Marianne Williamson’s debut book was A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles. It is a joyous, yet moving account of the inspiring and life-changing principles of a revolutionary self-study program, A Course in Miracles.
In it she discusses the philosophy and practice of miracles and reveals how we all can become a miracle worker by expressing love daily in our lives and accepting God.
Whether we experience psychic pain in the area of our careers, health or relationships, she demonstrates how love is a potent force and the key to inner peace.
When we practice love we not only make our lives more fulfilling but also create a more loving and peaceful world for the future and our children.
The preface to this book begins with the author describing her background, how she grew up in a middle class Jewish family in the sixties.
She talks of her rather eccentric father who took her to Saigon, so she could see what war was. She also tells of going to the synagogue on Saturday mornings with her grandfather and crying with him during the service.
At high school she decided that God was a crutch she didn’t need.
She left school to grow vegetables but admits she was searching for a sense of purpose and identity, as she traveled from job to job and relationship-to-relationship, she didn’t find what she was looking for.
Therapy made little impact and she found herself seeking comfort from drugs, food and people and relates that by her mid twenties she was a total mess and felt like she was dying inside.
She talks of how coming across A Course in Miracles in 1977 intrigued her but that it was a year later, when in a state of depression, she picked the book up again.
As we reach a certain age we find that all the enchantment that once featured in our life has disappeared. This is because we have been taught to focus elsewhere and think unnaturally.
Our thoughts are of struggle, competition, limitation, sickness scarcity, limitation, loss and death. We are told by parents and teachers to do things in the right way, to get good grades.
The onus is always on being good enough and how much money you earn.
By attaching value to material things, we are searching for meaning where there is none. The author relates how we came here as God’s co-creators to extend love and that when we live our lives in any other way, it becomes meaningless and painful.
When we feel fear instead of love we identify with disease, pain, abuse, anger, violence, war, obsession, addiction, greed, corruption and selfishness.
Love is always within us and cannot be destroyed, however it can be hidden by fear. The miracle is the shift in perception that leads to a return to love.
Here the author describes her generation as one that never grew up that although many have the education, talent, looks and credentials, in certain areas they are paralyzed by fear even to the extent of being more afraid of life than death.
She reached the point in her life where her fear finally became so great that she asked for God’s help.
After inviting God into her life she expected an intense sense of peace to descend but relates that although this happened, it only lasted for a minute or so and that after this moment she fell apart.
She had crossed the line and no longer able to function normally suffered a nervous breakdown.
This humbling experience, the reaching rock bottom and her moment of surrender brought her to a place in her life where she was able to stop wandering aimlessly through life and to start her climb from the bottom with a sense of direction which she had never known before.
She explains how once you reach rock bottom and acknowledge that there is a universal power that is bigger than you.
You realize it can do what you can’t do for yourself and talks of the irony of spending your whole life refusing to acknowledge that there’s someone smarter than you, only to be comforted to know that this is true.
Surrendering to God comes at the moment when you are not too proud to ask for help.
Each and everyone of us will be able to identify with this section as the author talks of the many times in her life when she felt overwhelmed by sadness caused by conflict with someone or fear of what might or might not happen in the future and the endless search to find an escape from this pain.
A Course in Miracles showed her that the change she was looking for, what we all look for, is actually inside our heads.
Everything else that happens around us is part of our human experience, but we have the choice to change our thoughts and how we perceive these experiences.
This shift in perception is a miracle.
Her first discoveries from A Course in Miracles were:
- “God is the love within us”
- “Whether we “follow him,” or think with love, is entirely up to us.”
- “When we choose to love, or to allow our minds to be one with God, then life is peaceful. When we turn away from love, the pain sets in.”
- Surrendering can be difficult
Surrendering is difficult for all of us as we consider surrender a failure, but in order to wholly love; we have to surrender our old ways of thinking. Surrendering to God means letting go.
When we establish love as a priority in any situation we act on behalf of God and use our minds to co-create with him. Love is not something that we can perceive with our five senses it is energy.
We have been brought up in a world in which love is not the main priority. Consequently, whether we are aware of this or not, we are all emotionally violent people, as where there is an absence of love it is replaced by fear.
In this section the author quotes A Course in Miracles and tells us that God is not responsible for our fear, we are, Gods contribution is love, an eternal creation that nothing can destroy. Anything that isn’t love is not real and when we remember this, we will find peace.
She relates how the course explains that fear is in fact a bad dream; we image our paranoia, trauma, craziness and anxiety, although these things feel very real to us as a human, they are just an illusion.
Fear comes from the divided mind, whilst one part stays in touch with love, the other changes direction into fear. We can address the real source of our problems by shifting from fear to love.
Love in our minds produces love in our lives and likewise fear in our lives produces fear in our minds. In order for a miracle, a shift in perception, all we have to do is ask for Gods help.
We need do nothing in order to establish our worth
Here we are told that we need do nothing in order to establish our worth as we are an extension of God’s love and as such we are perfect as we were created, anything which we have added on since our creation is useless.
The only thing we need to do is to allow the Holy Spirit to remove our fearful thinking.
A Course in Miracles tells us if we go deep enough into our minds we will find that at our core we are not only the same, but also the same being. This is compared with the spokes of a wheel and that we are all branching out from the same center.
When we define ourselves from our individual position on the rim, we appear separate but when we define ourselves from the center, we have the same identity in the relationship with our Source, God.
This means non of us our who we think we are, we are not dependent on our status, grades or the house we own, but part of body of Christ and when we focus on him we will see the power and the goodness within.
This section informs that the ego is in fact only a fearful thought. Our parents don’t teach us that we are essential good, only how to be good. Consequently we were not given a sense of being valued for who we are but instead by what we do.
This is not our parent’s fault; they did the best that they could, as they were also raised in the same way. The problem is that fear warps and stunts us and many turn into neurotic teenagers, slowly falling apart.
The ego teaches us greed, judgment, small mindedness and selfishness
Our ego is the result of self-love, which has been turned into self-hatred. It teaches us greed, judgment, small-mindedness and selfishness.
The main problem with this is that what we give or withhold from others we also give and withhold from ourselves and every time we choose fear rather than love we abandon love to the extent that we will feel it has abandoned us.
God heals us through the Holy Spirit. We are told that God created the Holy Spirit at the time of the very first fearful thought and it is God’s alternative to fear.
The Holy Spirit is the part of us that always longs to go home and guides us to a different way of seeing our reality, based on love.
When we ask the Holy Spirit to help us, we are conveying that we are willing to see a situation differently. Calling on God does not mean that everything in our lives will become rosy.
It means inviting the things, which we need for our growth. We are all on our spiritual paths whether we are aware of this or not and every circumstance is an opportunity to learn unconditional love.
The ego uses all of these to lead us further into anxiety, whereas the Holy Spirit will use it to guide us into inner peace.
The lesson from the course here is that enlightenment is only recognition, not a change at all. We like enlightened people have perfect love inside us. The only thing different is that those who are enlightened only have perfect love, nothing else.
Faith will solve any problem
The lesson here is that faith will solve any problem, which we may have. All we have to do is trust that the universe is on our side. When we do not have faith we frantically try to control and fix that which we can’t.
It is important that we respect the laws of the physical universe otherwise our survival is also threatened. The highest law we have instilled in us is that we should love one another.
The author explains here that A Course in Miracles tells us that faith is an aspect of consciousness and we all have faith. Our faith can be in fear and the power of the world or love and the power of God.
Our problem is that we have created a fight mentality and never put down our swords, but in order to cultivate our spiritual side we need to be passive and surrender. This does not mean loss or weakness, but powerful nonresistance.
It is through our powerful connection with the divine that we give birth to our higher Self.
Surrender means giving up our attachment to outcomes and when we stop wanting to control events, they fall into a natural order. Spiritual surrender means relaxing and feeling the love in your heart in each and every situation and it makes us a more deeper, attractive person.
When we find our selves confronted by a situation in which we don’t know what to do there is always something inside us that does. All we need to do is to step back and allow the higher power in us to lead the way.
Whenever we surrender we melt into another world and our world changes as we change. When we choose to love the world, it loves us in return. This means letting down our defenses and surrendering to who we really are.
Miracles reflect a shift in our thinking. When we ask for a miracle, we are not looking for something outside of us to change, but a return to inner peace. How we see our selves determines our behavior.
If we see ourselves as limited, small and incompetent creatures, then the likelihood is that we will behave in this way.
Likewise if we believe that we are outstanding creatures with an unlimited love and power to give, this will be the way we behave.
Miracles happen as an involuntary effect of a loving personality and when we surrender the fears that block the love within us we become God’s tools, his miracle workers.
Whenever someone says that they are on earth to serve God, it means they are on earth to love. We all have a mission to save the world with the power that we have instilled in us to love.
The course tells of Gods plan, which calls on God’s teachers to heal the world.
The author explains that teaching has nothing to do with verbal communication but the quality of human energy. Our job as a teacher is to learn to love and to forgive.
Forgiving means remembering only loving thought about yourself and others and the rest has to be forgotten. This is very different to our usual perception of forgiving when we see guilt in others. The course teaches that guilt is an illusion and only love is real.
God is only in eternity and the only point where eternity and time meet is in the present, the here and now. This is why forgiving the past is an important step towards allowing us to experience miracles.
Regarding the future, we are told that we have no way of knowing what may happen at any point in the future and it is only the ego that contemplates tomorrow.
The ego judges everything based on past experiences
The ego judges everything based on past experiences and brings these expectations into our present and looks for them in the future.
Therefore from the egos point of view if we failed in the past, we will fail now and in the future. When we place our future in the hands of God, it takes care of itself.
The purpose of our lives is to serve others and it is only through our personal awakening to the knowledge that we are not separate that we are able to awaken others.
God assigns us all with a corner of the universe which is ours to transform. This includes all aspects of our lives, home, work, and relationships, exactly as it is- NOW.
The Holy Spirit designs each and every situation, to give us an opportunity to learn love instead of fear.
Miracles are our right, but we are not always prepared to receive God’s love and react to light as if it were darkness.
In this way the light turns to dark.
Sometimes we are so blinkered by the past that we miss an opportunity and it is only when we look back that we see we were given a second chance.
If we ask for a new relationship or job, it is counterproductive when we act the same way in this new opportunity as we did in a past one.
Unless we let go of the fear, we will continue to turn every situation into the same painful experience as the previous one. When we become peaceful, so does life. Once we allow God’s light in we expand and wish to see peace in the world.
Until we find this level of cosmic maturity, we will worry about our career, plastic surgery, car payments and petty hurts whist our politicians steer us closer towards disaster and the hole in the ozone grows day by day.
However when enough people become miracle minded and love reaches a critical mass, the world will experience a far-reaching shift.
The only choice we have is whether we learn through love or pain.
The author explains that the course tells us that we do not have a say in what we learn, only the choice is whether we learn through love or pain.
We are told it is time to fulfill our purpose by living on the earth with only thoughts of Heaven and in this way Heaven and earth will no long exist as two separate states and will become one.
Although we may think that we have many problems in life, in fact, we only have one, this is denying love.
Love heals all our relationships.
Wave goodbye to the past, it doesn’t matter where we came from, who we are, what illnesses we have, what mistakes we might have made or even how depressed we feel.
The future can start anew in this moment and all we have to do is ask for a miracle, show no resistance and allow it to happen.
The author relates that before reading A Course in Miracles she had studied many other philosophical and spiritual writings and how she felt as though they had led her up a huge flight of stairs to a giant cathedral inside her mind.
Once she had reached the top of the stairs that the door of the church was locked and how the Course presented her with the key to open the door. She adds that the key is other people.
The course describes heaven as an “ awareness of perfect oneness” as opposed to a place or a condition. As we show love towards others, we learn how to love more deeply and acknowledge that we are lovable. Alternatively when we show fear or are negative to others we learn to feel more frightened of life and condemn ourselves.
In this way everyone that we meet will either be our savior or crucifier, depending on the way we are with him or her.
When we focus on their guilt, this only causes us to loath ourselves more. When we focus on their innocence, then this sets us free.
Forgiveness is the way we transform our thoughts from fear to love
Forgiveness is the way we transform our thoughts from fear to love and is therefore the key to inner peace.
Our ego’s only desire is to seek faults within others and ourselves, whereas the Holy Spirit seeks only innocence and sees us, as we really are, the perfect creations of God.
The miracle worker will consciously invite the Holy Spirit into every relationship to save us from the temptation to find fault and judge. We can do this by surrendering our relationships to God.
We all find it easy to forgive those who have never made us angry. However it is those who rile us that are our most important teachers. They truly show our capacity to forgive.
When we surrender a relationship to God, it means we are asking him to show us this person through his eyes.
When we judge others we will always be wrong even if our ego tells us this is right.
As only love is real, this means that however a person is behaving towards us, shows that his/her behavior was derived from fear, so it doesn’t actually exist. When we choose to stay awake and not dream of their guilt we are given the power to awaken this person.
The author tells us how A Course in Miracles distinguishes between an error and a sin.
A sin means that we did something so bad that God is angry at us, but this is impossible because as we can’t do anything to change our essential nature, God has nothing to be angry with us about and only love is real and nothing else exists.
Consequently, as children of God, we cannot sin, but we can make mistakes. When someone attacks us our power lies in being non reactive.
It is the ego which always highlights what someone has done wrong
It is the ego which always highlights what someone has done wrong whereas the Holy Spirit will always highlight what they have done right.
The author tells us here how the Course compares the ego with a scavenger dog seeking out every scrap of evidence of another’s guilt, and how he lays it at his master’s feet.
Whenever someone is angry, rude, manipulative, and cruel, or shows any other form of negativity, it is only because they are afraid and there is no fear that love can’t dissolve.
Peace is not determined by events outside of us. It stems from forgiveness.
When it feels like we have been hurt by what someone else did, all that has really happened is that their closed heart has tempted us to close our own. In this way it is our own denial of love, which is actually hurting us.
This is why we need to be willing to keep our hearts open, whatever the outside circumstances and we will find that a miracle is available in any situation.
Whenever we feel angry with someone, we need to invite the Holy Spirit into the situation to add a different perspective. This doesn’t cause the other person’s behavior to change, merely the way we see it, and this is a miracle.
All our relationships are part of the plan for our enlightenment.
All our relationships are part of the plan for our enlightenment. The Holy Spirit brings together people who offer each other opportunities for maximum growth. We are told of three levels of teaching:
- A casual meeting by two strangers
- One where two people will enter into an intense teaching-learning situation and then separate some time in the future.
- A relationship, which lasts all our lives
In the third level our chosen-learning partner presents us with unlimited opportunities to learn. The existence of these relationships usually implies that the people involved have reached a stage concurrently, in which the teaching learning balance is perfect.
It does not mean that because someone has something to teach us that we like them and sometimes this may represent someone we experience as a thorn in our side.
These people usually reflect and challenge our fearful positions and the places where we feel we can’t love anymore, our limits to forgiveness. They show us where we most need to heal, so that this may be brought about.
The author tells us how the Course considers a special relationship somewhat different to our normal way of thinking. Normally we mean a relationship based on fear and therefore an attribute of the ego, as opposed to that of spirit.
We are all special in the eyes of God
God sees no one as special, as we are all one and as our peace lies in loving in the same way that God loves. This means we must try to love everyone, a quality of friendship which goes beyond our bodies and who we consider we are in our time on earth.
We are told that the Course indicates that when we think we are in love with someone, we are actually anything but, as this special relationship is based on guilt not love. It is the ego’s way of pulling us away from God.
This relationship places too much importance on other people’s behaviors, opinions and choices and makes us think we need another person. The ego isn’t look for someone to love but rather someone to attack.
When we place any relationship under the Holy Spirit’s care then we can be sure that the outcome will not be pain.
An unholy relationship is established on our differences and we only want to take from each other. Often we will stay together until there is nothing left to take and then move on.
A holy relationship differs in that each person knows of no lack inside themselves, accepts that they are whole and joins another who is as whole as him/her self.
The special relationship only teaches us to hate ourselves whereas the holy relationship heals our self-hatred. This is because the holy relationship is the friendship of two brothers who are here to forgive, support and heal one another.
We do not find a holy relationship by asking God to change our partner
We do not find a holy relationship by asking God to change our partner, but by asking him to change our minds by praying to him to take our attraction to this person and use it for Gods purposes.
God and the ego have totally differing views on what makes a good relationship. The ego assumes a good relationship are where the other person behaves in the way we want them too.
This is not Gods view of a good relationship, but when we are aligned with the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t matter how others choose to behave, as our own inner peace isn’t shaken and we see the person as they truly are, despite their behavior. In this way it is not our job to turn a relationship into something we think it should be.
The author relates how the Course explains that we invent a mask to hide that which we really are. We do this because we all fear that people may not like us, if they saw us as we really are.
This could not be further from the truth and we need to reveal ourselves at the deepest levels to uncover our real nature, which is our love and the Christ within us.
There are not different types of love and the love of God is the real love that lies at the heart of all relationships.
The Course tells us that it is not our job to look for love but to look for all the obstacles, which we put in the way of it coming to us. There is no Mr. or Mrs. right or wrong, only the person in front of us and the perfect lessons, which we can learn from that person.
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Spiritual relationships are authentic and this does not necessarily mean a relationship in which you are smiling all the time. It is better to communicate our feelings than to allow them to build up inside us.
If we are angry then this needs to be accepted. If we consider our partner won’t love us if we become angry and stop being honest, then there is no hope for this relationship.
When anger is turned outward we know it as rage but when we turn it inward it turns into disease. We can share our anger with others without attacking them, by just expressing how we feel, rather than blaming them.
When we know that fear and anger is hiding the love inside us and we can hand them over to the Holy Spirit.
The author explains that we can give our children what we don’t have ourselves and she considers her greatest gift to her daughter, is that she continues to work on herself.
We must always focus on our own thoughts, behaviors and lessons as others can only affect us to the extent we judge them. The ego can be sly and try to convince us that it’s someone else’s fault, but the answer always lies within ourselves.
The author relates how many women ask her why they always meet emotionally abusive men and how she explains to them that the problem is not that we attract this type of man, but more to the point that we are attracted to them.
This can be because a person who is emotionally distant may remind us of one or even both of our parents.
In these instances we are not only offered pain, but are also comfortable receiving it, because it is all we have ever known.
We do not choose our barriers to love consciously but they are our attempt to protect us from repetition of previous humiliation and pain.
Times when we loved someone who didn’t care and love us in return, consequently we built emotional defenses. The Course says that the only problem with this is that we create what we defend.
We are inclined to blame someone in the present for something someone else did to us in the past. Our defenses mirror our wounds, but no one can heal these wounds.
A person can sincerely love us but if we are sure that people can’t be trusted and we will be let down, then it becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.
We are told to decide what we want before we see it and that if we want to concentrate on a person’s lack of respect for our feelings, then we will without doubt find it. If we don’t believe in ourselves then it is very difficult for someone else to do so.
“I am as God created me”
This section tells us how one of the exercises in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles is repeated several times. It is the exercise which says “I am as God created me”
This we are told is our main problem, as we have all forgotten who we really are and we awaken to our own rightness through our desire to see the rightness in another person.
The process of healing is not always easy and we first need to see the dysfunctional pattern, which we have developed and then ask God to take it from us. However it is not possible for the Holy Spirit to take what we won’t release and the ego’s resistance will be strong.
The ego sees love as a crime and tries to persuade us that forgiveness is a precarious position that involves an unreasonable sacrifice on our part. It believes that forgiveness my lead us to become someone’s doormat and sees love as a weakness, but the Holy Spirit sees love as strength.
The author next explains that to communicate love is to join whereas when we attack it means separation. The Holy Spirit acknowledges people as they are, but the ego cannot handle this, as unconditional love is death of the ego. It simply doesn’t understand how we can grow by accepting each other as we are.
However, tolerating and accepting people as they are, no matter what, has the amazing effect of helping them expand. Acceptance doesn’t stop growth but promotes it.
When someone is always saying what they think is wrong with us, we become paralyzed with guilt and shame, whereas those who accept us help us to relax, feel good about ourselves and find our way. Speaking from our egos and criticizing others calls up their ego, but when we speak through the Holy Spirit we call up their love.
Communication only happens when one person speaks and the other is able to hear them, so for this to be truly possible we have to take responsibility for the heart space that exists between us and the other person.
This is what determines whether communication is fearful or miraculous.
Sometimes silence will hold the most powerful loving message. We are told that A Course in Miracles says, first and foremost, we should listen too what the other person has to say.
Likewise we should be totally committed to all of our relationships, and the process of forgiveness and mutual understanding. Although a relationship appears to be over this is not essentially true, as each and every relationship is eternal and the separation, just another part of it.
Separation can often be a learning, which brings about a much deeper and purer love than if the couple, had stayed together and may involve loving someone enough so that you let them go, to be who they need to be.
Our needs are not separate, consequently if we add to someone’s pain it will always haunt us, but when we help them in every way that we can, we will always find someone willing to help us.
When relationships end, we can learn from them and discover what is real and what is not and about a love that never leaves. When we have been lied and cheated to it is easy to defend and attack.
However we are told that the Course says that our safety lies in our defenselessness.
This takes personal strength, courage and wisdom, but love will shield and protect us from chaos.
Either the Holy Spirit or the ego, we are told, can use marriage, and depending on which will either mean an emotional, material and spiritual commitment or a battle ground. A successful marriage is one that has been surrendered to God for his purposes.
We cannot reach consciousness unless we are able to forgive our parents. We are not prevented from growing because of the love, which we did not receive in the past, but only by not giving love in the present and forgiveness is the only path to release us from pain.
What does success mean to you? The author relates that success means we can end our day knowing we have used our abilities and talents to serve others. Our reward is the gratitude, which shows on people’s faces and knowing we did our bit today.
Our role is to spread love, not only in our personal relationships, but also through our work. Our works lives are not separate from the rest of our lives, but merely and extension of our basic self, which is love.
Even when we do no know how we can best put our talents to use, the Holy Spirit does and for this reason we are advised to surrender our plans to God.
It is only when we are sharing our gifts that we are the happiest and we are told how we can pray to God to help us find a sense of purpose and to help us to remember that our real job is to spread love, through our abilities and talents, and love the world back to health.
Many organized religions represent spiritual life as meaning sacrifice and soberness, so it can be difficult to imagine that living our lives close to God will be joyful, but A Course in Miracles tell us that this is the only way we will find real pleasure.
When we give our lives to God, our hearts open and our gifts and talents start to blossom.
The author tells how she always used to be on an emotional roller coaster ride; either feeling better or worse than other people and this is something we can all identify with.
However we can all gain reassurance from knowing that we are just like everybody else, as we are all essentially the some and it is God’s spirit within us that enlivens an enlightens our lives, without this, none of us are a big deal.
Allow your own light to shine and permit others to do the same
Here the author uses her interpretation of the Course to explain that we fear our powerfulness far more than being inadequate, our light rather than our darkness, and explains that we are all meant to shine and manifest the glory of God which is within each and everyone of us.
Once we allow our own light to shine, this permits others to do the same and as we are freed from our fears we inevitably free others.
God has a plan for all of us and as when we open our hearts, we will be led in the right direction and find that we accomplish effortlessly.
This usually means doing what we love, what makes our hearts sing, not going to work for the sake of what we will take home at the end of the week.
Creativity becomes distorted when our goal is making money because we are concerned with getting not giving. The attachment to money draws us away from love and we are not poor because someone else has more, but because we do not work with love.
We need to remember that the money we have is God’s money and we should only want whatever He want us to have, to do what he needs us to do. The ego will try to convince us the God expects sacrifice, but this is not the case, as our purpose is to be happy.
An important principle offered here is the way we feel about paying for services. We should never resent anyone’s right to make a living, or we in the same way resent ourselves doing this. It’s the old adage “give and be given”
The most effective way to thank God for our gifts, or to increase them, is to share them and we will find that we will always be given as much power as we are willing to use on His behalf. Our careers can express how strongly we care about what matters to us, when we are ministers of God.
It does not matter what type of job we do, as long as it is devoted to love, it can become a ministry. God can use whatever abilities and talent that we have and our ministry will become a joyous experience for others and us, as his force guides us.
The key to a successful career is allowing God’s spirit to move through us and use our gifts, however he chooses to do His work in the world. We are told that the most powerful affirmation we can use is “God, please use me”
When we direct our energy to co-creation, we will find a new energy from deep within. The only goal we need have is to take care of our own growth as people, our integrity, grace and humility. As we do this, the center of our being grows powerfully both internally and externally.
Throughout all this our egos will tell us that our value is based on what credentials we have. This is not so and many of the most talented, were educated more by life, than by school and their achievements are mainly internal.
It is not our qualifications but our allegiance to a higher purpose that establishes how effectual we are in the world.
The author says that she believes the important players in the coming years will be those who see themselves here, as having a part to play in the healing of the world and that anything else is inconsequential by contrast.
Whatever gifts we have to offer to God, no mater how humble we consider it to be, He can turn it into an impressive work on His behalf and our greatest gift is our commitment to him. From there on in we will find doors opening and our careers growing fast and we will heal as will the world around us.
We are always being advised to think about what outcome we want and set goals in order to reach this. However this is only another way of trying to get the world to do what we want it to, not spiritual surrender.
The author explains that A Course in Miracles talks about the distinction between “miracles and magic.” Magic is thinking of what we desire and presenting God with a shopping list, telling Him what we want from Him but miracles are when we ask what we can do for God.
Miracles alter our mentalities from “get” to “give”.
When we want something, this shows that we believe we lack something and as long as this scarcity remains in us, then this is what we will continue to find around us, as no matter what we have it is never enough.
On the other hand when we want to give instead of get, it shows that we believe that we are abundant and can afford to give it away. When we are willing to give, the universe provides us with more.
Our only goal is peace of mind and this in turn allows the mind to concentrate on the issues that are a factor of our peace.
Setting our goals on anything other than peace is psychologically self-destructive, as when we then don’t reach our goals, we become depressed. If our goal is peace, we can achieve this regardless of other outcomes to a situation.
Sometimes we do not have a good attitude towards our work. This can be because we feel the job is beneath us, or maybe we begrudge that we are not actually one of the bosses.
What we don’t understand is that we will climb naturally as we spread love. The author explains that when we say “May God’s will be done” then it is the same as saying, “ may I become the best that I am capable of being.”
She also says that the Course tells how the Holy Spirit can use any situation as an opportunity to give us a lesson in love. However we must be prepared to give up our attachment to a specific result to any given situation.
We are informed that we must remember that:
- God’s plan always works
- Ours doesn’t
All we have to do is to receive His plan. This means not trying to replace it with a plan of our own. We don’t have to try and work out how to accomplish God’s purposes on earth, just align our minds and heart with his spirit. In this way insights will occur and situations will change.
When we are driven by a desire to sell, these are selfish desires. When we are driven by a desire to serve, we are considering others. The service mentality is the attitude, which we need adopt, because in the territory of awareness, we only get what we give away.
The ego does not see things in this way, as its world is based on limited resources. God’s world, the real world is based around giving and the more we give, the more we will have.
There is enough room in God’s world for everyone to be beautiful, successful and rich. The only thing, which prevents this from happening, is our thoughts.
Always bless those who have attained and accomplished more than you and bless and be thankful for what you have. Taking what we have and dedicating it to becoming whole is our salvation, and the salvation of the world.
The author tells us here that we are all separate in the world of bodies, but as mentioned previously, we are all one in the world of spirit. She mentions how the Course says we can shift our awareness for identifying with the body to identifying with the spirit and how this will heal the body and the mind.
Again the problem we have here is in the way we view this, we believe we are separated because we have bodies.
However we are told the truth in fact is that we have bodies because we think we are separate. We are told how the Course refers to the body as “a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete idea.”
The ego uses the body to keep up the belief of separation and uses it for pride, pleasure and attack, whereas The Holy Spirit’s only use of the body is to heal our beliefs and illusion of separation.
The problem most of us have is that we see our bodies as ourselves and our understanding is that we are unimportant and helpless. When we realize that we are much more than our bodies and are spirits within the mind of God, we expand our level of consciousness.
When our body becomes sick through loveless thinking, it does not need healing. It is the mind, which needs healing and we are told that the only healing is a return to love.
When we use our bodies for anything other than as an extension of love it reflects in our physical and mental well being. Illness occurs when we are separate from God and healing represents that we have returned to love, to God.
We all have a healing force in us and when we ask the Holy Spirit to heal our bodies, we are really asking him to heal the thinking, which causes us to become ill in the first place.
We need to train our minds
Illness can be problematic as it can leads us to be preoccupied with the body at a time when we need to be focused on the spirit. The author says that a Course in Miracles explains that we have to train our minds, so that we think loving thoughts in order to give our immune systems a boost.
This is not easy for someone diagnosed with an illness, but we are told this is a call to change and it is crucial that we do so.
As well as filling our minds with loving thoughts, we have to love our body and provide it with healthy foods, stop smoking and drinking and make sure get sufficient sleep. Healing comes from listening to what the body is trying to tell us with this illness.
The author recommends writing a letter to your illness, telling it honestly what you feel about it and this chapter is taken up with many examples written between a person who has an illness and the answers the individual believes that the illness gave him in return.
In her work with people with AIDS she recommends that all should write a journal in which they can talk to their illness and she tells us that God can do His part, when we do ours.
Vanity comes from the ego
In the next section the author tells us how vanity comes from the ego. It gives us an irrational fascination with our hair, looks, weight and sex appeal and breeds fear that we are not attractive or good enough.
The only way to escape this is to replace our identification with the body, with the knowledge that we are not our bodies and that love is the only thing that establishes our value.
Most of us consider healing as a physical healing, but it is explained that a Course in Miracles describes health as inner peace. The author relates how physical death is not real death, because life is only the presence of love and death is just its absence.
She explains how the Course says that birth is a continuation, not a beginning and that death also is a continuation, not an end. Our physical incarnation is only one form that life can take and it goes on forever.
The spirit does not die when our body does and the author compares physical death to taking off our clothes.
The ego only acknowledges that which it can see, but we now know of a the existence of many things which can not be seen by our eyes like, protons, atoms, cells and virus. Even scientists are starting to acknowledge the oneness that lies beyond all that is apparently real.
The author tells us that it is God’s will for us to be happy now and then when we say God’s will be done, we are commanding our minds to concentrate on all the reasons we have to be happy in our life and all its beauty.
Happiness is not dependant upon our circumstances and we often see individuals who should be happy yet are not and others who are happy despite unfortunate circumstances.
We are told that the key to happiness is deciding to be happy.
Whatever we concentrate our thoughts on, then more of the same will come our way, as creation is an extension of thought.
Its not that we find it difficult to think positive thoughts, or feel positive feelings, but that we resist them because they make us feel guilty.
The ego tells us that if we are rich that someone else will be poor and if we are successful, then we may hurt someone’s feelings.
Here the author tells us how the Course warns us about the danger of a hidden belief that there is something wrong if we are too happy. In fact the Course advises to look at the crucifixion but not to stay with it.
Another problem is that the world has trained us to believe that we are not perfect and that it’s egotistical to think that we are worthy of complete happiness.
This is the place where we are trapped. When anything good comes into our life like success, love or happiness our subconscious assumes it can’t be for us and we sabotage, as we are unable to accept happiness as it doesn’t fit in with our idea of who we think we are.
God sends us happiness so that we can represent him, so it is not only our right but also our responsibility to be happy and shows that we have accepted God’s will.
The ego would have us suffer all our live but a miracle frees us. Heaven is when we choose intentionally to challenge the ego’s voice.
The Course tells us that when we spend five minutes with the Holy Spirit in prayer or meditation each morning, it increases our capacity to love and the Holy Spirit will be in charge of our thoughts, as we go through our day, and the ego’s frantic voice will fade.
Many worry about the end of the world, but the author tells us that in our last days, we will not be escaping this world of pain and suffering through vehicles soaring into outer space.
It will be through a vehicle which soars into inner space, and says that the vehicles she is talking about, are our healed minds, which will be guided by the Holy Spirit.
As the book comes near to closing there is a section on both Christmas and Easter. The author refers to Christmas as a symbol of change, the birth of the new self.
That Mary represents the feminine within us all, who is impregnated by spirit and that the child born is the Christ within us all.
The resurrection at Easter is a symbol of joy and when we accept it, then comes the understanding that we don’t need to wait any longer, to see ourselves healed and whole.
The resurrection is our escape from Hell.
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