The Writing Structure of  Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations of God, Volume One


 By Mark Riccio


Have you ever felt that your favorite spiritual book, such as Conversations With God, may just have a very special composition? Of course, content and message are essential, but what if in addition to Walsch’s teachings, the message itself has a very special organic wave-form? In my studies of great spiritual texts, I have learned that many writing have a wave-form. Such wave-forms are fairly easy to find in the Bible, in Plato, Rudolf Steiner and so on.


The basic principle of a wave-form is that there are two sides to each book or chapter: a left side and a right side, an ascending and descending, an outer aspect and inner aspect. Look at the Gospel of Matthew and its wave form.



This wave-form was discovered by Medieval Jewish and Christian scholars and published by E. Bullinger.  (I added the colors, questions, and levels.) Matthew, Mark, and Luke all have a similar form as do Job and Ruth. What is striking is how the topics mirror each other on the levels. The right side has to do with the “proclamation” of Jesus while the left side with “rejection.”  We see the yellow level has to do with individuality of Jesus; while the blue level with baptism; green with nature; and red with the kingdom. Was this Gospel written this way on purpose?


Rudolf Steiner, the father of the Waldorf School and spiritual pioneer, once said that truly timeless prayers have a godly wave-form:


Analyze every true prayer that exists - word for word - and you will find it to be no arbitrary stringing together of words. Never has a mere blind impulse been followed to string together so many beautiful words. Not at all; rather, the great wise men have adopted these prayer-forms from the wisdom teaching that is now called “spiritual science.” Every true form of prayer was born of this great knowledge; and the great Initiate who founded Christianity - Christ Jesus - had in mind the seven principles of human nature when he taught his prayer, expressing in it the seven-principled nature of man.


Human beings are the measure of all things and Steiner is saying that the Our Father Prayer has the same form as the seven-fold human being, ubiquitous in both ancient and modern spiritual systems. The seven-fold human being contains in itself a wave-form consisting of seven interrelated bodies: 1) Physical body, 2) Life-body, 3) Astral-body, 4) Ego-body, 5) Mana (ennobled astral body), 6) Buddhi (ennobled life body), and 7) Atman (ennobled physical body). 

How did Jesus create a wave-form in this seven-fold prayer? The most visible mirroring is between the external Kingdom of God (sentences 1 thru 3) and the inwardness of the human struggle (sentences 4 thru 7). This is denoted in the diagram by the change from the blue line into a yellow line.


There is also mirroring between lines three and five in that both have double elements (in line 3, heaven and earth; in line 5, trespassers and forgivers). Lines 2 and 6 have a qualitative mirroring since they have distinct actions verbs: “come” and “lead.” Sentences 1 and 7 begin and end with God’s good name and the evil. The mirroring in this prayer is more subtle than the Gospel mirroring and therefore a little harder to see without some review.


The mid-point, sentence four, has as its theme the spirit bread, and is the only place where in the prayer where human and God meet i.e., in the spiritual bread. In the case of this prayer, the wave-form is not blatant while in the Bible and Plato there is more often a one-to-one concrete repetition of themes or words.


What about Walsch’s message from God? Although it was a conversation, it does have sections and chapters. The chapters seem to have their own special form.  It is interesting that the book has 14 chapters with two distinct parts. Chapters 1 through 7 seem to be about the basic concepts and the individual reader, whereas chapters 8 through 14 show how to apply the concepts to relationships and the world.


            Look at the content and quality of the first seven chapters. See if there is a high-point in Chapter 4. Do chapters 1 and 7 have a similar quality and theme, 2 and 6, and 3 and 5? 


Chapter Synopses of the first seven chapters of CWG:


1. God’s basic principles: Sponsoring Thoughts: love or fear; Life is a creation; Reality is dyad or triad; Each soul is a master; Jesus and healing the world


2. Changing our inherited judgments: God doesn’t judge Good and Evil: we create our world and pain, we inherited values from our parents, Money and sex; Gospel writers and worthiness


3. The soul’s purpose: (13 questions) The three-fold reality; we forgot who we are; Watch your words


4. Discipline your mind: 10 points of self-transformation; New Reality


5. Ten signs of success: living the 10 commandments, true path: pure being-ness; Heaven and renunciation


6. Path of suffering?: Pain is a reaction; a master is quiet; Suffering means we still have something to learn


7. God Consciousness: Life is scary? No attachment to results; Cause and effect, family and survival,; God’s pay, difficult events become blessings or tests! Choosing and self-responsibility.


Let us go from the whole to the parts. The first three chapters have to do with how things are: the nature of our reality:

How God is (Ch. 1),

creation and thought (Ch. 2),

the three-fold reality (Ch. 3).

Chapters four through seven have to do with self-transformation and

the results such as the 10 signs(Ch.5),

make pain into learning (Ch. 6),

and God Consciousness (Ch.7). 

Next come chapters eight through fourteen. See if you can find the organic relationships. Is there a difference in theme and quality between Chapters 8,9,10, vs. Chapters, 12, 13, and 14? What role does Chapter 10 play being that it is so short?  See how the chapters relate to one another thematically. God does not think, create, and organize arbitrarily!


Synopsis of Chapters 8-14


8. Smooth relationships? Relationship purpose: to challenge you to create the higher you; Salvation is in your reaction; The highest good for you is good for the other too! What would love do? See the higher in yourself and partner.


9. Life, killing, and pain: Life is challenging! Acting on authority instead of experience means trouble! Killing: Pain, love and wisdom


10. I love you:


11. Change sponsoring thought: List of questions; Reverse the process: deed, word, thought;


Gratitude vs. worldly success


12. Fun and making a living: Insistence on being happy vs. being grumpy; Soul mechanics


13. Health Problems: Self-created illness and negative thoughts; Healer’s absolute faith; Mental lepers; Care of the body and living forever; Creation and evolution


14. Karma and reincarnation: God’s closing words; The three volumes; Listen to your soul!


 Now let us turn to the structure of all 14 chapters.  It is a bit much for the eye to grasp and one does not usually remember what one has read. This is why it is important to sketch out your favorite spiritual book so that you can see not only what the main contents are, but also how they relate to each other as a living Idea. Since God thinks in whole thought-formations, we need to practice thinking this way too, however, one step at a time. When looking at the diagram of all 14 chapters, keep in mind that the first seven cover one theme, and second seven another theme. And, that the blue chapters discuss God’s basics, and the green level our problems. The red level has to do with positive soul experiences and the yellow with transformative ideas.

Here we have the shell or mold that God poured her ideas into. Each chapter serves as a limb in the organic structure of the fourteen chapters. The book can be read linearly, that is, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 14, or can be read sideways Chapter 1 to 7 to 8 to 14 (blue level) or can be read from Chapter 4 to Chapter 10 (across the yellow level).  The entire book carefully builds on and enhances each theme. When the reader masters the various perspectives and inter-connections, the book begins to speak to the reader its hidden message. This may be called: living in the wave of the text.


         Take this dynamic approach one step deeper and one may see that some chapters also seem to have their own form. This wave-form emerges in spite of the fact that there is a conversational style. Look at Chapter One from CWG. 

 In Chapter One, seven main themes seem to appear. The form is not as clear as some of the others and may actually be inaccurate. However, putting the chapter information into a diagram makes it easier to survey and learn. I could have made the summaries more detailed, but for now I just wanted to shed light on the general structure of this great book, Conversations With God.  


          Once asked how well Neale put these ideas into practice, Neale responded, not so well. CWG needs to be studied in the same way it was written: in its wave-form, in a dynamic organic-living manner. Once studied for its form and content, people will learn to internalize these amazing ideas that refresh the mind and soul again and again.