While Neale Donald Walsch always felt in his heart that he wanted to be a spiritual teacher, he had no idea how that reality would come to fruition – especially when he found himself flat broke, homeless, divorced, and in failing health. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now famous Conversations with God. From that broken place, Neale Donald Walsh has become a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 34 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.
In addition to authoring the renowned With God series, Neale has published 16 other works, as well as a number of video and audio programs. Available throughout the world, each of the CWG dialogue books has made the New York Times Bestseller list, Conversations with God-Book 1 occupying the list for over two and half years.
The With God Series has redefined God and shifted spiritual paradigms around the globe. In order to deal with the enormous response to his writings, Neale created the Conversations with God Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love.
The following is an interview with Neale Donald Walsh, highlighting his newest book, When Everything Changes, Change Everything – a timely work that has the potential to help those whose lives have changed and are finding it difficult to cope. His words of wisdom can truly help scores of people, whose lives are in turmoil, feeling as though they are drowning – to find a pathway to peace and to create joyful outcomes out of difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching situations.
TA: You start your book, When Everything Changes, Change Everything, with “Nine Changes that Can Change Everything.” How did you come to these specific 9 items?
NDW: I may have a general broad-based idea of what I want to write about when I sit down to write a book, but I don’t have any idea of what it’s going to say. I would call my experience of creativity ‘inspired by God’ to produce certain pieces of information that might be useful to others. With Change, I knew I wanted to write something that would be helpful to those who had experienced sudden and unwelcome change in their lives. My wife actually gave me the idea in a bookstore. She said, “Look at all the books on these shelves. There are books about how to be happy, how to get what you want, how to create your own reality, how to smile and the world smiles with you – lots of up-tempo books. I don’t see a single book in the area of human potential or spirituality about how to deal with your life when it’s falling apart – when everything is changing so rapidly you don’t know how to keep up. That’s the book you need to write.” I went home and began writing, When Everything Changes, Change Everything, and the 9 items just came through.
TA: In the book, you talk about the changing pace of change. Can you speak to this a bit?
NDW: The pace of change has increased radically over the past 50 years or so. My grandfather experienced that things did not change much (in major ways) throughout the entire course of his life. The window of major change is currently about two and half years. I’m talking about major shifts in our exterior reality. We have discovered how to clone animals, the DNA coding of living beings, genetic in utero manipulation, things about outer space, things affecting technology and science, taking stem cells and transforming them into any organ of the body we want. If I had heard this even 10 years ago (let alone 50 years ago), I would have said you were talking science fiction. The point that the book makes is that the pace of every kind of change(geo-political, geo-physical, technological, etc.), has increased wildly – exponentially over the past 40 or 50 years or so –almost so that we cannot keep up with it on a day- to- day basis. The problem this creates for humanity (not just the changes themselves), but the philosophical, spiritual and moral constructions – (those under-girdments that support the foundation of the human experience) have notchanged. We are trying to overlay 20th century morality over 21st century experiences. And it’s utterly impossible to do so. We have to update our moral, spiritual and philosophical constructions and our cultural story of who we are, where we are, what God wants; is there a God at all, what the purpose of life is, how do we get from where we are to where we want to be.
NDW: We just need a worldwide movement. In fact, I’m starting one. It’s called, ‘The Conversations Movement’. Our goal is to engage about 250 million people in a conversation about what our new cultural story might be – a global conversation about what is really important in life. Facebook has gotten 500 million people involved talking about nothing within a couple of years. This movement ‘THE CONVERSATION OF THE CENTURY’, I believe, will interest sufficient numbers of people that it will become a grass roots movement that will grow like wildfire; it will go viral and people will be jumping on the website: www.theglobalconversation.com. People are logging in and offering insights as to what the new cultural story of humanity could and should be in every area of human activity (politics, religion, spirituality, medicine, social contracts; in every area; marriage, relationships, sexuality, employment, health).
TA: What can we do to prevent disconnecting from our souls?
NDW: We can spend time each day devoting a certain amount of time to establishing, maintaining and ensuring a reconnection with the soul. My experience has been that most people do not pay a lot of attention to their souls in daily life. Most people around me (as I did in previous years) pay a lot of attention to their bodies/bodily needs, comforts and desires as well as their minds; I used to feed mine with newspaper articles/reading materials, movies and TV programs. I did not spend a whole lot of time nurturing my soul or bringing my soul’s experience into the experience of my body, mind and life. I think that most people are not clear that we are three part beings; body, mind AND soul and that unless we ask the body and the mind to operate (more or less – most of the time) deeply connected to the soul, that we really rob ourselves of what might be our greatest resource. I believe that when people invite their soul into the present moment – especially when their bodies and minds are encountering that experience of sudden and abrupt change – the wisdom of the soul allows them to experience the change differently. It literally re-contextualizes the change itself and we have a deeper, richer, more profound understanding of what is really going on.
TA: You’ve created this book to encourage an interactive experience between you and the reader. Can you tell our readers a bit about this; why you designed it this way?
NDW: I was writing the book and I realized that I had read 101 self-help books, and in most cases, it feels like when I put them down that’s pretty much it. If a book does have some additional resources, it may be a reading list in the back or something similar. But I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the help that is being offered by this book didn’t end with this book, but actually started here. What if we put the entire text of this book on the internet so that people could scan the book and ask any question from any line or paragraph – from any section of the book and actually get an answer? Furthermore, what if I created a place on the internet where they could bring their own present moment concerns, experiences, questions, dilemmas and challenges to this space and ask for assistance (from people who understand the cosmology of the Change book)? Or for that matter, from those who understand the larger cosmology of the Conversations with God material? So that’s what I did. I gathered a team of 12 or 14 (the # fluctuates) volunteers who have read and studied all of my materials. The website is manned 24 hrs./day, 7 days/week. Over 12,000 people have visited this site (as of the date of this interview) and received benefit.
TA: The part of the book that talks about “noticing the moment” is really potent. Can you share a bit about that?
NDW: This process came to me one day when working with a person in a spiritual renewal retreat. I was having a conversation with a group and someone was having a problem with what I was saying; thought I was being a bit authoritative, or aggressively confident… perhaps even a bit bossy. I asked her to come forward and talk about it. What I discovered was that I had inadvertently developed a process that can be used by anyone, anytime, any place, anywhere. I offered her the chance to notice what was true about the moment, and the possibility that she was experiencing something from her memory (that was being triggered by my offerings). I suggested that we look at the moment in a very specific and rich way, and by noticing what was factually there (as opposed to what was being added to the moment from her memory banks) that she might be able to notice what’s so. When people can separate what’s actually there in a moment like this – from what I call their “unintended content”– they are able to just notice what’s so – what is. It is the unintended content which causes people to experience unintended reality. It’s not easy to do in every day life; we have been trained to bring forth all sorts of non-related content to the moment we are experiencing. If one practices and uses it consistently, it becomes easier.
TA: Can you tell us about the “system of the soul” and how it can encourage the mind?
NDW: The key to using the system of the soul is to replace the word, “event” with the word, “being”. As we explore how we are creating our reality, most people imagine that their interior, individual reality has been created by an event. They perceive that the events of their lives (I was deserted when I was 7, my father died when I was 12, my uncle abused me when I was 14 – whatever), are what creates their reality. I offer, “What if you replaced the “event” with “being”? What if you decided that what creates your reality is what you are being, rather than the “events” that have occurred in your life? Pick any particular event in your life. What do you choose to be with regard to that event? This is the healing question. When people replace “beingness” in place of the “events” of their lives (even retroactively) – and actively choose a state of “being”, they recreate their reality from that rather than from the event itself, and all manner of miracles become possible. I’ve seen it take place right before my eyes.
TA: What is involved in balancing the “mind and the soul”?
NDW: I think that whatever we encounter in life, we want to encourage a balance between the mind and the soul…and that is to consider about 50% data from the mind and 50% data from the soul. This is what Buddhists call, “the middle way.” I think that most people are out of balance. If they bring in the data of the soul at all (usually not), they do so perhaps at a 5-15% level. People usually allow their minds and mental constructions (their judged past data) to form 90% or more of their conclusions about what’s going on right here, right now. If we begin to live a more balanced life, if we purposely, intentionally, and assiduously insist on bringing in the wisdom of the soul and allow the data/insights of the soul to comprise at least 50% of the overall data that we are considering before we form our truths about a particular event, then our truth would be elevated from the imagined to at least the apparent truth and often to the actual truth about what is now occurring. I ask two questions when I am confronting life on a moment to moment basis when something important is happening. (1) What is factually happening right now? (2) What does my soul know about this and want me to know about this? It is amazing that when I give myself 20-25 seconds to seriously consider these questions, almost instantly I will arrive at a deeper awareness and a richer understanding of what is happening right now – from the soul’s level of awareness. And by the way, after doing this for a couple of weeks, your soul will be so delighted that after however many years on the planet, you’ve decided to include it in your movement through life that it will happily show up with deep, rich, profound responses. It will carry you to a level of awareness with regard to specific occurrences in your life that you might have thought unachievable.
TA: Could you tell our readers about what you call, “stopping meditation”?
NDW: It is my observation that 98% of the people are spending 98% of their time focusing on the 98% of things that don’t matter. Stopping meditation is one of the easiest, quickest and most powerful forms of meditation. It is virtually effortless and its power relative to the effort is remarkable. If you do this 6x/day, 10 seconds each time, in only a minute a day, you can create a life-changing experience. In just 30 days, you would begin to experience life at an entirely different level. No matter where you are, stop (cleaning the house, shopping, working, taking a walk – whatever you are doing) for 10 seconds or so. Look closely at what is right in front of you – what is going on specifically…what I call ‘looking at this moment right now.’ If you are in the shower, stop and try to concentrate on the number of drops that are coming through the shower head. If you are outside and there is some grass, get down and count the blades of grass in the range of your eyesight. Just look deeply at something and contemplate it in some way or another. The beauty of life will become so apparent to you; you will feel differently about the life adventure itself. By the end of 30 days or so, you will find that your spiritual metabolism has slowed to a point to where you no longer feel as hectic, lost or caught up in things that don’t matter. It’s a powerful device that returns 90x the effort.
TA: Stopping Meditation sounds like being present in the moment at a most profound level.
NDW: It’s what Ram Dass called, “Be Here Now.”
TA: In listening to the CWG tapes, I understood that you would not be continuing past book 3 to have conversations with God in the same way (including the legal pad writing of questions and answers) that you did during that time. Can you share about what your “Conversations with God” have been since then and what they are like now?
NDW: I think that I have learned (as a practical matter – in reality) that everything in my life now is a “conversation with God”. So my conversations with God are not such isolated experiences (between 4:30 and 7:30 in the morning as they were), but are now more integrated in the moment to moment of my life experience. I now actually hear into life – seeing everything that’s occurring as a conversation with God in some form. So it really is the next song on the radio – a chance utterance of a friend on the street – it really is what’s happening right now. I stop and think, ‘What is life trying to tell me right now?’ And “What does my soul know about this?’
TA: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about?
NDW: By the time this publication is out in July, we will have launched www.cwg.tv, which is a TV/Internet/Hotline/TV Channel that will provide video access to past events, past lectures/seminars, live steaming video of workshops and retreats as well as live (real-time) TV where we will interact with people all over the world via Skype or a voice line. Callers can ask questions about the CWG material. They can work with the material and learn how to apply it to a particular challenge in their daily lives. The website will be bringing the electronic wizardry of the 21st century into the CWG experience. This will give me the opportunity to reach many, many more thousands of people than I could possibly reach otherwise. CWG.tv will offer live programs globally. I will also be doing interactive (from my TV studio in Ashland) live workshops, retreats and programs; working with people remotely (as well as those in the room). In addition, live evening lectures to locations all over the world and participants with the same Q & A format will be offered. We are using the technologies of today to bring the messages of tomorrow to people here and now.
Please visit Neale Donald Walsh’s website to learn about all of his offerings, his upcoming workshops and events, books, audios, artwork, messenger community, free resources and so much more: www.nealedonaldwalsh.com.