Vishen: Hi. I am Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley, the school for human transformation. You’re listening to the Mindvalley podcast where we’ll be bringing you the greatest teachers and thought leaders on the planet to discuss the world’s most powerful ideas in personal growth for mind, body, spirit, and work.
This particular training on consciousness engineering was just so powerful to me because I had the honor of developing this training and speaking with one of my favorite teachers and authors of all time, Neale Donald Walsch. Neale Donald Walsch, as many of you know, wrote the book “Conversations with God.” Actually, it’s not just one book, it’s a whole series of dozens of books, but that first book that he wrote, Part 1, changed my life forever.
When someone had given the book to me on a camping trip in Colorado in 1998, that book completely shifted everything I believed about the world. That book, in a way, helped me realize that I needed to give up my religion and start exploring spirituality on my own. Neale Donald Walsch ended up being one of the most influential writers in my life, and so it’s such a delight and honor to bring him to you.
But before I bring Neale on, for many of you who may not have heard of Neale, let me just tell you what happened in Neale’s life. Neale used to be homeless, and he had this habit where every single time something in life happened that would rile him and upset him, he would take out a piece of paper and write an angry letter. Maybe an angry letter to an ex-girlfriend, maybe an angry letter to the government, anything that really upset him, he’d get all his anger out and then crunch up that paper and toss it in a wastepaper bin.
But one day, Neale was so broken in life…and a movie was actually made about his life and this story. So you can even watch the documentary film about how these books were created. So anyway, Neale was feeling so broken. He decided he was going to write an angry letter to God to complain about the way he had been treated and the world as it is today and all the crap going on around him, but something mysterious happened. As he started writing this letter to God, questioning God, he would suddenly feel an impulse to answer his own question. And he started finding himself writing down questions after answers, questions after answers.
It turned into pages and pages and pages, 70,000, 80,000 words, and Neale realized that he had, in his own mind at least, had a conversation with God. He took the idea of the manuscript to multiple publishers, nobody published him. Finally, when he found a publisher, this book took off. It began changing people’s lives. It spread through wildfire from word-of-mouth. The story of him writing the book was turned into a film, and the book ended up selling millions upon millions upon millions of copies.
Neale followed up with multiple other books, speaking to God about politics, speaking to God about the cosmos, speaking to God about the meaning of life, speaking to God about death. And these books have just been so influential in my life. When you read these books, you certainly often feel this feeling inside of you that resonates, that you resonate with the message. And to me, it resonated with me more than any other spiritual book I’ve ever read.
So in this conversation with Neale Donald Walsh, we’re going to talk about Neale’s ideas. What is God? Why are we here? What is this life all about? And Neale is also going to share with you a number of different techniques to help you open up some of this divinity within you. These techniques are going to be gratitude, reliable repetition, confirmations rather than affirmations, re-contextualization, compassion, and the final technique which I love called forgiveness forgone. So let’s get started with Neale Donald Walsch.
I’m Vishen Lakhiani, and this is the Mindvalley podcast.
Hi, everyone. This is Vishen, and I cannot express how excited I am to have Neale Donald Walsch on this program today. Neale, how are you doing?
Neale: Well, you know I’m doing just wonderfully. Thank you, Vishen, and thank you for those kind words. It’s nice to be here. I’m excited to be here with you as well.
Vishen: And we’re going to be having so much fun talking about all the various stuff we’re going to be sharing, but I was just telling Neale how if I had to think of the personal growth book that had the singular biggest impact on my life, Neale, it was “Conversations with God.” It was that book you wrote almost 20 years ago. And Neale actually didn’t stop at one book, he wrote a whole range of inspired books. Now, I just want to show you something. This is that first book. You can see it’s kind of withered, it’s kind of stained. This was the book that changed my life. This was the book that Neale wrote.
So I was in a camping trip in 1998 in Colorado. I was a junior at the University of Michigan. And over a campfire, a girl recommended I read this book. I can’t remember what we were talking about, and she said, “Look, you have to read this book. This book will change your life.” And so slightly skeptical, I decided to pick it up and read it, and that was the original copy that I got from the bookstore, the Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I still carry it with me today. I’ve moved houses maybe about five times. This book, I never lend to anyone because this book did change my life.
For example, one of the things that happened is this book made me completely give up religion. I’ve shared that with my list many times. This was the book that sparked me in my era of questioning. And today, my own book, “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind,” takes that tradition forward, the idea of questioning, but it all started with this one book from Neale. Now, Neale didn’t stop with one book. He wrote “Conversations with God 2, 3, 4,” “Friendship with God,” “Communion with God,” “The New Revelations,” and I’m still going on, “Tomorrow’s God,” “Applications for Living,” “Happier than God,” all of these books were phenomenal. And I have never come across books that so seem to speak to you in such a way where you just feel you’re listening to truth. And these books can be interpreted in so many different ways, but if you haven’t been familiar with Neale’s work, I just want to tell you, read this book. This copy is now 19 years old and it is one of my most treasured possessions.
So can’t express my appreciation for you enough, Neale, and guys, look, I know when I do these interviews, it’s not here for me to pitch an author’s book. That is certainly not what I’m trying to do. I’m just trying to honestly talk about the book and a man whose writing significantly impacted my life. So now that you know that story, let’s get on with the rest of this call.
So Neale, before I start, I always ask people this question, what keeps you up at night? Tell us what keeps you up at night or what gets you hopping out of bed every morning?
Neale: I think the opportunity to fulfill what I have understood to be and what I now understand even more fully to be my very reason for living. What gets me hopping out of bed in the morning is so much different now than it was 20 years ago. I mean, vastly different obviously, because of my conversations with God experience. I’ve understood the whole reason for living to be quite other than what I imagined the purpose of life to be when I was 50 years old. So now, what gets me hopping out of bed in the morning is the idea that, oh, here’s another chance to be my highest self.
In fact, that’s the first thing I say to myself in the morning when I wake up. In my mind, usually when I open my eyes and roll out of bed, the first thing I say to myself is, “Thank you, God, for another day and another chance to be my highest self.” I don’t get there, I rarely get there. In fact, I’ve never been there to my highest self, but at least I know where I’m going which is all different than it was 20 years ago when I would get out of bed not knowing where I was going. I was after the golden ring, trying to get the apple that was dangling in front of the horse, so to speak. Always after something else that I thought would make me happy, make me content, make me feel successful, whatever it is that I was after. But I found out that it wasn’t about any of those things.
So what gets me hopping out of bed in the morning? The chance to demonstrate divinity, the chance to use the events of the day, the conditions, the circumstances that I encounter both in my personal life and in the world at large, the chance to use that data, if you please, as a platform on which I might demonstrate, announce, declare, express, and fulfill the grandest thought I ever had about myself.
That might sound kind of egotistical if you didn’t hear it. I don’t often put it quite in those terms in front of the general public, but that’s what I’m trying to do, and I want to make sure that people understand I’m not trying to be egotistical about it, but I believe that’s why we’re all here. I believe that life itself, in all of its manifest forms, is simply the expression of divinity, giving itself, that is God giving God’s creations the opportunity to demonstrate godliness, to singularize the singularity, to individuate the whole and the all of it that we call, in some languages, God, Yahweh, Brahman, Jehovah, whatever word it pleases us to use to identify and express that ineffable essence that we call the divine.
So that causes me to get up in the morning. I wonder what this day is going to bring. I wonder what opportunities this day is going to offer me that will allow me to step into the demonstration of the grandest notion I ever had about who I am and why I’m here on the planet. And I suspect that if everybody on the Earth held that as their objective, their reason for being, their reason for getting up in the morning, I think the world would change overnight.
Vishen: And that’s what makes your book so interesting. You were expressing the ineffable essence of what is God through a method of channeling whatever…
Neale: With respect, my friend, I wouldn’t call it channeling. I’ve resisted the temptation to call it channeling because channeling sounds like, and most people, not all people, but most people understand the term channeling to be bringing through from some other source, some other aspect of life, if you please, some other source of information that’s coming through me but from somewhere else. So I’ve really been careful not to call it channeling. I don’t think that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were channeling either. I think that they were inspired writers. I think the writers of the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, of all the great sacred texts throughout history were not really channeling, but were they inspired, and did that place of inspiration allow them to open to an aspect of themselves, a place inside of all of us where all of the wisdom, all of the information, all of the understanding resides?
Yeah, I think that’s true. So I think I was inspired. That is turning within to find what was always there. So with respect, I’m going to decline the word channeling, but I am going to say I believe I’m an inspired writer and I believe that we all are. It’s just that I know it and I try to follow where the inspiration takes me.
Vishen: I love that and thank you for that. Now, you talked about the ineffable essence of God. How can us, how can we be so in tune with this essence as you are in your work?
Neale: Well, I don’t know that I’m in tune with it as much as I would like to be, but I understand the thrust of your question. And my answer would be to bring someone else to that place. I’ve been told in “Conversations with God,” whatever you wish to experience in your life, whatever it might be: more intelligence, more awareness, greater abundance, more compassion, more love in your life, and more patience, in fact, whatever you wish to experience in your life, if you want more of anything at all, cause someone else to have more of that in their life because what you give to another, you wind up giving to yourself since there’s really only one of us in the largest cosmic sense, there’s really only one of us in the room. Therefore, what I do for you, I do for me. What I fail to do for you, I fail to do for me.
So my answer to your question would be I try to open a door for as many people as possible so that they might step into that aspect of themselves, and I find that the more people I provide an opportunity for to do that, the more I experience it within myself as well, or to put it all in one sentence, we teach what we have to learn.
Vishen: That’s beautifully said. Now, in your books, you talk about that pivotal moment when you were angry at life, you broke down, met an angry letter to God on a piece of paper. And then I believe your whole method of living then was when you were upset about something, you’d write an angry letter and then not send it. The letter was just your way of getting things out. But in your case, something happens. As you wrote that angry letter to God, and this was maybe 25, 30 years ago, you felt your hand move and an answer come, and you could ask question after question and somehow inspiration would flow and you would be able to answer your own questions as God. What caused that and what was going on there? How would you explain it?
Neale: I want to be careful that we don’t give the impression that I was doing automatic writing. My hand was moving almost freely in the sense that the thoughts were coming so fast. Like have you ever written a letter, for instance? Maybe a letter that you really, really, really wanted to write, a letter to your parents or a letter to your lover or a really important letter and you needed to get it done quickly to get it in the mail because you wanted to post it as soon as you could. If you’ve ever had that experience and you find, all of a sudden, that your hand is moving almost without your thinking about it because you want to get out as much as you can get out as fast as you can.
In that sense, my hand was…how would I put it? I guess I would say moving by itself in the sense that it didn’t feel directed by some logical center inside of me, but it was not automatic writing. It wasn’t as if some essence or some being outside of myself took control of my beingness in my hand and I was suddenly doing automatic writing.
What actually happened was I simply felt, I’m going to is the word again, I felt inspired. That is, my mind was simply filled with thoughts that I would suddenly hear in my head almost like I was listening to someone whisper to me the answers to the questions that I was asking. And with each answer, more questions arose, of course, because the answers were not simplistic ones. They were fairly sophisticated answers filled with spiritual insight and nuance, and filled with information, in some cases, that I had never heard before in my life, never dreamed of before in my life. So of course, when I was hearing what I was hearing in my head, it was like a voice inside of my head. I call it the voiceless voice, like the sound of your own thoughts, for instance, when we listen to our own mind, rather like that.
And when I was hearing that voice say things, it would raise other questions because I would say, “No, wait a minute, wait a minute. How can that be? I don’t understand that. I don’t understand that.” And as soon as I indicated something that I didn’t fully understand or as soon as I asked a question in my mind about what I just heard, the next answer, the next, I want to call it download, the next piece of information was given to me. And then I had to write that as fast as I could on my yellow legal pad, writing it out as fast as I could. And then I would get another question that would come to me.
At one point in the dialogue, I felt, this was deep into the dialogue, I actually felt that I was being…how would I put this? Coached to ask certain questions. That is, my own basic questions began to run out after about two or three of those books. I frankly didn’t have of any of those questions anymore, but I found myself asking questions that I knew that the average person who hadn’t had the first three books as an experience would ask. And so I wound up speaking not exclusively but to some extent in the voice of people that I knew would be reading this because by that point, three books had been published, and I understood now that whatever I was writing would be read by not a couple of hundred people, and not even a couple of thousand people, but perhaps several million people in 37 languages around the world.
So I began to act as a surrogate in some cases for those readers asking questions that I had heard before in lecture halls and in workshops and in retreats, or questions that just occurred to me spontaneously that the average person, without the background I, by that point, had, might ask. So it began to be a very interesting process by which I was receiving both questions and answers toward the middle of those nine books that you referenced.
Vishen: Is that a process, that particular process that you use, is that something that you believe is a gift or is it something anybody can learn?
Neale: The answer is yes to both questions.
Vishen: How? Okay. So if the average person listening here, how could we run this process? When we have questions, when we have doubts, when we feel we need answers, what would we do?
Neale: I have advised people. I’m going to give you a two-part answer to that question. Number one, in my lectures around the world, I’ve actually suggested to people, you may want to just keep a pad of paper or a notebook or some kind of writing implement that doesn’t require a lot of business to get to. Like you have to open it and turn to a certain page, but just an empty tablet next to your bed on the nightstand next to your bed at night. And one interesting process, a tool that I’ve advised people to use is simply that they would write down a question when they go to sleep. Just write down a question and let it go at that. Put the pen down, put the paper down, put the writing implements on the nightstand next to you.
When you arise in the morning, before you do anything else, even before you go up to do any bathroom things or any kitchen things or anything at all, as soon as you awaken, just give yourself three or four minutes, pick up the yellow legal pad, pick up the pen and start writing the first thing that comes to your mind. It will amaze you. In some instances, it will shock you what is waiting for you there, so to speak, to simply be articulated.
I’ve actually created a tool that can be used on the internet that people can get to. I forgot the address for it, but you can go to the internet and you can find that tool. It’s called conversationswithgodinvitation.com, that’s what it is. C-W-G, cwginvitation.com. If you go to cwginvitation.com, I’ve actually taken the time to create a 40-minute meditation that can assist people in having the exact experience that I had.
Vishen: That’s beautiful, cwginvitation.com. That’s fantastic.
Neale: Yes, thank you. It was put together by a wonderful musician, an award-winning musician named Barry Goldstein. He did the background music to put us all in a wonderful space of mind. And then I went ahead, and without any scripting of any kind, just free flow, did a meditation for people, and people who have used that particular tool have told us that they’ve gotten some wonderful results. No guarantees, of course. We make no guarantees, but some who have used it have said they’ve experienced some wonderful results.
But by the way, let me just say this, writing on a piece of paper is not the only way to have a conversation with God. Conversations with God come to us in many, many different ways across many, many of the moments of our lives. The chance utterance of a friend down the street, the words on the billboard around the next corner of the highway, the lyrics of the next song you hear on the radio, does anybody listen to radio anymore? What is radio anyway? Oh yeah, radio, that thing we used to listen to. Or what you might see in the newspaper. In other words…and/or feelings for that matter, even feelings are communication from the divine. So I want to say that just writing is not the only way to have your own conversation with God.
If you put a question out there, watch the universe give you an answer. But here’s the problem for most people. They don’t hear the answer as an answer. They either write it off, “Oh, just a hunch. I can’t give that any credence. I can’t give that any validity. It was just a thought I had.” Or they dismiss it. They may think, “That was an inspiration,” but then they dismiss it. That is, they don’t follow what the communication is inviting them to do. They’re either afraid to follow it because they think it’s too pie-in-the-sky, too good to be true, so to speak.
You know what’s interesting? Here’s what’s interesting. Most people ignore their own conversations with God for an extraordinary reason. They’re too good to be true, but if God can’t be too good to be true, who can? So what when I hear conversations from God, communications from God, I can tell you that I follow what I hear. Whether it’s a hunch, a piece of advice, a suggestion, or an idea, or a thought of some kind, I simply go with it, in the instant moment. And I can tell you that while once in a while, things don’t always turn out the way I thought they would, I’m going to suggest to you that 80%, 85%, sometimes 90% of the time, they do and I’ve never been unhappy with the fact that I followed the impulse that I received. So I listen to God all the time, and I do what she says.
Vishen: But how would you know if what you’re listening to is really her? Or what if it’s just random logic and drama and thoughts in your head?
Neale: Well, there are two ways. Number one, first of all, I don’t have to know. I don’t require my stuff to be absolutely positively completely without a doubt certain. I don’t keep the bar that high. I listen to what I’m hearing, and I follow the advice. I don’t have to be that certain. Because in the old days, if I had a good thought about myself, God would agree. If I had what I thought was a really good idea, God would agree. And I found that God agreed with me, what’s happening a lot, and I thought I had to dismiss that because I thought, “Well, of course, of course. I would create a God who would agree with everything I’m saying and thinking.” So I dismissed so many hunches or so many opportunities to follow through on an idea that I was holding because I just dismissed it as my own wishful thinking, as they would say.
But you know what? If God isn’t going to grant our wishes, then who is? So don’t dismiss wishful thinking, but I can tell you that I have come up with a few guidelines that let me know that it’s not my ego or not some fear-laden part of myself, some fearful aspect of myself, that’s communicating with me, or for that matter, even an ego run amuck, ego out of control that’s communicating with me.
And so the guidelines I’ve come up with are, number one, what would happen if everybody did it? See, what would happen if everybody did it? That’s a great yardstick to put down for me. Number two, is it joyful? Number three, is it free? Number four, do I feel, when I think about it, expanded or contracted? Fearful or even apprehensive or excited and not apprehensive at all, just simply joyfully willing to move forward? Most of the communications that I receive fall into that category of making me feel expanded, excited, and simply ready to move forward without any fear, and I don’t see a lot of ego involved. I can usually tell, these days, I couldn’t always 25, 30 years ago, but these days, I can pretty much tell if it’s my ego talking to me and wanting me to get a big head about something or wanted me to do something that’s totally absurd just to become more important in somebody’s eyes, not to say my own.
But I’ve pretty much heard that sense of the divine communicating with me because…I’ll tell you something else that’s occurring to me right now. It rarely has to do with me. I won’t say never, but it rarely has to do with me. The communications that I receive from God, in most instances, have to do with the world at large or someone else in my life, but somebody other than me. And the only time it has to do with me directly is if I am being invited or encouraged to do something that would impact or affect other people in a powerful, helpful, beneficial, and useful way. But it very seldom has to do, if ever, has to do with my own…I want to say my own puny little desires. What do I have to do to win this person’s favor? How do I get the girl? How do I get the guy? How do I get the car? How do I get the better job, the greater income or whatever? I mean, I stopped asking myself questions like that many, many, many years ago.
But you know what happens, my friend? After a while, your desires in life change. At least, that’s what happened to me. I’m no longer concerned with things of the exterior world. Now, one could say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say because you’ve got all the things that people hope for,” but this idea left me before I got all those things, this idea that I no longer need or want or hanker after or a yearning for those exterior things. That state of mind embraced me before I had all those things.
Vishen: So hold that thought. I want to come to that. I want to come to that in a moment, but you said the five guidelines. The first one is what if everybody did it? Right?
Neale: Yeah, what if everybody did it?
Vishen: What was number two?
Neale: I forgot. If you don’t know, I don’t know because I forgot what I just said to you. So you have to understand that when you’re talking to me…
Vishen: It just came through.
Neale: Yeah, it’s just coming because I have no idea what I just said five minutes ago. One of the banes of my existence is when people ask me to repeat what I just said because I have no idea what I just said.
Vishen: Good point. Now I know what not to do at this interview. And fortunately, thank God for modern technology, thank God we have this all recorded. So I can always hit the rewind button later on. So you have me mesmerized, that was really big.
Neale: Vaguely, I would say to you, as I revisit the question, vaguely, I would say to you, is it freedom producing? Is it joy producing? Does it made me feel enlarged or am I filled with the excitement of enlargement? Feel a sense of apprehension, of extreme caution to the point where I almost stop myself from doing something? I feel I want to rush in and just do it for the sheer fun of it, which is how it often feels to me. So vaguely, those are some of the points that I consider.
But when God speaks to me, it’s usually pretty clear that it’s not coming from my ego or from my mind. And I’d usually just jump right into it, start another book, for instance. Let’s just start another book. Another one? Yes, or whatever it might be. Or “Well, I got an idea, let’s do this and let’s do that or say this or do that,” or whatever it might be. And I want to repeat my last part, I do recall the last point. It rarely has anything to do with me personally. It just doesn’t.
Vishen: So going back to that last point, you said you’re no longer concerned with all of those external things such as the car, the house. You’re concerned with deeper things. What are those things?
Neale: Who am I? Who am I? Who do I choose to be? How can I best demonstrate my highest thought about myself? Why am I here? Why am I…? First, more broadly, why am I on the planet? Why am I here in the universe? Why am I on the planet Earth? Why am I in this particular place on the planet Earth? Which I live in the United States. I live in the state of Oregon. I live in a city called Ashland. Why am I here? And then even reducing it down to the fine point, why am I here in this room right now with this person right now? Why am I here in this particular conversation right now? And deep down to the minute of this, to the very minute we’re experiencing, why am I here talking with you right now?
That’s what concerns my mind. Almost always, it’s not about get the car, get the house, get the big…none of that stuff. So what occupies my mind is an interesting question, what am I doing here? Why am I here right now and what would be my highest response to that question? That is, if there was a reply that enveloped my whole thought of godliness and divinity, how could I use the fact that I am here right now as a means of demonstrating that? I could be wrong about all of this. I could be making this all up in my mind, but if you know of a better way to live, I’m all ears.
Vishen: But what I’ve found really interesting for those of you listening about what Neale just said is if you remember the trainings that we had with Michael Beckwith and Joe Vitale, they spoke about how when it comes to goals, most people try to operate from intention, but a better approach, they suggest, is to operate through inspiration, to tune in, get the inspired reason for why you need to do what you do or why you’re doing what you’re doing and then make that your intention.
What I love about what Neale just said is by asking, why am I here? Why am I doing this call? You are in a way opening yourself up to inspiration. In other words, I could tell myself in intention, “I’m doing an interview with Neale right now because I want to get this out to X and Y and Z.” But by asking myself, why am I here with Neale, I open up more opportunities for me to use this recording, this knowledge that we’re producing here, for greater service to the world.
Neale: And to create an answer. See, here’s a point that I want to make. When I ask myself the question why, I’m not seeking to get an answer to that question from some source outside of myself. See, if I imagine that God is somewhere over there waiting to hear this question, and I say to God, “Why am I here right now? Why am I here?” If I’d actually did that and I had a conversation with God, she would say, “I don’t know, why are you?” And I would say, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m asking you.”
And he would say, “No, no, I’m asking you.” And I would say, “No, no, you don’t understand. You’re the one who has the answer.” And God would say, “No, no, you don’t understand. You’re the one who has the answer. My job is not to give you the answer to your questions. My job is to empower you to create the answer that most serves you,” and you won’t know whether it serves you or not unless you know exactly what it is you’re trying to do. You can’t understand whether any answer serves you until you know what it is you’re up to, what are you trying to do?
Once you decide what you’re trying to do, then you will know whether your answer serves you. So when I ask myself why, why am I here? What am I doing here in this moment? Why am I doing this interview right now? I don’t have to but I’ve invited to create the answer myself, but that creation of that answer would emerge and arise automatically out of my answer to the first question, who am I? Who am I? And what am I really up to on the planet? That is, what is my larger purpose in life?
And out of my answer to those questions, the answer to the question, why am I here right now in this moment with you, will almost create itself. But if it doesn’t, I can create it for myself. So now, I’m giving you an example of that, and I’m going to dare to give you this example because this is a daring thing, but we’ll just pretend that you and I are the only ones we’re ever going to watch this and we will not be seen by thousands and thousands of people. So let’s just pretend.
Why am I having this interview with you? So that I can experience myself in the divine aspect, as the divine aspect of wisdom and clarity. I choose to experience myself as that aspect of divinity that I would call, in my vocabulary, wisdom and clarity. And that’s how I choose to experience myself. Also as kindness, understanding, caring, compassionate, all those things, but at the top of my list right now in this moment, wisdom and clarity. If I want to experience myself as wisdom and clarity, there could be no better way to do it than to place myself at your disposal to ask me any question you wish to ask me. Then I could demonstrate and experience myself in that particular way.
But by doing that, I also demonstrate to everyone else that the exact same opportunity and ability is open to all of us. That’s the point that’s made by every great…not that I’m one of them, I’m not, but all the great spiritual masters from Lao Tzu to Buddha, to Jesus, and all the rest, before and after, the contemporary masters who walk the planet as well. They simply allow their lives to be living, breathing, examples of what is available to all of us.
Vishen: Oh, wow. Beautifully said. Neale, so that brings me to another question. What is God? Who are we? Why are we here?
Neale: Well, I can’t tell you what is God because we don’t have enough time. We would have to have 75,000 years, minimally, for me to even answer the first 5% of that question. See, so what God is is an eternity would not give us enough time to give you the answer. I can give you the answer to a different question though, what is God not? Not what is God, but what is God not? That answer, I can give you in a single word. Ask me what God is not.
Vishen: What is God not?
Neale: Nothing. There is nothing that God is not. Everything that is is what God is, and that encompasses more than you could even imagine, obviously, much more than meets the eye or as our friend, William Shakespeare, would have put it, “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” So there is nothing that God is not. Therefore, everything that is is divinity expressed and manifest in a particular form.
Why am I here? In order for me to have an opportunity to deliberately choose to express divinity in the highest form that I am capable of imagining. That is, let me put it to you in context. Most of the world’s religions disagree on various aspects. It’s hard to find religions that agree on every single thing on all the doctrines, all the dogma, all the understandings, all the beliefs. In fact, there are differences about all of those things between all the world’s great religions. But interestingly, there is one piece of information that virtually every religion on the face of the earth agrees with without exception, and that is the definition of God in human terms. All the world’s religions agree that God is the creator. On that, there is virtually no disagreement. So I don’t care what religion you look at, they start from that starting point. God is the creator.
Now, if that’s true and of course, I believe it is, if God is the creator, that is, that essence, that essential essence that creates, then if God wanted to experience itself, God would then create or produce opportunities energetically for all that God created to likewise be creators. That is, for God to know itself as a creator, God would create aspects of itself that equally have the ability and the opportunity to create. That’s exactly what God did in the universe. Therefore, why am I here? To reflect and to demonstrate, to experience and to fulfill the aspect of divinity known as the creator.
I am enjoining with others in a collaborative experience through which we are the creators of our own reality. I’m creating my own internal reality singularly and we are creating our collaborative reality collectively. So why are we here? To experience ourselves as creating, and in so doing, we reflect the highest notion that anyone ever had about God itself, which is that God is that which creates and so are we.
Vishen: When I read your book in 1998, when I was a college kid in Michigan, one of the key ideas that stood out from “Conversations with God Book 1,” was the idea that of creation, the idea that we…now, again, this may be the impression I got from the book. It may not necessarily be what you set out to put down, but the impression, the idea I got from the book is that we are co-creators with God, and our thoughts and our dominant thoughts and what we think about in a daily basis create the world around us.
Neale: Yes, I think that’s true, but I don’t think it happens unilaterally. That is I don’t think that one of us creates all that’s going on around us. I think that individually, we create what’s going on inside of us. That is we individually have the opportunity to create our own reality in the sense that our individual reality is that which we are experiencing with regard to that which is occurring outside of us and which is being created collaboratively. But the exterior experience of our collective reality is being created by us collaboratively, even as you and I are creating this moment, this interview, right here and right now.
Well, I’m having my own internal experience of the collaboratively created external expression. For instance, I think that you are a brilliant interviewer asking me all the right questions, and that’s my experience of you. Do you believe that or not?
Vishen: I do.
Neale: But see, that’s my internal experience, and you may have an entirely different internal experience. Your internal reality of this interview could be different from mine. So we are creating at two levels, the individual level in which we both decide what’s true for us about what’s happening right now, and the external reality that we are collaboratively creating. We’re doing that right now all over the world, by the way, with all the people on the planet are now creating our collaborative reality. If we don’t change some of those collaborative realities, we’re going to find ourselves in the most interesting situation on this planet in the years just ahead.
Vishen: Right. And so in a way, we are the master of our own domain. We create within ourselves, but we are also susceptible to group creation, to the creation of the people around us.
Neale: Yeah, there’s no such thing as group creation except if we embrace the notion that we are somehow separate from others. I understand you’re talking in human terms, and I appreciate that. I don’t want to confuse the audience, but in the largest metaphysical spiritual sense, there are no others. There’s only us. That is the lot of us. It’s the singularity of us.
If we understood that as a collective, we have decided to experience and express ourselves as merely individual elements of the same single thing even as my hand, even as the fingers of my hand are individual elements of the hand itself which in turn is an individual expression of my body, and so forth, if all of the human beings, or every member of the human race saw themselves in that way, I promise you our collective experience would change dramatically. In 24 hours, we would begin to see very directly, in a very direct way that what I do for you I do for me, what I fail to do for you I fail to do for me, that if I do not love you or treat you in the way I’d like you to love and treat me, we’re going to have some difficulties with certain aspects of our body.
So I have to treat this pinky finger with just the same amount of love as I treat my thumb, and I need to treat my hand with the same amount of love as I treat my face. It doesn’t do me any good to treat my face all really well nice face, nice face, and then bang my hand with a hammer. But that’s, right now, what the human race is doing.
Vishen: Right. And these are key ideas that you brought up in Book 2 when you spoke about the interrelatedness of all the entire species on the planet, and I thought that was just absolutely incredibly profound. I wish everyone would read, if anything, Book 1 and Book 2 certainly speaks about that in volumes. Book 2 as well had a profound influence on my life. And just for those of you listening, all of it is called “Conversations with God, Book 1, Book 2, Book 3,” and then Neale has a range of additional books, but if I could recommend, start with Book 1.
Neale, do you believe in intuition?
Neale: Yes. You can call it whatever you want. Intuition, inspiration. Yes, I listen to my intuition all the time. I am moved by my intuition. Whether it’s a small thing like turn left, don’t turn right, or buy this and don’t buy that, or this is good for you and this is not good for you when I’m in a restaurant on the menu, or larger intuitions, who should I marry? Where should I live?
Vishen: But in your understanding, what is that? What is that voice within that creates intuition or inspiration?
Neale: It’s a good question. I think it’s the part of my three-part being that is connected to and an expression of the constant flow of data, the stream of consciousness of the universe itself, if you please. That aspect of all that is, that is aware of all the choices and that are in front of us, the multitudinous choices that we face, the endless choices, really, an eternity of choices, and is connected to a place where we desire to coordinate. I’m going to use clunky words now because words are the least reliable form of communication, but a deep desire to coordinate with the highest notion that this moment allows in terms of how we can best express the divinity within us, which is interesting, by the way.
So if my intention is to express the highest aspect of divinity within me, my intuition may say turn left even when turning left is not the way to go and I wind up getting lost, and I’m lost for 10 minutes out in the woods someplace, but maybe, just maybe in that particular moment of my eternal life, that was the invitation life was sending me, the perfect contextual field, the perfect situation, conditions, events, and circumstances, allowing me to demonstrate a particular aspect of divinity in a perfect way. In this case, it could be patience, for instance, as an example.
So I listen to my intuition not because I think it will always give me exactly what I want, but always give me exactly what I…I’m going to use the word need loosely here, exactly what could best serve the agenda of my soul in any given moment. To put this all in one single sentence, conversation with God invites me always to see the perfection. It gave me three words in Book 1. See the perfection.
So I follow my impulse, I follow my instinct, but I don’t require that impulse, I don’t require that instinct to bring me exactly the perfect result that I define as perfect. But I see the perfection in whatever shows up, and I try to express gratitude for life however it’s formulating myself given that I did follow my intuition. Now, I will say this. My life experience, my on-the-ground experience has been that when I follow my intuition, without exception and without hesitation, 8 times out of 10, it leads me to exactly the outcome that I also was hoping for. So it’s a pretty wonderful way to live, but I never deny my intuition. I just do, I want to say, in a sense, I do what I’m told. That is I follow the impulse within me even though it might not provide the outcome that I was hoping for.
Let me give you a classic example, if I may, one more classic example. The guy who was walking down the street and he hears a baby crying from an upstairs window and the mother’s holding the baby, “Please help me save Minnie.” He realizes that the building is on fire and he sees the building going up in flames, and the mother is just asking, if nothing else, if the baby could be saved. “Please help my baby.” And the guy doesn’t run away from the building, he actually impulsively and intuitively runs toward the building, maybe even into the building. And maybe he saves the baby, manages to get the baby outside, but maybe he loses his life in the process. Maybe he dies of smoke inhalation or whatever it might be. So everyone calls him a hero and maybe he is dying. Maybe he’s ending his life on that afternoon. Wasn’t his highest thought of how he wanted to spend that day, but it may have been exactly what served the agenda of his soul, the opportunity to express and to experience, to place into the world, in fulfillment, the highest thought he ever held about who he is.
And given, of course, that life is eternal, the ending of that particular life, really, there’s no such thing as death, simply the transforming of that particular life, if that’s the day on which he celebrated his continuation day, that would be simply one more step on the eternal journey of the soul. But a person looking at it from the side might say, “Gosh, he followed his impulse. He followed his intuition and he ran into the building and he died.” And unless one was thinking at a very high spiritual level, one might say, “Isn’t that too bad?” Unless one were very clear that maybe his ending this particular incarnation in that specific way was the perfect outcome in his eternal journey of the soul. As Pope Francis would say, “Who am I to judge?”
Vishen: So if you enjoyed this conversation with Neale Donald Walsch, know that Neale is one of our foremost teachers on Mindvalley. And you can learn about Neale and his program at Mindvalley. It’s called “Awaken the Species.” It’s a Quest on Mindvalley’s Quest platform where over 30 days, Neale teaches you the characteristics, behaviors, and habits of what he call highly evolved beings, people who are at the highest level of conscious functioning. Now, this is such a remarkable program because it challenges what we’ve been trained to think of as genuine success in the world. Rather, Neale teaches us how to approach life with a grace, with a philosophy, with a kindness that you might more likely associate with a monk. That it’s really powerful when you start living life like that because magic starts to creep into everything you do. So check out the “Awaken the Species” quest. It starts four times a year on Mindvalley and you can learn about it on mindvalley.com.