My dear, dear companions on this journey…
The time has come for me to make a closing statement about Conversations with God — this wonderful experience that has touched my life and, amazingly, the lives of millions of others around the world.
By “closing statement” I do not necessarily mean “final” statement. I may very well have more things to say about CWG before I die (and after I die, for that matter, as I am sure there will be writings released after my departure). So by “closing statement” I mean to say that the words here are intended to bring a close to any speculation about how I feel about, how I personally hold, the Conversations with God experience — and how I wish and hope that anyone who is, or becomes, aware of it will feel also.
I want to put to rest any thought, idea, notion, or claim that may lead to a misunderstanding that any person or group may have about me, and about the body of work that has filled over 30 books and consumed the last 25 years of my life.
I am aware, of course, that some people and groups have called me a blasphemer, a heretic, an apostate, and, in the extreme, an instrument of the devil. I understand how they could have come to that, for many of the ideas I have placed into the world directly confront and specifically contradict their most sacred beliefs.
Because of this, I am very okay with them calling me these names. I am okay with it because I admire and encourage the active and energetic defense of one’s own most sacred beliefs, so long as that defense does not involve or include the inflicting of emotional or physical violence. (No, not even to protect — much less, to extend) — those beliefs.) For in my heart’s deepest experience and my mind’s highest understanding, sacred beliefs lose the quality which rendered them “sacred” if they are demonstrated in a way that deeply or irrevocably damages another.
But so long as we create and maintain the space within which you can share and practice your beliefs and I can share and practice mine…and we can do so while loving each other purely, and admiring each other genuinely, for having the courage and the gumption and the willingness to do so without rage-filled hostility, without brutality, and surely without bloodshed…then we will have both venerated our beliefs and honored each other. And what better way can there be to reveal why our beliefs feel so valid to us?
It is true that in my writing and in my speaking I have offered critical commentary on certain beliefs held by and espoused by particular religions, but I placed each of those statements into the arena of ideas in the spirit of simple and honest disagreement — and I hope that I have always welcomed the spirited disagreement of others with a willingness for open engagement in ongoing and vibrant dialogue.
That said, I hope you will hear me when I offer, with as much clarity as I can muster, this “closing statement” on the messages of CWG: I could be wrong about all of this.
Don’t imagine for a second that I don’t think about that. I think about it all the time. Matt Lauer once asked me in an interview on The Today Show on NBC: “Neale, do you ever doubt that the experience you’ve had is what you say it is? Do you ever doubt the accuracy of the information you feel you’ve been given?”
My response was immediate, simple, and straightforward.
“Matt, the day I stop doubting is the day I become dangerous, and I have no intention of becoming dangerous.”
So I want to tell you to doubt as well. (I’m sure I don’t have to encourage this.) I want you to be clear that one of the most important messages of the Conversations with God dialogues is not to believe them.
Indeed, in the very first book of the nine texts we hear this in the voice of God:
“Believe nothing I say. Simply live it. Experience it. Then live whatever other paradigm you want to construct. Afterward, look to your experience to find your truth.”
We do well to remain our own authority in all matters regarding the Self and the Soul. No one can tell us what is True for us, and no one should try.
I will always be happy to tell you what is true for me. I became very clear about my truth when I read the recommendations and the suggestions on how I might live my own life found in the CWG dialogue. I couldn’t help but think: “I wish someone had told me these things fifty years ago. I can’t imagine a better way to live.”
I hope that if and after you read and absorb the CWG material, you agree with me. I hold this hope because I truly believe its messages can profoundly change your individual life, and the world entire, for the better. But whatever your personal response to the 3,000+ pages of this dialogue, I think we can concur that this is a powerful subject we are talking about here, and it is good to proceed with care.
All of it is wrapped up in our relationship with The Divine—indeed, in the question of whether there even is a “God.” And that is not a small matter.
Our understanding of all of this is significant because most human beings need and seek and sooner or later deeply yearn to find some kind of meaning in life. Without that meaning, without some purpose for it all, many of us soon find ourselves simply trudging along with heaviness of heart, trying to make the best of something we haven’t even begun to understand, pushing through our days and nights engaged in what appear to be increasingly aimless, valueless, senseless activities that clarify nothing, produce little, and generate not much more than “things to do” while on our way to where, we don’t know, but an eventual end that we call eath — the anticipation of which offers naught but a heightened sense of what feels like the almost bitterly laughable fruitlessness of it all.
And so we yearn, and we search. And giving it deeper thought as I write this, I arrive at a place of knowing that if we hold the notion that there is some sort of Higher Power in existence, our reaching clarity may very well be guaranteed.
Seek and ye shall find, God has said to all of us. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. We may very well be caused to remember that there is something greater going on here. Information may come our way that will make the “larger-ness” of all that is and all that occurs suddenly apparent.
But what is the larger reason for it? What is the greater purpose? What is the grander point? These are the questions we all ultimately ask about life. And this is what I believe only your own ongoing conversation with God can tell you. The ideas and the pronouncements of others can perhaps lead you closer to it, but only your own inner communion with The Divine can open your heart and mind to your deepest truth.
I hope, then, that you will allow yourself to experience such a communion, to have such a conversation, and to know . . . whatever your most sacred belief, whatever your religion, whatever your faith tradition, or if you have none at all . . . that you can experience your own first-person, one-on-one exchange with God.
For some it may come in the form of words. For others, as feelings, or a simple sense of “knowing.” For still others, pictures and thought forms and signs and signals may present themselves as life itself is being lived.
God’s “conversation” has no limits, no boundaries, no specifications in terms of “how” it may proceed and how its messages may be sent or received. But I do not believe that your interaction with The Divine was ever intended to be a one-way encounter. I believe it was intended to provide you with comfort, to produce for you wisdom and clarity and strength, and a goal worthy of your dedication, of your commitment, of your time and your effort.
And so, I encourage you to engage in your own conversation with God every day, in whatever way feels natural and good to you, based on your tradition or your innermost feeling. Call it prayer, call it meditation, call it inspiration, call it whatever you wish. And if my exchanges with God have lead you to your own, my publishing the CWG books will have succeeded in its goal—which was not to open you to my truth, but to put you directly in touch with your own.
God has blessed you, and me, and all the world. And if we simply extend God’s blessings to everyone whose life we touch, through all the days of our lives, in each of the encounters that fill our hours upon the Earth, we will have unlocked the Secret of the Ages held within the folds of the most sacred doctrines of all of humanity’s spiritual belief systems: Love is the answer. Love is all there is. Love is who you are. And the experiencing and expressing of love is why you are here.
There you have it. The mysteries of life have been solved.
I could, of course, be wrong about all of this.
(But I don’t think so.)
Life provides us all with an interesting path. But to where?, we wonder. To where are we going?
Our religions and our philosophies have tried to answer that question. They have not done well. No answer seems to suffice for all of the people asking. Some people accept one answer, others accept another, and still others say there is no answer at all — that every answer anyone has come up with from the beginning of time has been nothing but pure conjecture. This last group is right, of course. There is no way to know the answer to life’s biggest question for sure. We can decide that the answer we have found (by whatever means) is “the” answer, but that doesn’t make it the answer, that merely makes it our personal conjecture.
This is, of course, the position that I have taken from the beginning regarding my conversations with God. Do I believe that I have had interactions, directly, with The Divine? I truly do. Is it my lived experience? It surely is. And I can tell you why I believe it so firmly.
One of the reasons (and by far, not the only one) is that I was told things in my conversations with God that I had never heard from any source before in my life…that I had never even thought of or imagined prior to this dialogue…but that nevertheless offered great wisdom, powerful insight, and some of the most logical and probable conclusions. Things that, much to my surprise, other people told me later, after reading CWG, that they found in the writings and articulations of both ancient and contemporary spiritual teachers from many traditions — teachers whose works I had never read (or, often, ever heard of).
Does that mean I could not have come up with thoughts in my mind that, by sheer coincidence or happenstance, unwittingly duplicated the pronouncements of others from, in some cases, many centuries earlier? No, of course not. I could very well have done exactly that, pulling ideas and notions from the stream of the collective unconscious, or the field of morphic resonance (see Carl Jung/Rupert Sheldrake, et al). It is not my experience that I did. It is my experience that I had a simple and direct conversation with God — and that all people everywhere are having the same experience all the time, and simply calling it something else. But even the CWG dialogue itself clearly advises readers not to “believe” a word of it. Compare its message to your own experience, the dialogue says, and embrace what that process tells you is true for you.
So maybe we’re not “going” anywhere at all. Maybe this is not a “journey” in any sense of the word. Maybe life is simply and merely an experience; something we are undergoing while we are undergoing it, taking us nowhere and getting us no place. An experience without purpose or intent, meaning or reason. Something that begins without our assent, and ends in most cases seemingly equally arbitrarily.
Just. Something. That. Is. Happening.
Yet if that is all that it is, what shall be our guideline regarding how it is happening? Do we even have any control over that? If only in our individual lives, do we have even the slightest control over that? Is life happening TO us, or is it happening THROUGH us? Are we at any non-physical level at cause in the matter? Can we be?
Is there anything at all to this idea that, as people think, so will it be done unto them? And there’s a larger question lurking behind this one. Even if so-called “positive thinking” does nothing more than affect one’s mind and body chemistry in a good way, would that in itself not be enough to make the process of affirmative declaration valuable as a tool?
Inquiring minds want to know.
There has been quite a conversation ongoing here in recent days about the place of beliefs within the human experience.
There are those who say that the holding of any belief whatsoever is the problem with the human species, and is what renders us so dysfunctional. Every conclusion human beings come to should be based on observable and hopefully replicable evidence, they suggest, or should be rejected out of hand as inadmissible in any serious discussion or decision.
I find this a fascinating point of view — and I see much merit in personally and privately insisting within ourselves that some form of evidence be present with regard to the things we that say are so before we make a definite assertion about it.
On the other hand, I sincerely wonder if taking such a position with dogmatic rigidity and without exception eliminates from genuine consideration in our lives a good deal of what could turn out to be highly useful and extremely beneficial information — to say nothing of greatly reducing the possibility of wondrous experiences.
I think of First Love, for example. When someone says “I love you” to us, I assume that in most cases we have at least a little background and/or evidence upon which to make a judgment as to whether it is true. But what about the person who says it to us for the first time? Do we respond by saying: “Prove it”— ? Or do we accept it on face value because we “believe” it to be true?
Yet on what basis do we foundation our belief? Could it be, heaven forbid, that we “have faith” in what we’ve heard, and accept it without a shred of evidence? I want to suggest that more than a few wonderful life partnerships have been inspired and initiated by such a “belief.”
So I wonder: Is it possible that we can “know” things that we have no evidence to support, and that we can actually turn out to be “right” about that? Can we intuit things? Can we simply “feel” that something is true — and can that feeling reveal a validity that only later is found to be supported by “evidence”? Or, for that matter, that is never supported by any evidence, save one’s internal experience?
Is there any value at all in taking anything on faith? I ask this question sincerely, not as a smarmy inquiry meant to presuppose a “right” answer. I ask sincerely: Where does Evidence-Free Internal Experience fit into the Protocol or Convention of those who say that Only That Which is Factually Supported and Physically Provable is a Legitimate Entry into the ledger of Beneficial Human Encounter?