My dear friends...
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I've been trying to figure out how to better use the wisdom in the extraordinary books which have come through me. I've been trying to understand how to render that wisdom functional in my everyday life.
I've not had an easy time with this. Earlier in my life I at least had an excuse for my behaviors. I didn't know any better. I had no idea what life was about, and so I couldn't make any part of it work for me. In my utter desperation I cried out, and the result was my conversation with God.
Now I've had the conversation, and been given the answers to life's most difficult questions. There is only one question remaining. Will I live them?
This is the question that I have lately been asking my audiences to put to themselves, and the other day it dawned on me that I have no right to ask my audiences to do anything that I am not prepared to do myself. So I took a look at my own life to see if I was living the messages of CwG . I am sorry to say that I am not.
If I was, I would treat everyone as I want to be treated -- and I am absolutely not doing this.
If I was, I would eliminate from my life any worry about how I'm going to meet the challenges which confront me -- and I am not doing this, either.
If I was I would stop making myself or others wrong when things are said or done that I don't like. I would step outside of judgment -- and here, too, I have failed.
You may think that this very pronouncement is a self judgment, but I don't see it that way. I think there is a difference between judgment and simple observation, and I believe these observations about myself are very helpful...even if they are a bit discouraging.
Over the past years I have traveled all over the world in answer to invitations from churches and other organizations to personally share the messages of Conversations with God . In these lectures around the world I have said that there are three main messages in the CwG books:
1. We are all One.
2. There's enough.
3. There's no such thing as Right and Wrong.
I call these the Triune Truths. If we lived these truths, I've said to my audiences, we would change the world.
I stand by those statements. Now I see that my challenge is to live them. I want you to know that I thought I was, of course. I thought I had dropped many of my old behaviors, changed many of my unwanted habits, altered my course, taken a new path. I see now that this was the hubris of the newly converted. I see now by frankly and truthfully observing my daily behaviors that I have a long way to go.
That's okay, mind you. That's all right with me. Because at least I am on The Path. I know which way I'm trying to go. I know where I want to be headed. That's more than I could have said a few years ago. But I've got to be honest with myself about how far I've traveled. The first step towards enlightenment is the step into self-honesty.
Last week I was very sharp-tongued again with a friend, and I realized this isn't at all the way I would want to be treated. Yesterday I caught myself being very impatient with a co-worker, and I'm sorry to say that we were with friends. I know that if she had been so publicly impatient with me, I would not have felt good about it. She could not have felt good, either.
These are not the actions of a man who is living the truth, We Are All One.
A few days ago I passed a man on the street who clearly needed some help. I had some folding money in my pocket, and I passed right by without offering him some. I had this thought that I "needed" all my cash for when I got downtown. It was ridiculous. My credit cards would have gotten me anything I wanted there -- including more cash out of the ATM!
Recently I visited a church in a far away community and liked the minister and the message very much. When the collection plate came around I dropped a twenty into it, and felt good about doing that, and grateful that I had the wherewithal. Only when I paid the bill for the after-church brunch I enjoyed did it hit me. I paid $13 more for that food for my body -- food that would last four hours -- than I gave for the marvelous food for the soul I'd received in that church -- food I expect will nourish me a great deal longer.
These are not the actions of a man who is living the truth, There's Enough.
And the list of people that I have made "wrong" this month includes everyone from those I love the most to people I don't even know.
These are not the actions of a man who is living the truth, There's No Such Thing As Right and Wrong.
And so all of this has made me stop and think. What does it take to live the message of the book which is changing the world? What is being asked here? What is being required?
The answer keeps coming down to one word.
What I need is an ironclad agreement with myself. An agreement to use my life as an arena within which to recreate myself anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision I ever held about Who I Really Am.
This commitment cannot be half-hearted. (I suppose the phrase half-hearted commitment is an oxymoron in any event. One is either committed or one is not, no?)
All of which reminds me of the story of the chicken and the pig. The two were walking down the road one day when they came upon a huge billboard. On it was a picture of ham and eggs, with the legend:
AMERICA'S FAVORITE BREAKFAST.
The chicken turned to the pig and said, "Look at that! Doesn't that make you proud?" To which the pig replied, "Well, yes and no. You see, for you it's partial involvement, but for me it's total commitment."
So I guess the moral of that story is that if you're wanting to move toward Enlightenment, you're going to have to be a pig about it.
I mean, you're going to have to want the whole enchilada. I know I've already tasted a portion of what I'm after. I really have tamed my absolutely worst behaviors. It's the second level offenses, and the third, that I've got to work on now.
Well, actually, I don't have to do anything. Nothing is really being asked of me, nothing is being required. God requires nothing of us in order to love us, and we will not be "punished" if we do not "meet up" to some mythical standard. The choice is ours, and always ours, as to Who We Really Are. So working on those second and third levels is what I seek to do, not what I have to do.
That's why I don't "beat myself up" for not living the message of CwG . Or at least, not living it fully. Rather, I'm grateful that I've moved as far as I have down The Path. And grateful, too, that I can now even see The Path.
For once I was blind, but now I see...
In the end what it truly takes is Amazing Grace. The grace to see not only what is not working in my life, but what is working as well. The grace to bless myself -- to allow myself to be blessed -- for all that I am, rather than condemn myself for what I am not. For it is out of the blessed part of me that the grandest version of Who I Am will emerge.
I invite you, too, to do the same. Bless yourself for all that you now are. That's the first message of CwG . It may very well be the most important. For if you know yourself as blesséd, you will surely bless others. Therefore...
Every week we present a new bulletin written by Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch. Once you've signed up you will be sent CWG related emails and a notification whenever the newest bulletin is available.