My favorite question, reprised

As we find ourselves in the last month of the year, I notice myself wanting to place before the house a discussion I have had here before. Indeed, as recently as August 30. I’m going to dive into it again now because, for me, it’s a perfect way to bring this year’s experience to an end, and prepare myself to embark on the New Year with reenergized spiritual vigor.

The topic has to do with our individual sense of Who We Are in the overall scheme of things. I apologize to those of you who have seen this material before, but there is always a chance that someone new may have found their way here since last summer. And for the rest of us, I hope you are like me in never tiring of revisiting the core, or central, issues of life. And this certainly is one. It is, perhaps, THE core issue of our entire life.

The subject is: How do you see yourself, how you conceive of yourself, how you construct your idea of who you are. And to me is seems as if you, and all of us, have two choices regarding this. Maybe I’m oversimplifying this, but to me these choices look like this:

Choice #1: You could conceive of yourself as nothing more than a chemical creature, a “logical biological incident.” That is, the logical outcome of a biological process engaged in by two older biological processes called your mother and your father.

If you see yourself as a nothing more than a chemical creature, you would see yourself as having no more connection to the larger processes of life than any other chemical or biological life form.

Like all the others, you would be impacted by life, but could have very little impact on life. You certainly couldn’t create events, except in the most remote, indirect sense. You could create more life (all chemical creatures carry the biological capacity to recreate more of themselves), but you could not create what life does, or how it “shows up” in any given moment.

Further, as nothing more than a chemical creature you would see yourself as having very limited ability to create an intentioned response to the events and conditions of life. You would see yourself as a creature of habit and instinct, with only those resources that your biology offers you.

You would see yourself as having more resources than a turtle, because your biology has gifted you with more. You would see yourself as having more resources than a butterfly, because your biology has gifted you with more. Yet what your biology offers you is all you would see yourself as having in terms of resources.

You would see yourself as having to deal with life day-by-day pretty much as it comes, with perhaps a tiny bit of what seems like “control” based on advance planning, etc., but you would know that at any minute anything could go wrong— and often does.

Choice #2: You could conceive of yourself as a spiritual being having what is called a “body.” (And, as well, a “mind.”)

If you saw yourself as a spiritual being, you would see yourself as having powers and abilities far beyond those of a simple chemical creature; powers that extend beyond basic physicality and its laws.

You would understand that these powers and abilities give you collaborative control over the exterior elements of your individual and collective life, and complete control over the interior elements—which means that you have the total ability to create your own reality, because your reality has nothing to do with producing the exterior elements of your life, and everything to do with how you respond to the elements that have been produced.

Also, as a spiritual being, you would know that you are here (on Earth, that is) for a spiritual reason. This is a highly focused purpose and has little to do directly with your occupation or career, your income or possessions, your achievements or place in society, or any of the exterior conditions or circumstances of your life.

You would know that your purpose has to do with your interior life—and that how well you do in achieving your purpose may very often have an effect on your exterior life.

(For the interior life of each individual cumulatively produces the exterior life of the collective. That is, those people around you, and those people who are around those people who are around you. It is in this way that you, as a spiritual being, participate in the evolution of your species.)

My own answer: I’ve decided that I am a spiritual being, a three-part entity made up of Body, Mind, and Soul. Each part of my tri-part being has a function and a purpose. As I come to understand each of those functions, Who I Am begins to more efficiently manifest in my experience, as the Totality of Who I Am serves its purpose in and through my life.

I have decided that I am an Individuation of Divinity, an expression of God, a singularization of the singularity. There is no separation between me and God, nor is there any difference, except as to proportion. Put simply, God and I are one.

The analogy I like to use to help me understand and embrace this is the relationship between an ocean wave and the Ocean Itself. I believe that I am, to God, as a wave is to the Ocean. The wave is in no way separate from the Ocean, nor is it other than the Ocean. Rather (and quite simply), it is a singular aspect of the Ocean…an individual expression arising and emerging as a product of its Source. And when the expression of the wave is complete, it recedes back into the Ocean, whence it came.

This analogy brings up an interesting question. Am I rightly accused of heresy? Are people who believe that they are Divine nothing but raving lunatics? Are they, worse yet, apostates?

I wondered. So I did a little research. I wanted to find out what religious and spiritual sources had to say on the subject. Here’s some of what I found . . . .

Isaiah 41:23—Shew the things that are to come hereaf­ter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold together.

Psalm 82:6—I have said, ‘Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High—all of you.

John 10:34—Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?”

The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (788 CE – 820 CE), the one largely responsible for the initial expounding and consolidation of Advaita Vedanta, wrote in his famous work, Vivekachudamani: “Brahman is the only Truth, the spatio-temporal world is an illusion, and there is ultimately Brahman and individual self.”

Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001), a Hindu saint: “God exists; there is only one God; the essence of man is God.”

According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a Self that is independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta) – any more than there is a wave that is independent of the Ocean.

Also, if I understand certain Buddhist schools of thought correctly, humans return to the earth in subsequent lifetimes in one of six forms, the last of which are called Devas . . . which is variously translated as Gods or Deities.

Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese discipline of Taoism speaks of embodiment and pragmatism, engaging practice to actualize the Natural Order within themselves. Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe.

Hermeticism is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism teaches that there is a transcendent God, The All, or one “Cause,” of which we, and the entire universe, participate.

The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the famous words: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”

And in Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam, the teaching, There is no God but God was long ago changed to, There is nothing but God. Which would make me . . . well . . . God.

Enough? Do you wish or need more? You might find it instructive and fascinating to go to Wikipedia, the source to which I owe my appreciation for much of the above information.

As well, read the remarkable books of Huston Smith, a globally honored professor of religion. Among titles of his that I most often recommend: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1958, revised edition 1991, HarperOne), and Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions (1976, reprint edition 1992, HarperOne).

So . . . that is my response to the invitation that life is presenting me, and all of us, regarding the making of a choice about Who I Am. I am an out-picturing of The Divine. I am God in human form. As are we all.

Let’s look again, as this year ends, at your response. And if you’re new here, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on all of this.

(The above article is adapted from an excerpt of the book God’s Message to the World: You’ve got me all wrong, by Neale Donald WalschRainbow Ridge Books, 2014)

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  • AKA Patrick

    Interesting, Neale, as a sidenote, your old “protagonist”, Matt Lauer comes up in the news on Yahoo this morning as having been fired by NBC for “inappropriate conduct” with female co-workers. I don’t wish to re-do Hedda Hopper, but I felt it was curious. I have referred before in other posts to “The Kybalion”, Hermetic wisdom, which states in its first principle
    “The Principle of Mentalism”, which states: “THE ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental”.
    That’s good for starters. There are SIX other principles as well. I’ll back out now, and give others a chance to comment. Well, I’ll be No responses in two days. What happened? D
    we lose our appeal?

    • Spiritual_Annie

      Sexal harassment and sexual assaults have a tendency to occur in waves. Once one public figure in a particular arena is exposed, others are almost certainly to follow. I think this is particularly true when our president has 16 accusations of sexual assault, some in litigation, which has been brought up time and again on social media.

      It’s now been the arenas of politics, entertainment and news. Now, just imagine how many more predators are in the public at large, at any kind of workplace, any kind of social situation, and in people’s homes that don’t make the news. One interesting statistic is that only 2%-10% of sexual assault accusations are false. And although I don’t have the numbers, that’s of those who have the courage to report that they’ve been sexually assaulted. Many never find that courage.

      Love and Blessings Always,

  • Christopher Toft

    Some thoughts. This feels really difficult for me because to my surprise, I feel as though I am challenging and disagreeing- with god. I am well aware this is a story I am telling myself, that originates from the time I first read Neale’s books nearly 18 years ago. It feels to me that I gave Neale god’s authority.(God I am physically shaking as I write this.) The truth is more complex- I gave Neale God’s authority yes. Like most of us, I had my own authority stripped from me at a very young age. I gave it to my parents, to my elders , to my culture and to “God”.

    All my life I have been a sponge. It has taken me my whole life to begin to embrace and own my dignity, my own worth and my own holiness. I am learning to embrace my creative capacity. My own body, my own mind and yes my own soul(Which moves, changes constantly an expressive scource).

    I am angry Neale. Not with you, you have been my father and teacher from afar. I am angry with your simple choice. I am a chemical being. (Where are the italics and bold when you need them)

    I am a chemical being. Yes I am thought. Yes I am joy, yes I am creativity, yes, yes , yes I am love, I am compassion.

    Why must you insist repeatedly that I must be a ghost, be eternal, live forever, be “Psychic” or have special powers to be worthy and whole?

    Perhaps I am all of these things, I don’t know or particularly care right now.

    For me this is an false dichotomy.

    I believe humanities choice to be much more fundamental: Fear or love? Live in shame or be brave, proud and visible? Express who we are or live the experience of being ruled and controlled by the feelings and thoughts that we insist we are not.

    In Stephen King’s book “It” the character Bill Denburgh has a mantra to control his stuttering “He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts”

    That is humanity in 2017.

    We can be so much more in 2018, and we don’t need special powers, we just need to be fully human and live whole heartedly.

    (I did a shame weekend workshop last weekend. I think it shows don’t you? ) ?

    • Spiritual_Annie


      Here’s a quick lesson on how you can bold or italicize portions of your comments.

      To do so, one must use HTML, which consist of a command where you want to start placed in brackets , and an ending command where you would like to stop placed in brackets with a slash (note that’s a forward slash).

      So, to bold something, one would place a “b” within brackets at the starting point, and another “b” within brackets and after a slash. To italicize, simply use an “i” rather than a “b”. (I can’t give you exact examples of this as they would be read as commands.)

      So, it’s to start, and to stop, using either “b” or “i” in place of the word “command.”

      Love and Blessings Always,

      • Christopher Toft

        Hello Annie, thank you for your kind and thoughtful lesson in HTML. I remember this from an IT class I did a few years back now you bring it up. Thanks for the reminder!

        Chris X

    • Kristen

      Hi Christopher,
      We are what we are, it doesnt matter what we are made from, its all irrelevant. Do elephants discuss what they are or even try to impose their personal view or idea on others? Nope….that would be downright crazy!
      If only animals could read what we write or understand what we talk about…boy, theyd get us certified as crazy just for thinking about it.
      Im personally a skeleton with a brain and other crap shoved in, no reason other than thats all I feel like being and I like skeletons, who cares?

  • Spiritual_Annie

    I think part of the lack of comments for this column is that this question was recently addressed. I know that, having answered it recently, I have no desire to repeat myself again so soon. I understand Neale’s point that there may be those newly discovering this site, but for those of us who have been following it regularly, this column may be a bit of a letdown. It was for me when I first read it.

    I personally would like to get to a place where we discuss how our choice/belief can change our self-destructive behaviors, on all levels–personal, communal, within our countries, and as a species. I’d like to get back to exploring the idea that the systems we have constructed (political, legal, environmental, etc.) are expressions of who we believe ourselves to be–consciously or unconsciously–and what that says about where we are right now in our world. I’d like to get back to exploring how to effect change so that our species doesn’t self-destruct; so that we stop annihilating those we see as “other”; so that we stop destroying the planet that supports us. I’d like to explore how those who are “CWG people” can network with those on other Spiritual paths so that we gain strength in numbers.

    When we’re being daily bombarded with news about man’s inhumanity to man (not to mention all the other species and the planet), the repeating of a question recently posed and lively discussed has little interest for me.

    Love and Blessings Always,

    • AKA Patrick

      Annie, having worked with spiritual things for years, (most of my 81 years), please understand that things bear repeating so often to break through the mind-control we
      have put ourselves through. Knowledge is Power, true, but some knowledge is put to the wrong use. WE have literally put ourselves (humanity as a whole) into a self-enforced state of amnesia. That’s why many have begun to see through the
      truly illusory nature of so-called reality. That’s one of the reasons the whole “Matrix” trilogy was so successful.

      • Spiritual_Annie

        I understand the need for repetition when it comes to new ideas, new habits, new ways of thinking–any kind of learning, really. However, this idea was brought up, both directly and indirectly, in both September and October columns.

        I know that this is a busy time of year for everyone what with the holidays. I also know that Neale has a retreat, for which I’m sure he’s preparing, as well as at least one program he’s involved with online. It may have been for convenience to repeat it again so soon.

        I hope we once again turn to current events after the first of the year because I believe they are our Spirituality expressed, and maybe even venture into ideas on how to take a more active role in calling forth the future we desire.

        Love and Blessings Always,

    • Kristen

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I quit reading the column half way.

  • Spiritual_Annie

    An interesting article from the New York Times this morning:


    President Trump has soured on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and is planning to replace him with the C.I.A. chief, Mike Pompeo

    Thursday, November 30, 2017 9:49 AM EST

    The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, within the next several weeks, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

    Mr. Pompeo would be replaced at the C.I.A. by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas who has been a key ally of the president on national security matters, according to the White House plan. Mr. Cotton has signaled that he would accept the job if offered, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations before decisions are announced.

    (There is an additional paragraph in the actual article, but the NYT doesn’t allow copying and pasting from its site. This is from an email I received. The last paragraph basically says that John Kelly, Chief of Staff, was instrumental in the plan, and that it is expected to happen as early as the end of December.)

    It’s interesting that such a change in the Administration would also change the balance in the senate. Senator Tom Cotton has not always agreed with, and has sometimes openly criticized, some of the proposed Republican bills. It’s also interesting that someone who is in charge of spies, espionage, and covert and “black” ops would be our Secretary of State, in charge of determining who our Ambassadors are to all other countries.

    Rex Tillerson let go many long-time Ambassadors and has been criticized for not filling these positions. Now, suddenly, the top spy in America will be making those recommendations. Also, ties between Tillerson and Trump involving foreign deals have come into question regarding the Trump/Russia connection. More importantly, Tillerson has maintained that North Korea must be dealt with diplomatically, where Trump would rather wipe them out.

    Love and Blessings Always,

    • AKA Patrick

      Perhaps for all his faults, Tillerson might just be a Peacemaker. That seems badly needed now, when you consider the US has been in 79 wars since 1700. Time to
      get out of that state (war), in my opinion.

  • I’m not as drawn to see myself as just a physical creature, but a physical entity who’s physicality is both local and non local. Both physical and less physical.

    Here are 3 steps toward that larger beyond localisms we are conditioned and taught for the most part, both by science and religion.

    1. Developing stronger intuition and psychic abilities.

    2. Learn to lucid dream and go beyond and explore other worlds, other aspects of your deeper inner unconscious wise self. Talk to the awareness behind the dream for answers to your life questions. Experience answers and explore your dream body with no aches, pains, deformities and explore your freedom. Any experience is possible in lucid dreaming. Which holds yet another art form for the spiritual metaphysical cultural creatives to explore their grander potential. CwG says our souls leave our bodies at night, now experience that by being conscious in your dreams.

    3. Open yourself to that vaster grander universe of possibilities of guidance, mentor-ship, friendship with physical beings who have grown and are beyond pain, suffering, illness etc. Also known as ET’s. or in CwG terms HEB’s. These beings are physical but are also shape shifters. (please note: like humans, not all ET’s are enlightened.)

    Of course we avail ourselves of all the useful valuable tools CwG and other like minded material offer us. Yes the world may be in great turmoil to say the least. Yet we can ourselves live in peace, harmony beyond our wildest dreams.

    In doing so, we influence others to consider the path and beingness we are living, imbibing and thriving in.