Who Gets to Chat with God?

hands (1)God and I have always had something of an up-and-down relationship. I really like Him (or is it a Her or an It? I’ve never been quite sure) a lot. I mean A LOT. More than anything else.  But still, we’ve had our struggles.

My grandmother was my very favorite relative, complete with a friendly dog and a friendly cat, closets which smelled of mothballs, and an endless supply of wonderful desserts. She went to church every Sunday and prayed, and she taught me to do the same.  I picked it up pretty easy.

“God, this is Nicholas here.” (That was my name when I was a kid, Nicholas.) “God, thank you very, very much for making me captain of the cricket team. That was very nice of you. And thank you for the B grade in English. I was wondering if you could help me out with Biology, and maybe get me a B in that too? Oh and by the way, you know that girl with the blond pigtails, Molly Smithers? Well God, I’d really like to kiss her.   God..?   God..?   Are you there, God..?    Hello..?”

I was quite conscientious about my praying back then, but I was never quite sure if anyone was listening. Seemed there was a lot of static on the line, and I wasn’t quite sure if my mail was getting read, or if my phone calls were being listened to.

When I got to be a teenager, my relationship with God became way more confusing, mainly because of what felt to me to like mixed messages about masturbation. “Ah, young Ardagh, come in. Sit down, my boy. Don’t be shy, for I am a good and kind God, if you obey me.  I’ve seen that you’ve become a young man now. You may have noticed some interesting changes in your body in the last year or so. Young Ardagh, I want you to listen to me very carefully. You may have noticed that I’ve given you an organ of immense pleasure. If you touch this organ, it will make you feel very, very good. But, young man, you must NOT touch this organ. Do you understand me? If you do, I will throw you into internal damnation. Good! All understood? Now go forth and worship me.”

Perhaps it’s understandable that by the end of my teenage years, I was shopping around for a focus of divinity whom I could understand a little better. Back in the early 70s everything was available. buddhaThe Hare Krishnas were chanting on Oxford Street, and every kind of guru was setting up shop all over town. Shiva, Krishna, ascended masters,  Elvis, it was all there.  And then there was Buddhism, where it was all about emptiness: Nirvana, snuffing out the candle. Buddhists claim to have no personalized deity at all, but then they sneak one in the back door by offering flowers to a Buddha statue, or Quan Yin.

Finally, I met a great man in India called H.W.L. Poonja, a direct student of Ramana Maharshi. He was a fierce man, with a knack of intimidating people into awakening.  As an ex-army officer from the British days, this was the boot camp approach to enlightenment. I lived with him on and off for seven years.  He introduced me to a view where there is no separation anywhere. Relax deeply into your own nature, and there is only spacious consciousness. Look out into the world, and it is only the same spacious consciousness dancing.

Many, many, many people today have dropped into tasting this dimension of “awakening,”  at least in snapshots.  This epidemic of sanity was the subject of my 2005 book, The Translucent Revolution. As you hang out longer in this view, you discover that you are not a fixed thing, but more of a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is solidity. You have thoughts and beliefs, an identity and a past, and you appear to be very real. At the other end of the spectrum, there are no limits, only a spacious consciousness in which you and God and everything else are all one. Between the two limits dances the story of your life.

When the wave in the ocean looks out and sees other waves, it recognizes itself to be separate, with a beginning and ending in time. It might be faster than some waves and slower than others, bigger than some and smaller than others. When the wave looks into itself, gets curious about its deeper nature, it sees the ocean. In that moment, the wave doesn’t experience “I am part of the ocean,” it looks into itself and sees “I am the ocean.” At that moment it recognizes that all of the waves are expressions of the ocean.

We can call the dialog between wave and ocean prayer. It’s the delicious dynamic where you neither feel separate enough to be cut off from God, but you’re just separate enough to feel a relationship with the divine. That’s when we experience benevolence in our lives. Small miracles happen. Prayers get answered. You find yourself showing up in the right place at the right time with the right people, not necessarily to get the pleasure you want, but so that you can move freely in the dance you were born to live.

Ok, so who gets to hang out and chat with God?

conversations_with_godMany of us were taught to believe that this was only possible for the special few: a pope or an avatar or a saint. Most of us grew up believing that we needed an intermediary. And for those of us, like me, who rejected the religion of their early years and dabbled in alternative imports from the east, we often replicated that same relationship. Now the intermediary had an Indian accent, long robes, and beads.
Today there
is a growing number of people who are becoming deeply spiritual without necessarily being religious. They realize that divinity is to be found wherever you direct a gaze of open-hearted reverence. You may find that divinity in your own heart, or in the person you’re married to, or in your own children.  Every moment and every interaction can become a possibility to hang out and have a good chat with God.

Perhaps the person who’s kicked up the most dust on this subject in the last couple decades is Neale Donald Walsch, who not only had innumerable cozy chats with God, but went on to publish many books as a result.  I’m going to be in dialog with Neale this Thursday, April 7th, at 6pm PST.

You can register here for the call here.



Photo credits: nuchylee, lobster20, worradmu, Neale Donald Walsch

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7 Responses to “Who Gets to Chat with God?”

  1. diana April 5, 2011 at 1:00 am // Reply

    Dear Arjuna, thank you for mentioning Good. My spiritual beginning was protestant in a quite free way to discover this relationship. In early childhood I had the inner promise (from God?) in my heart that nervertheless how long it will take and how bad things look I will get into my destination, my potential whatever. This inner knowing of an undestructable inside or “otherside” of the game was my biggest strength through times of battle. Now my “believing” is not fixed and I love Gandhis saying “God has no religion”. In the new testament there are quite “translucent” aspects and I am grateful that I could believe, even when I know now that God is not “sombody outside”.


  2. Craig Cerney April 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm // Reply

    I have been doing a lot of praying this last year, and generally I find that what I ask for I receive. Mostly I ask for heart opening, release, sincerity, discipline, or other qualities I want to more fully embody in my life. The best prayer of all is “thank you,” which sometimes repeats on its own in my mind, over and over. It heals everything.


  3. Marit Holsen April 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm // Reply

    In my childhood i learn about god in the hard religious way were I was brainwashed and indoctrinated with a fearful a judmental god, satan and hell. I was also abused in many ways and you vere sindfull from you where born. I child rised in fear in a invironment like this can be very traumatic and creates a grounded fear and misstrusting who follows you on your jorney true the life. It changed who I was. It took my identy and have almost deletede me true my jorney in this incarnation. In 1998 I started to look for what I could do. I started to reed selfhelp books and started my journey to my spirit. One of the first books I read was Neale Donald Walsh book conversation with good. That changed my life and I started my own jorney bach to god and spirit in a way who was very different from what I learned about as i child. It has been very challenged because of the indoctrination from my childhood but slowly, slowly, step by stem god and the universe have bringed me back on my track int the life and back to who I realy am. That book was lifechanging for me and are the reason that I today can have a relationship with god and say that word and use that word and feel that my heart is singing. Before it just created a deep fear and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I have learned in my jorney that the god i learned about in my childhood is so far away from the truth that i now of. My heart is now singing when I know it is possible to talk to god and connect that source. It is so far away from what I learned as a child. Like day and night. Neale Donald Walsh have done a tremendes job for the earth with his writing. Today my life is a blessing when I think about god and the universe and my heart is filled with love. It is so away from the religious connecection I learned about as ia child. I am so greatfull that I have learned about god and the universe in this way and this feeling connection i have with the source is still changing my life into something I didn’t now existed. Unconditional love and now judments at all. That is real freedom. That god loves me for who I am and what I am and that I am good enough just the way I am. That is the best medicine ever for me and how it is haling my experience in the life slowly slowly is a blessing and I am so greatfull of that I can experience this on my life jorney.
    With love and light.


  4. Eileen April 7, 2011 at 2:02 am // Reply

    Thanks for the article. Mirrors some of my own searching though not the trip to India. This morning I stood in my bedroom, facing the sun and listening to the slow movement of Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto. At that moment I was as close to the divine as I’ve felt in a long time. Heart centred moments are such a blessing.


  5. Doris April 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm // Reply

    I wrote a very long comment and lost it in the process. I am unable to repeat it. I hope you received it.

    All I can say at this time is thank you so very much. You have fed my spirit.


  6. Buck Rhodes April 11, 2011 at 7:46 am // Reply

    Jesus says to me:

    Invite me into your heart
    For this is my true home.
    And in your heart we’ll find
    The bridal chamber
    And we will become one,
    Not only one with each other,
    But one with the whole world.

    And all the words I’ve spoken to you
    Will become our words.

    And we will know the true desires
    Of those who approach us
    And by our wishes
    Their desires will be filled.

    For this is the glory of god and
    The Tree of Life heavy with the fruits of love.
    None shall be left unfed in our presence.


  7. Van Langendonck Stefaan April 12, 2011 at 6:33 am // Reply

    Many many many people have tasted awakening?
    I think this is your perception because of the work you do.
    I live an anonymous life and I am out on the street a lot. I can testify that where I live (Leuven, Belgium) I haven’t seen ANYONE awakened. Not ANYONE. Everywhere you look, you see people asleep, totally in the their story, in “somebodiness”. All of them vibrating on a low frequency. Not anyone vibrating on the frequency of pure joy without cause. NOT ANYONE! And I am talking about tens of thousands of people.


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