The book “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch tells the story of its author, who one day in an epiphany of frustration with life wrote all of his questions about things that bothered him down on a yellow legal pad. To his surprise, God answered with words whispered into his ear by a “Voiceless Voice”, which Walsch faithfully transcribed onto said legal pad. I read this account (or one-third of it… the account is actually a trilogy) about eight years ago, and questions about the veracity of the experience aside, it had a big impact on me. Somewhere in the book, Walsch (stenographing for God) writes:
So go ahead now. Ask Me anything. Anything. I will contrive to bring you the answer. The whole universe will I use to do this. So be on the lookout. This book is far from My only tool. You may ask a question, then put this book down. But watch. Listen. The words to the next song you hear. The information in the next article you read. The story line of the next movie you watch. The chance utterance of the next person you meet. Or the whisper of the next river, the next ocean, the next breeze that caresses your ear—all these devices are Mine; all these avenues are open to Me. I will speak to you if you will listen. I will come to you if you will invite Me. I will show you then that I have always been there. All ways.
This sort of idea appears frequently in the book — “the answers are there, you just have to look for them.” I took a lot of those messages to heart, to the point where I was constantly looking for “signs” in my life. Sometimes the more coincidental an event was, the more likely it was for me to interpret it as a signal that I was doing something right. Small world phenomena drove me crazy (“I just ran into Jill’s brother’s girlfriend on the subway in D.C. — that can’t be just a coincidence, it must mean something!”). I let the movement of the world around me be my indicator of whether I was doing things right.
But sometimes we do everything right and things still don’t turn out how we hope, even when the 8-ball tells us so plainly that the “signs point to yes”. At some point I realized that I had taken the philosophy of looking for answers too far, and now I try to enjoy a balance of marvel at coincidence (“If I hadn’t come to get coffee with you, I never would have realized that I dropped my keys outside the front door to my building! And I hate coffee!”) and passive skepticism (“It’s probably just a coincidence that ‘Unwritten’ came on the radio while I was working on my memoirs.”) about the signs along my path.
Coincidentally, I seem to have lost my copy of “Conversations with God”. I must be doing something right.
“Conversations with God” was recently released as a motion picture (http://www.nealedonaldwalsch.com/) , though it didn’t make it into many cities.