Little Book of Life
LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE: A USER’S MANUAL
Neale Donald Walsch
Hampton Roads, 2010
Dismissed as New Age, Neale Donald Walsch’s popular spiritual insights have not received the careful attention they deserve. The premise of his Conversations with God seemed so outlandish that few literary magazines or book reviewers gave it serious attention, though it remained a national best seller for three years as millions of Americans found within it a deep wisdom that they could not find in their own religious traditions. Reviewing the three volumes of that work led us to appreciate a depth of insight that could hold its own with many more lauded works that covered their backs with academic quotations and learned essays. Little Book of Life can similarly be mistaken as the product of a guru’s ego out of control, yet it is chock full of wisdom we all know but do not take seriously enough. Walsch calls upon us to take the spiritual insight that “we are all one” and apply it to politics, economics, and caring for the earth. He calls for us to overcome the delusion of ownership: “We do not own the earth any more than we own our children.… We don’t even own the land beneath us, just because we have a deed to it, much less the sky above us … I envision an economy in the 21st century where the kind of ownership that allows us to destroy something at will, because we bought it, ignoring completely the effects that it has on the rest of us, will no longer be possible…. I see a place where finally we are clear that there’s enough — that there is enough of what we think we need to be happy for us to finally share it.” It’s comforting to know that at least one pop-spiritual guru has the wisdom to apply spiritual principles to social reality and advocates equality and the redistribution of wealth and satisfactions in the details of daily life.