Who would ever have predicted that one man’s private conversation with God would wind up not only published, but on the New York Times Best-Seller list for, as of this interview, an astounding 110 weeks with no end in sight? Author Neale Donald Walsch never expected his private conversation to be anything more than that—a private dialogue between himself and his Maker. Yet groups have sprung up in communities all across the country to discuss Neale’s intimate conversations with the Divine Source. Conversations with God, Books 2 and 3, have also enjoyed status on the best-seller’s list for extended periods.
Randy Peyser: Congratulations on the incredible success of your books.
Neale Donald Walsch: Well thank you, but it’s really the people who have been purchasing the book who need to be congratulated. If the book is successful, it’s because of the willingness of people everywhere to take a new look at a very old subject, to look at some truths about life in an entirely new way. This marks a new beginning for many people in their understanding of their right relationship with God, and their divine right relationship with each other.
RP: With so much success, how have you been able to maintain equilibrium and not obsess with your ego?
NDW: Well, I haven’t been able to. My daily struggle is to stay out of my ego. My hourly challenge is to experience my grandest idea of who I AM without causing it to alter how I hold myself in relationship to others. And I’ve not been able to maintain my equilibrium.
Anyone who tells you that success is easy in any endeavor, or that the world’s acknowledgement of one’s success is easy to negotiate, would either be deluding themselves or lying to you.
RP: Did you have a desire to be a best-selling author?
NDW: Yes. I never imagined, however, that the material that would produce the realization of that desire would be of this nature. I thought I would be a writer of fiction or non-fiction of an entirely different nature. I’ve always enjoyed writing and have written for a living before—not books, but newspaper and magazine articles.
RP: Was it fate or freewill that led you to becoming a best-selling author?
NDW: At the beginning, my intention in the Conversations with God books was to be authentically in touch with my own personal understanding of God. I was not attempting to write a best-selling book, much less three of them. It never occurred to me to do that. I was having a private process and a very private conversation within the deepest reaches of my own mind.
I kept a record of that conversation for my own personal purposes, having nothing to do with publishing a book. The result of that is that the material which was published became instantly successful. I think that people who read the material saw a purity—if not to say, an innocence—a lack of any attempt to produce some kind of best-selling material that they were simply privvy to by virtue of their opening the page.
RP: What advice would you give to others who desire to achieve their dreams?
NDW: I think that when we come from beingness, results are always achieved at a very high level. When we come from doingness, results are achieved at a very low level—if the desired results are achieved at all. If a person is trying to do what it takes—to somehow do something—in order to achieve success as a writer, I think it will be very difficult to produce that outcome. Because one will be aware with each word that hits the printed page of what one is trying to do, and that will inhibit the process.
If one is simply being a writer, and sets the outcome aside—stepping away from any expectation with regard to a particular result—then I think one is suddenly free to be profoundly and authentically what one has chosen to be. Then it’s merely a question if whether other people will get it. I think there’s a much higher possibility—I might even say a probability—that other people will get it, because people “get” others when they’re in their true and authentic state of being.
So the answer of how to become a success at anything is not to try to, but rather to seek to experience the highest level of beingness which would automatically, without effort, produce success.
RP: How have you changed through all of this? What kind of person were you? And who you are now?
NDW: I was selfish, unthinking and insensitive to the needs of others. On this day of my life I am very much the same way, only I am perhaps less so. The changes that occurred have occurred in degrees. I’m finding myself moving away from behaviors and experiences that no longer represent the highest thought I hold about who I might create myself as being.
Also, in the days prior to the book, I was a “doingness” kind of person, always up to something, doing this and that. In more recent times, I pay much more attention to what I’m being rather than what I’m doing.
I’ve come to understand that no matter what I’m doing, it’s almost irrelevant compared to what I’m being. Am I being compassionate? Am I being emotionally generous? Am I being understanding? Am I being sensitive to others. And am I being God-like in my approach to the experience of Life itself?
So the question, “What was I before?” is Act One. I lived very selfishly, and did so without too much of a thought as to the consequences; I made decisions and choices which were difficult for others, if not outright damaging. Since those days, I have become more aware of the impact of my actions, choices and decisions on other people.
RP: How has your family responded to the changes in you?
NDW: I think anytime anyone becomes a better version of themselves, all people rejoice. Those who are closest to me are pleased that I seem to have made a turn in the road and found a way to walk my path with some higher degree of grace.
RP: When you prepare to talk to God, do you meditate or create any rituals?
NDW: No. I simply talk to God quite as casually and quite as spontaneously as I’m talking with you.
RP: How then can the rest of us develop a deeper communion with God?
NDW: By choosing to. By agreeing that it’s possible and then by intending to produce that result. It’s a matter of the deepest personal choice and the highest individual belief. Most people do not believe that they can experience communion, or a conversation, or a friendship with God. Most people do not believe that they are worthy, or if they are worthy, that the process of life itself even allows for such a possibility.
In fact, millions of the world’s people would suggest that what I have claimed to experience is really a blasphemy. And that’s extraordinarily sad. Almost beyond being regrettable, it is profoundly causatory of the experience that the human race is having.
Our very idea that we are so separate from God that we can’t even talk or hear back from Him in a direct and personal way is the thought which creates the sense of separation that we experience with each other. We go about interacting with each other as if we were separate beings having nothing to do with each other. When, in fact, there is only one of us here in a multiplicity of individuations.
If we understood that and interacted with each other from that highest truth, it would eliminate all wars and all conflict between us overnight. As it is, we are as if we were one being biting our nose to spite our face.
RP: What does God want for us?
NDW: Nothing. God wants nothing for us. If God wanted something for us, we’d automatically have it, given who and what God is.
RP: So it becomes a matter of what we want for ourselves.
NDW: Precisely. “My will for you is your will for you,” is what God says. It’s what all people say to each other who truly love each other.
RP: Would the question, “What does God want from us?” yield the same answer?
NDW: Of course. God wants nothing from us because if God would want something from us it would suggest God needs something without which He cannot be happy. And that, of course, is profoundly untrue. God wants nothing from us save what we choose to give to God.
RP: Can you talk about your feelings about the millenium? Many seem to be in fear about what might happen.
NDW: I don’t think that anything desperate or untoward, or even inconvenient is going to happen around the time of the new millenium. In fact, I’m certain that nothing unfortunate or unhappy will occur during that time—unless it does.
There is nothing set in stone. Those who say that certain outcomes or events are inevitable either do not know, or deny the reality of, who we really are. People who deeply understand the process by which life is experienced and created know intuitively that outcomes are chosen and selected.
It is important to realize that all possible outcomes have already occurred. Time is an illusion that has nothing to do with ultimate reality. In ultimate reality, every conceivable outcome to every conceivable circumstance and situation has already occurred and merely lies in wait for us to select from the outcomes that we most enjoy, that we might move into the experience of them.
It’s like taking a CD-Rom and putting it into one’s computer and playing an electronic game with the computer itself. Every outcome of the game is on the CD-Rom. Virtually every conceivable outcome—billions and billions of choices—have already been previewed and pre-selected by the computer. It knows, therefore, exactly how to respond, move-by-move to the choices we are making on a move-by-move basis.
Ultimately, our move creates its response which creates our move which creates its response, which produces in the end, some kind of outcome. We either win the game or we lose the game.
The computer doesn’t care one way or the other. The computer just says, “Congratulations, you’ve won. Want to play again?” or it says, “I’m sorry, you lose. Want to play again?” It doesn’t chortle. It is not pleased with itself, nor is it sad if you win and it loses. It has no preference in the matter. It simply is the container which holds every conceivable outcome and it gives us the opportunity to make on a choice-by-choice, move-by-move basis, the decisions which will produce the outcome that already exists.
Therefore, the answer to your question is that some people will no doubt experience the passing of the new millenium as a time of great travail, difficulty and struggle. Others will not. You may make the individual choice that you wish; I know what choice I am going to make.
RP: Is there a difference between making a choice and wanting an outcome?
NDW: To choose, is to make an active decision out of a place of willfulness. It’s a willful decision and a willful choice. To want something, on the other hand, is an announcement of lack. It suggests that there is something we do not now have that we want. At the subtlest levels of the language there is an enormous difference. The difference is so great, in fact, that God says, “You may not have anything you want, but you may have anything that you choose.”
The reason you may not have anything you want is that your very declaration of wantingness produces that result; it produces the experience of wanting that. Whereas, if you choose something, the result is that you will experience your choosing of it and you will, therefore, have it. I know that that’s a very subtle difference in the mind of some people, but as subtle as it is, it is extremely important. As a matter of fact, I’ve learned that the most subtle things are the most important.
RP: I’ve heard it said that the angels speak in subtle ways.
NDW: Yes, I think that’s quite true.
RP: The loudest voice comes through in the softest whisper.
NDW: I would agree with that.
RP: Where do you envision yourself five years from now?
NDW: In five years it’s my intention to be one of the several people on the planet communicating the grandest truths that all of us hold deeply inside of us and that only a few of us are beginning to give ourselves permission to encounter experientially.
In five years, I think that I will be recognized as truly a very good messenger, bringing a very important message to the entire human family on a worldwide scale.
I believe in five years I will have spoken to the United Nations, talked to kings and presidents, been published widely throughout the world—even more widely than I am today, and as it stands, I’m published in twenty-four languages—and continually utilizing the gifts of communication that I’ve been given to send God’s grandest truth to Her people.
I hope that I will deserve the title of spiritual teacher. I intend to do everything in my power to render myself worthy of such a title because I think we need more spiritual teachers on the Earth.
I, by no means, however, imagine myself in five years to be chief or highest among them. Quite the contrary. There are people on the planet right now whose work and whose vision is almost too magnificent to describe. These are people like Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and Barbara Marx Hubbard, as well as the spiritual and religious leaders of every tradition, from the Pope, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the hierarchal figures of all of the world’s structured religious expressions.
I’m hoping to be counted among the lowest of those, and perhaps as the new and helpful member of the fraternity of messengers who might seek to empower and to fuel this larger experience of transformation that we are now co-creating on the planet.
I’m deeply hoping that every human being who imagines themselves having something important to say on these subjects will find it possible to say these things with even greater impact than they have before.
RP: Do you work a hundred hours a day?
NDW: (laughs) I have very little time for inactivity. Let’s put it that way. This is my fourth interview with the media on this particular day. I’ve had three meetings with staff people between those interviews, and I’m trying to spend some time writing my next book. So I do not have many moments of inactivity as my wife would be pleased to tell you.
RP: Pleased? This is a pleasing thing for her?
NDW: Nancy would be smiling as she said it, noticing that this is very true and that I have not overstated the case.
RP: Why is that? What is the deeper truth of what you are saying?
NDW: I think that she is delighted with the changes in the world around me as a result of the activities in which the two of us have become engaged. She’s becoming more and more deeply engaged in our co-created work than ever before.
RP: How so?
NDW: We on the verge of founding a new school which we hope to be created in every community in the nation within the next ten years. It’s called, “The HeartLight School” and it’s based on the educational principals and concepts enunciated in Book 2 of Conversations with God.
RP: Will this school be for adults or children?
NDW: It will begin with the pre-school years. Each year thereafter, we will add a grade until it will be an entire school system, preschool through high school.
This is only one of several things which Nancy and I are working on. Another is Summit 2000. In April of 2000, we will bring together spiritual and political leaders from across the nation to Washington DC for a weekend of interactive processing and dialoguing toward the end that we might have a fuller integration of spiritual principals in our political decisions and actions.
We anticipate that the undertakings of Summit 2000—which we’re calling, “Re-Igniting the Spirit of America”—will continue far beyond that particular weekend and produce ongoing dialogues in our cities and towns all across America for many, many years to come.
In addition, I have joined with Marianne Williamson in the co-creation of the “American Renaissance Alliance,” which is now in the process of establishing salons around the nation for the intention of harnessing spiritual energy for practical purposes.
RP: Can you say more about that?
NDW: The American Renaissance Alliance has as its chief purpose the returning of spiritual power, or soul power, to the process by which we co-create our physical reality on this planet; to reinserting our spiritual realities and our spiritual selves in the practical day-to-day matters of life, from our politics, to our economics, to our educational structures, to our spiritual experiences, and across the board of the entire human adventure.
So the Alliance seeks to be exactly that—the “alliance” of people who have committed to produce a “renaissance,” a new beginning and a new experience of the grandest part of ourselves as we seek to relate to each other as human beings on this Earth.
This alliance is formed in the deepest understanding that it is possible to love each other, and that there is a place for the expression of love in a practical way; even in our economic, political and social environments where, heretofore, such a concept has not been spoken of publicly and rarely practiced privately.
As Marianne and I begin to make joint appearances across the globe, we’re going to invite James Redfield, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Barbara Marx Hubbard and Lowell Thomas Moore to join us. The people I’ve just named are all on the Board of Directors as an announcement of their deepest agreement of what Marianne and I are doing and their decision to participate actively in it. We’re all friends and we’re all deeply connected. But what we have not done before is work together in a concerted way continually.
RP: That’s wonderful. Is there anything else you’d like to include in this article?
NDW: I don’t know that anything like this is possible in one’s life unless one is partnered with a person of the highest commitment, of the grandest integrity, of the deepest understanding, of the longest patience and of the greatest compassion. In my case, I’m blessed with an extraordinary person at my side, in the person of Nancy Fleming.
Nancy has supported me at levels beyond what one could reasonably expect. I have found in my life that I have been fortunate enough to find a true partner of the heart and soul.
When I begin to receive such public acclaim and frankly, just such publicity
about what it is I’m doing, it feels only fair to let people know—should
they even have the slightest interest in how this is all acting out in
real life—that I have a wife standing at my side who not only is making
some of this possible by supporting what I’m doing, but doing a great deal
of it actively and co-creatively with me. I’m proud of that and deeply
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