Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch
Will Melt Your Fucking Brain
One Line Summary
A guy has a conversation with God and discovers the secrets to the universe…really
Not too long ago, I fell into a bad spell of depression. I had been making huge gains in my dating, fitness and professional life, but failed to look a deeper issues that might be plaguing me. I didn’t understand how psychology worked.
The depression was potentially the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Everything in life just seemed so pointless and I felt like no one could understand what I was going through. Life became a living hell. Even trying to drown out the thoughts and emotions with things like exercise or video games didn’t work. You can’t run from yourself.
I had left behind my religious beliefs a long time ago. But in those moments, I felt like I really understood why people can believe in crazy shit like Scientology. I would have gladly believed just about anything at that point if I thought it would have worked. Anything to get away from that void of meaninglessness.
But it’s funny how life works. My mother came to visit one weekend and saw how depressed I was. After an intense showdown one night where she thought I was going to harm myself, she told me she wanted me to see a therapist. I knew she was right. I was totally fucked up and I didn’t know why. So I agreed to start right away.
That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My therapist is a young guy like me. He has a shaved head and is a practicing Buddhist. He also has this kind of spark in his eyes that make you feel like the guy is alive. As soon as I heard his voice on the phone, I knew immediately he was the right person for me.
After working with him for about a month and explaining to him what had been going on in my life, he recommended I read this strange book called Conversations with God. Even though I had been a big reader my entire life and hung around in self-development circles, I had never heard of this book. He explained that it was a cult classic with a lot of crazy shit written inside. I said it sounded like my kind of book. Sign me up.
It ended up being one of the best books I’ve ever read. The book is a written dialogue between a man named Neale Walsch and what he claims was divine inspiration. Basically it’s like the bible for the modern age, except you won’t hear any stories about Jesus or any particular religion. They’re just answers to the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning.
Why it’s Awesome
Unlike most books where there may only be one or two key points that you need to remember, this book just slams you with punchline after punchline of wisdom. It’s not at all religious, and in fact he rails against organized religion quite a bit in this book. Let me just quote a few choice passages in order to show you what I mean (Bold is ‘God’ and normal text is Walsch):
You cannot know God until you’ve stopped telling yourself that you already know God. You cannot hear God until you stop thinking that you’ve already heard God.
I cannot tell you My Truth until you stop telling Me yours.
But my truth about God comes from You.
Who said so?
Leaders. Ministers. Rabbis. Priests. Books. The Bible, for heaven’s sake!
Those are not authoritative sources.
Then what is?
Listen to your feelings. Listen to your Highest Thoughts. Listen to your experience. Whenever any one of these differ from what you’ve been told by your teachers, or read in your books, forget the words. Words are the least reliable purveyor of Truth.
Let’s really look at the ramifications of what Walsch (God?) is saying here. He’s basically saying “fuck organized religion. Fuck what other people tell you. Think for yourself.”
I honestly believe “think for yourself” is not just a cliché. It’s a spiritual necessity of the highest order. Other people will always have their own opinions and gladly tell you what to believe if you can’t look at life through your own eyes.
For how many people would just this above passage alone be enough to change their entire lives? But Walsch (God??) is just getting warmed up:
You cannot create a thing— not a thought, an object, an event—no experience of any kind— which is outside of God’s plan. For God’s plan is for you to create anything—everything—whatever you want. In such freedom lies the experience of God being God—and this is the experience for which I created You. And life itself.
Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good; only through that which you call the work of the devil that you can know and do the work of God. I do not love hot more than I love cold, high more than low, left more than right. It is all relative. It is all part of what is.
I do not love “good” more than I love “bad.” Hitler went to heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.
“Hitler went to heaven”. If there’s a statement that could cause more controversy than that within mainstream society, I’m not sure what it is.
What Walsch (God???) is saying is both the most liberating and terrifying thing I’ve ever heard. On one hand, it frees us to act without worry. It’s like a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders if you can just realize that you can’t fuck up this life.
On the other hand, how much does this clash with the average person’s worldview? Let’s get dark here for a second.
There have been horrific events in history. Torture, rape and mass murder are very much a part of humanity. Walsch is saying that these things are not more objectively “bad” or “wrong” than say, Ghandi’s liberation of India.
That is maybe one of the bitterest pills any human could swallow. And yet it’s almost impossible to argue against.
Morality is not something that objectively exists in reality. It’s just mental labels that people associate to events in order to suit our selfish needs.
We villanize murder not because it’s objectively wrong, but because as humans, we don’t want to be murdered. We have no problem killing other species in order to live. In fact, in certain circumstances like hunting, murder is looked upon favorably.
Who is actually right and who is wrong? Nobody. Because these labels don’t exist.
But even if these labels did exist, the amount of grey area and complexity in life would make it almost impossible to ever determine which label is the “right” label. Some soccer mom thinks she’s doing the “right” thing by standing up for her kid, but by doing so maybe the kid never learns to stand up for himself. You think it’s “wrong” that a guy treats a girl poorly, but maybe that girl could date anyone she wants and chooses to be with an asshole because at least it’s not boring.
Who knows? The point is you don’t know.
Does that mean all knowledge is useless and we should just float in a sea of ambiguity? Of course not. I read a ton of books to try and learn all the time. Very often there is a general “right” and a “wrong” way to things. You aren’t confused about whether you should walk out your door or your 2nd story window when trying to go outside. The point is just to understand that life has case by case basis and subtleties.
Before you also start thinking Walsch is some sociopath, let me quote something else:
Yet I teach you this: when you choose the action love sponsors, then
will you do more than survive, then will you do more than win, then will you do more
than succeed. Then will you experience the full glory of Who You Really Are, and
who you can be.
So Walsch is not against acting with love. In fact, he encourages it over and over throughout the book. Yet this is a very different kind of love. You’re no longer acting out of love because you feel you “have to” out of some moral teaching, but because you WANT TO. It’s a choice, not an obligation.
I would also argue that this way of acting is a far more beautiful way to live. The feelings you have are real, not just based on what you will get in return.
Walsch also points out that love is the key to success. I find that incredibly interesting, because many people have a belief that success comes from “gaming the system” or “stepping on the little guy”. But I’ve never believed that. I’ve always believed in the power of good intentions and reciprocity. You put out good vibes into the universe, good vibes come back to you.
The reason many people can’t accept that is because in their mind, success isn’t possible to achieve. So any person who succeeded where they failed must be cheating. Right? Right??
The final big point I want to hit on in this review is the purpose to life itself. Constantly throughout the book, Walsch says that the purpose of life is to create and experience Yourself. Personally, I take this to mean the Best Version of Yourself. Never stop growing. Never seek completion. There will be plenty of time to be complete when you’re dead.
A final quote from the book regarding becoming the Best Version of Yourself:
And so you ask a very good question. Why go on? Why even start off on such a
path? What is to be gained from embarking on such a journey? Where is the
incentive? What is the reason?
The reason is ridiculously simple.
THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO DO
Funny, right? But it’s so true. What else is the point of life but to live and experience? That’s literally what life is, it’s experiencing. It’s not to achieving some ultimate end goal. It’s not even necessarily helping other people. All of those things are shallow compared to experience itself.
There are many other aspects of this book that are amazing. We’ve still only scratched the surface here. For instance, he also goes heavily into The Law of Attraction and classic ideas from eastern philosophy like freedom from outcome. But at least this should give you an idea of the depth of ideas you can expect from this
Why Does It Suck
Let’s talk real shit. Neale Walsch did not communicate with some infinitely powerful bearded dude on a cloud when he wrote this book. He doesn’t “know” those hard answers to life any more than any other human is capable of knowing. He doesn’t know what happens when you die. He doesn’t know what happened before he was born. NO HUMAN CAN KNOW THESE THINGS.
There’s a lot of metaphysics in this book, and whether or not they’re true, I would hate for people to get caught up in taking things so literal that they miss a lot of the good that he’s written. But yes, there is some weird pseudo-science in this book like saying that the body was designed to live forever. Oxidation isn’t real!
The Wrap Up
When I read a book like this, it blows my mind that people don’t take reading more seriously. You have some of the smartest people literally laying out the keys to life in crystal clear language. You could use that knowledge to start a multi-million dollar business. Or get that great relationship you’ve always wanted. It doesn’t matter, it’s all there! Anything you want, someone out can tell you how to get it.
I love this book even though it’s fucking crazy. If you can ignore the crazy, realize there is gold to be found here. This book has the potential to set you on a new course of life just by reading it and contemplating its words. Never underestimate the power of intention.