My dear friends...
Let me tell you a little story about the day my father died.
I knew that my father was not in the best of heath for some time. He was 83 years old and his health had been deteriorating, and so, his death was not a shock to me. When the call came and the voice on the other end said, "Neale, I'm sorry to have to tell you that your Dad has died," what I felt was not surprise, but great sadness--and a wave of panic. The sadness I understood, the panic I did not. It was a kind of fear that I'd never felt before.
I told myself that this was the experience of anyone who feels suddenly overwhelmed. But why was I feeling overwhelmed, I wondered. Sad, yes, of course. But overwhelmed?
Then, as I looked more deeply into my feelings, I realized that it was because I felt that I was now "in charge." Now I was the one at the "top of the heap." Now I was the figurehead in my family. Now I was "the old man," the "boss," the "last resort."
Suddenly, there was no one above me. The baton had been passed.
Did this mean that now I would have to be the one with all the answers? Would I have to now come up with all the solutions for all the others, as the New Patriarch of the family?
Yet, what about me? To whom would I now be able to turn when things were not going well for me ? On whom would I call?
In fact, I had not called upon my father in that way in a very long time, but that made no difference. It felt good to know that Dad was always there if I did need him. Now he was gone, and I was standing there by myself.
In the natural hierarchy of family, and since at the time I was not married, everyone was now "below" me. No one was "above me." No one was even "equal" to me. I was, truly, all alone.
That was not an easy feeling to shake. It took months for me to get over it. My on-the-ground experience eventually showed me that I was not without my father's resources. He had given them to me during his lifetime and his death did not take them away from me. In moments of stress or difficulty I remembered the things he'd said, the wisdom he shared, even some of the specific solutions he'd put into place, and I used those understandings and those strategies often.
My father was with me still, through the ideas he'd placed in my head.
But now, here I was again, being confronted in the CwG dialogues with another feeling of having lost my greatest resource, my "court of last resort."
The thought that I need no God meant, to me, that I had no God to depend on, that I should not have to depend on God because I am a self-sufficient being who actually IS God, and therefore should have to need nobody.
The idea of needing nobody was not comforting to me. I know that it was supposed to be, but it wasn't. As I said, I liked the idea that I needed someone. Yet I had to agree with the book's observation that this exact feeling of needing someone or something outside of oneself is what has made so many millions of people dependent on organized religion, and co-dependent in their human relationships.
When, later in Communion with God , I was told that the idea that need exists is an illusion , I had nowhere to go with my feelings of discomfort except further into this mystery to see what it might reveal to me about life itself, and the process of living.
Communion with God encouraged me to take a look at everything that I now thought, or ever thought, that I needed in life, and then to explore the question of whether I really needed those things, or whether they were just things that I thought I needed. Were they just preferences , but not necessities?
I had to admit that there wasn't very much on my list that I absolutely, positively required in order to be happy. And Communion with God said that I didn't even need anything to survive. My survival, it said, was guaranteed, given who and what I am.
I didn't need food. I didn't need water. I didn't need shelter. I didn't even need air. If I went without oxygen for very long, my body would cease to function, true, but I--the "I" that is "me"--would not. Nor would I ever cease to function.
Given this, I had nothing to worry about.
Of course, I understood that at a metaphysical level. But I wanted to spend a little more time here, on Earth, in my body, so it felt like there was plenty of stuff that I needed. Yet even within that somewhat more vulnerable context, if I was really honest about it I could see that to survive and to be happy in this life, I needed very little--and none of the things on my list!
CwG made it clear that happiness--and the things that create happiness--will not be found outside of oneself. In fact, that is where UNhappiness will be found--especially if it is the only place I am looking. "If you do not go within, you go without," CwG said, in what was perhaps one of its most quotable passages.
It is how we feel about life, or any event in life, that makes us happy or unhappy, and how we feel about something is created inside of us, not outside of us.
Over the years I have come to appreciate the wisdom of that insight more and more deeply. I have trained myself to live the CwG message as a life discipline, to seek my happiness within, and not to place the source of it outside of myself.
And I have seen--thanks especially to the messages in Friendship with God --that the fact that I do not need God does not mean I am alone or without resources. Being One with God gives me access to all the resources I could ever use, makes me powerful beyond all measure, and allows me to live my life as an act of creation. This is where the wonder is, this is where the excitement is, and this is where the true experience of Who I Really Am will be found.
God does not want me to need God, any more than parents want a child to need them, but rather, teach the child how not to need them--even as my father and mother taught me. They made me non-dependent on them by giving me the gift of who they are. Every gift that was them , they gave me. All the insight, all the wisdom, all the power. All the caring, all the compassion, all the love. All the courage to face problems, all the imagination to solve them.
And I see now that these gifts come to me, too, and to all of us, from our best friend, Mother/Father God. When I could use an idea, when I wish I had some inspiration or insight, when I want to summon some courage or compassion, when I choose to show inordinate love, I can call upon God, who is the Source of all things--who is all things.
And God has shown me, has told me in direct and unmistakable terms, that who I am really calling upon is my Self. For my Self and God are One, and there is no separation between us. And so, I am all things that God is. Thus, I need nothing. Not even God.
I feel empowered, not deserted. I feel enlarged, not reduced. I feel companioned, not abandoned. The statement, "You don't need God," enriches me, it does not deplete me. It expands, it does not contract, the soul of me. It unlimits me, and gives me freedom. Freedom to express who I am in the grandest way I can imagine.
And if that is not what life is all about, then I don’t know what is.
Trust this. You will feel the difference.
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.