The is the third part of an extended series of explorations on “enlightenment” as a human experience. The first and second entries in this series may be found in the archives.
At the conclusion of Part One I said that the danger of this business of enlightenment is two-fold. The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order go get there. And that if you don’t do that, you can’t get there. The second danger is thinking that your way to get there is the fastest, the best way to do it.
At the conclusion of Part Two I wrote of when Paramahansa Yogananda, or Master, as he was called, came to America bringing a technique for “self-realization” — which was his phrase meaning “enlightenment.” Self-realization declares that when you realize who the Self is, you become enlightened. And Master described himself as having been enlightened. And, by the way, he was enlightened. He was enlightened because he said that he was and, I hate to break the spell that someone may be under, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is quite as simple as that.
People heard Paramahansa Yogananda give his talks and explain his technique for enlightenment, which involved a process that included, among other things, deep meditation for many minutes and sometimes many hours, every day. And the process was one that Paramahansa Yogananda taught to his students, and that his students taught to their students, and their students taught to their students, on and on, until a very large number of people all over the United States and around the world were involved in this Self-Realization Fellowship, which to this day continues to function and has now many, certainly hundreds of thousands of, followers.
And if you talk to some of the followers and some of the members of the Self-Realization Fellowship, they will tell you, “This is the way. This is the path. Master has shown us the path. There are many other paths, this is not the only path, and this may not be the best path, but it is the fastest path that we know of, and so come and join the Self-Realization Fellowship.”
In even more contemporary times a wonderful man named Maharishi surfaced on the earth and Maharishi invented yet another path to enlightenment. His path was called Transcendental Meditation — or, for short, “TM.”
Maharishi began teaching around the world and became very popular and began creating temples and meditation centers all over the place. He established huge universities. There is a university in Fairfield, Iowa right now, called the Maharishi International University. And there are other universities that he established around the world. And many, many so-called TM centers.
Now, I learned Transcendental Meditation and I learned it from other students who learned it from other students who learned it from other students who learned it from other students, who learned it from the Master. And there is a gentle sense of urgency on the part of some of the people who are in this movement, because they will tell you that Transcendental Meditation is a tool that can bring you to enlightenment in a very short period of time.
And they, like the students of Paramahansa Yogananda, like the participants in the est program, turn a large part of their lives over to this program. They see their job as enrolling as many people as they can in their movement, because it changes peoples lives. And when you have a life-changing technology you naturally want to share it with as many people as you can. And there is nothing wrong with that. That is very exciting and it is very wonderful. But it can be difficult if you are not careful, if you allow yourself to become so urgently wrapped up in it that nothing else matters to you in your life. Then it can become not enlightenment, but dis-empowering to you.
Now there are many other programs as well. Like Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation, like Paramahansa Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship, like Werner Erhard and the est program. There are many programs. Many approaches, many paths developed by many masters. There was a book written called Many Lives, Many Masters, written by my friend Brian Weiss, and he talks about the fact that there are many ways to reach the mountaintop.
Which way, then, should we recommend? Which way, then, should we encourage others to take? Or should we simply encourage others to investigate for themselves the many paths that there are, and empower them to know that inside their heart and soul they will pick the right path if their intention is pure and if their desire is true.
God says, “No one calls to me without being answered.” And each of us will be answered by that which we call divine, in the way which most effectively responds to the vibration that we hold and create from the center of our being.
That is, to put it another way, God or Divinity or Enlightenment, if you please, appears in a form in the lives of every person that is most appropriate to their background, their culture, their level of understanding, the level of their desire, and their willingness. And there are many disciplines: physical disciplines, mental disciplines, spiritual disciplines, and some disciplines that involve all three—the body, the mind and the spirit.
In our next entry here, we’ll look at the path that was taken by the Buddha. In the meantime, what path are you taking? Have you found “enlightenment” yet?
Part 1: Straight or Something More?
As a teenager, there are many things in life that are very, very perplexing. Though responsibility, relationships, and identity are among some of the most confusing, the greatest conundrum for teens by far is the concept of time. Whether it be managing our time or passing our time, our entire understanding of “time” is very, very hazy.
In our cultural lexicon, we have many expressions to describe our usage of time that seem quite contradictory. We have to use our time wisely, so that we don’t run out of time later. If we are bored we are killing time, yet if we are in a rush we are running out of time. And if we are truly unbothered by anything else in the world, we are taking our time. With such different ideas on time, its usage, and its meaning, it’s no wonder that time remains one of the most baffling concepts for teens and adults to grasp today. As this concept continues to puzzle even myself, it is truly time to create a series to clarify a few things about what time is, how it works, and what we still don’t understand.
So, what exactly is time? The friend? The enemy? The frenemy? Or anything at all?
Throughout the ages, science, religion, and philosophy have attempted numerous explanations of time. In our Western society, the most prevalent time theory is ‘linear perspective’. Based upon Isaac Newton’s theory of time as absolute, time is perceived as a point upon a straight line that moves only in a single direction. The concept of past, present, and future finds its roots in this ‘timeline’ movement, as the past and future are everything that is not directly that singular moment. Consequently, this has driven our society to be ‘time-centric’, and to live the philosophy of “live by the clock, die by the clock”.
So, despite our complex developments and achievements, our concept of time remains quite archaic. Simply, there must be more to this puzzle, or more gears in this clockwork. And there is. The man to prove this was none other than Albert Einstein. During his work with the Theory of Relativity, Einstein found out that time itself is relative, and not absolute. Within his findings, the perception of time was based upon the spatial reference frame of the observer (position), the speed that they are traveling, and oddly, time itself. From this concept, Einstein discovered that it is possible to have two people who are going different speeds to experience time as either going faster or slower, even though the same amount of time had passed. By understanding that space, motion, and time are all variables, an entirely new dimension had to be created, called the Space-Time Continuum. In this dimension, perspective influences time, and changes in perception lead to changes in time. Basically, with the concept of the fourth dimension, Einstein discovered that the past, the present, and the future all exist simultaneously. He even stated, “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Wow.
With this development, overlap is occurring with science and spirituality. As the New Age view of time is of the Ultimate Now, the existence of past, present, and future as one is becoming more and more recognized. As we acknowledge time being used simply as another perspective to understand our journey, it simply becomes a means of comparison. To understand Who We Are, we have to know Who We Were to have a vision of Who We Want to Be. Yet, at the same time, we know that we are all of these things at once. As Albert Einstein concluded, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Truly, time is one of the universe’s finest dichotomies.
Simply, our perspective of time must go beyond ‘the straight and narrow’. Though it may challenge every prior concept you have held about time, ponder over this different perspective. Trust me, it will be worth your time.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
We continue here a series of articles arising out of an entry made on this page on January 3rd by a reader named Carol Bass. I found her entry wonderfully illustrative of the thoughts and feelings I hear expressed by many people during these days and times. I would like to re-print her entire Comment here, to catch you up on this exchange if you are just jumping in…
ON JAN. 3 CAROL BASS WROTE…
I don’t think I have ever had such a unsettled feeling about the future of humanity. At my age to feel so much fear and uncertainty is not a good place to be. It seems that so many have turned their back on what is right and what is wrong. The ten commandments according to the bible has become just another thing to cast off as just someone’s religious beliefs but not necessarily truth.
I am not a young person anymore and have lived allot of life but yet I seem more confused today about life, religion, morals, truth, than any other time in my life. I think it is perhaps that I try to be open minded and listen to all points of view and am always searching desparately for the truth and why we are here in the first place. It is so easy for anyone with talent for stating their views with eloquence, and the right choice of words to make a case for just about anything…But where does it all end? What do we use for our borometer for right and wrong?
I was taught as a Christian that it all goes back to the bible and the ten commandments. But not all of us are Christians. We live in such a diverse world with so many belief systems. But don’t all religions believe that good, love, peace should always prevail? It just seems to me that evil would be despised by all people. We can not keep going on killing, hating, raping, abusing, ignoring the needs the weak without our spirits being broken. We must find a way to do better.
We only have control of ourselves but we can sure start there. We can and do have a influence on the people we love and the contacts we have in our lives. People do pay attention to how we live our lives. I have started in my life by standing firm in my beliefs as a person of God. I will obey the commandments, I will live a honest God fearing life, and I will not tolerate deceit, lies, injustice, and behavior that is hateful without saying something to stop it. I will love my fellow man and be helpful when there is a need. I will encourage anyone that I may come in contact with that appears to be in some kind of struggle to turn to their God for guidance. I will continue to pray for guidance myself and for the betterment of our humanity. I will always ask God to turn our heats back to Him where the truth is and always will be. That is my daily prayer.
Now, from me in response…
AS YOU KNOW if you read our last entry here, I have done my best to address the question of “right” and “wrong”. And there is more on this topic right now just above, in the copy element on this page labeled Excerpt from Conversations with God. I do hope you read it, Carol…and I hope that the rest of you take a moment to read it, too. I found this exchange in the dialogue with God to be remarkably opening and helpful in allowing me to re-contextualize my understanding of “right” and “wrong.”
This article is Part VI of an ongoing series:
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW
Now, I would like to move to this Comment by Carol: It is so easy for anyone with talent for stating their views with eloquence, and the right choice of words to make a case for just about anything…But where does it all end? What do we use for our borometer for right and wrong?
That, it seems to me, is a very fair question. I, too, spent 50 years looking for that barometer, Carol. And I found it in Conversations with God. Does that mean that I had decided that CWG is “the truth”? No. Actually, just the opposite.
Listen to this dialogue that I had with God about just this topic, Carol. This is a direct lift, a word-for-word transcript, of a passage from the Conversations with God books…
GOD: Religion is also a manifestation of humankind’s instinctive awareness that rituals, traditions, ceremonies and customs have enormous value as markers that assert a peoples’ presence in the world, and as the adhesive that secures that presence by holding a peoples’ culture together.
Each culture has its beautiful and singular tradition honoring a beautiful and central truth: that there is something larger and more important in life than one’s own desires, or even one’s own needs; that life itself is a much more profound and far more meaningful experience than many people at first imagine; and that it is in love and mutual concern and forgiveness and creativity and playfulness and the joining of hands in a united effort to achieve a common goal wherein which will be found the deepest satisfactions and the most wondrous joys of the human encounter.
Take then, each of you, your own path to Me. Undertake your own journey home. Do not worry or render judgments about how others are taking theirs. You cannot fail to reach Me, and neither can they. Indeed, you will all meet again when you are together at Home, and you will wonder why you quibbled so.
NEALE: Oh, and we have argued, haven’t we? We have argued endlessly. We have quarreled and we have fought and we have killed and we have died because we have insisted that ours is the right way—in fact, that ours is the only way—to heaven.
GOD: Yes, you have.
NEALE: Yet now here you come to tell us that “no path is better than any other path.” And I must gently ask, how can I believe this? How can I know what to believe?
GOD: Whatever you do, do not believe what is said here.
NEALE: I’m sorry?
GOD: Do not believe a single thing I say. Listen to what I say, then believe what your heart tells you is true.
I ask only one thing.
NEALE: What is that?
GOD: Do not tell others that unless THEY believe what is in YOUR heart, I am going to condemn them. And whatever you do, do not condemn them yourself, on my behalf.
NEALE: We keep doing that. We don’t seem to know how to stop. And we’re putting ourselves through sheer hell.
GOD: Yet now here is the Good News: Humanity need not go through hell to get to heaven.
So there you have it, Carol: the answer to your question. Your barometer for what is “right” and “wrong” is found in your own heart. Your heart is the bridge between your mind and your soul. Listen to what your heart tells you is “right” and “wrong” and live by that — just as your statement above indicates, Carol, that you have done. This is precisely what you have done, and God bless you for it. You need no other barometer than that. For it is as Shakespeare wrote:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Carol Bass Dialogue continues in this space in entries ahead. You are invited to check back for the newest entry.
One of the most controversial statements made in the Conversations with God dialogues was this pronouncement: “Nobody does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world” I was flabbergasted when I first heard this, and, of course, I asked God for an immediate explanation. “What can you possibly mean?”, I wanted to know. Here is the challenging exchange that followed…
GOD: I mean, no one ever sees their actions as “wrong.”
NEALE: But some peoples’ actions are wrong, whether they see them as that or not.
GOD: Perhaps this is a good time to bring up the Seventh New Revelation…
There is no such thing as Right and Wrong. There is only What Works and What Does Not Work, depending upon what it is that you seek to be, do or have.
NEALE: How can you say that? How can you say “there’s no such thing as right and wrong”?
GOD: Because it’s true. “Right” and “wrong” are figments of your imagination. They are judgments you are making, labels that you are creating as you go along. They are values that you are deciding upon, depending on what it is that you want, individually and as a society. When what you want changes, what you decide to call “right” and “wrong” changes. Your own history proves this.
NEALE: Nonsense. The basics don’t change.
GOD: They don’t?
GOD: Give me an example of a “basic” value that doesn’t change.
NEALE: Okay, killing. “Thou shalt not kill” doesn’t change. That’s a basic human value.
GOD: Unless what you want is to win a war.
NEALE: No fair. That’s self-defense. We have a right to defend ourselves.
GOD: Well, not all wars are wars of self-defense. Your planet has known such things as wars of aggression.
NEALE: Yes, but let’s not talk about them. That only complicates things.
GOD: I see.
NEALE: Our country never aggresses upon anyone. The only wars that we ever fight are wars of self-defense.
GOD: Your country only fights wars of self-defense?
NEALE: That’s right.
GOD: Of course it’s right.
NEALE: And what does that mean?
GOD: It means that you’ve just proven what I said before. There is not a country and there is not a group of people on earth that imagines itself to be an aggressor. Everyone who enters into war does so saying that they are defending something.
Do you see this now? I am making a repeated point of this because it is something you need to look at very closely.
On your planet there are no “attackers,” only “defenders.” You achieve this interesting paradox by simply calling all attack a defense. In this way you are able to change your basic values from moment to moment as it suits you, without seeming to change them at all.
You get to kill people with impunity to obtain what you want by simply saying that you had no choice. You had to defend yourself.
All attackers see their actions in this way. Indeed, you have seen your own attacks on others exactly this way. Not just in war, but in every situation of conflict in your life, from battlefields to bedrooms, command centers to board rooms. Nobody attacks, everybody defends.
Seeing another’s attack on you in this way can produce miracles. Yet you could never see another’s attacks in this way so long as you imagine that there is such a thing as “right” and “wrong.”
NEALE: This is very hard to swallow, I hope you know that. The idea of a world in which there is no such thing as right and wrong is very difficult to accept. It seems to me that we really do have some basic values here on this planet. Values shared by all people…or certainly, by most of them.
GOD: Well, don’t be shy. Give me another example.
NEALE: Okay, the prohibition against suicide. Most people consider that the taking of one’s own life is wrong. It is immoral.
GOD: Yes, on the question of ending one’s life, it is the current imaging of the majority of people on your planet that it is “not okay” to do that.
Similarily, many of you still insist that it is not okay to assist another who wishes to end his or her life.
In both cases you say this should be “against the law.” You have come to this conclusion, presumably, because of the ending of the life in question occurs relatively quickly. Actions which end a life over a somewhat longer period of time are not against the law, even though they achieve the same result.
Thus, if a person in your society kills himself with a gun, his family member lose insurance benefits. If he does so with cigarettes, they do not.
If your doctors assists you in your suicide it is called manslaughter, while if a tobacco company does, it is called commerce.
With you, it seems to be merely a question of time. The legality of self-destruction—the “rightness” or “wrongness” of it—seems to have much to do with how quickly the deed is done, as well as who is doing it. The faster the death, the more “wrong” is seems to be. The slower the death, the more it slips into “okayness.”
Interestingly, this is the exact opposite of what a truly humane society would conclude. By and reasonable definition of what you would call “humane,” the shorter the death, the better. Yet your society punishes those who would seek to do the humane thing, and rewards those who would do the insane.
It is insane to think that endless suffering is what God requires, and that a quick, humane ending to the suffering is “wrong.”
“Punish the humane, reward the insane.”
This is the motto which only a society of beings with limited understanding could embrace.
So you poison your system by inhaling carcinogens, you poison your system by eating food treated with chemicals that over the long run kill you, and you poison your system by breathing air which you have continually polluted. You poison your system in a hundred different ways over a thousand different moments, and you do this knowing these substances are no good for you. But because it takes a longer time to them to kill you, you commit suicide with impunity.
NEALE: What about stealing? It’s a basic human value that we don’t take from another that which is not ours.
GOD: Unless you think that another has no right to it, and you do.
NEALE: That’s not fair. If someone else has no right to something and we do, then, precisely because it is not theirs, but ours, we have a right to take it away from them.
GOD: Of course you do. According to your values, that is true. Particularly, your value called “ownership” (which we shall discuss later). Yet that is precisely my point. You are doing nothing here but proving my point.
My point is that your values change as your perceptions change. They change as your desires change, as the things you want change.
If you want something that another party thinks is theirs, and if you want it or imagine that you need it bad enough, you will justify yourself in taking it. Believe me. You have done this. You have done exactly this.
Values are a moveable feast. You cannot think of a single “basic human value” that has not been temporarily set aside, altered, or completely abandoned at one time or another by human beings who have simply changed their mind about what it is they wanted to be, do, or have in a particular moment.
If you think, therefore, that there is such a thing as absolute “right” and absolute “wrong,” you are deluding yourself.
NEALE: You mean, we are “wrong”?
GOD: That’s very clever, and it points up a major problem with your word “wrong.” It has for centuries been used in at least two different ways—to mean that which is “mistaken,” and to mean that which is “immoral.”
An action that is called “mistaken” is an action that does not produce a desired or predicted outcome.
An action that is called “immoral” is an action that violates some life code or larger law a society has put in place—or that a society imagines its Deity to have put in place.
The difficulty with morals, as I have just pointed out, is that they change from time to time and place to place, depending upon what it is a society or its members are trying to accomplish. Morality is, therefore, extremely subjective.
The difficulty with “mistakes” is that in religious societies or contexts they are often equated with moral failure, rather than simply operational failure. This makes it not merely inconvenient or unfortunate to have made a mistake, but sinful. In certain religious or morality-based cultures, normal human error can be considered an offense against God—punishable by severe and disproportionate sanctions or suffering.
We have already looked at some examples of this. Here are more:
- He that curseth his father or his mother shall be put to death.
- A blasphemer shall be stoned to death.
- A woman who fails to wear a covering over her entire body may be whipped and beaten.
- A person who steals shall have his hand cut off.
Those who do not agree with such stringent, inflexible standards, to say nothing of the disproportionate responses required by them, are considered apostates—and can be killed.
This circumstance creates all the conditions for large-scale conflict and war, for now an attack may be justified as a defense of the faith, an act authorized by—and, indeed, required by—God.
NEALE: That’s exactly what’s been happening on our planet. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. That’s what’s been going on in the world in these days and times.
GOD: It has been going on for centuries. Indeed, for millennia. That is why the Seventh New Revelation is so important, for it creates a context that separates “mistake” from “morality,” removing God from the picture.
Do you really think I ever cared whether you ate meat on Fridays, or wore a head-to-toe body covering because you were female, or stood on the appropriate side of the Wailing Wall?
NEALE: I heard that not long ago some women attempted to stand with the men on the “men’s side” of the Wailing Wall, one of the most sacred sites in all of Judaism. They wanted to make a point: that it is time to end this infantile separation of women from the men because of a thought that women are unworthy or, because of their menses, somehow “unclean.” The men—some of them rabbis—began shouting and cursing and spitting, and some even began scuffling with the women.
GOD: Is it truly your imagining that God is concerned with these things?
It does seem rather petty, even in the name of sacred tradition.
GOD: Perhaps especially so.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to COMMENT on the above excerpt from The New Revelations, please scroll down to the end of the green 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 Friendship with God.
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.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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).
I never really fully understood the purpose of “giving up” something for Lent. As a child, growing up in the Catholic religion, I just simply did it because I was told I was supposed to do it, never really grasping the intent of this long-held ritual. However, I guess in some way, from the perspective of a child, I approached it as a personal challenge just to see if I could do it, but always wondering why God would want me to give up pizza or chocolate, which were my two favorite “things” as a young child; and, therefore, the two things that I must forgo during Lent. Because, as we all know, in order to truly be in God’s favor, you must give up something that you love, some object or experience that would cause you to suffer in the absence of that particular thing. And as a very small child, pizza and chocolate had grown to be my “loves” in the universe of my short and tender years.
Fast-forward now 40 years later, while I understand the history behind the Lenten season, I still remain unclear as to the purpose of giving up “something you love” in the 40 days that fall between Ash Wednesday and Easter…or at ANY time. At this point in my life, it has become abundantly clear to me that I experience more joy, more peace, and more of a knowing Who I Really Am when I align myself with that which is serving me and to change what is not. Why would God desire, or actually command, me to remove experiences from my life that bring me joy? Must the path to God be traveled on a road of suffering? Why have we imagined a God who manipulates love in such a way?
Lent is not the only example of how we, as a society, have bought into an idea of forgoing and suffering as a path to The Creator. There are Yogis who live in the Himalayan Mountains who devote their existence to a life of renunciation, abandoning material comforts and even food in their pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. It is commonly known that Catholic priests refrain from not only sex, but they resist even entering into a romantic relationship with another based on a belief that it will allow them to better serve and please God. People who observe the Jewish and Seventh Day Adventist faiths abstain from eating pork and shellfish because of beliefs they hold about what God wants. Those who belong to the Jehovah Witness faith will not celebrate birthdays, nor will they even receive a blood transfusion in medical emergencies, because of beliefs they hold about what God wants. Many women in the Pentecostal faith will not cut their hair because of beliefs they hold about what God wants….just to name a few.
Now, an idea that I could more readily embrace would be engaging in 40 days of placing intention on the things that foster our ability to realize and actually experience our Highest Selves and our ever-present connection with God. I can remember no time in my life where the deprivation of something I love has led to an experience of knowing God. I can, however, recite numerous occasions where allowing the things I love to flow into my life abundantly most certainly and vividly created a deeper understanding and knowing of Who I Am and what my relationship with God is.
This idea of suffering has long been misunderstood and misused as a way to “win” or “earn” God’s love. We are pained to see the visible suffering in the world around us, but we are quick to voluntarily suffer in an effort to seek approval and acceptance from the one source of unconditional love that we actually have. Why do so few embrace an idea that we do not have to do anything to receive God’s love? Is that thought too frightening? Is that concept too easy? Is that idea too risky? Would we place that expectation on our own children in order that they may experience our love?
After all, we are making it all up here, aren’t we?
Why are we making it up in a way that feels so hard?
(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.)
Regularly, I receive letters from people facing all sorts of life challenges. I am always inspired by those who have the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and reach out for help. In many cases, it is simply an act of love that drives them to look for solutions. For example, I receive letters from caring parents wanting to help guide their children who have lost their way. I was touched by a recent one and wanted to share our interaction. Of course, I have not included any personal information. These kinds of interactions are, unfortunately, very common, especially for those parents who deal with children that have become addicted. It is addiction that has become far too common and the subject of this week’s column.
My two youngest children are addicted to opiates. I’ve known for two years about my son, who is in his twenties. Now I have just found out about my daughter’s addiction. She is 19. My son has been in treatment and 12-step programs and was sober, but now is using again. My daughter has been actively using now for about 6 months. She’s asking for help, wants to detox, as she has hopes of getting a job soon. I can’t say that 12 steps and counseling has “worked” for my son, and I can’t imagine how a forced 5-day medically monitored detox could cure my daughter. I’ve been reading Neale Donald Walsch’s books and the CwG Foundation newsletter for several months now. I read last week, “From the Director’s Chair” and see that you do this type of work, addiction counseling. Can you make any suggestions? Thanks – Susan
Thank you for your note. I feel the obvious care and concern you have for your children; no doubt with good reason. You may or may not be aware, addiction is the number one killer in America. Unfortunately, each year, more people die from pharmaceutical drugs than illicit drugs…an epidemic that is getting worse, not better. Often, well-intentioned medical professionals are prescribing medication and set into motion or solidify the undetected addict brain. In many cases, all one has to say is something like “I feel depressed,” and out comes the prescription pad. Not that there isn’t a time and place for such intervention and proper uses of medications for the properly diagnosed, but we are quickly becoming a nation of drug addicts.
All drugs have side effects, but for the addict, getting hooked is one of them. Giving drugs as a way to treat drug addicts has never made sense in my world view. There has to be another way. I have looked deeply at this problem, and the solutions offered and available today have little success. The reason is simple: Most do not include a holistic point of view; that is, they do not treat the whole being.
I believe that any treatment of disease, not just the disease of addiction, must have a holistic and natural approach to be successful. One must look for the underlying causes and conditions of addiction and what exists within the world of each addict. Addiction professionals must look not only at the physiology, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual maladies that will also surely exist.
My goal in working with addicts is to remove all obstacles, real or imagined, that drive the addict to use. This includes all synthetics, as well as any other substances that can cause negative side effects in the human physiology…truly helping each addict to become clean. The chemistry in the addict brain must be managed with the proper intake of substances designed for the health of human beings…only nature provides this. Those who ignore diet for example, miss the terrible impact of things like refined sugars and how sugar negatively impacts brain chemistry and the nervous systems of all humans, not just addicts. What goes in the body affects the whole being, a far too often overlooked but simple remedy for dis-ease.
It is also important to be aware that addiction is a family disease; that is, everyone in the family plays a role in either addiction or recovery. Addiction and addicts themselves can’t survive without two things in place: Either co-dependency or enabling, or both combined, must be present for addiction to survive. Remove these two forms of survival mechanisms of addiction, and you go a long way in creating the space for healing the addiction itself. Said another way, disease can only survive in certain conditions, and the same is true for the disease of addiction.
Another essential ingredient that has to be present in order for recovery to be possible must come from the addict themselves. What is that? It’s the desire to recover. Short of lockdown, a person that lacks the desire to recover will remain stuck in their self-created hell until they become willing to change. However, with desire in place, and a willingness to become honest and follow through on the actions suggested, developing a path to sobriety becomes available. And perhaps more important, it creates the possibility of a life filled with purpose, passion, and joy, which can only be attained as a result of returning to the human being’s natural and spiritual path. This is the holistic point of view. This is a path that would benefit any human that walked it, not just those in recovery. This awakening can be seen as the gift of addiction itself; that is, the Soul uses challenges like addiction to awaken us to who we really are. That is what was true for me. Addiction was my greatest gift, for it led me here.
As important as it is to want to help your children, you must also have a support structure in place for yourself. At the end of the day, each human has the freedom and power to choose their path. All we can do is offer a way. It is attraction rather than promotion, so we must lead by demonstration. Making available a path to sobriety and a life of happy, joyous and free is what I do, first by living it. Whether or not one chooses that path is up to them.
I will tell you I have great faith in each Soul knowing exactly the right and most expedient path for their awakening. Yet, some must experience darkness before they can know themselves as the light. As CwG reminds us, our job is to be the light, to be the living demonstration of what is possible, and trust that, just as the ship lost in the storm finds its path back to port through the beacon of the forever shining lighthouse, so too will each Soul find its way home. Each Soul finds the right and perfect path, in the right and perfect time. Love and truth sets us free to be, do, and have whatever we choose as humans, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t benefit from the help of others. I was 23 when I got sober, and many earth angels have helped me along my path. I have been returning the favor ever since. I am here to help any way I can.
I see and feel your light, Susan. I am happy to join mine with yours to see if together we can’t help your children find another way. I would be happy to discuss your case with you, offer any suggestions, and look to see if any of our programs could help your situation.
Until then, I hold you and your family in my thoughts – JR
As I have stated in other columns, addiction is the number one killer in the US. Despite that statistics list heart disease, the larger question rarely addressed is, what actually causes heart disease? What is behind this completely preventable disease? Of course, the answer is addiction to substances that damage the heart. Heart disease and other related health issues that make the top 10 list never take into account the underlying preventable causes. This is where you will find addiction rearing its ugly head and why I say, without a shadow of doubt, that addiction IS the actual number one cause of death.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, have them reach out. The Global Conversation offers an entire section dedicated to addiction and recovery, written by friend and colleague Kevin McCormack. Kevin and I regularly work together and have committed our life to recovery and the healing of addiction.
Soon the Conversations with God Foundation will be sponsoring retreats and webinars that will focus on recovery. You can learn more about that by signing up for their free newsletter here:
Conversations with God Foundation Newsletter
Until then, may you find the path to healing and health! – JR
(J.R. Westen, D.D. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life.
As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery.
J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Director for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@CWG.ORG or JR@theglobalconversation.com, or to book an appointment, write firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A friend and I have been doing things together twice a week for almost ten years. We enjoy our time together and have many things in common, but that’s not the problem. My problem is that I always drive, because she doesn’t, and she has never once offered to pay me for gas. Until recently that wasn’t an issue, because the places we like to go are in her area, but I am on a fixed income and would sure like to keep costs down for me, and there are things much closer to me that I could go to, instead of by her. How do I tell her?
W.H. in Wisconsin
The simple answer, W.H., is tell her exactly what you just told me! You’ve given no indication that she is abusive or unreasonable, which probably means that she has likely fallen into the habit of letting you pay. Is it possible that when this arrangement began you consistently told her it was your pleasure, or no problem, or you liked doing this? Sweetie, if you don’t speak up, you will never know if there really is a problem! It could be that she is very willing to pay and just doesn’t know circumstances have changed for you.
Your predicament is a microcosm of a much larger social problem, of course. We are encouraged to give, but not told why. The “why” is because this life isn’t about us, it is about how our lives touch and improve the lives others (put very simply, of course). What we aren’t really told these days is that all benefits must be mutual. The mutual ultimately boils down to the joy of giving, but being the human beings that we are, it often takes something a little more concrete to demonstrate mutuality. For sure it means that one person can not take advantage of another. When generosity is abused, the energy of the relationship changes, and we feel it.
Then comes the next predicament. We are also told that we have to be nice. We are encouraged to avoid conflict. We are fearful that other people won’t like us. None of these things are necessarily wrong, until they stop us from being true to ourselves. When we stop being true to ourselves, W.H., we also stop giving from our joy, and our giving becomes tainted.
When our giving no longer comes from our joy, as is demonstrated in your case, it affects relationships. Your friend, W.H., has no way of knowing that something has changed unless you tell her. Chances are she suspects, by your behavior, or some subtle changes in you, but she can not really know until you tell her your truth. I suggest you tell her very gently, but directly, that your circumstances have changed. Don’t just stop doing things with her and go to places closer without giving her a chance to give back to you. Who knows, she may have been hiding information from you about her finances or other things, and may wish to talk to you, too. This one thing may actually open up a whole new avenue of communication between the two of you and move you two into a whole new level of mutual benefit.
We just never know where standing in our own truth, even in seemingly simple things, will take us!
(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and 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.)
(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.)
Should gay married couples have the same rights under the law as heterosexual married couples? The administration of President Barack Obama says yes — and is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue its case.
Administration lawyers are asking the Court to declare Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Section 3 is the part of the current U.S. law that says that same gender couples are prohibited from eligibility for certain federal benefits, such as the ability to qualify for and file joint income tax returns, or to receive federal employee benefits.
In papers filed with the high court, the Administration said there are more than 1,000 federal statutes and programs arising out of current law that depend on a person’s marital status. Treating gay married couples differently than straight married couples should be illegal in all of these areas, the Administration said.
The Defense of Marriage Act, in fact, singles out gay people specifically, the Administration’s lawyers said, including couples who are legally married, having met all the requirements to achieve that status in the states in which they reside. Targeting them as this law does, the Administration says, is “a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society.” As well, the present law violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, its filing before the Court said.
The court filing comes as little surprise to people who heard the President’s remarks about gays in his recent State of the Union message. On that occasion he said: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Opposition to any change by the Court in the Defense of Marriage Act comes in the main from Republicans in Congress, who say that the courts should stay out of the issue of gay marriage rights and let the people decide at the ballot box how they want these matters handled.
The Obama Administration told the Supreme Court, however, that there is a long history in America of discrimination against gays and lesbians. It also argued that sexual orientation bears no relation to one’s ability to contribute to society as an active member of the citizenry, and should therefore not be the basis of laws that fail to grant equal rights to those citizens.
As well, said the filing, sexual orientation is a core part of a person’s identity, and there is broad scientific evidence that this is not a voluntary choice — which is, the filing asserted, another reason why discrimination based on such orientation should be declared unconstitional.
But the Obama Administration filing saved its biggest argument for last. Gays, it said, have very limited political leverage, and what progress has been made on their behalf has not been uniform, and where it has taken place, has more often than not been the result of “judicial enforcement of the Constitution, not political action.”
The New Spirituality, of course, is very clear on this issue. Gays should not be discriminated against in any area of civic, public or private life, from housing to employment to legal rights and benefits. And same sex married couples should be accorded exactly the same social and legal benefits as opposite sex married couples. I can’t imagine a single spiritual reason why that should not be the case.
There are those, of course, who believe that gay sexual activity violates the law of God, and on that basis should be temporally illegal as well. Regarding this aspect of human behavior, everything should be “on earth as it is in heaven.”
But is it this way in heaven? Are same gender sexual expressions of love an “abomination,” as some declare that the Bible asserts – and so, therefore, that God says?
Is the Bible the infallible Word of God — on this or any other topic? If so, which topics? Every subject brought up in this Scripture?
Do you agree with the Obama Administration’s actions in requesting the Supreme Court of the U.S. to declare portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, widely known as “DOMA,” unconstitutional because they fail to protect gay married couples from discrimination?
What is the spiritual basis of your position, one way or the other? Let this be part of The Conversation of the Century.
I got married for the second time a little over a year ago. Just before our wedding, my wife and I decided to pack all our belongings in storage and take an extended four-month honeymoon to Southeast Asia. We wanted a real adventure together before we settled back into our day-to-day lives as a working couple. After losses in both our immediate families, we were in the mindset of following our mutual passion for travel to create a powerful and meaningful experience together – an adventure out into the world and a journey deeper into our own hearts.
After several weeks of lying comatose on a beach, catching up on sleep and decompressing from the crazy-pace of American life, what emerged for us fairly quickly was this question:
What do we really want for our lives NOW… individually and as a couple?
And a second question came quickly after that one:
What truly brings each of us alive; fills us with joy and passion?
These felt like variations of the classic philosophical question: “Why am I here? “
And then the deer-in-the-headlights follow-up question: “If I did find that out, now what the heck do I do about it?”
We asked these questions of ourselves and literally sat with them, and then chewed, journaled and brainstormed on them. What emerged for me in working closely with these questions was a way of looking at my life to better navigate it toward greater meaning, purpose and fulfillment.
After returning from the trip, I was able to see more clearly the steps I’d taken at times throughout my life, and on the trip, too, to help me best explore these big questions and gain clarity for what’s really important to me in my life.
What I got clear on were four key principles for navigating life toward more meaning and a sense of purpose:
- 1. Take the time to REFLECT on your life as it’s happening.
What I notice in my busy daily life is that it’s tough to take the time to reflect on what’s actually happening in the moment… at a deeper level. If I stay in the‘doing-mode’ all the time, then I miss the more subtle messages or that softer inner voice, that trusted source, that has unvarnished truth for me. For me, being alone in nature, taking a walk in our neighborhood or meditating all provide me that reflection time I need to look more deeply at my life – to notice what is being called forth in me in each moment. Not easy to do consistently, but always important to come back to for experiencing this place of self-knowing and trust.
- 2. Don’t let the HOW take you down
This one is so hard for our logical and hyper-planning minds. It nearly shouts at us: “Now HOW the heck are you going to do that?” It’s the phrase that kills so many amazing ideas, possibilities and creative endeavors. So the key is to talk back to your own doubting, ego-mind and say: “Thank you for sharing, I know you’re concerned about me, but I’m choosing not to worry about the HOW for now.” And then keep moving with the exciting possibilities, the brainstorming of what brings you alive, and what you really care about that you want to finally take on. The big ideas that bring your imagination to life.
- 3. Bring your COURAGE online
This one follows closely on the heels of Number 2 in that you will need to draw up your courage to move into action around those things that you realize are most important and exciting for you. It’s about being willing to take the risk in your life to live the way you want, bringing your gifts, talents and passions forward to make a difference. When you consciously bring your courage forward to move through the fears and doubt, then you’ll have more energy, capacity and trust to go for what inspires and opens you.
- 4. Keep moving toward what brings you ALIVE
Why are you here? For what purpose? You get to answer those questions any way you want. You get to choose and then claim it. It’s actually as simple as that. There is no right answer. And the primary markers that let you know you’re on track are your joy and your passion. If you’re miserable, numb, and lonely, then you are most definitely off track in your life. And stepping up to make courageous choices to move toward that which brings you aliveis the pathway to knowing your Purpose. And to answering that age-old question: “Why aren’t you playing outside? It’s a beautiful day.”
I have found that when I actively cultivate these principles, amazing and unexpected opportunities show up in my life. I become more aligned inside myself with how to best navigate through both the daily challenges and the daily miracles of life while feeling more on purpose in whatever I choose to do.
(Chris Kyle is the creator and co-host of the Power of Purpose Summit, a free 4-day global online event geared for men (women are welcome) with 14 authors and teachers, including Neale Donald Walsch, Dan Millman, and Jack Canfield, all sharing their ideas about how to access and activate your purpose. It’s sponsored by The ManKind Project®, a global non-profit organization committed to supporting men to grow, heal, and fully live their purpose in the world. To learn more, go to: Power of Purpose Summit)
Extra! Extra! Read all about it…Love Is All There Is and There Is Enough!
Let’s see if these two concepts can be combined into: There Is Enough Love For Everyone! Society teaches competition at every level, including love. Children are even taught, through concepts like sibling rivalry, that: parental love is limited, will be rationed, and is something for which to be fought.
My family recently experienced this, on a smaller scale, as my brother and sister-in-law brought a beautiful son into the world. Many people asked if my daughter was jealous of how excited the extended family was about the new baby. My answer was, “No! Why would she be?” The response: “Well, grandma’s attention will be divided.” Divided attention does not have to equate to hurting either person. In actuality, because of how we have exemplified love in our home as limitless, unconditional, and all-powerful – feeling jealous of a new baby, for whom she was so excited to meet and shower love upon herself – has never crossed her mind.
I think there are two possible ways to look at love: If you teach your children that when you have more people to love, the power of it is multiplied and there is more to go around, children will see love as limitless. They will not fear the addition of new people to their families. They will embrace them as adding new color, joy, and adventure to their life; rather than fearing that the new person can take something away from them. If, on the other hand, you teach your child that love is conditional, in short supply, or finite, then your child will feel threatened by new additions to their life.
While holidays may be different, get-togethers changed, and the attention of family members shared, it doesn’t have to be viewed in a negative light. As with everything else, how we chose to interpret the world influences our experience. We can help children look to the added richness of having a new baby in the family, the times they will share together, the excitement they have of getting to give love to another human, and of having the chance to teach what they know to someone new!
Instead of children walking through life feeling afraid of “who will grandma/mom/dad love more?” you can instill a feeling of peace that children have nothing to fear! My question to you, then, is, “Why does it have to be one or the other?” Why can’t we choose to teach our children that grandma can love all of her grandchildren equally? Why does one new cousin/sibling being born have to mean that the other child’s life is going to change for the worse? Can we create a world in which a child being born into a family is assumed to add beauty and love to the lives of the existing children rather than to add stress, strife, and jealousy?
Imagine the change society would experience if this generation of children grew up experiencing a world in which we don’t have to compete for the love of our families! They might just cooperate and enjoy the companionship of their siblings and cousins instead.
Imagine if that enlarged into children who didn’t feel the need to compete with each other for friendships! They might just find they can cooperate and enjoy friendship and camaraderie with all of their classmates.
Imagine a world, in which, instead of competing with each other to the point of backstabbing and undercutting to get “ahead,” children grow up understanding that cooperation, companionship, and assisting each other to move forward together helps us all in the end!
Again, I ask you…Why does it have to be one or the other? Isn’t it time we truly teach our children: There is enough love for everyone?
(Emily A. Filmore is the Creative Co-Director of www.cwgforparents.com. She is also the author/illustrator of the “With My Child” Series of books about bonding with your child through everyday activities. Her books are available at www.withmychildseries.com. To contact Emily, please email her at Emily@cwgforparents.com.)