Tashi: Can you reflect on the Westerner’s path?
Neale: I think the Westerner approaches his path through his mind. I think the Easterner approaches, largely, although not exclusively, his path through his heart. I think Easterners have to be dragged kicking and screaming to their mind about God, and I think Westerners have to be dragged kicking and screaming to their heart center about God. The beauty about Conversations with God is that it brings people (it almost sneaks up on you) from their mind to their heart. That’s why men have been reading Conversations with God with such satisfaction. Our mail shows that we have an astonishing number of male readers of both books. I would have thought that our demographics would be 70%/30% or 80%/20% of female verses male. In fact it is almost 50% ,50%, let me say 45%, 55% male to female. In fact we have the same percentage on our workshops and retreats around the country, and I think for the same reason. What happened in CWG is that unwittingly, without attempting to do it, a bridge was created between the head and the heart. And so at last Western spiritual searchers could find truths that have been accessible previously only to Eastern mystical searchers, at least in larger numbers. They have always been accessible but because of the differences they did not seem accessible.
So, yes I think our path has been different, but the differences are beginning to erode and to dissolve, but to some degree they still exist. And so to some degree, I think , at least for the next 10 to 15 or 20 years we will still see a largely mental approach to the experience of God in the West and a largely emotional approach to the experience of God in the East. And I see that is because the West as a group, and of course I am speaking in huge generalities, and when one talks in huge generalities there is always a risk….
Tashi: Of course.
Neale: But within the context of that huge generality, I think that it is true that for me as I observe it, that the Western World tends to be more of , tends to encompass more of, the masculine energy of the planet itself, the planet’s population. Whereas the Eastern part of the world tends to encompass more of the planet’s population’s feminine aspects. And for those reasons the East and the West tend to approach God very much as men and women do. So the differences between East and West are the differences between men and women, largely.
Neale: That’s my experience…….
Tashi: That’s beautiful. It’s very interesting as well. For myself, as a woman helping spread the message, whatever you want to call it, seeming to have that mission at the moment, I noticed that patriarchal, hierarchical spirituality is a huge part of modern and ancient spirituality, and I feel it is something that needs to be toppled .
Neale: No question. I agree completely! In my book, too, it makes that very clear. The patriarchal model of spirituality was, I think, a necessary step, as a baby learns to crawl before it walks, and learns to walk before it runs, but it was albeit a necessary step. A baby step for sure, and as all baby steps it is rooted in infantile constructions and infantile points of view. That is to say, very immature and very undeveloped, and as with an infant, very self-centered. And because those points of view that have been surrounding the male model of spirituality, the paternalistic, patriarchal, model of spirituality and religion, because those characteristics have been largely infantile and immature, self-centered and undeveloped, they will, in the years and months ahead, begin to fall away, as we move at last out of our spiritual adolescence and to a place of greater spiritual maturity. And it will be women who will lead us to greater spiritual maturity, in my view.
Because, it has been women who have always demonstrated a higher level of spiritual maturity, to say nothing of psychological maturity, to say nothing of emotional maturity. Maturity in all of its aspects has been the hallmark of women in general. Rashness, brashness and immaturity has been, to a large degree, the hallmark of the male of the species.
I don’t want to get into male bashing here, because I think there are certain aspects of the male willingness to be spontaneous, almost foolhardy and certainly self directed, that has served the race.
Tashi: Like talking to God….
Neale: Exactly, but I think we have reached a point now where we are moving towards a balance and it is going to be women who are going to lead us to that balance because it has been the feminine aspect which has been so far out of balance for these many centuries. So since we have been out of balance so heavily towards the male, it is going to be the feminine energy which will now move into a place of enormous influence and enormous impact, as that energy creates a confluence of all the energies surrounding our experience of deities, of the Tao of God, and our expression of that experience in our daily lives.
Tashi: You said years, months, can you clarify when you see this happening?
Neale: I believe as we move into the next decade and beyond we will begin to see this. We are seeing now, more than ever before, at least in recent times, women moving to the forefront of spiritual revelation and spiritual movement and spiritual teaching. Marianne Williamson is one of the great practical, spiritual leaders of our time, because her brand of spiritual exploration is very functional, almost male oriented, yet with a feminine insight that is exclusively female. Barbara Marx Hubbard, an extraordinary visionary who is going to be releasing a book here very shortly called “Conscious Evolution” is a visionary for our times to be sure and a person who sees things that would be clouded if not altogether invisible to most men. She not only sees those things but has the vision to get us from here to there,. She has the vision to construct not only larger realities, but pathways to the expression of those realities in our daily lives. Jean Houston is another example of precisely the same kind of gentle power. This is probably not going to be politically correct , but Hilary Clinton as well.
Tashi: I love her.
Neale: A person of enormous gentleness, which she is not often publicly noted for, but absolutely demonstrates in everything she thinks and says. And yet has powerful insight, and the ability to focus and demonstrate a clarity which heretofore did not exist. Terri Cole Whitaker is another extraordinary feminine visionary, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who turned the planet upside down in terms of its understanding of death and dying, and brought God and God consciousness back to the death experience is another. There have been many other women in these last 15 to 20 years who have created such an incredible vortex of energy, dragging us kicking and screaming into the 21st century and into our larger understanding. So I am deeply impressed by women. Eleanor Le Cain is another extraordinary woman. She will become more widely known I am sure. She has been working very quietly in the area of what is not working and what works in America. She has been looking into how spirituality and functionality can combine to create a newly efficient and newly effective way of day to day living And there is also Oprah Winfrey, who is single-handedly lifting the consciousness of the nation and half the world, through her absolute determination to stand for, to display, to reflect, to announce, to declare and as an individual person to fulfill the grandest visions of humankind. She is determined to do that, in a media that is not used to such highly constructed choices.
Tashi: Well just maybe we can change that medium!
Neale: So these are just a few. These are just a few of the women who are leading us, and who are slowly but gently, as only women can do, with no impatience, without making men wrong, with no attempt to strip men of their dignity, with no negative energy whatsoever, just with a gentle, patient, compassionate understanding , forgiving and all encompassing touch that in my view has been the exclusive characteristic of women for so long. With that particular kind of what I call a special grace, women have untied the knot and lifted the blindfold from men, allowing us to see what they have known in their hearts for centuries.
Tashi: If you could give the average female reader some advice on how to empower herself, as well as ennoble the men in her world, what would it be?
Neale: Stop giving your power away and begin to trust that your feelings are in fact expressions of the deepest truths. Do not let anyone, of any sex, tell you that your intuitions and insights, your wisdom and your understandings, are somehow second-rate or not to be trusted.
Tashi: So, is this is how men have manipulated women, they do not have intuition so they would say “don’t use that.”
Neale: Woman’s intuition has been denigrated and made a laughing stock and the truth is woman’s intuition or woman’s willingness to use their intuitive power or insights has been what has saved us, long before now, from destroying ourselves until now. The fact that we have not destroyed this planet up to this point is without a doubt the result of the restraining impact that women have had on the rash decisions and choices that men would have made 50 years ago.
I know that it is women everywhere from the White House to the backyard of Dubuque that have said to their men, “are you sure you really want to do this?’ That has been a restraining influence and been a drag on the inexorable free fall men have placed this planet in toward utter extinction.
That free fall I believe is about to turn, I see a tide turning as more men are awakening to the fact that women have been right all along. Book 2 makes an astonishing statement that I often get some interesting comments about. It says in Book 2 “once you have been in a man’s body long enough to understand and learn from your mistakes , then you have earned the right to be a woman.”
Tashi: Right, I was going to ask you about that comment in your book. Why do you think you’re not a woman?
Neale: Well I think I am, I just happen to have a penis.
Tashi: Good answer. That’s very funny.
Neale: That’s an astonishing insight, and I think its very accurate. I experience both the feminine and masculine aspects of God. As well I also sometimes feel what I want to call the neuter aspects, neither feminine or masculine, instead a completely non-gender characterized aspect of God. The aspect that is neither Christian nor Jewish, nor Eastern, nor mystical. Just the non-gender and non-philosophical and non-spiritually related aspect of God which is totally objective and separate in that sense from any particular attempt to characterize it.
I experience all three of these aspects of God as we move from question to question and from interaction to interaction in my ongoing dialogue, but my experience of God is no different from my experience of other human beings, my experience of them is exactly the same. I experience the feminine, the masculine and non-gender of my wife Nancy as she walks into the room. She can demonstrate those characteristics which I may ascribe largely to the male of the species at will,– the incisive quickness and the power and the ability to move rapidly through major decisions, and I notice her doing that.
And she can also step away from any feminine or masculine characteristic into a non-gender-related positionality that allows her to be so objective in the face of the demands made upon her that she stands close to a level of the masculine.
I think that all people demonstrate those kinds of characteristics and abilities from time to time. The trick, of course, is to demonstrate that kind of balance, because that is what we are talking about here, striking an equilibrium that allows us never to be exclusively masculine or never to be exclusively feminine and never to be, for heavens sake to be neutral or non-gender-related, but in fact to be all three in equal proportion at all times, or to the degree it is possible to do so.
When we strike that equilibrium then we become truly a representation of the whole person we were designed to be and intended to be from the beginning, Masters reside in that place. You know I had an occasion to read an account of someone who had a recent visit with Sai BaBa. That person was relating an account of the visit, that in one moment Sai BaBa would come off to be very effeminate in his movements, gestures, phrasing and energy emanating from him, and in the next split second turn around to somebody and make a point and come off as so heavily masculine and in his power center as to make it almost impossible to believe that such a transformation could take place.
Tashi: He was doing the Shiva/Shakti thing?
Neale: So, masters have the ability to stand on that balance point, right on that balance point and shift from one side to the other, depending on what they believe is conducive to the moment.
Tashi: So, for you then equilibrium is not the balancing of two polarities, it is the balancing of the triad?
Neale: Yes , absolutely because all things exist in ultimate reality in a triad. The holy trinity, the holy triad is a construction which is found in every aspect of life. Whether it is body, mind and spirit, or whether it is conscious, subconscious and superconscious. The holy triad is described very specifically in Book 1. Whether it is masculine, feminine, neutral, and there is a so called neuter aspect, a non-gender related aspect to humans and to life to which we have paid insufficient attention.
What gender is a flower? What gender is a tree? What gender is grass? What gender is the sky you see? So there are so-called non-gender related life forms that have much to teach us and whose energies we would do well to emulate.
Tashi: English doesn’t assign gender, Spanish and French give words genders.
Neale: In an attempt to project what they believe to be feminine and masculine characteristics, on those non-genderized aspects of life, I believe those languages make a mistake in attempting to do that. I think English is a much more accurate language in not doing that, because the English language refuses to genderize non-gender specific aspects of life. Which is exactly as it should be. So in that respect English is a much more balanced language, there are feminine pronouns, there are masculine pronouns, neuter non-gender specific references in the English language, that allow us to notice what I have just said here and allow us to articulate that. Neale: Why, until more or less 15 years ago, were all hurricanes named after women?
Tashi: Bad Tempers?
Neale: Yes! Stormy temperaments, uncontrollable whether you know it or not, but I can tell you that all major storm systems and hurricanes were named after women by the weather forecasting bureau around the world until 15 years ago, until somebody said “What about hurricane Allen, what about hurricane David? Why is it always hurricane Maria? This is an example of what I am talking about when I refer to the tendency of human beings to project on inanimate, or non-genderized aspects of life a certain characteristic which they assume to be feminine or masculine… such as the alleged tempestuousness of women.
Tashi: How do you recommend people increase their awareness so they get beyond this? What do you recommend to people?
Neale: I think people need to follow the instructions in the Conversations With God books and all of the great spiritual teachers of our time and step away from their past. I think the fastest way to move to a place of clarity on these matters is to drop all of our preconceived notions. Step away from all of the prior pronouncements of yester-moments and allow ourselves to do as Ram Dass said in his delicious phrase “Be Here Now.” If you are here now you cannot fall into falsely constructed gender projections.
Tashi: Yes, but isn’t it easier to say than to do?. To really be here now…
Neale: … is easier to do than most people imagine. It has to do with the willingness to step out of doingness and into beingness. That transition is more easily accomplished than most people would ever imagine.
Tashi: You have faith people can do it?
Neale: Oh yes!! I have seen them do it right in front of my eyes … after my weekend retreats.
Tashi: People with no previous yoga or meditation experience, just regular folks?
Neale: None_the movement from doing to beingness is accomplishable by the untrained and non-esoteric person.
Tashi: Yes, actually it is probably easier than having to retrain a complex belief system.
Neale: Exactly, precisely!! Because it is coming to it like a child.
Tashi: I relate to omens – I believe the Universe speaks to us, and certainly as an astrologer-the transits of astrology, relating to St. Francis and his Basilica falling are interesting to me. There were several earthquakes at Assisi and the Basilica of St. Francis crumbled. Mother Teresa and Princess Diana both died at the same time. Looking at it as an archetypal statement, it is not that they died within a week of each other, on an eclipse. It is why this young and old woman will now be combined archetypally as Saints, in our subconscious.
Neale: I come from a slightly different philosophical school, that announces and suggests that there is no meaning to anything at all except the meaning you choose to give it. That things in and of themselves, events and occurrences in and of themselves as they say “heavy” with meaning – in fact nothing means anything at all and that has been made very clear to me in my dialogues with God. And that is the beauty of life itself that life has no meaning, nor does any event in life have meaning, even intrinsically, that is to say, built-in meaning. Because there is not built-in meaning to anything, we are free to add any meaning we choose to give it. And by the meanings we add to the event themselves, do we define ourselves and, in fact, set the stage for recreating our selves anew through the next grandest version of the greatest vision we ever had about who we are.
We do that by the process in which we declare and announce what a thing means to us. So therefore, looking at the deaths of Diana and Teresa, I see no hidden meaning in that event-but I am clear that we can decide that if there is any meaning there that serves our larger agenda.
Tashi: Which is sort of what I was asking, I felt that the collective ascribed meaning, which they often do around eclipses.
Neale: Yes, and to the degree that the collective agrees that is the meaning that it has, to that degree that will be the meaning that will be demonstrated and manifested in our present reality. So when I see events such as the twin deaths of Teresa and Diana or the crumbling of the St. Francis Cathedral or any other event, I look to see if that were to have a particular meaning to me what would it be, what would I choose and then see if anyone else wants to agree with me.
Tashi: If you have a consensus?
Tashi: Well you are certainly changing collective consciousness yourself.
Neale: That seems to be the case .
Tashi: Is that fun?
Neale: Well it is my intention to alter the world’s reality of its relationship to God and therefore people’s relationship with each other. That is my intention in this lifetime and I intend to do that.
Tashi: I have a friend whose motto is “Life is a purposeful energy going nowhere for no reason.”
Neale: Precisely!! You just said what I said.
Tashi: It took me a long time to accept that point of view, but now I see life that way and I agree with you, but as a lover of the exquisite dance of life I also notice that everything is a game and a dance of symbolism.
Neale: The meaning of those deaths at the same time, that I found entertaining to give it, is that we better wake up, we had better see that it is time to live by the examples of people who are leaving us very quickly. The meaning to me was it gave us a chance to, in their deaths, in some strange and almost unspeakable way, allow them to serve us even higher than in their lives, because by their deaths and by their twin deaths so close to each other, they heightened focus on who they were and what they stood for and the grandest possibilities of human beings everywhere.
Those possibilities have been made clear to us because we were forced by the chain of events to expose ourselves to who these people were. We were then exposed to our feelings about who they were, we felt a kinship with them, probably greater than the kinship even that we felt in their life. That kinship then translates into opportunities for us to recreate ourselves in a grander version of who we were before.
And so ended my special moments with this very luminous and inspiring fellow “hu” man, Neale Donald Walsch. We hope you appreciate his generosity in offering the ET his only print interview, while in town to visit his publishers, Hampton Roads, we sure did!
Neale’s books are an incredible breakthrough, and in the words of his publisher, Bob Friedman , “It’s not as if he was saying radically new things with which I was unfamiliar, it’s just that he said them so well.”
Neale is indeed a very articulate individual. He was very present and totally honoring of everyone who entered his space. His heart and eyes seemed to totally engage in the interview from his very primal self. Whether God was talking through Neale, or Neale was talking through God is the question so many ask of themselves when they read his books. My conclusion on that sunny Tuesday afternoon, was that Neale has realized his God-self, he has merged with his essential God essence and is speaking.
In resonating with Neale I floated in my own awareness grateful for the ability to commune with such a loving and contagious presence. His kind words for the emergent feminine spirit were of great comfort to me. He is holding the vision for us all and the ET continues to forge ahead and present all and various p.o.v.’s on this exciting passage of time. For these are the days of an awakening, enlightening and re-balancing.
I encourage both men and women to consider carefully their journey of self-empowerment, throwing any archaic notions of hierarchical patriarchal spiritual paradigms into the holy river. It’s time to dance to the music of your very own Western soul. Liberated, wild, loving, intractable, for the fun of it! Let yourself be the Conversation with God. Now!
In closing this 1997 year here is my intention…..
May we all learn to completely see each other, this wondrous world of illusion and possibilities, and thus appreciate and laugh at our ongoing Conversations With God. — The Editor