Conversations with God

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Conversations with God
Conversations with God, book 1.gif
Book 1 in the series (North America book cover)

AuthorNeale Donald Walsch
No. of books9

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.[1] 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?"[2] 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.”[3]

Basis of the dialogue[edit]

Containing nearly 3,000 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[edit]

In Friendship with God, Walsch writes that God presents four concepts which are central to the entire dialogue:

  1. We are all one.
  2. There's enough.
  3. There's nothing we have to do.
  4. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.
  5. God is a collective, that is, there are many Gods and Goddesses who have been delegated some work each, respectively.

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[edit]

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. Walsch claims that God says that 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, not right or wrong. These rememberings take place over "time" and can take hundreds and thousands of lifetimes.

Nature of the dialogue[edit]

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 inner knowing or intuition 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). Jesus is said to have sought to lead by example, which is why he said, "I am the way and the life, follow me". Follow me meant that we should follow his example and become one with God - Jesus and other living things are/were not one with God presently (everything is happening right now with no space/time difference) - rather than become his followers. Jesus is supposed to have said, "I and the Father (God) are one and you are my brethren". This means that living things are all one (particles of the collective God) (Book 3, Chapter20, pgs. 329-330). Jesus is said to have said, "without the father (God), I am nothing". The father of all is pure thought which is the energy of life (Book 3, Chapter11, pg. 180). In Book 3 of Conversations with God (1998), by Neale Donald Walsch, it is mentioned that Mahavatar Babaji may at one time have resurrected himself from the dead, just like Lazarus, Jesus and other humans.[4] When Neil asks God if reincarnation is a false doctrine, God replies that it is not. Neale then asks why some religions do not know the truth about something so basic. In response, God says that we must understand that humans have many fear based religions whose teachings surround the doctrine of a God who is to be worshipped and feared. It was through fear that the entire Earth society reformed itself from a matriarchy into a patriarchy. It was through fear that the holy priests got people to mend their wicked ways and heed the word of the Lord. It was through fear that the churches gained and controlled their membership. Churches even insisted that God will punish you if you did not go to church every Sunday, not going to church was declared a sin - and not just any church. One had to attend one particular church - if you went to a church of a different denomination that too was a sin. That was an attempt at control, pure and simple, using fear. The amazing thing is it worked. People will always believe in hell and in a God who would send them there as long as we believe that God is like man — ruthless, self-serving, unforgiving and vengeful. In the past, most people could not imagine a God who might rise above all of that so they accepted the teachings of many churches to fear the terrible vengeance of the Lord. It was as if people could not trust themselves to be good and act appropriately, on their own by their own built in reasons. So they had to create a religion that taught the doctrine of an angry, retributive God in order to keep themselves in line. The idea of reincarnation threw a monkey wrench into all of that. The church was proclaiming that you better be nice or else—and along came the reincarnationists saying you have another chance after this and another chance after that and still more chances, so don't worry. Do the best you can. Don't become so paralysed with fear that you can't budge. Promise yourself to do better and get on with it. Naturally, the early Church couldn't hear of such a thing that did two things. First, it denounced the doctrine of reincarnation as heretical, then it created the sacrament of confession. Confession could do for the Church goer what reincarnation promised. That is, give him another chance. There was a catch however - this absolution could not come directly from God, it had to flow through the church whose priests pronounced penances which had to be performed. These were usually prayers which were required of the sinner. So now you had two reasons to keep up church membership. The church found confession to be such a good drawing card that soon it declared to be a sin not to go to confession. Everybody had to do it at least once a year. If they didn't, God would have another reason to be angry. More and more rules - many of them arbitrary and capricious - began to be promulgated by the church, each rule having the power of God's eternal condemnation behind it, unless, of course, failure was confessed and then the person was forgiven by God and condemnation avoided. That lead to another problem. People figured out that this must mean they could do anything as long as they confessed it. The church was in a quandary. Fear had left the hearts of the people. Church attendance and membership dropped. People came to confess once a year, said their penances, were absolved of their sins and went on with their lives. There was no question about it. A way had to be found to strike fear into the heart again, so purgatory was invented. Purgatory was described as a place something like hell, but not eternal. This new doctrine declared that God would make you suffer for your sins even if you confessed them. Under the doctrine, a certain amount of suffering was decreed by God for each nonperfect soul, based on the number and type of sins committed. There were mortal sins and venial sins. Mortal sins would send you right to hell if not confessed before death. Once more, Church attendance shot up, collections were up, too and especially contributions—for the doctrine of purgatory could buy one's way out of the suffering. According to the church's teaching, one could receive a special indulgence but not directly from God - only from an official of the church. These special indulgences freed one from the suffering in purgatory which they had earned with their sins or at least part of it. These reprieves were granted to very few like those who made a huge contribution to the church. For a really huge sum, one could obtain a plenary indulgence. This meant no time in purgatory at all - it was a non-stop ticket straight to heaven. This special favor from God was available for even fewer. Royalty, perhaps and the super rich. The amount of money, jewels and land given to the church in exchange for these plenary indulgences was enormous. The exclusivity of this brought great frustration and resentment to the masses. The poorest peasant had no hope of gaining a bishop's indulgence and so the rank and file lost faith in the system with attendance threatening to drop once again. Then they brought in the novena candles. People could come to the church and light a novena candle for the poor souls in purgatory and by saying a novena (a series of prayers in a particular order that took some time to complete), they could reduce by many years the sentence of the dearly departed, extricating them from purgatory sooner than God would otherwise have allowed. They couldn't do anything for themselves but at least they could pray for mercy for the departed. Of course, it would be helpful if a coin or two were dropped through the slot for each candle lit. A lot of little candles were flickering behind a lot of red glass and a lot of pesos and pennies were being dropped into a lot of tin boxes in an attempt to get God to ease up on the suffering being inflicted on the souls in purgatory (Book 3, Chapter7, pgs. 126-130).

Parallels in other belief systems[edit]

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:

Bibliography[edit]

Complete Title List of All CWG Books[6][edit]

Dialogue Books series[edit]

The following are the ten books in the Conversations With God Dialogue Books 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".

  1. Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 1) (1995) ISBN 978-0-39914-278-9
  2. Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 2) (1997) ISBN 978-1-57174-056-4
  3. Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 3) (1998) ISBN 978-1-57174-103-5
  4. Friendship with God: An Uncommon Dialogue (1999) ISBN 978-0-39914-541-4
  5. Communion With God: An Uncommon Dialogue (2000) ISBN 978-0-39914-670-1
  6. Conversations with God for Teens (2001) ISBN 978-157174-263-6
  7. The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (2002) ISBN 978-0-7434-6303-4
  8. Tomorrow's God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (2004) ISBN 978-0-74346-304-1
  9. Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends (2006) ISBN 978-0-74326-716-8
  10. Conversations with God: Awaken the Species (Book 4) (2017) ISBN 978-1-93790-749-5

Home With God, we are told, is the final book in this series of two-way written communication[7] {see HwG page 308, "Our final conversation in public."}. In August 2016, however, Neale stumbled upon a "new and unexpected dialogue" continuing the original trilogy with a fourth installment released on March 27, 2017.

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.

  1. The Complete Conversations with God (October 20, 2005) ISBN 978-0-39915-329-7

Supplementary Titles[edit]

  1. What God Wants: A Compelling Answer to Humanity's Biggest Question (March 21, 2005) ISBN 978-0-74326-714-4
  2. Bringers of the Light (May 31, 2000) ISBN 978-0-96787-550-7
  3. Recreating Your Self (June 1, 2000) ISBN 978-0-96787-551-4
  4. Questions and Answers on Conversations With God (October 1, 1999) ISBN 978-1-57174-140-0
  5. Moments of Grace: When God Touches Our Lives Unexpectedly (July 2001) ISBN 978-1-57174-303-9
  6. Neale Donald Walsch on Relationships (September 29, 1999) ISBN 978-1-57174-163-9
  7. Neale Donald Walsch on Holistic Living (September 30, 1999) ISBN 978-1-57174-165-3
  8. Neale Donald Walsch on Abundance and Right Livelihood (October 1, 1999) ISBN 978-1-57174-164-6
  9. Happier Than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience (February 28, 2008) ISBN 978-1-57174-576-7
  10. The Holy Experience (free eBook)
  11. The Conversations with God Companion: The Essential Tool for Individual and Group Study (May 21, 2009) ISBN 978-1-57174-604-7
  12. When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace (May 7, 2009) ISBN 978-1-57174-606-1
  13. When Everything Changes, Change Everything: Workbook & Study Guide (March 10, 2011) ISBN 978-1-45152-991-3
  14. The Storm Before the Calm (Book 1 in the Conversations with Humanity Series) (September 27, 2011) ISBN 978-1-40193-692-1
  15. The Only Thing That Matters (Book 2 in the Conversations with Humanity Series) (October 16, 2012) ISBN 978-1-40194-236-6
  16. What God Said: The 25 Core Messages of Conversations With God That Will Change Your Life and the World (October 2013) ISBN 978-1-10163-098-3
  17. Gods Message To The World: You've Got Me All Wrong (October 2014) ISBN 978-1-93790-730-3
  18. Conversations With God for Parents: Sharing the Messages with Children (Book 3 in the Conversations with Humanity Series) (October 2015) ISBN 978-1-93790-736-5
  19. Where God and Medicine Meet: A conversation between a doctor and a spiritual messenger (November 2016) ISBN 978-1-93790-748-8
  20. The Little Soul and the Sun: A Children's Parable Adapted from Conversations With God (April 1, 1998) ISBN 978-1-57174-087-8
  21. The Little Soul And the Earth: A Children's Parable Adapted From Conversations With God (August 1, 2005) (with Frank Riccio) ISBN 978-1-57174-451-7
  22. Santa's God: A Children's Fable About the Biggest Question Ever (October 2, 2009) ISBN 978-1-57174-596-5

Additional Texts[edit]

  1. Guidebook to Conversations with God
    • Conversations with God for Teens Guidebook (by Jeanne Webster and Emily Welch) (June 20, 2008) ISBN 978-0-98152-063-6
    • Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 1 (July 1, 1997) ISBN 1-57174-048-1
    • Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 1 (by Nancy Ways) (November 10, 2008) ISBN 978-0-98194-380-0
    • Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 2 (by Anne-Marie Barbier) (November 10, 2008) ISBN 978-0-98152-069-8
    • Conversations with God – Guidebook, Book 3 (by Alissa Goefron) (December 1, 2008) ISBN 978-0-98194-382-4
  2. Meditations from Conversations with God
  3. The Wedding Vows from Conversations With God (with Nancy Fleming-Walsch) (April 1, 2000) ISBN 978-1-57174-161-5
  4. The Little Book of Life: A User's Manual (October 1, 2010) ISBN 978-1-57174-644-3
  5. Conversations with God in a Nutshell: A Pocket Guide to the Dialogue (2014) ISBN 978-0-99133-460-5

Supplemental material[edit]

Please see the Writings at Neale Donald Walsch.

Movie (2006)[edit]

A Conversations with God movie shows 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.[8]

Audiobook[edit]

Conversations with God books 1 and 2, and Communion with God, narrated by Ed Asner. [9] The DVD version of the film was released on February 27, 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walsch, Neale Donald (1995). Conversations with God (Paperback). ISBN 0-399-14278-9.
  2. ^ Neale Donald Walsch on CNS's Larry King Live (April 7th, 2000)
  3. ^ 'Being at One': Neale Donald Walsch Interview with Gil Dekel, PhD (Part 1 of 3), Paragraph 16
  4. ^ Walsch, Neale Donald, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialog (Book #3), page 95.
  5. ^ 'Inspiration: a functional approach to creative practice', Paragraph 2
  6. ^ Conversations with God: Awaken the Species (Book 4) (2017) ISBN 978-1-93790-749-5, pp. 286–288
  7. ^ Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends (2006) ISBN 978-0-74326-716-8, pp. 308
  8. ^ "The Movie". IMDB. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Conversations with God audiobooks".

External links[edit]