I made sure to get up plenty early on Monday morning, the last day of the conference. For Neale's all-day, I wanted to be as close as possible. As I prepared to take my luggage to the car, I took a look at the TV and marveled at how I hadn't watched it on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Since I hadn't been on the internet, either, I was under a media blackout of sorts. If a speaker talked about something that had recently happened in the world, I was totally clueless and liked it that way. I also hadn't really had any time to be outside or to be among those of a non-spiritual bent (though the hotel employees could be considered such, they blended in so well that it was easy to forget).
I was in line for Neale's seminar at about 8:10am, 50 minutes before it was to begin. A lady walked past and said, "Are you holding up the line for Neale?" I said, "Yes" and added, in a nod to "Misery", "I'm his number one fan". We were let in around 8:35. I walked quickly up front where I got a front row seat just a few feet from where he would be speaking. In the pic below, you can see Neale to the right of the whiteboard (just to the right of the bald man) and me (wearing a blue shirt) close by:
He had lots of new stuff. Doncha hate it when you go to see a comedian and he just regurgitates the same old shtick? Like last summer, Neale went over the ins and outs of the Mechanics of the Mind and the System of the Soul, but there was plenty of time to go into other areas. Early on, a younger man asked what reality is. I smiled as Neale said that there was no such thing as objective reality. He mentioned that spending 6 hours with him might seem like a lot, especially compared to the 90-minute sessions he'd given earlier in the weekend, but that we would only be exposed to about 6% of the totality of what he'd like to share.
He said that he can afford to not give workshops, but that after a few weeks at home, he gets the craving to share what he's learned (remembered) with as many people as possible. He discussed the figure 8 from his When Everything Changes book; this showed how it is that we go from ultimate reality to the physical reality we now inhabit. Many belief systems, he said, profess that it is possible to go from one realm to another, but not that we get to go back and forth as many times as we want.
At one point, Neale thought it'd be good to have the whiteboard raised from the floor to the platform so that all could see it. He asked that me and another man come up so that the board could be moved. We lifted it up and as the other guy moved a table from the platform to the floor and I was getting ready to sit down, Neale said, "Tom, move that chair out of the way. Snap to it!" I quickly did as I was told. Pretty cool, I thought, to be taking orders from a best-selling author.
Later, he talked of ways to get in touch with the divine, one being taking 10 seconds when you're in the middle of doing something and just stopping. He illustrated this by stopping talking in the middle of a sentence and not speaking again until 10 seconds later. I've tried this one myself and it is quite potent. Not sure how good it would go over when one is having sex.
Later in the morning, while writing on the board, he said, "Those who were thinking we were going to be having a morning break, NA NA NA NA NA NA!!" A little after noon, we were given 90 minutes for lunch. A salad buffet was served and unlike Friday's lunch, this time it was Caesar salad which is much more my cup of tea.
The dessert chocolate was much too rich, however; speaking to how we experience reality differently, the women I was with said it was heavenly. Shortly before returning to the conference room, I stopped in the bathroom where I saw Michael Tamura. Wouldn't you know it, while he was trying to go, someone started talking to him and began peppering him with questions. Tamura took it in stride.
Neale had lots of really cool asides, such as when he talked about how nothing is ever deleted on a computer. It can be put into a recycle bin and the recycle bin can be emptied, but it's all still there. He said the soul is the same way. Plenty of laughs were generated when he said that FEAR stands for Fuck Everything And Run. He talked about how our brains had evolved over time, from the reptillian one, which simply reacts, to the mammalian one. In some way, he said, it would be less complicated if we still had just the mammalian one. A lions roars, for example, but it doesn't second-guess itself afterward, thinking, "Maybe I shouldn't have roared at those lions. Perhaps I was out of line".
He also spoke to those who believe that they are unworthy of God; "The sun is a part of God, the trees are a part of God, the flowers are all a part of God, but God ends at your body", he said facetiously. He had some great words on the value of having things in this world that we don't agree with, on how it is necessary for there to be the opposite of what you think you are in order for you to decide and declare who you wish to be. This made me see the good in having someone like Sarah Palin around.
As our time started winding down, he said that forgiveness is not necessary if there is understanding. That is, if you can understand why someone might do the thing that they did that makes you think they need to be forgiven. He also said that all the things we believe in, we're making up. For many years, the Catholic Church required that no one eat meat on Fridays. How did this come to be? Someone made it up. It's professed by some in the Islam faith that martyrs will get 72 virgins in heaven. Where did that come from? Someone made it up. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe it is immoral to get a blood transfusion. Again, someone made it up and the sadness is that millions actually believe it. Of course, this means I'm also making up my own beliefs, but I feel it's better to err on the side of unconditional love over orthodoxy.
Neale concluded by saying that God doesn't make any mistakes, that all circumstances you encounter are for your highest growth and that the game never ends. His wife (Em Claire) ended with a beautiful poem. Here's a portion of it:
"Go Outside and play!" said God. "I have given you Universes as fields to run free in! And here - take this and wrap yourself in it - It's called: LOVE and It will always, always keep you warm. And stars! The sun and the moon and the stars! Look upon these often, for they will remind you of your own light! I have given you everything you need. Now go, go, go outside and play!"