By Neale Donald Walsch.
Part Two: Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New –
Mind-bending thoughts as our co-authorship begins.
The incredible story we’re dealing with now
To my wonderful partners in the human enterprise…
Okay, so now we’re going to get down to it.
We’re going to look now, right here, at the Old Cultural Story of humanity that I keep harping about. The story that’s been creating all the problems.
I touched on this ever so briefly at the very outset of our time together here. I said that I just wanted to look at it quickly and then get to solutions fast. But now I want to expand on what I said then, as I promised that I would do. Because now we know what many of our solutions can be…we’ve talked about conversation as a tool for change, we’ve talked about focusing those conversations on the Seven Simple Questions…but we must, must, must be very clear what the holdup has been, so that we can finally break the logjam.
The wrong medicine for the wrong illness
The situation we find ourselves in as we move more deeply into the 21st Century is that we are coming up with the wrong medicine for the wrong illness. What we think is wrong with us is not wrong with us, so what we hope is the solution is not the solution.
The biggest difficulty in the world today is that we continue trying to solve our problems at every level except the level at which the problems exist.
We first try to solve our problems as if they were political problems, because we are used to using political pressure on this planet to get people to do what they don’t want to do.
We hold discussions, we write laws, we pass legislation and adopt resolutions in every local, national, regional, and global language and assembly we can think of to try to solve the problem with words—but it does not work. Whatever short-term solutions we may create evaporate very quickly, and the problems reemerge. They will not go away.
So we say, “Okay, these are not political problems and they cannot be solved with political means. They are economic problems.” And because we are used to using economic power on this planet to get people to do what they don’t want to do, we then try to solve the problems as if they were economic problems.
We throw money at them, or withhold money from them (as in the form of sanctions), seeking to solve the problems with cash. But it does not work. Whatever short-term solutions we may create evaporate very quickly, the problems reemerge. They will not go away.
And so we say, “Okay, these are not economic problems, and they cannot be solved by economic means. They must be military problems.” And because we are used to using military might on this planet to get people to do what they don’t want to do, we then try to solve the problems as if they were military problems.
We throw bullets at them and drop bombs on them, seeking to solve the problems with weapons. But it does not work. Whatever short-term solutions we may create evaporate very quickly, and the problems reemerge. They will not go away. And so, having run out of solutions, we declare: “These are not easy problems. No one expected that they could be fixed overnight. This is going to be a long, hard slog. Many lives will be lost in trying to solve these problems. But we are not going to give up. We are going to solve these problems if it kills us.” And we don’t even see the irony in our own statements.
After a while, however, even primitive beings of very little consciousness become tired of the killing and the dying of their own sons and daughters in battle and their own women and children and elderly in the line of fire. And so, after enough killing has been done with no solution in sight, they say it is time to call a truce and hold peace talks. And the cycle begins again…
We are back to the bargaining table, and back to politicking as a solution. And peace talks often include discussion of reparations and economic recovery. And so, we are back to money as a solution. And when these solutions fail to work in the long run, we are back to bombs again.
And on and on and on it goes, and on and on and on it has gone throughout human history. Only the names of the players have changed, but the game has not.
Only primitive cultures and primitive beings do this. I know that you have all heard the definition of insanity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to get a different result.
We can’t seem to change our ways, however, because we are very used to trying to force solutions in our world.
Yet solutions that are forced are never solutions at all. They are simply postponements.
I know that you have heard, a hundred times by now, the definition of insanity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to get a different result.
The great tragedy and the great sadness of humanity is that we are forever willing to settle for postponements in place of solutions.
Only primitive cultures and primitive beings do that. Highly evolved beings would never, ever settle for a ten-thousand-year postponement in solving their biggest problems. Here on this planet we’ve never really faced the largest problem of humanity head on. We refuse to. We pretend we don’t even know what it is. And so we do our endless dance all around it. And we continue, century after century, to solve the world’s problem at every level except the level at which the problem exists.
That is what I meant when I said at the very top of this conversation that things are not what they seem.
The problem in the world today is a spiritual problem. It has to do with what people believe.
It has to do with what they hold to be true about Life, about God, about themselves and about each other.
This problem of beliefs creates a condition of hopelessness, helplessness, anger, and rebellion. That condition produces a circumstance — inevitably produces a circumstance — of run-away violence.
The problem of beliefs is a problem which all of us have helped to create. This is true because all of us have beliefs. And all of us pass on those beliefs to others—to our children and our grandchildren and our neighbors and our friends.
We join together to create a Cultural Story…and that Cultural Story is what creates the Conditions which produce the Circumstances that we are trying to eliminate and to avoid.
Yet we cannot eliminate them and we cannot avoid them until we eliminate and avoid the beliefs that created them—and this is something we have staunchly refused to do. I don’t think we even know what half of those beliefs are anymore.
Well, I’m going to fix that right now.
Here’s what we’re up against on this planet
Here is humanity’s Old Cultural Story…as passed on to us by our parents, our teachers, our clergy, our political leaders, and everyone else who we’ve counted on to know the truth. They told us…
We are born into a hostile world, run by a God who has things He wants us to do and things He wants us not to do, and will punish us with everlasting torture if we don’t get the two right.
Our first experience in life is separation from our mother, the source of our life. This sets the tone and creates the context for our entire reality, which we experience to be one of separation from the Source of all life.
We are not only separate from all life, but from everything else in life. Everything that exists, exists separate from us, and we are separate from everything else that exists. We do not want it this way, but this is the way it is. We wish it were otherwise, and, indeed, we strive for it to be otherwise.
We seek to experience Oneness again with all things, and especially with each other. We may not know why, exactly, yet it seems almost instinctual. It feels like the natural thing to do. The only problem is, there does not seem to be enough of The Other to satisfy us. No matter what the Other Thing is that we want, we cannot seem to get enough of it.
We cannot get enough love, we cannot get enough time, we cannot get enough money, we cannot get enough of whatever it is we think we need in order to be happy and fulfilled. The moment we think that we have enough, we decide that we want more.
Since there is ‘not enough’ of whatever it is we think we need to be happy, we must ‘do stuff’ to get as much as we can get. Things are required of us to get everything, from God’s love to the natural bounty of life. Simply ‘being alive’ is not enough. Therefore WE, like all of life, are not enough.
Because just ‘being’ isn’t sufficient, there’s stuff that we have to do. The ones who do the ‘right stuff’ get to have the things that they need to be happy. If you don’t do the right stuff in the right way, you don’t get to ‘win’. Thus, the competition begins. There’s ‘not enough’ out there, and so, we have to compete for it.
We have to compete for everything, including God.
This competition is tough. This is about our very survival. In this contest, only the fittest survive. Only to the victor go the spoils. If you are a loser, you live a hell on Earth, and after you die, if you are a loser in the competition for God, you experience hell again – this time forever.
Death was actually created by God because our forebears made the wrong choices. In Western theologies the Myth of Adam and Eve tells us about this.
According to the myth, humans had everlasting life in the Garden of Eden, but then, Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and she and Adam were driven from the garden by an angry God, who sentenced them, and all their progeny forevermore, to death as The First Punishment. Henceforth, life in the body would be limited, and no longer everlasting, and so would the stuff of life.
Many other cultures have their own Origination Stories, and most tell the same tale: one of Separation from God for one reason or another, and thus, the loss of everlasting life.
Yet God will give us back our everlasting life if we never again break His rules. God’s love is unconditional, it is only God’s rewards which are not. God loves us even as He condemns us to everlasting damnation. It hurts Him more than it hurts us, because He really wants us to return home, but He can’t do anything about it if we misbehave. The choice is ours.
The trick is, therefore, to not misbehave. We need to live a good life. We must strive to do so. In order to do so, we have to know the truth about God’s desire and does not want from us. We cannot please God, we cannot avoid offending Him, if we do not know Right from Wrong. So we have to know the Truth about that.
The Truth is simple to understand and easy to know. All we have to do is listen to the prophets, the teachers, the sages, and the Source and Founder of our religion. If there is more than one religion, and therefore, more than one Source and Founder, then we have to make sure to pick the Right One. Picking the Wrong One could result is us being a Loser.
When we pick the Right One, we are superior, we are better than our peers, because we have The Truth on our side. This state of being ‘Better’ allows us to claim most of the other prizes in the contest without actually contesting them.
We get to declare ourselves the Winner in the competition before the competition begins. It is out of this awareness that we give ourselves all the advantages, and write the Rules of Life in such a way that certain others find it nearly impossible to win the really big prizes.
We do not do this out of meanness, but simply in order to ensure that our victory is guaranteed—as rightly it should be, since it is those of our religion, of our nationality, of our race, of our gender, of our political persuasion, who know The Truth, and therefore deserve to be Winners.
Because we deserve to win, we have a right to threaten others, to fight with them, and to kill them if necessary, in order to produce this result.
There may be another way to live, another thing that God has in mind, another, larger Truth, but if there is, we don’t know it. In fact, it is not clear whether we are even supposed to know it.
It is possible that we are not supposed to even try to know it, much less to truly know and understand God. To try is to be presumptuous, and to declare that you have actually done so is to blaspheme.
God is the Unknown Knower, the Umoved Mover, the Great Unseen. Therefore, we cannot know the truth that we are required to know in order to meet the conditions that we are required to meet in order to receive the love that we are required to receive in order to avoid the condemnation that we are seeking to avoid in order to have the everlasting life that we had before any of this started.
Our ignorance is unfortunate, but should not be problematical. All we need do is take what we think we DO know—our Cultural Story—on faith, and proceed accordingly.
This we have tried to do, each according to his or her own beliefs, out of which we have produced the life that we are now living, and the reality on Earth that we are creating.
Now you understand
Okay? That’s it. That is how most of the human race has it constructed. We each have our variations, but this is, in essence, how we live our lives, justify our choices, and rationalize our outcomes.
And all this made-up stuff did not come out of thin air. It grew out of some very powerful illusions that appear to have been embraced by our species in the earliest days of its cognition. Or, using an analogy I like to employ, we are as a magician who has forgotten his own tricks.
All of this has created a world in which its richest countries in 2003 spent $60 billion to help the poorest countries address the problems of poverty, lack of education, and poor health, while during the same period spending $900 billion for defense.
Let me repeat that. Sixty billion dollars to help alleviate global poverty, nine hundred billion for defense.
This led the president of the World Bank to dryly suggest that if the world simply reversed its priorities, the cost of defense would never have to exceed the smaller sum.
I bring this up here not because I think that the solution to the world’s problem is economic. (I have just made the point that it is not.) I bring this up because I believe that if we solved our spiritual problem, we would not need a huge budget for defense.
We would quite naturally shift our priorities into spending those defense funds to lift the poor out of the abject misery and hopelessness that produces the frustration and rage that the world now has to defend itself against.
People who aren’t suffering do not attack others.
Yet the sign of a social order that is really failing is when even among those people in the world whose lives are more comfortable, violence is on an upswing.
If even those who should be contented are discontented, you know something’s wrong, you know that something is fundamentally askew in the way you’ve got things set up. In short, you know you’re in trouble. Big trouble.
All attack is a call for help. That’s what A Course in Miracles declares, and I agree. If one person attacks another, it’s because that first person is suffering. Violence is on an upswing not only on the streets of the Middle East, but on the streets of Europe; not only in the homes of the poor in Southeast Asia, but in the homes of the rich in North America, because of poverty. It is poverty that causes suffering.
Poverty comes in many forms. There’s financial poverty, physical poverty, mental poverty, or spiritual poverty…but it is all poverty. The human experience of need is widespread, and not exclusive to the poor. To put this another way, you could say that the human experience of limitation is not limited.
Need—perceived and unmet need—is what causes violence. And need is not solved by economic or political mechanisms. Need is a spiritual ill, solved by spiritual means.
Put in the spiritual solution and need is seen for the illusion that it is.
Example: You would not let a member of your family die of starvation, standing right at your front door. Yet we allow 400 children an hour to die of starvation on a planet where there is more than enough to feed them. The problem is, we don’t them of them as members of our family.
That’s a spiritual problem, plain and simple. We don’t know Who We Are. If we did, we would solve not only the needs of the poor at our front door, but also the affluent already seated at the table, but still striving for Bigger, Better, More.
POINTS I HOPE YOU WILL REMEMBER…
* Our Old Cultural Story is unworkable in these days and times. It was probably always unworkable, but the more spiritually aware and spiritually sophisticated we become as a species, the more we realize how unworkable it is.
* Our ideas about how life is are based in simple, correctable spiritual misunderstandings.
ACTION I HOPE YOU WILL TAKE…
* Share our Old Cultural Story with as many people as possible. Copy it or type it out, duplicate it and hand it out at your Seven Questions Discussion Group. Ask the group’s members for comments on the story. Are there any parts of it that they, or you, catch yourself still living?
* Lead a discussion, write letters to editors, bring to group consciousness the present state of affairs in our world in which the globe’s richest nations spend $60 billion annually to alleviate the conditions that create abject poverty and misery on our planet and that thus lead to seething frustration, anger, and, ultimately, violence against the rich—then spend $900 billion to defend themselves against that anger.
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