Interview with Neale Donald Walsch by Jennifer Baltz
JB: Tell me how the idea for this book came to you.
NDW: It never
started as a book. It was really an experience I was having. It was an
experience that many people would call akin to journaling that began in
February of 1992. Only after the entire experience was finished, did I
really believe that I had a book--or that it was even supposed to be a
book and sent off to a publisher. I think it's important to understand
that it was never intended for publication to begin with.
JB: In the book, you wrote that at one point long ago, you had the idea to write a book called God is a Salami Sandwich.
NDW: The point is that God is everything. I was eating a Salami sandwich at a time. I had a window of wisdom-- one of those brief moments, just a flicker, ever so brief. Sometimes you move through that pane of glass and suddenly sense something.
Suddenly I knew that God was everything. He was the table I was eating on, the tree outside, the birds flying around the tree. I chuckled at that wonderful wisdom, and I wrote on my napkin God is a Salami Sandwich. God being everything, there is nothing that is is not God. God is both the irreverent and the irreverent, hence the irreverent title. That was many years ago, and I still haven't written that book.
JB: How do you experience the conversations with God.? How are they different than a normal conversation--say with your wife or with another person. How did it feel to talk with God?
NDW: I can only describe it one way -- it may be a bit too graphic for your readers. I remember key moments in my life when I was deeply in love. Those times when the experience of physical union was an extension of the bliss when you look into the eyes of another and realize that 'we really are together and that we were meant to be united here for all eternity.' I've had those feelings with only a very few people in my life. I remember having that afterglow feeling that I can only describe as total safety, total bliss, total wonderment at the beauty of it all. How incredibly special that moment is. That moment we have maybe 20-50 times in a lifetime, when we feel completely safe, with the knowledge of what true love might be.
That's how I felt in the conversations. After just a few exchanges, I felt that afterglow feeling with ultimate intimacy. It felt like total safety, total joy, total peace, total wonderment. I wept many times at the joy of it. That tearful release that 'Yes, this kind of experience is possible. It actually happens.' I can recall sitting on the couch at five in the morning, crying those tears of incredible joy.
JB: One idea I found intriguing in the book was the concept of creating--that if you want something, it means you don't have it.
NDW: You're declaring you do not have it when you say "I want." Almost from the beginning of the conversations, I shifted my ground of being from wanting something to being grateful that it was already part of my experience. Here's an example for you: After the book finally came out, I saw it on the New York Times Bestseller List. I just saw it there in my mind, with total certainty. I said "Thank you for making this a best seller." And it happened. I didn't want it for my own aggrandizement but because I wanted this book to be available all over the world, to all people, for the material it contains. I saw it being translated into 19 languages and myself talking in front of groups of 800-1000 people around the world. That is happening, too.
I read a wonderful prayer in A Course in Miracles: "Thank you God for helping me to understand that this problem has already been solved for me." I moved into a daily expression of that prayer.
JB: What was the greatest revelation you had while conversing with God?
NDW: The greatest personal revelation was that I was OK. I've spent most of my life being very clear that I am not OK. I thought that when I died I would really get it in the neck--that God would come and get me and I would have hell to pay.
My biggest revelation was "Oh my God, I'm really all right." Even with the mistakes and the injuries that I have foisted on others, I'm still going to be acceptable. The revelation of my own worthiness.
The next greatest revelation was that there is enough. There is enough. And that was a very important. There is enough time, enough money, enough love for all of us. There is enough on this planet and in this universe of all the things we say we need in order to be truly happy.
Prior to that time, I had lived in a place of lack consciousness. It always seemed to me that there wasn't enough time, love, money, or nearly enough sex -- there was never enough. Not enough cotton candy, or good movies to see. I truly lived that experience for a long time, until it was revealed to me in that dialogue that there was not only enough to have, there was even enough to share.
JB: In Book One, God talks about fear and love-that fear is equivalent to pulling in, or contracting your energy.
NDW: Yes, love is that which expands, fear is that which contracts. Love is very expansive, and fear is very contracting---it's no accident of words that people who come together from a place of fear must have a contract. We only sign a contract when we come from fear, only to protect ourselves from the imagined loss, before it even happens. When you come from a place of love, your word is your bond. You don't need anything beyond that.
JB: I guess you could say that the whole legal profession is based on fear, then.
NDW: Not just the legal profession, but actually laws themselves. All laws are man's declaration that he will not do what is appropriate unless he is told to! He chuckles.
JB: It keeps us in childhood, constantly looking over the fence to see if you're going to get caught, rather than being an adult and just owning what you do.
JB: God also says in Book One that the outcome is assured -- that we don't have to try to get to heaven. We are, in fact, already there. I like that.
NDW: That's a part of my first revelation that I am worthy. There's nothing to worry about. What's really funny is that all the things I've worried about since I was 19 -- am I going to get the girl, the job, the fame, the fortune -- I find it remarkable that all the things I've worried about getting, I've already gotten. Only to find that the getting wasn't really the point!
The irony is that the worrying didn't help one bit. Which leads me to a great philosophical question at the ripe old age of 53! How would I live my life if I thought there was nothing to worry about? I find myself thinking about that. I think it would probably be much larger things -- I think that's the challenge that life calls us to.
JB: One part of Book One that I would think many orthodox religions might have trouble with is about right and wrong -- that there is no such thing as sin. Just creating and becoming more of who you are.
NDW: It's not so much becoming who we are --we're here to create who we really are-- it's a process of creation. We are in fact doing that every minute of every day -- it's unconscious for most of us, but it is there. You're creating yourself each day through your choices and actions. Before you go to sleep at night, you look back at the events of the day, the things you've done, the interactions you've had with others, and you say "This is who I am." You'll either be pleased with it or not -- and to the extent that you're pleased, you'll recreate it again tomorrow.
Life is a process of creation, not a process of discovery. For the so-called New Age movement, the purpose of life is to be who you are. But most people come to a zero with this, because they're waiting to experience who they are rather than to create. How can I be who I am, when I don't know who I am.
JB: So we should pay more attention to what we're creating.
NDW: Focus more on what you wish to create. Who do you choose to be? Do you choose to be a person of great clarity, of great compassion, of great wisdom, of great love? Fine, then keep your eye on the main chance. Then take all of the lower, everyday decisions and experience them in the light of who you are, what you wish to create. If you focus on that and insist on that, you'll see your life changing.
JB: Many people might ask 'how is this different from saying you want something, which God says in your book doesn't work?'
NDW: One doesn't make a statement of 'I wish to create something because I don't have it yet.' It's a frame of mind. The frame of mind we fall into if we say "I want" more money or more compassion -- we fall into a frame of mind that we don't now have it. Every thought we utter is creative: If we say "I want more money," the Universe answers "Indeed you do (want for more money.)"
The purpose is to recreate yourself in the next grander version, the next grander vision of who you already are. No matter how compassionate you are, you can be more compassionate. No matter how wise you are, you can have more wisdom. No matter how abundant, you can be more abundant. It's no different than a tree reaching out to the sky seeking to be more tree. The tree cries out to the universe, 'I seek to be more treeness!' That is not an invalidation of the fact that it already is a tree.
So, if we have the thought "All the money I need is coming to me now," that in fact is what will happen.
JB: It will just continue to happen more and more as we go.
NDW: Of course. Unless our fear stops it. As soon as we get what we want, we fear we're going to lose it. For instance, in the moment you acquire your greatest love, you also acquire your greatest fear. When I first met the woman I deeply and truly loved, I lived in fear for six weeks that I would lose her. With every step in the relationship that brought us closer together, I would experience fear that it would end. It's crazy-making. The human mind has the infinite capacity to jump to the next place of fear. Then, we'll produce it, and in fact she does walk away. Then we say "See, I knew it would happen this way."
It's like a story that I heard from a spiritual master. A young man was told by his teacher 'Your mind can move mountains.' He didn't believe it. But, he decided to go home and try it, anyway. He sits by the window, saying 'Mountain move, mountain move.' He goes to bed thinking 'mountain move.' The next morning, he rushes to the window, looks at the mountain outside (which is still in the same place) and says, 'Aha! It's just as I thought.'
Do you get it? If we announce and declare and live in our fear loud
enough, we'll produce it. There's no doubt about that. That's one of the
reasons we started ReCreation. It's a non-profit foundation. We produce
workshops and retreats, worldwide that seek to give people back to
themselves. It's been my observation that we have been robbed of
ourselves. That's the purpose of the foundation that we call ReCreation,
in recognition of the fact that life is really a constant re-creation,
or God's recreation, spelled the same way!
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