By Neale Donald Walsch.
Question #4–One Person’s Thoughts
My incredible roommates in the college of life…
Sooner or later in our lives we have to make a major decision about the most important question in life: What is our actual identity? Are we the physical manifestation of a biological incident, or are we something greater, something more, something other than a mere mammal?
Who are you?
As I observe it, I have a couple of choices when it comes to how I think of myself. I also observe that there is no “right way” to answer this question.
Choice #1: I could conceive of myself as a Chemical Creature, a “Logical Biological Incident.” That is, the logical outcome of a biological process engaged in by two older biological processes called my mother and my father.
If I see myself as a Chemical Creature I would see myself as having no more connection to the Larger Processes of Life than any other chemical or biological life form.
Like all the others, I would be impacted by life, but could have very little impact on life. I certainly couldn’t create events, except in the most remote, indirect sense. I could create more life (all chemical creatures carry the biological capacity to recreate more of themselves), but I could not create what life does, or how it “shows up” in any given moment.
Further, as a Chemical Creature I would see myself as having very limited ability to create an intentioned response to the events and conditions of life. I would see myself as a creatures of habit and instinct, with only those resources that my biology brings me.
I would see myself as having more resources than a turtle, because my biology has gifted me with more. I would see myself as having more resources than a butterfly, because my biology has gifted me with more.
I would see myself as having more resources than an ape or a dolphin (but, in those cases, perhaps not all that many more), because my biology has gifted me with more. Yet that is all I would see myself as having in terms of resources.
I would see myself as having to deal with life day-by-day pretty much as it comes, with perhaps a tiny bit of what seems like “control” based on advance planning, etc., but I would know that at any minute anything could go wrong—and often would.
Choice #2: I could conceive of myself as a Spiritual Being inhabiting a biological mass—what I call a “body.”
If I saw myself as a Spiritual Being, I would see myself as having powers and abilities far beyond those of a simple Chemical Creature; powers that transcend basic physicality and its laws.
I would understand that these powers and abilities give me collaborative control over the exterior elements of my Individual and Collective Life and complete control over the interior elements—which means that I have total ability to create my own reality, because my reality has nothing to do with producing the exterior elements of my life and everything to do with how I respond to the elements that have been produced.
Also, as a Spiritual Being, I would know that I am here (on the earth, that is) for a spiritual reason. This is a highly focused purpose and has little to do directly with my occupation or career, my income or possessions or achievements or place in society, or any of the exterior conditions or circumstances of my life.
I would know that my purpose has to do with my interior life—and that how well I do in achieving my purpose may very often have an effect on my exterior life.
(For the interior life of each individual cumulatively produces the exterior life of the collective. That is, those people around you, and those people who are around those people who are around you. It is in this way that you, as a Spiritual Being, participate in the evolution of your species.)
My answer to Question #4: I’ve decided that I am a Spiritual Being, a three-part being made up of Body, Mind, and Soul. Each part of my tri-part being has a function and a purpose. As I come to understand each of those functions, each aspect of me begins to more efficiently serve its purpose in my life.
I am an individuation of Divinity, an expression of God, a singularization of The Singularity. There is no separation between me and God, nor is their any difference, except as to proportion. Put simply, God and I are one.
This brings up an interesting question. I am rightly accused of heresy? Are people who believe that they are divine nothing but raving lunatics? Are they, worse yet, apostates?
I wondered. So I did a little research. I wanted to find out what religious and spiritual sources had to say on the subject. Here’s some of what I found…
Isaiah 41:23—Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold together.
Psalm 82:6—I have said, ‘Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High—all of you.’
John 10:34—Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (788 CE – 820 CE), the one largely responsible for the initial expounding and consolidation of Advaita Vedanta, wrote in his famous work, Vivekachudamani: “Brahman is the only Truth, the spatio-temporal world is an illusion, and there is ultimately Brahman and individual self.”
Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001), a Hindu saint: “God exists; there is only one God; the essence of man is God.”
According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a self independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta). Also, if I understand certain Buddhist schools of thought correcting, humans return to earth in subsequent lifetimes in one of six forms, the last of which are called Devas…which is variously translated as Gods or Deities.
Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese discipline of Taoism speaks of embodiment and pragmatism, engaging practice to actualize the Natural Order within themselves. Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe.
Hermeticism is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism teaches that there is a transcendent God, The All, or one “Cause”, of which we, and the entire universe, participate.
The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the famous words: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”
And in Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam, the teaching There is no God but God was long ago changed to There is nothing but God. Which would make me…well…God.
Enough? Do you wish or need more? You might find it instructive and fascinating to go to Wikipedia, the source to which I owe my appreciation for much of the above information.
As well, read the remarkable books of Huston Smith, 91 years of age at this writing and a globally honored professor of religion. Among titles of his that I most often recommend: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions, 1958, rev. ed. 1991, HarperOne, and Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions, 1976, reprint ed. 1992, HarperOne.
So…that is my answer to the fourth question. I am an out-picturing of the Divine. I am God in human form. So too, of course, are we all.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* The question of who you are is the most important question of your life.
* There is no “right way” to answer the question.
* You have a couple of choices when it comes to how you think of yourself.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Look at this question deeply. Not once, but every day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, for one year solid. Look at the question and give yourself the answer that feels true for you in that moment. Do not tailor the answer to what you think an enlightened being would say. Let your answer be your truth.
* Give yourself permission to move your conversation with others into this important area. After discussing the Three Persistent Questions, gently invite the exploration into a look at this most profound inquiry. See the final of the Seven Simple Questions for brief hints on how to hold a Seven Questions Discussion Group.
9 Nov 2015.
© Neale Donald Walsch.
The Storm Before the Calm: Book 1 in the Conversations with Humanity Series – by Neale Donald Walsch. Paperback published 1 October 2011, Emnin Books, Oregon, USA; ISBN-13: 978-1401936921