of the church himself, the Archbishop of Canterbury. After the vote, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams told the General Synod: “We have, to put it very bluntly, a lot of explaining to do. Whatever the motivation for voting…whatever the theological principle on which people acted and spoke, the fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society. Worse than that, it seems as if we are willfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society.”
Somewhat startling is the fact that, even in this first quarter of the 21st Century, when the question of women’s equality seems that it has been asked and answered by human society in most places, in the very sector of society where one would expect it is to resolved absolutely without discrimination toward any human beings — namely, Religion: the major institutions promoting God — the proclaiming of women as Second Class Citizens continues to be a major pillar and principle of its most sacred beliefs.
Everything taking place within the realm of our experience is subject to the application of our thoughts, perspectives, and beliefs…which is why you will either deeply appreciate Director Terrence Malick’s movie “Tree of Life” or you will leave feeling bewildered.
This 139-minute film has very little dialogue except for the occasional voice-over narration asking enigmatic questions to God like, “Where were You? Where do You live? Are You watching me? I want to know what You are. I want to see what You see.” This movie does not tell you what to think, or how to think, but rather it provides the movie-goer an opportunity to think about and actually participate in some of life’s most perplexing and unanswered questions about evolution, God, death, heaven, human connection, the end of the world — and to become a collaborator in its meaning.
The movie centers around a troubled family in Waco, Texas, in the 1950s where three pre-teen boys are living with their strict authoritarian father (played by Brad Pitt) and gentle loving mother (played by Jessica Chastain), each parent symbolizing a different perspective about the “way” through life…the way of nature or the way of grace. She is ethereal, a loving presence, angelic; he is a businessman and a traditionalist who is prone to anger.
Awe-inspiring and dramatic cinematography contrasts ideologies of “spirituality” and “survival of the fittest” within the world of this young family’s triumphs, conflicts, and day-to-day life experiences, connecting them with the birth, evolution, and eventual demise of the universe. Predominantly placed in the film is a breathtaking 15-minute video sequence containing stunning footage of the “Big Bang,” the creation of the earth and the earth’s first organism, the age of the dinosaurs, concluding with the destruction of the earth by a large meteor.
Writing a review for a controversial movie that is so wide open to interpretation is a challenge without sharing what the film personally meant to me. So I would recommend that if you want to experience a movie that will make you say “Wow!” “What?” “Hmm,” “Aww,” “No Way,” “Oh, I get it,” “Wait, I’m confused,” and “Amazing” all at the same time, that you check out “Tree of Life.”
“Tree of Life” can be found on Netflix and is available on video from most movie rental sources.
(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.)
(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Review”)