185. The God Solution - Neale Donald Walsch
Is God talking to you?
If there is a God, why is the world such a mess?
What are the four fundamental questions of life?
It was my absolute honor to have this heart-to-heart exchange with Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series. Like many people on this planet, Neale's work has been instrumental to my own spiritual development. He has the ability to cut right through religious dogma and help people to expand their concepts and notions of God and life beyond any limitations. Dive into this conversation and feel into the wisdom, love, and joy which reverberates through his words.
Some additional topics we cover in this episode include:
- Is it possible that there is something we don’t understand about God? About life? About ourselves? If we could understand it, would it change everything?
- What could the highest definition of God be?
- How is forgiveness an impediment to our spiritual growth?
- Neale gives a powerful mantra to use daily.
- What is Neale’s personal meditation practice, and what is the purpose of meditation?
Hello, and welcome to the meditation conversation. I'm your host Kara Goodwin, and today I am exceptionally honored to have the great Neil Donald Walsh joining. Neil has written 39 books on contemporary spirituality and it's practical application in everyday life. He has nine books in his Conversation with God series alone, with book One remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for 134 weeks. His latest book is called The God Solution and it was published in December 2020. So welcome, Neil. What an honor and joy to have you here today.
Oh, thank you, Kara. Those are very kind of words, way over the top. I'm sorry to say that somebody on my team wrote that, his introduction. But I need to say to people, there's nothing special about me. I'm not the great Neil Donald Walsh. I'm a guy. I'm a regular guy. Honestly not trying to be funny. I just want to be real clear. I don't think of myself that way, the way I've just been introduced. Guys, I'm a normal person. I'm not a great person. It would be nice if I was the great Donald Walsh. But here we should say, now, here is the very normal with normal, proclivities normal, false normal behaviors that he wish he could change. And a few good points as well. Fair enough. But you know what? I did have an extraordinary experience. That much I will allow. And it's an experience that everyone is having all the time. They're simply calling it something else. They may not call it Conversations with God. They may call it a moment of inspiration, or any epiphany or women's intuition, or a sudden hunch or a stroke of genius or whatever they want to call it. Because we've been taught by our religions, actually by our culture more broadly, that we should never walk around saying, oh, there, God talks to me. It's okay to say we talk to God and we call it prayer, and that's totally acceptable. But people who say, no, you don't understand. I talked to God and got answers directly, specifically gives me verbal answers. People who say that tend to get frowned up if not locked up. And sometimes people will actually say to someone like that, by whose authority are you acting like this? So I've learned to make it very clear to people that what I was told in my nine Conversations with God is that everyone is having conversations with God all the time. They're simply calling it something else, not to overwork the point, but to make it clear that I'm not special in any way.
Well, I really appreciate that humility and that clarification. I do find your work in particular in my life has been very special. You have a very special place in my own awakening journey. And so for me, I feel like I'm meeting Santa or something!
Now that I've been called. Yeah. I have been called Santa. Honestly, that happened to me in a restaurant about three years ago, and some lady walked up to me and she said, excuse me, sir, but could I ask you a big favor? I said, Certainly, what can I do for you? She said, My grandson is sitting over there at the table with us. Can you see that little girl, that little boy? And I said, yeah, I do. Could you go over and just say hi to you? He sees you as Santa Claus. Honestly, mom, there's Santa. I told him that I would go over. Yeah. So I got to play that role. I went over there and pulled up a chair next to him and talked to her for like eight or nine minutes, just back and forth. And what we should like for Christmas, fortunately, was more or less close to the Christmas season in November and so forth. And I just had a wonderful time. So I actually got to play Santa.
Oh, I love that. Yeah, I know. It was a wonderful experience. Yeah. Oh, wow. Well, the way that you show up as Santa, for me it's a little bit different, but you played a vital role in my own spiritual journey many, many years ago. Conversations with God was the very first spiritual book I read that went way outside of any dogmatic and religious lines. I had read things like angel stories and I've always really liked his mysterious ways, that kind of stuff. I was reading kind of things like that, but they usually had some sort of religious tie in. And I read Conversations With God back in the late 90s.
Wow. You were able to read when you were seven years old? I was in my 20s, but thank you.
I just found it at the bookstore. Nobody in my life was reading books like that at the time, and I can't even say what drew it to me in the first place. I didn't have any prior knowledge of it, but it just sort of leapt off of the book shelf. It has a white sleeve on it too, so it's not even like it was this purple book that was stood out.
It was rather simple cover.
Yes, simple. But it really was like, okay, I'm getting this for some reason, but reading it put me in a whole other place. It was so fresh and new, and it made absolute sense. And the words that came through were so practical and accessible and logical. There was no dogma that was even needed because it just all fit together so perfectly. And on top of that. You had the magic of the foundation that it was written upon. Which was the automatic writing. Which you talk about in that book. Where you didn't even really know what was happening. But you were asking these questions even in kind of frustrated state. And then your hand was writing. And the brain wasn't telling the hand what to write. And you started to realize something. You were communicating with something, and so there was the magic of it. But then what was coming through is so practical, it's so grounded, it's in everyday language. Everything that came through was kind of like, of course that God is love. Of course we're not being set up to fail is the word that comes through. But that's not quite right. But God is on our side, and it's our perception. So much of the learnings were about our perception of how things are supposed to be and what suffering is and what God should be doing. So it all just really fit together very logically and perfectly. And it really was like a shift for me of just like, oh, my goodness. Well, you know what they say, shift happens. Well said. It does. In the case of conversations with God, absolutely. So I just want to thank you for sparking those deep knowings of truth within me at such an important time in my development. And then to be here with you now is just a dream.
Thank you so much, Kara. Honestly, I'm very happy and deeply happy and humbled to know, honestly, I'm not just saying this. I feel really humbled by what you're telling me. And I'm glad, I'm just pretty glad that some small thing I may have done has touched your life in such an important way. Let me share something with you, however, so that people don't have the wrong impression. I don't consider what I did to be automatic writing, okay? I think it started that way with the first few words. Kind of like when you try to say to people to help them understand. Is that if you ever owed anybody this is longer ago. Of course. Before we had computers and texts and so forth. But in the old days when we were younger and you owed somebody a letter. Maybe you owed your mom a letter you haven't sent a note to somebody you need to write to. And so you just put pen to paper and say, I really should send mom a note. And so you write Dear Mom And the first few words, maybe the first sentence or two, actually kind of, in a sense, write themselves. Dear Mom, I'm sorry I haven't written to you for so long. I promised myself I would do better with this, but I haven't done as well as I would like. Blah. Blah, blah. And then pretty soon the sense of the letter being written for you, that sense kind of goes away and you have to really start moving into a different experience. That's kind of like how the conversations with God and counter began. Yes. The first few words, the first few communications felt like, what's happening? It's just reading, automatic writing. What's happening? But after a very, very short time, what was occurring was that I was hearing a voiceless voice in my mind. I was actually hearing the dialogue answers to my questions. Cara. Do you like to call Cara or Kara? Kara, but I don't mind. Okay. But I don't mind. I don't mind. Okay, so kara but I don't mind. I experienced really a voice inside my head. I describe it as a voiceless voice because as soon as I say to people I really experienced a voice, they want to know, was it a male voice? Was it a female voice? Was it an older person? A young child said, no, let's not try to characterize it. It was kind of like the sound of my own thoughts. A voiceless voice. When you hear thoughts in your head, it doesn't have a particular characteristic to the voice, but it definitely is something or someone speaking a thought to you. It might be a quick thought, like, don't go there, stop. Or it might be a longer thought. But I began writing down what I was, I want to say, hearing in my head, and I would hear the answers kara. The questions I was asking. Before I finished even writing the question, I would have the question in my mind and I would write it down. I had made a decision early in the process to keep a record because it was so extraordinary what was happening to me. I wanted to make sure I would never forget it. I wasn't trying to write a book. I was simply having a personal, private, sacred, spiritual experience. But I did know that I want to keep track of this because this is most unusual. And I'm hearing things I've never heard before, as you point out. Things that not only run counter to, but actually violated this sense. The doctrines and the doctors of virtually all of the world's great religions. So I thought, wow, I don't know what this is about, but I better keep a record of it. So I did. And I was actually told in that this is more than you want. You're going to feel sad because you're going to ask me a series of 35 2nd questions, and I'm going to give you a series of 22 minutes answers. That is perfect. Do that. That's great. So let me just share with you that I was a little bit frightened at the beginning. At first I thought, my God, am I trafficking with the devil? What's going on here? Because I was being told things that were totally contradictory to everything I had been taught in my upbringing about life, about myself, about the world, and certainly about God. But I kept a record of it anyway because it felt important to me to do so. And then I was told in the dialogue, you will make of this one day a book and it will be accessed by many people. And you know what, Kara? I thought. Oh, yeah, right. Certainly. That's exactly what I'm going to send my middle of the night mental meanderings to a publisher who's going to say, Hold the presses. I got a guy here who's talking to God. Of course it's not going to happen. Nobody's going to publish this stuff. But when I had many pages of handwritten this is all by hand, by the way, on the yellow legal pad, when I had many, many pages of questions and answers handwritten, I did send it to a publisher. And if people said to me, well, if you didn't want to write a book, why did you send it to a publisher? And I can give you my answer. Actually, it's a pretty good answer I sent it to a publisher on a dare.
See I was told, as part of the dialogue, this will one day become a book and it will be accessed by many people. And I thought, frankly, it was a part of me that was like, we'll see about that because the odds of this mental meandering being published are one in a billion. It's not going to happen. So I thought, I'm going to send it to a publisher just to see. And, you know, I sent it to a tiny handful of publishers, not 20 or 30, but I think four or five publishers. And one of them called me about a week and a half after I sent it off and said by that time, I had hired a stenographer and asked her if she would take my handwritten notes and type them up. So I sent the typewritten manuscript to these publishers and one of them called me and said, we want to publish your book. A very small, very small publisher on the East Coast, not a major it wasn't like a Random House where Simon and Schuster it was a very small publisher I never heard of. But they said, we'd like to publish your books. And I said, you're kidding me. Really? Yeah. We have a problem with the title. If you could change the title, we'd appreciate it. Well, I only called it when I experienced I called you I experienced this conversation. Well, people are going to be pushed away by that title. They're not going to go for that. And I said, Then don't publish it because we're not going to call it something else. And they wanted to put it out as a book of fiction. Oh, really? Yeah. They thought it was a great fictional story about a guy who had this exchange with the divine. And I said, no, we're not publishing it as fiction, and we're not calling it something else. You're going to either publish it as a nonfiction book called Conversations with God, or you're not going to publish it at all. He said. Oh, okay, relax. We'll put it out the way you want. We'll put it out, but he says it's not going to sell that many copies, but we'll put it out because we like the material. I said. Okay. Fair enough. They did put it out. And he was right, of course. His prediction was totally accurate. It didn't sell that many copies. 15 million
Drops in the bucket.
34 languages, as you mentioned. I'm not bragging, just saying I don't want people to think I'm boasting. I'm just telling the story. This is what happened. And I sat back and watched this happen, and I'm like, what? I mean, what? This is being read in 34 languages, in Russian and Japanese, even in Italian, where everybody is Catholic, right? Yeah. I really couldn't comprehend what was going on. It was published in some obscure languages as well. Really? Not so well known languages, was all suddenly, after about a year, was all over the world. Just within a year, more or less, 12, 13, 14 months, somewhere in there, it took off. It was on the New York Times bestseller after five weeks. Wow. Five weeks after its publication. Because it went crazy. People were buying it like crazy. So it was on the best seller list maybe five or eight weeks after it was published. And as you pointed out, it stayed there on that list for 134 weeks, which is for a non fiction book. Fiction books may have a lifespan on the list of that length, but generally in nonfiction, books do not become best sellers for more than ten or 1520 weeks. But that's what happened. And then, of course, the publishers in New York began calling me, do you have any sisters like that at home?
The typical question, do you have any more like that? And I said, well, I haven't stopped having my experience. I never thought it would get published. Never even occurred to me. So while that was going on, yes, I continued to have these experiences. They were said, Please send us whatever you've got. Send us whatever more you have. And so that became the ongoing Conversations with God dialogue, which turned into nine books of exchanges back and forth, roughly just under 4000 pages of back and forth dialogue. My story, and I'm sticking to it. Well, how does that thank you for reframing how I had talked about the automatic writing and explaining the process, because you've got the Conversations with God series of nine, but you've published 39 books, including the latest one, The God Solution. The God Solution very much has the flavor of Conversations with God, but it's not that back and forth. It's not a dialogue, but the wisdom and the themes throughout it are very familiar.
So after you wrapped up the Conversations with God series published and you wrote your other books, what was the change for you in your method?
Sure. Let me explain first even why I bothered writing more books. After many dialogue books were written, I think five or six of them were already written, I began being deluged, and I really mean deluge with requests and letters from people all over the world. Emails, telephone requests, media interviewers wanted to talk to me and they're all asking a whole series of questions about the material. And I realized that people really who had read some of the dialogues were yearning for an expansion of a deeper exploration. They didn't want to leave the words, just leave them at that. They wanted to go deeper behind some of those principles that you talked about that were contained in the dialogues. So I thought, well, you know, I really owe it to people who have read these books to delve more deeply into some of those particular points. As an example, just to give you an example, the ten illusions of humans are explained in the book called Communion with God. It talks about that we live a world of illusion and we have ten specific illusions, the ten biggest illusions that really drive the engine of the human experience. That's just one example. The book Friendship with God was a dialogue book. But I began writing a book to explain some of the information in that book, including a book that I wrote called The Only Thing That Matters. It was a narrative book. All the rest of them are narrative books that seek to dive more deeply into the exchanges found in the Conversations with God dialogue. So that's how it came to pass that I continued to write those other 30 books, 30 more books, including the final one called The God Solution. And you know, I hadn't intended to write that book. I wrote it. It just emerged. It came out of me because of what's been going on on the planet in the past two years or so. Starting with the Pandemic. Obviously the major event of the past 24 or 29 months. As well as the economic collapse that the pandemic caused in many businesses and in many personal lives. To say nothing about the loss of life. Millions of people dying from the COVID thing. And also other things that were arising in our experience as a result of the incredible stress and strain that our entire civilization found itself under. The racial conflicts we've seen, the racial disparity and the racial frankly, and some of the racial injustices, the wars that have arisen between nations and the other experiences as well, that we're having the incredible increase in alienation. Terra, I want to say to you that why I wound up finally feeling urge to write The God Solution is I saw all these problems and nobody could ignore me. Pick up the newspaper. And the newspaper is a piece of paper that people it had actually printing on the cover of it and on the front of it and you could actually read news stories in it. But I would turn on the Internet and I'd read the news and so forth and I would think, gosh, what is going on? What is it that people are not really getting? So I thought you need to take I'm talking to myself here, Neale. You need to take the deepest, most important messages of the whole Conversations with God dialogue. The nine book, 4000 page dialogue and put it between the covers of one book. Make it simply accessible. Just put it out there. Because those messages are in fact the solution to the world's problems, not to the problems that are created by our place in the cosmos. A comet, maybe striking the Earth, or earthquakes or tornadoes. But the humanmade problems could be solved if we simply chose to listen carefully to the most important messages from my Conversations with God dialogue. So I wrote a book called and I know it was kind of daring to call it that, but I did call it The God Solution because it looks at the problem. Kara, I started with a simple question which I called the God Dilemma. Because it's the questions I was hearing for the past 27 years from anyone who heard about the writing or the books themselves. They would say, okay, Neale, if there really is a God and I'm not willing to concede that there even is, but if there is a God, why is the world such a mess, right? And why has it been such a mess? Why has life on this planet been such a mess for thousands and thousands of years? But what's the point? What's the point of even having a God if it's going to be like this? And you know, I thought that was a fair question, very fair question. Any reasonably thinking person would ask that question. Why should I believe in a God who sits by and watches the world go to hell like this? What's the point of that? So I had to start there. I had to invite people to look at the answer to that question. And then what could emerge from exploring that answer deeply? I'd love to give you the answer to the question, but I'm not going to. I think you should just figure it out for yourself. And good luck and thanks for the interview and goodbye.
(laughing) Wow. Where do I go from there? We got right to the precipice.
Well, do you want to expand a little bit on the solution? The biggest problem in the world today. Kara. As I've observed it. Is that most people and certainly the people in positions of power don't know what the biggest problem in the world today is I'm talking about the world's religious leaders. The Pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury. The chief Lama. The head rabbi. The people who are at the top levels of the world's great faith traditions. To say nothing of the people who are at the top level of the world's governments. The prime ministers. The presidents of the various nations to say nothing of people who are running the world's largest corporations. Nobody in positions of enormous influence and power over human affairs seems to understand what is the biggest problem in the world today. We can see the fallout. We can see the result of the biggest problem that you can put in one word alienation. We are seeing, kara, a level of alienation on this planet between groups of people that I've never seen at this level in my life. We've always had differences of opinion, but not like we're seeing today where people with differences of opinion are making each other wrong, demonizing the other person for not sharing their point of view. So we see these huge differences now arising between conservatives and liberals, between gays and straits, between this religion and that religion, between political parties, between nation states, between the rich and the poor, between men and women. This whole division that we're seeing in the human species divided right down the middle and tearing us apart. But nobody is sitting down and saying wait a minute, wait a minute. What is causing this sudden eruption of division between all these groups? What's happening here? I looked at that carefully and I came up with an answer that the division is being caused. And the biggest problem in the world today is humanities believe in a single word: separation. We believe, Kara, that everything is separate from everything else. I'm separate from you. We are separate from everybody else. People are separate from their environment, from the world at large, from the trees and the birds and the fish and sea. We're separate from everything. And we're certainly separate, thank you very much, from God, even if we think there isn't God. By the way, surveys have shown over the past five years sociologists have been taking surveys all over the world because they wanted to find out, asking a simple question, one question. They went around the world and asked only one question do you believe in a higher power? Percent 8.5 out of every ten people said yes. We believe in a higher power even though we agree in huge numbers that there is such a thing as a higher power, that there's more going on here than meets the eye. Thank you very much. We can't agree on what the higher power is, what it wants, how it works, what it does, what it will do if you don't do what it wants, if anything. And nor can we agree on how we could use that higher power to our own benefit. We can't agree on the simplest questions around that higher power. And because we believe in the notion of separation, that notion created a separation theology. Almost all of our theologies, not all of them, but virtually all of the by the way, there are 4000 religions on the Earth right now. You may not know that, but that's a statistic. You can look up on Google. Just type in your Google search engine. How many religions are there on the Earth? 4200 faith traditions now being practiced right now? Yes, now being practiced on the Earth. The largest number of those faith traditions teach of a God who is separate from us. I call this separation theology god's over there and we're over here. And never the Tween showed me, except perhaps on Judgment Day. Right? But until then we're separate. Now, that wouldn't be so bad if we want to believe in a separate card. Okay, fair enough, we should be able to believe what we want to believe in. But it doesn't stop there. Because a separation theology inevitably creates a separation cosmology, that is, a cosmological holding of all of life has nothing but a bunch of separate elements individual planets, individual stars, individual plants and trees and flowers and people, bunches of individual entities and life forms that are separate from each other. And you know what? That wouldn't be so bad, Kara, if that's where it ended. But it doesn't stop there. Because a separation cosmology inevitably produces a separation sociology and a separation psychology. The psychology is that, oh, I'm alone out here, I'm all by myself. So we yearn for a partner, we learn for someone to companion with because we don't want to be alone. And that produces that separation sociology that I just spoke of, where we create little societies, we call them groups, we call them religions, or nations, or races or political parties, but we group together in little societies, and then the societies say we're right and you're wrong. Just get it, just get it. You're wrong and we're right. And if people don't agree, then we do bad things to them. Because a separation of sociology inevitably produces what? A separation pathology, pathological behaviors of self destruction evidenced in human history from as far back as recorded history has existed. So we get that ethiology produces a cosmology, which produces a psychology, which produces a sociology, which produces the pathology in which we are now living. And all of this would change if we simply embraced the God solution. And the God solution simply is to let's redefine God. Yes, but let's stop and ask ourselves a simple question. Is it fair to ask ourselves a simple question? And the question is this is it possible, just possible, that there's something we don't fully understand here about God, about life, and about ourselves, the understanding of which change everything? Now, if we say no? No, Neil, there's nothing we don't understand. We understand all of it. It's all there. In the book. It's a good book. It's right there in the Upani shops. I mean the Bhagavad Gita, I mean the Quran, I mean the Bible, I mean the Book of Morrow, whatever book you believe in. There are only 433 sacred texts in the world, but it's all there in the good book. Just read the book and Neil, shut the hell up. But we've been reading these books for thousands of years and we're still in the same mess we're in. Is it possible, just I asked Fair Question time, is it possible, just possible, that maybe there's something we don't completely understand? Could we have been, god forbid, mistaken in our understanding of the divine? Because here is how we have understood the divine. God loves us for sure. Whatever you call it, god, Allah, Brahman, Jehovah, Yahweh, whatever word it pleases you to use to refer to that ineffable essence that we call the divine. But could it be we've been taught that God loves us for sure, but that if we don't do what God wants, then God will judge us, condemn us and punish us. So that if we're racing to figure out, well we don't want God to judge, condemn and punish us, so we got to figure out what is God wants. And that race is what's created the 4000 religions on the planet right now. Each religion trying to figure out and then trying to share with its followers, this is what God wants, do these things and you'll be okay.
But we've been doing all those things that those religious have been telling us for thousands of years and it hasn't helped. It hasn't stopped, it hasn't stopped our own behaviors. Is it possible, I only ask, is it possible that we've misunderstood the fundamental nature of the divine? That's not an unimportant question. Because guess what? We're all trying to imitate the divine. We've been taught by our cultures, by our religions, we've been taught to behave the way God behaves, if you please Godlike, or to be as close to Godlike as we can. So we have naturally assumed that what's good enough for God is good enough for us. Therefore, I reserve the right to love you in the following way. I love you if I love you, if you do what I need you to, do, what I want you to do, what I command and demand that you do, and as long as you do those things, we're going to be fine. But should you fail to do what it is that I have told you I need from you, I will judge, condemn and punish you. Let me give you a simple example of that. When I was nine years old, I was in the Catholics. When I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, god bless him. And this is not going to be an anticatholic tirade, I'm simply using it as an example. And the priests came into our class our third grade class to teach once a week. The priest should come in for an hour or so and teach what he called catechus, which is the doctrine and the dogma of the Catholic Church. And this particular Wednesday, he was talking about mortal sin. He said, you know, there are mortal sins and venial sins. Venial sins are kind of like spiritual misdemeanors. But a mortal sin is big time stuff. It can't be forgiven. If you die with a mortal sin on your soul, you will go to hell. So you have to go to confession once a week to make sure you don't have any mortal sins on your soul. So as nine year old, I'm being, okay, I'll go to confession once a week, make sure I don't do anything really, really bad. But Father, can you give me an example of what a pretty bad thing would do? Because I'm thinking at nine, what could I do to be so horrible? I could observe, I was not dumb. I could see how adults have done things, wars, murders and rapes and child abuse and all the rest. But I thought at nine, Go said, well, son, it's a mortal sin if you miss Mass on Sunday. And I said what? I said, if you miss Mass on Sunday without a good excuse, if you're caring for a sick parent, fair enough. Or if you're an adult and you have to go to work and you work on Sunday, okay, but if you don't have a good excuse, if you just decide not to go to church that Sunday, and if you get hit by a car on Monday and you haven't gone to confession and that sin is still on your soul on Tuesday, you will be in hell. Oh, my goodness, where you'll spend everlasting damnation in unbelievable, indescribable suffering in the fires of hell. Kara, I'm nine years old, I'm trying to absorb this. And of course, as it would be, as luck would have it, that was one of the few Sundays in my life, and I, in fact, didn't go to church. It was the big game at the playground that week. It was the playground world, the World Series of playgrounds. Was it the big softball tournament, and I was the right fielder for our team. I couldn't miss, so I went to the big game and I missed. Maybe I went to church virtually every Sunday of my life, but I missed that as it would happen that Sunday I missed. Now the priest is telling me I'm going to hell, so I'm racing to the confessional. But we only had confessions once a week. On Saturdays we had confessions in our church. Not at any time you wanted. So I thought, oh my God, I hope you don't die between now and Saturday. And I'm going to bed really scared. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I awake. I beg the Lord my soul to take. Why shouldn't I be afraid of God, right? Because he didn't go to church one Sunday in his life. I thought that I was exaggerating this when I got to be an older person. I thought, Well, I didn't hear him, right. So I checked on Roman Catholic theology. Kara. The church still teaches that. Really? You miss Mass on Sunday without a good excuse, you're going to hell unless you go to confession and you're absolved of that sin if you get hit by a car on the way to confession, because I used to ask the priest those kinds of questions. What if you get hit by a car on the way to confession? Sorry, son, you got to go to church on Sunday. Talk about filling the pews, talk about using fear to fill the churches. Right. And this is not the only religion that does use fear to fill the churches and the temples and the synagogues, I promise you. Right, well, and this is one of the big takeaways for me in The God Solution and also in conversations with God. But what you're talking about with how we have religions that describe a God and then we're trying to emulate that God. But what it seems that they're actually doing is they're taking people and are almost our worst characteristics and ascribing those to God and understanding God from a human. Yeah, which is a complete reversal. We've been taught the doctrine is that man was made in the image and likeness of God. But we've decided, no, you got it wrong. God was made in the image and likeness of man. We've turned the whole thing upside down. Now, to bring this to a period of the end of the sentence to come to a conclusion, the new definition of God is a twoword definition that I offer in The God's Solution. Supposing we decided that God could really be defined by two words pure love. Now, Kara, when I give this talk at a church someplace or anywhere, really, when I do it in front of an audience, somebody inevitably stands up in the back of the room and says, oh, come on, I've been listening to you now for 40 minutes and this is your big revelation? God is love. We all agree on that. Even the world's religions, they may have differences in doctrine, but they all agree that God is loved. That's all you have to offer. And I have to say wait. Relax. I didn't say God. That's not what I said. I said God is pure love. And now my person in the back of the room will say, okay, what's the difference? The difference is that pure love needs, expects, requires and demands nothing in return.
Now, that's theologically revolutionary. Virtually every one of the 4000 religious of the earth would disagree with that doctrine, would disagree with that belief. Oh, no. God loves us, but he wants certain things in return. But if you don't obey God's laws, if you belong to a certain religion, for instance, you have to cover yourself from head to toe if you're a certain gender and only be able to see a little spit out of it in front of you, at least you can see where you're going. But you won't have to worry about where you're going a lot, because you're not allowed to leave your house unless you're in the company of a male relative. And these are God's laws. I'm not making this up. They say, this came to us directly from the highest power. So this is theologically revolutionary to imagine that God needs, requires, and demands nothing in return. You have to be but that's blasphemy. People will say, Neil, that's blasphemy. However, it was George Bernard Shaw Riley noted in 17, all great truths begin as blasphemy. So wouldn't it be interesting if we simply decided God is pure love and that we are pure love as well? Because what if we also ended our idea of separation? What if we went talk about theologically revolutionary. What if we went to the point where we say, oh, I see, there's no separation between God and us, that we are all simply individuals of the singular energy. We are individuals of divinity. Oh, the guy in the back of the room now, he's reading out of his mind. Are you trying to tell me you think you're God? I said, wow, relax. I didn't say that. I'm God. I said I'm an individuation of divinity. That your relationship to God is the same as the relationship of a wave to the ocean. The wave on the ocean is not separate from the ocean. It's not something other than the ocean. It's simply an arising of the ocean in individuated form. Beautiful, powerful, magnificent, glorious. And when that individual is complete, when that individual expression is complete, it recedes back into the ocean whence it came to arise again on another day. It's really so simple.
Wow. Guys, I could be wrong about all of this, but I don't think so. That's what I learned in my conversation with God. And that's what you'll find neatly described in The God Solution.
Wow. Well, thank you. It is so powerful and again, simple in terms of I mean, it doesn't get much simpler than understanding God as pure love, full stop, with no conditions. That it just is. It is. That being, this acceptance, that presence of love. And of course, we have so much programming. We have programming from religion like we've been talking about throughout.
We have programming just through society of separation. It's such a simple concept Kara, it is so simple that we're missing it. It's almost too good to be true. Kara, here's the sadness. Most human beings cannot even love the person on the next pillow in that way. We can't even love each other that way. You see, I love you, but we got a deal here. I got some needs. I was hoping that you would be meeting my needs. I'll play fair. I'll try to meet your needs. You meet my needs? I'll meet your needs. Well, I've kind of a trade deal. Like countries, like nations, have trade deals. Valentine's Day, I'll give you the perfect Valentine's card. My dearest, my darling, my beloved. I trade you very much. I trade you very much, and I will never stop trading you. I will trade you until the end of time. But if you stop trading me, the deal is off.
So can I love even the person on the pillow next to me? Much less the person across the room? Or the person across the street? Or the person across town? Or the person across the world? Can I even love the person in the mirror?
That's what I was just going to say!
I'm way ahead of you. I understand. I read your thoughts ahead of time.
Yeah, I see! Where I was going to go with that is how hard it is for people to even love themselves. We tend to be so hard on ourselves. I think for a lot of people, to love oneself unconditionally is a tall, tall order.
Unless it's not. Unless enough people like Kara Goodwin come along. Unless enough people touch enough other people in an astonishing, unselfish, compassionate and clarifying way. Unless we have enough Karas in the world who say, Wait a minute. Is it possible I don't have to be right about all this, Kara says, but is it possible, just possible, that there's something we don't fully understand here, the understanding of which would change everything? So, Kara, keep doing what you're doing because we need you.
Thank you so much. Wow. So in The Godsolution, you give various examples of elevated expressions of love, because pure love, you talked about how that can pure love, if we just take that on the surface, we may think that we understand what that is. We think we understand what love is. But I loved the part of your book where you start talking about these elevated expressions of love because we have so many distorted views of love in our relationships and things that we commonly accept as love, and we don't even recognize that there are more evolved versions of that. So one example that you gave was forgiveness versus acceptance. And I thought this was so profound, this blew my mind. But you say that at a certain point, forgiveness is moot.
Actually, forgiveness is the biggest obstacle to spiritual growth.
Oh, right. Well, can you expand on that a bit? Because I found this really profound.
Yes, forgiveness can be useful in life for beginning students, people who are just starting off on the spiritual path, forgiveness can be useful, too. But it really is. Forgive me, but the Kindergarten of Spirituality, because in order for us to think that someone deserves our forgiveness. We have to imagine that we are not who we really are. That is, we have to set aside our understanding that we are in fact, individuations of the divine. Because if we are in fact individuations of God, then we don't ever have to forgive anybody any more than God needs to forgive us. I love it when I give talks in churches. I've been invited to give pulpit talks frequently. And I love it when I get in front of the congregation and I say, thank you for having me here today. I've come here to share with you the following information. God will never forgive you for anything. And the place goes crazy. I mean, the congregation, their eyes crossed. They don't know what to do with that. Yeah, I said no. I said, Just give it some thoughts. Do you really think that God needs to forgive you? Is it your thought? Do you believe in a God who can be angered, upset, hurt, damaged, injured or frustrated by the likes of you? That you are somehow able to put God in such a position that she would have to forgive you for something? Is that your understanding of the divine? And then I ask the following question have you ever held a six month old baby in your arms? Raise your hand if you ever have. And most of the hands in the auditorium in the church go up. Oh. So you've all had that blessed experience at least once in your life. Maybe it was your own child, maybe the baby of a friend, but you've all had that experience of holding a six month old baby in your arms. Yeah, I said, Great. Now, if when you're holding that baby, that baby happens to have an unfortunate biological accident, would you say to the baby, oh, it's okay, I forgive you? Of course, forgiveness is not even on your agenda. You even love the baby even in the moment of that experience, as part of that baby's innocent
childhood. So I want you to know that we are God's babies. We are God's creations. God totally understands how we could have done what we think is unforgivable. God even understands how we could mismatch last something, much less actually start a war that kills thousands of people or anything in between. God understands how a developing, primitive, young, totally immature species could do what we are doing to ourselves and to each other. God will not punish us for that any more than you punish a six month old child, because you would understand how that could happen in the experience of a six month old child. God understands how these things could happen in the experience of a civilization as immature and as young as ours. Therefore, I offer you this clarity. Understanding replaces forgiveness in the mind of the master.
And when you understand how the other person could have done such a thing, how they did whatever you seek that they did that you need to forgive them for. But if you look behind and then behind that, and then behind that, you look deep enough, most of us can go, oh, you know, I don't approve of it, I don't agree with it, I don't condone it, I don't want it to be repeated. But God knows I understand how they could have done that to me. I totally understand.
A few years ago, Pope John Paul II. But he was in Rome a few years ago, and somebody stepped out of the crowd and shot him six times. And all six bullets hit him. Not one missed. And of course, he was raced to the hospital, and miraculously, he recovered. Of course, they grabbed the guy and threw him in jail for life. Naturally, the Pope went to the man's jail cell and he said something quite extraordinary to the bed. He said, In the name of the Father, add of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I bless you. He blessed the man who shot him six times. Then he sat down with the man and he said, could you be willing to help me understand why he would do such a thing? I don't condone it. I don't think this is a way to solve any problem. I don't want anyone to repeat this, but I do year and to know what could cause you to do that. And the man said, yeah, I can tell you. He said, I'm from Turkey and I'm a Muslim. And he said, I happen to think that the Catholic Church has done more to hurt the Islamic faith than any other particular institution in human history. And so I was just going to defend my faith and take care of business by hurting the faith back, by killing the Pope. And again the Pope said, I don't think that's the way to solve any problem on earth. But given what you've told me and the depth of your hurt, I can understand how you would do such a thing. They became pen pals. Kara, I'm not making this up. This is history, a matter of recorded history. They began writing letters back and forth from the jail cells to the Vatican, back to the jail cell, back to the Vatican, reading each other's letters, spilling each other's souls to the other in writing until after the members of jail. Seven years. The Pope actually wrote a letter to the civil authorities in Rome asking the authorities to grant the man a full pardon. The Pope said, look, he served seven years. He made a terrible mistake, but allow him not to learn from this mistake release. And of course, the civil authorities did what the Pope requested, because understanding replaces forgiveness in the mind of the master. The Pope knew that the whole world was watching him. He understood that this was a teachable moment where I could send a message larger than anyone could imagine. I could go to this man's jail cell and give him the Papal blessing. Yeah. And people said to the Pope, your Holiness, really? That's the example you want to set, that you want to bless your assassin? And the Pope said, Well, I thought I heard someone say, bless your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you, and do good to those who do you evil. And when a man slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. And when a man steals your coat, give him your shirt as well. And when a man demands that you walk 1 mile with him, go with him, two, and raise not your fists to heaven and curse the darkness not but be a light unto the darkness, that you might know who you really are, and that all those whose lives you touch might know who they really are as well.
It's really so simple.
I could, of course, be wrong about all of this.
You know, Kara, there's a mantra that I invite people to say. Mantras are very personal. I'm not trying to tell people what their mantra should be, but I can tell you what works for me, and it can be a useful tool. The first time you see anybody on any given day, maybe it is the person on the next pillow or a relative in the other part of the house, or the person across the street or around the world. But the first time you see anyone on any particular day, give some thought to seeing this mantra. Don't say it out loud, because no one will understand, but say it in your heart and in your mind.
Your life will be made better today for my having passed through it, I promise you, those are words to live by.
Wow. Thank you. So I would love to ask you one more thing, which is tell me about your personal meditation practice or how you like to connect with God.
I don't have a meditation practice in the classic sense. This disappoints people a lot. They say, oh, Neale, don't tell me that. But actually, I won't say that I never meditate. I meditate maybe once in a while, a couple of times a month, I might sit down, whatever. But I don't have a regular meditation practice where I sit down every day or every other day for a half hour or 45 minutes. Because I've come to understand that I was told in my interactions with the Divine that meditation does not have to look a certain way, doesn't have to be okay. You sit across and they get in front of a candle and you own or whatever it is that we call our particular practice. One can meditate doing the dishes. One can meditate cutting the grass. One can meditate, walking down the street and simply stopping and observing what's? So one can meditate in ten second intervals. My favorite meditation is what I call a stopping meditation. It's my favorite form of meditation. I'll stop for 10 seconds, six times a day, 60 seconds a day, 1 minute a day, broken into six to ten second segments, where I'll stop in the middle of something. Maybe I'm writing something. Or I'm. In fact. Doing the dishes. Or I'm in the middle of some kind of activity or whatever it might be. But in the middle of it. I'll simply stop for 10 seconds for no apparent reason. And then I'll just allow myself to be with myself and to think of nothing in particular for that 10 seconds to reconnect with the essential essence of who I really am. And that can happen in the middle of a sentence sometimes, right? It could even happen in the middle of an interview on a podcast.
You do that six times a day for the next 60 days, and your life will never be the same.
Thank you for that. I agree with you. I do meditate myself. I have my own meditation practice. But when we get down to brass tacks about what's the point of it, it's not about the sitting, just like you're saying, it's not about the practice. That would be as important as making sure I hit mass every week if it's just to tick the box. Like, okay, I sat today. And so I did it. So I also find it really important to remember what the point of it is, which for me, different people come to it for different reasons. Of course, some people are just wanting to get a handle on their stress and don't just want to not feel anxious all the time. And it's a tool for them to do that. For me, it's this remembrance of who I am beyond the physical, beyond the personality, and connecting with that eternal aspect of who I am. And like you're saying, the more that we can do that on the fly where we don't have to go and sit, but we can still pull that forth and we can connect with it, it's really powerful. For me, it's the whole purpose
Not only to remember who I am, but to remember why I'm here. See, that's the second part that some people kind of leave off, okay, I want to remember who I am. I want to reconnect with the divine. Fair enough. But then let's go deeper. Let's remember not only who I am, but why am I here. Cameron there are four fundamental questions in life. I invite everybody to ask these four questions every morning. Print them on your bathroom mirror, get a Magic Marker and put them on your bathroom mirror so you see them in the morning when you wake up off to the side of the bathroom mirror. Here are the four fundamental questions of life. Who am I? Where am I? Why am I where I am? And what do I intend to do about that? Ask and answer these four questions every morning of your life. But be careful. See, there are no right answers to these questions. There are only the answers that you are given. Be careful, because like the ten second meditation, this little process can change your life. So who am I? In individual divinity, where am I? I'm in the realm of the physical as opposed to the realm of the spiritual. Why am I where I am? Because the realm of the physical is the only realm in the kingdom of God where I can express and experience, announce and declare, demonstrate and know fully who I really am. Because in the realm of the physical, who I am not also exists. Whereas in the realm of the spiritual, such a thing is not possible. And so God created the realm of the physical where we could have a contextual field where this exists and that exists. Where there's up and down, left and right, big and small, fast and slow, male and female created to you them. Where there is even what you call good and what we call evil. Where that which you are not exists so that what you are can be experienced. And I tried to understand this deeply. And God said, Neale, I'll give you a simple example. Let's just say that you are the light. Okay? I am the light. Now, you can even know yourself as the light. Conceptually. That's wonderful. But suppose you would like to actually experience being the light. What would you need to do that? See the darkness. God said, you're getting it. You're starting to understand. Therefore, you will create the darkness and call it forth and bring it into your life that you might experience being the light. So when things happen to you that are unwelcome, be grateful. Thank you, God, for helping me to understand that this problem has already been solved for me. Thank you, God, for helping me to understand why this is even occurring and what I'm doing here. Thank you, God, for helping me to know this moment that this is my perfect opportunity to demonstrate the graduate thought I ever held about you and about me.
Careful. Be very careful. This stuff can change your life. Because if you don't know why you're here I mean, if you think like I thought for 50 years, hey, I know why I'm here. I'm here to get the guy. Get the girl. Get the car. Get the job. Get the house. Get the better car. Get the better job. Get the spouse. Get the better spouse. Get the better spouse. Get the better spouse. Get the kids. Get the grandkids. Get my name on the office door. Get my name on the building. Get the gray hair. Get the cruise tickets. Get the illness and get out.
That's the formula by which nine tenths of the human race lives. Life. You have no idea what we're doing here unless we do. So that's my thought about meditation. That's my thought about life and how to move through it in a way that finally makes sense to the soul.
That's amazing. I agree. Like I've mentioned, as I've been devouring your book, it's just everything falls into place. And the fact that you have written it against the backdrop of covet and all of the turmoil. The specific modern ales that any reader can relate to. Because we've all just come through. Or are still continuing to come through these last two years. It's a really important and valuable time for us to be hearing that message and to remember that connection that we all have to each other. That we have to God. The pure love that is God. That is us. That's running through everything and everything is compiled of it. It's really, really so powerful and so timely. I just can't thank you enough. Beautiful.
Well, you have. You thank me enough for what you're doing, as I mentioned a moment ago. And you will continue to thank the universe. You'll continue to thank life itself by continuing to be who you are in the lives of others. So good job. Nice work.
Thank you. Wow. Thank you so much.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'd love for you to do me one quick favor, which is to think of one person who would benefit from hearing this content. Let them know you're thinking of them by sharing this episode with them right now. Thank you, and I look forward to the next meditation conversation.
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