I am reading “Conversations With God” by Neal Donald Walsch. I got interested in this book after I watched a rented movie by the same title a couple of weeks ago. The film was about a man who had his neck broken in a car accident, lost his job and, with no income, eventually became homeless. This man (the same Neal Donald Walsch) asked God in anger why his life was such a load of bull hockey, why nothing ever went right, why he was always broke, why love never worked out, etc, etc. I would only have added, “Why can’t the Giants ever win the World Series”?
To his surprise, God answered. Well sort of. The man grabbed a tablet of paper and began transcribing the thoughts that came to him. He felt that he was not writing, just transcribing what was told to him. This touched a chord with me, because I once read a self-help book that advised me to create an imaginary “counselor” to talk to in order to gain insights into life and solve problems. Yeah, I could just imagine myself getting into an argument with this invisible counselor, waiting in the checkout line at Safeway, with everyone staring. But, I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. I was very down and depressed with my life at that point and wondering what’s the point of it all, much as Walsch was too when he began transcribing his conversations.
So I drove to Los Gatos’s Vasona park and sat on a bench with my paper tablet and began describing my imaginary counselor. I too felt as if the words were just passing through me, as if I were merely transcribing them rather than creating them. This was 14 years ago, in October of 1992. I was surprised at what I had written. Here it is:
My Inner Counselor
1. He is a kind of monk in a hood and robe, “Jesus” kind of clothes, with a sheepherder’s cane. The hood is shale blue, as is his cape; the robes underneath are beige. His eyes are brilliant blue. He has a short, reddish-brown beard.
2. He is unlimited by time and space, he can move freely between centuries, continents, and even solar systems.
3. He has —
–The wisdom of the ancient mystics.
–He was there when the pyramids were built; he is ancient and from the future simultaneously; time has no meaning to him.
–He has incredible high-tech, futuristic weapons and tools at his command.
–He is a kind of knight or high priest of a futuristic yet ancient order.
4. His order —
–Survives the centuries.
–Is based on a common goal, universal to mankind in any era or place.
–Is based on life/beauty/truth/justice.
–The cycles of birth/death/rebirth are a part of this order.
–The Order’s mission goes on and on.
–The Order is bigger than my life; encompasses many incarnations, many missions, many worlds.
5. I am a Knight in the Order, temporarily suffering from amnesia as to my true identity and purpose – which is the source of my soul-deep dissatisfaction and journey of psychic self-discovery and rediscovery.
I like my inner counselor. He seems to be my eternal soul itself. By describing him, I seem to have described the nature of the soul and its purpose on Earth, to live out a kind of mission in the cycles of birth and rebirth. I like the message my subconscious has dredged up for me and put on paper: that life has meaning, and is a kind of mission whose purpose has been forgotten as a condition of one’s current incarnation. We are more than we think we are, more than is visible to the mortal eye.
I copied and pasted the above verbiage from my 1992 journal. All of my journals are kept in Word so they are easy to call up and copy. I don’t pretend it’s anything more than my imagination, so please don’t start a Gary Church and make me your Prophet. (Wait, does it pay well?) My description of the clothes and physical appearance of the inner counselor sounds suspiciously like Obe Wan Kenobe without the light saber. Hope George Lucas doesn’t sue me.
Anyway, let’s get back to my tale.
Walsch kept asking God questions and God kept supplying him with…answers? A lot of it struck me as New Age feel good hoopla. There were, however, some nuggets of truth. Some of what Walsch recorded agrees with my own transcription above, particularly about us having forgotten our true identities, and one of the purposes of our earthly incarnation is to remember and rediscover who we are.
But for me, the jury is still out on Walsch’s book. Walsch’s God says some intriguing things. His God says that Hell is a myth and there is no devil, that religions that teach us that we are evil and bad from birth are wrong in that respect, and that God is not an ego-maniacal, angry dictator who will burn us in an eternal Hell for displeasing him. I don’t have a problem with that; if I were going to invent God, I would leave that part out too. My personal vision of God is of a loving and benevolent Father, not the angry and vengeful God of some religions.
I find other aspects of Walsch’s God troubling. He states flat out that everyone goes to Heaven, even Hitler. That’s not the God I would invent. My invented God would be one of justice: that those who do evil to their fellow man will pay a price; not an eternal price, not one in eternal tormet, but one that is appropriate and proportional to the crimes that the evil doer committed. Maybe my God would reincarnate Hitler as an orthodox Jew in 1930’s Germany, one who would then watch his family be murdered while standing in line for the showers at Auschwitz. In other words, let him stand in his victims’ place and feel the pain, sorrow and fear that they felt. That would be an appropriate punishment, one that Hitler’s soul might learn from. His soul would not be permitted into Heaven until it had lived through many lives and made sufficient contributions to the good of mankind.
Another aspect of Walsch’s God that troubles me is that he seems to be a political liberal. This God believes that the medical profession tries to deter life-saving new drugs from being created so they can keep making money. R-i-i-g-h-t. This God needs a refresher course in basic economics.
The Walsch God also believes that we humans could end hunger and war and sickness in an instant if we would but use the tools this God gave us. R-i-i-g-h-t.
I ordered a compilation of all three of Walsch’s “Conversations with God” books, compiled in a single tome. I have come close a couple of times to closing the book and giving up on it. But then Walsch’s God says something I agree with, so I keep reading. How far I will get is anyone’s guess at this point.
The movie was good, though. In the film version, Walsch writes his book, gets 1.5 million dollars for it, and moves out of the homeless park. Pretty cool. Apparently, a lot of people like Walsch’s God more than the Bible one. I can’t say definitively that I am one of them, but I do give Neal Walsch credit for his effort to know God directly, without filtering the experience through the thick net of mytholody, ideology and myth that covers the subject like a thick, suffocating blanket. I think this is what I want too, to form my own conclusions about God.
After writing this blog post, it dawned on me: why should the latest concept of God be more than 2,000 years old? Why shouldn’t man’s concept of God continue to evolve, like any other body of knowledge?