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Questions and Answers on Conversations with God
By Neale Donald Walsch
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 1999 Neale Donald Walsch
All rights reserved.
I love questions. They make my mind expand. And the more difficult the questions, the better I like it. That's why I loved answering the questions in this book. They include some of the most challenging inquiries I've ever received on the Conversations with God material, reflecting the passions, frustrations, interests, and curiosities of some wonderfully engaging and courageous people.
Throughout the book, I've tried to categorize these inquires by topic. Some writers, however, clearly had no intention of limiting themselves to one subject per letter. I thought of taking these multiple-topic inquiries and breaking them into segments, putting the various sections into more definable categories, but, in the end, I felt that this would have taken a lot of the steam out of them. These questions are juicy precisely because they are compound and complex.
Life, of course, is like that, too. So here they are, questions that offer a slice of life. Real questions, about real life, from real people.
Why Do People Hurt Each Other?
My name is Penny and the only word that seems to sum up how I felt when I read your book was wow! Neale, these are the questions that your book has raised for me.
(1) I still don't understand why people in relationships, especially families, constantly hurt each other, and the relationships go up and down. Is it karma being worked out from past lives?
(2) In your book, God says the color white does not mean without color, it means color inclusive. Does this apply to race? Does this mean that a white person represents all of the other races combined? As an African-American, I'm curious why God created different races, and His/Her thoughts on the current race issues. I know that no one race is superior to another, but I just need to hear it from God ... though I already know.
(3) Are you sure there is no devil? Who was Lucifer? There is evil in this world, but is the source solely man? Is there no bogeyman out there? Do you realize if we truly believe this, how much fear this releases—and what potential it shows we have?
(4) How do I release my great level of fear about everything?
(5) Is God a "he" or a "she?" Which is it? And what should we call her? Does she mind? Does she even care? I could never have asked such a facetious question before reading your book.
(6) Are there any good organized religions that incorporate most of God's true messages? I was raised a Catholic, but left the church when I started my search for truth. I don't know what to label myself now, except "Child of God." I totally believe in Jesus (because he answered me time and time again), so I suppose that makes me a Christian of sorts. I believe in a lot of New Age thought, but not all. So I might be a Christian New Age Mystic. (Smile)
And finally (7), how can I talk to the Goddess? Will She talk to me, even with all my fears and doubts? How do I connect with Her? This sounds crazy, but I want to hear Her say she loves me, too, and feel her love. I want to spend my life helping others that are less fortunate, but I need to ask Her what area I should help out in—AIDS, homelessness, kids? Where! Can you help me? I hope that you can feel the sincerity of my message, and I have faith that you will answer me. With much love and thanks. Penny.
My wonderful, wonderful Penny, of course I am going to answer you! And what a letter! I could write a book from this one! Let's take your questions in order.
(1) People hurt each other in relationships because they do. They do it because they do, Penny. There is no larger reason for it, such as "working out karma from past lives," etc. It's just something that happens. It's part of life. Nobody hurts another out of villainous intent. Remember these two important teachings, Penny:
No one acts inappropriately, given their model of the world
All attack is a call for help
People hurt each other because they want something they think they can't have, or have something they don't want. They are in one of the above two conditions, and they don't know what to do about it. They think that the only method of getting their way, having their desires met, etc., is to hurt another. They do not have to do this, but they do not know that. They do not understand how to "have what they want," or "not have what they don't want," without hurting one another.
The problem is education, not intent.
Greet each instance of hurt with compassion and love. Compassion for others' lack of understanding (we have all been there at one time or another), love for others' humanness, and their attempts—however apparently misguided—to solve their dilemmas and keep on trying to make their lives work.
We are engaged here in a process of becoming. Of creating. Of being. Some of us are "being" more than others. That's just how it Is. That's what I call "Isness." It's just what's true. Accept that with a smile. Embrace that with love in your heart. Understand, deeply, that no one wants to hurt you. They simply do it inadvertently, or perhaps, indeed, on purpose, because they know no other way to have the experience they desire. The next time someone hurts you, ignore the hurt and go to the only question which matters: What do you want or need so badly that you feel you have to hurt me to get it? You can ask this question silently, in your heart, or, if you have a particularly open and honest relationship with the other person, you can actually address the question verbally. Try it sometime. It is a terrific argument stopper. It is a terrific abuse ender.
What do you want or need so badly that you feel you have to hurt me to get it?
What is it you want to have, or feel, right now?
Is there a way I can help you to have that without giving up who I am?
Even asked silently, in your own heart, these questions can change the moment so dramatically, so immediately, so powerfully, that you won't even know what happened. And your "partner" in the dance will wonder what new level of mastery you've gone to! There's much more to say on this subject.
(2) I cannot speak for God here, Penny. And while I've said that, let me make that statement about everything that appears in these letters. These letters are not an extension of the book Conversations with God.
I am not presently at the level where I can sit down any time I wish and begin receiving the kind of information that came through me for that book at my whim. As I explained in Book 1, those writings took a year to come through. Another year for Book 2. And even longer for Book 3. So I do not claim the letter you are holding in your hand to be a direct channeling from God, or inspired writing, a term I do use to describe the CWG trilogy. These letters to readers reflect what I have gotten out of the trilogy myself. They are my understandings, based on over six years of "taking dictation" for the trilogy. I want to be clear on that. I want to get as far away as I can from any paradigm which suggests that "What Neale Says is What God Says." It would be a huge—I mean, monumental—mistake to create such a paradigm around me.
Now, to your questions on race, Penny. I do not believe that the so-called "white race" represents all other races combined, but rather, it is simply one more off-shoot of the Mother Race, with skin pigmentations and physical characteristics that are nothing more or less than the result of biological survival imperatives in the earliest stages of human development, based upon conditions existent for the various peoples on the planet at that time. These races continue to proliferate as a result of the hereditary gene pool which was formulated at that time and then passed on through succeeding generations.
As to "why God created different races," I do not think God sat down one pleasant morning and said, "I shall create many different races, each of a different color and characteristic." I think that God simply allows the process of life to exist, and that it is out of the process of life that all things are created. Not just races, but volcanoes. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Human errors and mistakes. Travesties of justice. Goodness and mercy. You name it. I don't think that God sits up there somewhere and creates these "terms and conditions" of the human experience one by one, or even all at once with a single master stroke. I think that God simply created life itself, as we have defined it in the physical universe, with an extraordinary set of laws which govern the who, what, where and why of things. The discipline of science is man's attempt to uncover those laws, to understand them, and then to work with them to produce desired results. There is even a spiritual movement called Religious Science, which is based on the thought that God's laws are understandable by man, and may be used with predictable and consistent results.
As to God's "thoughts on the current race issues," I don't know about that. You'd have to ask Her. I do have an idea, however, of how God might answer that question. I believe God might say, "Human beings have exhibited an extraordinary penchant for taking anything which renders them different, and allowing that to separate them. You have created a species which does not tolerate differences very well. It is this single human failing which has led to the massive misery which visits your planet. If you could just get over your differences, and stop seeing them as that which separates you; if you could just focus with love on those aspects of your being which you hold in common—the desire for peace, the wish to love and be loved, the hope for a life of dignity in a world of choices which are free, the yearning for an opportunity to each rise to your highest potential, and the earnest and unending urging within you to express the very best that you are—if you could see these as the aspects of humanity that matter, encouraging and fostering, nurturing and empowering them, rather than empowering your fear, anger, hatred, and distrust over your differences, then the whole of the human experience would change forevermore, and you would be in the paradise I had originally created for you."
As I interpret CWG, I also believe God would say: "My singular treasure, Penny: Of course it is true that no one single race is 'superior' to another. Superiority of any kind does not exist in ultimate reality, for you are all 'superior,' and thus none more superior than another. This is what is meant by the teaching that you were created, all of you, in the 'image and likeness of God.' This is what is meant by the profound statement upon which your very nation was built: that all men are created equal."
Finally, I believe that God would make one closing, and extraordinary, statement: "It is also true, Penny, that not even I am 'superior'; to you. When you understand this, you will know the grandest gift of God: that each of you is endowed with the wisdom and the power and the perfection and the love of that which is God Itself, for you are what I Am. This is necessarily true because what I Am is all there is. The only 'difference'; between us, Penny, is that I know this and you do not." This is what I truly believe God would say, my new friend, and who is to deny that He has said it just now?
(3) Yes, Penny, I am sure there is no devil. For greater clarity on this point, reread pages 14, 24-25, 51, 53, 61, 85, 154, 196, and 204 of CWG Book 1. I could add nothing here that would be more eloquent.
(4) Franklin Roosevelt said it with remarkable clarity: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." You will release yourself from fear, Penny, when you realize that there is nothing to be afraid of. What is the worst that can happen? In any situation? Well, that you will die, of course. That's about the worst, right? And that might just be the best thing that's ever happened to you. People who have died and returned to their body, people who have had NDEs (near-death experiences), fear nothing. Did you know that? They fear nothing. Do you know why? Because they have gotten very clear that there is nothing to fear—not even death.
Fear is an announcement that you do not believe in God. For if a God exists, why would He want anything less than what is best for you? Yet if you are having experiences that you judge to be less than "the best," who is at cause in the matter? God? Or could it be you?
Yet do not denounce fear, Penny, and neither condemn it. For fear is merely the opposite of love, and without it, love could not exist in your reality. Therefore love your fear. You might even say, love it to death.
(5) God is neither a "he" nor a "she." God has no form which is permanent, save that form which you would call formlessness. Yet God can, and does, take whatever form and whatever shape God knows you will understand. And no, God does not "care" what you call Him, as long as you call Her. That is to say, don't ignore Him. This is not because She is lonely and needs your company. It is because God's greatest pleasure is to be there for you, in as large a way as you will permit, in whatever form you will allow yourself to recognize. Do you recognize God in the form of a flower? How about an inspired melody? The whisper of the wind? The softness of the new fallen snow? How about the face of your persecutor? Do you recognize God in the person of your villain? If you do not, you do not know God at all, nor understand Her ways, nor have any idea at all what He is up to. Only when you see God everywhere you look—everywhere—do you see God at all. This is a difficult concept for most people to grasp; this is a very hard truth for many to accept. Yet it is true. It is the greatest truth ever told.
(6) It is difficult for me to be anything but purely subjective on this question, so I am tempted to not answer it, because who cares what Neale Donald Walsch thinks? The important thing is what you think. Check out the world's religions. Read up on them. Go to a few churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and houses of prayer. See what you think. Feel what you feel. Your truth will be made clear to you.
Now, while there are good things in most every religion, I want to remind you of what CWG says on this topic. It says that religion is man's attempt to explain the inexplicable, and that in this it does not do a very good job. I agree with CWG's wisdom on this. I think there is a vast difference between "religion" and "spirituality." I seek to practice spirituality, not religion. Still, if I were looking for a "good organized religion," here's what I would seek, and here's what I would avoid:
I love ritual, and I also love factual information which helps me to understand things. So many of the churches today offer a preponderance of either one or the other, either explaining everything about God so factually that it all seems too dry, or moving toward the experience of God so ritualistically that there is only "airy-fairyness," and nothing to engage the mind. So I look for a church which combines and mixes the factual and the ritual, thus touching, and allowing me to experience, all of the parts of me: body, mind and spirit.
I know that God exists and acts in, as, and through everyone and everything, and so I am uncomfortable in churches or groups which tend to deify one particular being, however holy, over others. I believe that other-being-centered religions can be dangerous, because they offer a temptation to substitute the holy being around which the movement revolves for one's own holiness, one's own truth, one's own divinity, and to that degree they delay the spiritual quest and betray the spiritual experience to which life invites all of us. For this reason I avoid other-being-centered churches, where individual thinking and individual experience is virtually not allowed if it so much as questions, much less contradicts, the teachings of the holy Other.
I know that God is neither a man nor a woman, neither black nor white, but takes whatever form God chooses, for whatever purpose God declares. I also know that God finds no one sex, race, color or type of human being superior to, or more "holy" than, any other. And so I look for churches and spiritual organizations that honor the God and the Goddess, that elevate, and give equal opportunity to, men and women, and that deny no one the chance to create holy ritual and perform sacred service as priests, bishops, ministers, teachers and leaders.
I know that God speaks directly to and through human beings in this day and time, and has in all days and times, and for this reason I avoid any church, sect or philosophy that holds that man cannot have direct, immediate, two-way communication with God, but insists, rather, that an intermediary or particular process is required—which just happens to be the intermediary or process around which that religion or philosophy is formed.
Excerpted from Questions and Answers on Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. Copyright © 1999 Neale Donald Walsch. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
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