Sunday, July 27, 2014
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
"Suppose you could ask God the most puzzling questions about existence—questions about love and faith, life and death, good and evil. Suppose God provided clear, understandable answers. It happened to Neale Donald Walsch. It can happen to you…" This is written on the jacket of Book I of the Conversations with God series. And this is the foundation of the movie, Conversations with God, I thought it would be good to talk a little about what happened in the life of this one man that has affected the lives of millions of other people all over the world. His books have now sold over 7 million copies and been translated into 34 languages.
In the forward to Book I, Walsch says his books "address most, if not all, of the questions we have ever asked about life and love, purpose and function, people and relationships, good and evil, guilt and sin, forgiveness and redemption, the path to God and the road to hell…everything." He also says that some believe this book is "God's latest word on things." Some people believe that God stopped talking 2,000 years ago. And some people believe that God has continued communicating but it's only with holy men, medicine women, or someone who has been meditating for 30 years, or been good for 20 years or at least half-decent for 10. He points out that none of these categories include him yet God had a conversation with him.
The truth is, and I believe this, God talks to everybody. The good and the bad. The saint and the scoundrel. And certainly all of us in between. God talks to us all the time, but we don't always listen and recognize God is speaking to us.
Walsch goes on to say, "I am deeply embarrassed by my own life, which has been marked by continued mistakes and misdeeds, some very shameful behaviors, and some choices and decisions which I'm certain others consider hurtful and unforgivable. Though I have profound remorse that it was through others' pain, I am unspeakably grateful for all I have learned, and found that I have still yet to learn, because of the people in my life. I apologize to everybody for the slowness of that learning. Yet I am encouraged by God to grant myself forgiveness for my failings and not live in fear and guilt but to always keep trying—keep on trying—to live a grander vision. I know that's what God wants for all of us.”
It seems Walsch's words could be our own words. The important questions we have been asking since we became aware are "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is my relationship to everything else outside my self? And the answers we think we have to these questions color our perspective on life itself. For example, if I believe I am a human being born of sin to suffer and finally die into oblivion, that answer produces a life of hopelessness and helplessness. I will limit every aspect of my life to fit that answer. But if I believe that I am a beloved child of God, with God-given power to co-create my life, I am enthusiastic and full of hope and my life is full of infinite possibilities.
And it is interesting to realize that as we grow and learn our answers can change as we open our minds to other possibilities. We begin our questioning by asking our parents and we often adopt their answers as our own. Then we question friends, teachers, other adults of influence, guides, Angels and finally our own Inner Soul, that part of us that is directly connected to God. And it is from this Divine Source that we get the true answers. And it is from this Divine Source that Walsch received his answers. But we have to listen—be quiet and listen.
This is the point that Neale Donald Walsch has to get to in order to hear God's voice. Walsch becomes one of the homeless living in a park. He has a broken neck and feeds himself by rummaging through trash bins to find aluminum cans to sell for 5 cents a piece. He is desperate, feeling like a failure, and very, very angry. And in this anger he sits down and writes a letter to God. Walsch often wrote letters on yellow tablets. Letters he never mailed, but the writing of which gave him an opportunity to organize his thoughts and express his feelings.
This time, he decided to go straight to the source, he says "straight to the greatest victimizer of them all. I decided to write a letter to God." It was a spiteful, passionate letter, full of confusions, contortions, and condemnations. And a pile of angry questions ending with, "What had I done to deserve a life of such continuing struggle?”
To his surprise, prepared to toss his pen aside, his hand remained poised over the paper, as if held there by some invisible force. Abruptly, the pen began moving on its own. He says, "I had no idea what I was about to write, but an idea seemed to be coming, so I decided to flow with it. Out came…
Do you really want an answer to all these questions, or are you just venting?
Walsch says, "I blinked…and then my mind came up with a reply. I wrote that down, too. "Both. I'm venting, sure, but if these questions have answers, I'd sure as hell like to hear them?
You are "sure as hell" …about a lot of things. But wouldn't it be nice to be "sure as Heaven?”
Before I knew it, I had begun a conversation…and I was not writing so much as taking dictation. The answers to the questions I was putting on paper never came to me until the question was completely written and I'd put my own thoughts away.
This story reminds me of the writing of the Course in Miracles. In 1965 Dr. Helen Schucman began to hear a voice. Being an associate professor of medical psychology, she was quite certain that she was going crazy, but with the support of her colleague, Dr. William Thetford, she finished the dictation of 1500 pages of what has become one of the world's most profound teachings. The voice kept repeating, "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes," until Schucman finally realized it was the voice of the Divine, listened, and took notes. She couldn't do it until she put her own thoughts away like Walsch.
This is what I mean by listening. It is that time when we quiet our thoughts, actually put them aside, and listen in the silence to the voice of God. We may hear an actual voice as Dr. Schucman did. We may get a powerful impression or feeling. We may write down the answers as Walsch did on yellow tablets. God speaks to us in many ways.
Over the next three years Walsch's unique conversation with God continued. Sometimes weeks passed between the writing of the question and the receiving of the answer. Walsch often found he was standing in his own way – blocking the answers for this reason or another. But God always answered and Walsch always heard when he was truly listening.
One of the first questions Walsh asked of God was: "How do I know this communication is from God? How do I know this is not my own imagination?" And God answered: "What would be the difference? Do you not see that I could just as easily work through your imagination as anything else? I will bring you the exact right thoughts, words or feelings, at any given moment, suited precisely to the purpose at hand, using one device, or several.”
Walsch also asked "To whom does God communicate? Are there special people? Are there special times? And God answered: "All people are special, and all moments are golden. There is no person and there is no time one more special than another. Many people choose to believe that God communicates in special ways and only with special people. This removes the mass of the people from responsibility for hearing My message, much less receiving it (which is another matter), and allows them to take someone else's word for everything. You don't have to listen to Me, for you've already decided that others have heard from Me on every subject, and you have them to listen to. By listening to what other people think they heard Me say, you don't have to think at all….Yet, I invite you to a new form of communication with God. A two-way communication. In truth, it is you who have invited Me. For I have come to you, in this form, right now, in answer to your call.”
It is always a two-way street with God. We ask and God answers. But we can't begin to listen until we acknowledge that we have asked for guidance, wisdom and inspiration. We can't hear until we are ready to listen.
God goes on further to explain that "some people hear more of God's words than others because they are willing to actually listen. They are willing to hear, and they are willing to remain open to the communication even when it seems scary, or crazy, or downright wrong." (Walsch and Schucman are good examples.)
And how do we know that what we are hearing is truly from God? If what you are hearing is life-sustaining you will know it is from God. If what you are hearing brings peace, joy and harmony, it is from God.
God speaks to us in the grandeur of the mountains, in the whisper of the wind, in the eyes of a child, in the wisdom of the Elders, in that still small voice within our hearts. God speaks to us through books, through discussions, through a touch, a look, a smell, an insight. God speaks to us every minute of every hour that we are alive. Are we listening? Can we hear? Can we receive the answers to our questions? God speaks to us of Love for Love is the answer to every question. Be still a moment and truly listen….Can you hear the voice of God?
Let us pray. God of Love, thank you for giving us the answers to our questions. Thank you for speaking to us in every moment. Thank you for helping us see the answers all around us and to know that we are all special people, for we too can hear the voice of God. Thank you for the life-sustaining answers and for the realization that Love is always the answer. Thank you for guiding us to do the work of Love and to be open to the infinite possibilities of Love. In Your Holy Name we Pray.