Like a good lapsed Catholic, I will begin by confessing that I’ve never read “Conversations with God.” Nor any other of Neale Donald Walsch’s follow-up books (whatever or whoever God is, “wordy” certainly defines the supreme being).
I have, however, perused brief articles such as I found in a New Connexion issue that I’d picked up at a natural food store, needing some reading material to accompany my lunch of whole wheat pizza.
In a “What Does God Really Want?” interview, Walsch clues us in to the meaning of life as revealed by the Big Man Upstairs. Who, to encapsulate Walsch’s core message, is you. And me. And Neale Donald Walsch. Though a few of us get to enjoy million dollar book deals as a result of our identity with God, and most of us don’t, sadly.
Appealingly, I learned that God doesn’t require anything of us. Not meditation, or study, or anything else. Right now each of us is experiencing our own divinity. If we don’t know this, it’s because we aren’t willing to have the experience.
Somewhat paradoxically, however, Walsch says there are tools and techniques with which people can move themselves into the actual experience of God. Conveniently, these will be described in his latest book, “The Holy Experience.”
Well, the New Connexions piece told me that the central thought of “What God Wants” ($14 direct from Walsch and Co., $14.95 at Amazon) is “contained in chapter 13, and that chapter is a series of blank pages.” Thus I suggest saving your money. Why pay for nothing when that’s available gratis?
I may sound unduly critical of Walsch. Actually, I think he’s on to something. Fame and fortune, certainly. Yet also more than that. Heck, anyone who raises the righteous ire of true believing Christians earns kudos from me (some criticisms here and here). And positively, the notion that God speaks to each of us equally appeals to my churchless soul.
Yet what intrigues me the most is the question of what happens when God stops yapping away. Walsch whipped out a yellow pad and started scribbling when he began to get inspirations from God. Which, he’d be the first to admit, means from himself. (But calling his book “Conversations with Me” would have put a crimp in his publishing deal, for sure).
In the same vein, I’ve had plenty of conversations with God. I’m having one right now, in fact. I search my consciousness for inspiration, get a flash of insight, and transmit it through my touch-typing fingers to a computer screen, where it soon will be uploaded to this blog so that others may admire my divinity.
We all do this. There’s no reason to believe that Walsch has any special connection with truth that anyone else lacks. He’s a skilled marketer and purveyor of feel-good New Age platitudes. I’ve got a certain talent for communicating my own platitudes. So do we all.
The conversations we have with ourselves are interesting, no doubt. They keep me blogging away most days. But are the words inside my head, the ones that I speak to myself in a recursive blabfest that has lots of entertainment value but previous little wisdom, what I’m really after?
If so, I’ve got it.
If not, I don’t. And that’s a lot closer to how I feel.
God, my good friend whom I’m told is me, you need to learn how to shut the fuck up. Once in a while, at least. Now I know that we’ve been having this conversation for a long time. Ever since I started meditating in 1969, right?
I think it’s time to take our relationship to the next level. By which I mean, you need to take a hike. Adios, amigo. It was nice knowing you. Sayonara. One of us is unnecessary, and since I have a special fondness for me, I’m letting you go. Not that I believe you’ll depart my cranium immediately. This likely will be a gradual goodbye.
Walsch’s philosophy, says one of his critics, basically is monistic. Sounds right to me. There’s only one thing going on in the cosmos. Let’s call this “God.” And take this to a logical conclusion. Conversations require two to verbally tango. So who is talking to who when we’re conversing with God?
Probably Walsch has an answer to this question. But no matter. To my increasingly monistically inclined mind it’s wrong. The whole idea of questions and answers, speakers and listeners, words and silence, seems off-base when it comes to the ultimate.
I can’t prove that assertion. Or even clarify it. It’s just what God told me to say. That son of a gun is still hanging around.