Conversations with God
Book 1 in the series (North America book cover)
|Author||Neale Donald Walsch|
|No. of books||9|
Conversations with God (CwG) is a sequence of books written by Neale Donald Walsch. It was written as a dialogue in which Walsch asks questions and God answers. The first book of the Conversations with God series, Conversations with God, Book 1: An Uncommon Dialogue, was published in 1995 and became a publishing phenomenon, staying on the New York Times Best-Sellers List for 137 weeks. The succeeding volumes in the nine book series also appeared prominently on the List.
In an interview with Larry King, Walsch described the inception of the books as follows: at a low period in his life, Walsch wrote an angry letter to God asking questions about why his life wasn't working. After writing down all of his questions, he heard a voice over his right shoulder say: "Do you really want an answer to all these questions or are you just venting?" Though when he turned around he saw no one there, Walsch felt answers to his questions filling his mind and decided to write them down. The ensuing dialogue became the Conversations with God books. When asked in a recent interview how does he ‘open up’ to God these days, Neale stated “I am reaching out to touch others with this information. When I reach out and touch others with this information I reconnect immediately with the divine presence.”
Basis of the dialogue
Containing nearly 3000 pages of material in total, the series presents a large number of ideas. The second and third books in the original trilogy deal with political and social issues.
CwG's basic messages
In Friendship with God, Walsch writes that God presents four concepts which are central to the entire dialogue:
- We are all one.
- There's enough.
- There's nothing we have to do.
- Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.
Existence is essentially non dual in nature. At the highest level there is no separation between anything and there is only one of us; there is only God, and everything is God. The second statement, following from the first, means that we, in this seeming existence, lack nothing and if we choose to realize it, we have enough of whatever we think we need (or the means to create it) within us. The third statement combines the first two to conclude that God, being all there is and is thus always sufficient unto Itself, has no need of anything and therefore has no requirements of humanity. The final concept puts an end to our need to always be right. Given that we have and are everything, and there's nothing we have to do, there are an infinite number of ways to experience this, not just the one way we may have chosen so far.
According to the books, God recommends many economic and social changes if people want to make a more functional, adaptable, and sustainable world, it recommends that more attention should focus on the environment. The conversations also speak of reincarnation and the existence of life on other planets.
God's motive for creation
In Walsch's first dialogue, God notes that "knowing" and "experiencing" oneself are different things. Before creation, there was only That-Which-Is, which cannot know or experience itself fully, without something it is not. It cannot know itself as love, since nothing exists but love. It cannot know itself as giving since nothing else exists to give to. It cannot experience itself in myriad ways because everything is one.
This present creation then, in Walsch's viewpoint, is established by and within God, so that sentience can exist which does not directly remember its true nature as God. Split into infinite forms, all life can live, experience, and recreate its nature as God, rather than just "know" itself as the creator in theory. It is essentially a game, entered into by agreement, to remember who and what we are and enjoy and create, knowing that ultimately there is no finish line that some will not reach, no understanding that is not without value, no act that does not add meaning to the future or for others. In Walsch's view we have a common interest in keeping the game going, for there is nothing else to do except to experience our existence and then experience more of it, to uncover deeper layers of truth and understanding. There are no external rules, because all experience is subjective, and is chosen. But within this, there are ways that (it is stated and implied) people will gradually come to see their thoughts, words, actions are either working or they are not working. A thing is either functional or dysfunctional. These rememberings take place over "time" and can take hundreds and thousands of lifetimes.
Nature of the dialogue
Book 1 (page 4) argues that words are not the ultimate truth, rather words are symbols, and are open to interpretations. Thus the readers are advised to consult their own feelings to determine their own truth while reading the book, or any other book. Though the books bear the title Conversations with God and the author states in book 1 that he is "taking dictation" from God, the 'dialogue' is said to be between God and all people at all times. The question, according to Neale, is not to whom does God talk, but who listens. This is clarified by the statement that God can communicate with people in many ways (the next song you hear, the next sunset you experience, the next time you hear laughter, the next movie that really moves you), and not necessarily through words 'spoken' by God to a person. "All these devices are mine. All these avenues are open to me. I will speak to you if you invite me." (CwG1, page 58.
Parallels in other belief systems
In the dialogue many philosophical ideas are presented that had already been advanced earlier by major Eastern and Western thinkers, but Walsch presents the information in language for modern readers and does not specifically cite any of these philosophers. In fact, Walsch claims that he had never known most of these ideas before his revelatory experiences. Since the beginning of the series, and especially in the latter volumes, Walsch and "God" acknowledge that most of the concepts presented are previously known to humanity, but are profound enough to warrant being explored repeatedly, and put into this cohesive unified form. Since humanity is still mired in strife and conflict, there is value in their restatement. Fundamental parts of Walsch's writings are also mirrored within other well known spiritual writings and traditions:
- All things are one, there is no polarity, no right or wrong, no disharmony, but only identity. All is one, and that one is love/light, light/love, the Infinite Creator. (The Law of One/Advaita/Sikhism))
- Souls reincarnate to eventually experience God-realization (Hinduism/' 'Bhagavad-Gita/Sikhism).
- Feelings are more important as a source of guidance than intellect (Rousseau/Sikhism).
- We are not here to learn anything new but to remember what we already know (Hinduism/Plato/Sikhism).
- Physical reality is an illusion (Hinduism/ Buddhism's concept of maya/Sikhism).
- One cannot understand one thing unless he or she understands its opposite (Tao Te Ching).
- God is everything. (Hinduism / Spinoza / Brahman/Sikhism)
- God is self-experiential, in that it is the nature of the Universe to experience itself. (Hinduism/Hegel/Sikhism, and process theology as first outlined by Alfred North Whitehead)
- God is not fear-inducing or vengeful, only our parental projections onto God are. (Sikhism)
- Fear or love are the two basic alternative perspectives on life. (Drewermann)
- Good and evil do not exist (as absolutes, but can exist in a different context and for different reasons). (Nietzsche/Sikhism)
- Reality is a representation created by will. (Schopenhauer/Sikhism)
- Nobody knowingly desires evil. (Socrates/Sikhism)
- It's just a ride. (Bill Hicks)
Conversations with God Series
The following are the nine books in the Conversations With God series. Each of these books is a claimed transcript of dialogue between two beings, Neale Donald Walsch and "God", with the exception of Communion with God, which is written only by "God".
- Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 1) (1996) ISBN 978-0-399-14278-9
- Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 2) (1997) ISBN 978-1-57174-056-4
- Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 3) (1998) ISBN 978-1-57174-103-5
- Friendship with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (1999) ISBN 978-0-399-14541-4
- Communion With God: An Uncommon Dialogue (2000) ISBN 978-0-399-14670-1
- The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (2002) ISBN 978-0-7434-6303-4
- Tomorrow's God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (2004) ISBN 978-0-7434-6304-1
- What God Wants (2005) ISBN 978-0-7432-6714-4
- Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends (2006) ISBN 978-0-7432-6716-8
The first three books in the series are often called the CwG trilogy. In 2005, the trilogy was re-released as one combined 'Gift Edition' book. This edition contains the entire text of the first three books with 'God's words in blue ink and Neale's in black ink, and features a combined 3-in-1 index at the back.
- The Complete Conversations with God (2005) ISBN 978-0-399-15329-7
Home With God is the final book in this series according to the two-way written communication in Home with God, page 308, entitled "Our final conversation in public.".
CwG Supplemental Material
In addition to the books of the CwG series, there are also a number of guidebooks, meditation books, and other books adapted from the CwG series and referring to the CwG message. The following books do not have any new information from the voice of "God", but were written by Neale Donald Walsch, to assist with understanding and applying the messages. Starting in 2008, The School of the New Spirituality, Inc. (SNS), founded by Walsch, starting publishing new guidebooks for the series.
- Conversations with God - Guidebook, Book 1 (1997) ISBN 1571740481
- Meditations from Conversations With God, Book 2: A Personal Journal (1997) ISBN 978-1-57174-072-4
- The Little Soul and the Sun: A Children's Parable Adapted from Conversations With God (1998) ISBN 978-1-57174-087-8
- Re-Minder Cards: Conversations With God, Book 1 (1998) ISBN 978-1571741189
- Meditations from Conversations With God: Book 1 (1999) ISBN 978-0-340-76595-1
- Questions and Answers on Conversations With God (1999) ISBN 978-1-57174-140-0
- The Wedding Vows from Conversations With God (with Nancy Fleming-Walsch) (2000) ISBN 978-1-57174-161-5
- Conversations With God for Teens (foreword by Alanis Morissette) (2001) ISBN 978-1-57174-263-6
- The Little Soul And The Earth: A Children's Parable Adapted From Conversations With God (2005) (with Frank Riccio) ISBN 978-1-57174-451-7
- Meditations from Conversations With God (2005) ISBN 978-1-57174-513-2
- Conversations with God for Teens Guidebook (by Jeanne Webster and Emily Welch) (2008) ISBN 978-0981520636
- Conversations with God - Guidebook, Book 1 (by Nancy Ways) (2008) ISBN 978-0981943800
- Conversations with God - Guidebook, Book 2 (by Anne-Marie Barbier) (2008) ISBN 978-0981520698
- Conversations with God - Guidebook, Book 3 (by Alissa Goefron) 2008) ISBN 978-0981943824
- The Conversations with God Companion: The Essential Tool for Individual and Group Study (2009) ISBN 978-1-57174-604-7
Neale Donald Walsch has also written a number of other books which he describes as "in the CwG cosmology", none of these are dialogues with God. These include Happier than God, When Everything Changes, Change Everything, The Only Thing That Matters, and his latest book, What God Said. For a complete listing, please see the Bibliography at Neale Donald Walsch.
A Conversations with God movie dramatizing the author's experience opened in theatres across the United States on October 27, 2006. Walsch is played by Henry Czerny in the film directed by Stephen Deutsch. 
The DVD version of the film was released on February 27, 2007.
- Walsch, Neale Donald (1995). Conversations with God (Paperback). ISBN 0-399-14278-9.
- Neale Donald Walsch on CNS's Larry King Live (April 7th, 2000)
- 'Being at One': Neale Donald Walsch Interview with Gil Dekel, PhD (Part 1 of 3), Paragraph 16
- 'Inspiration: a functional approach to creative practice', Paragraph 2
- "The Movie". IMDB. Retrieved 16 July 2015.