Tag Archives: Marianne Williamson

Christ Self

If you arrive at home, it will mean that you will have had to give up being a seeker. You will have had to become one who has found. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 4, Page 53)

Christ is a term for the real center of the Self, and the Christ Self is the individual whom we become when we have given up extraneous wishes and rest in God. In the vicinity of this quotation, Jesus says “Christ incarnate” about us. This term, applied to us, may arrest us quite a bit, for we are used to that term being applied to Jesus, and who among us would compare ourselves to him? But Christ is an umbrella term for all of us who have given up the ego, are walking into salvation, even ultimate salvation—Christ-consciousness. There is no better way to walk, and we would be wise not to be afraid of what will be our greatest blessing.

Marianne Williamson, teacher of A Course in Miracles, echoes what Jesus is saying here, in a well-recognized passage from her book that popularized A Course in Miracles; the book was A Return to Love, published decades ago now. She, and Jesus, here, caution against “smallness,” and all of us have a little desire to play small, because we think that we won’t get into any trouble with God if we are little spots on the horizon. But it isn’t desired that we “play small.” We need to grow all up to the best that we can be.

A Course of Love indicates that we aren’t to just go along placidly, attempting to do good in this world. We are to create a new world! And this won’t ever happen if too many of us remain small.

Let our fears drop away. We are Christ Selves, and this more exalted persona need not make us afraid. We can draw on the One Christ in our daily lives, and this nod to a larger reality will save not only us, but the world.

Miracles

“A miracle is a correction factor introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, shaking up erroneous perception and snapping it into place.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.37.1)

Jesus indicates that he is personally involved in the bringing of miracles. And, as we learn elsewhere, miracles are always expressions of love. This means that they are expressions of love that Jesus inspires. We ought to be very humble in the midst of such knowledge.

Our own self-directed “miracles” would likely be misguided, because we cannot see the whole picture. Often we think that we would like to do something nice for someone, and we wonder if this is a legitimate miracle to perform. Just ask in our mind. That is the best way to come to understanding. Wait for the intuitive nod from Jesus himself.

It is a legitimate question as to how one entity can do so much. This is simply an unknown when it comes to Jesus. We need to suspend our judgment and look at the results to the questions we pose to the universe. Once we have been reassured that all is in good order, it would be unwise to continue to doubt. Give Jesus the benefit of the doubt. I for one think he knows what he is talking about.

The perceptions of ourselves and others have been very wrong for eons. Now we have been given a way to be sure that our perceptions are clarified to real truth. Miracles effect this, and so let us ask that miracles be our way.

When we are perturbed, remember what Marianne Williamson said, “I could have had a miracle!”

The Prayer of the Heart

1 – Herein Lies Heaven or Hell

“It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lies hell and Heaven. (M53)”

2 – Protected

Few of us know our hearts well. We sometimes ask for things that we really don’t want, and yet in our hearts, we do, and then these prayers are answered. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that God will protect us from danger in prayers that are really bad for us. So even in the prayer of the heart we are protected.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

We may not realize that we are protected, though. We may, since projection makes perception (a Course tenet), find that erroneously we are in a situation that we didn’t think we asked for. Yet, we did, on some level. This is a particularly difficult concept when we are dealing with painful issues in our lives or in the world.

4 – Not Punished

Elsewhere the Course says that we can believe what nobody else believes to be true, because in our perception, we have made it true for ourselves. Particularly do we find this in emotional matters, but it is true in the physical as well. This is not a “blame the victim” mentality, because we are not being punished, however much it may appear that we are. God does not punish, however much we may think punishment is warranted. Our own decisions give us hell or Heaven. That puts us in the driver’s seat, a very good place to be if we are attuned to God’s power and His way.

5 – Words in Teaching

“Is the teacher of God, then, to avoid the use of words in his teaching? No, indeed! There are many who must be reached through words, being as yet unable to hear in silence. (M53)”

6 – Smiles

Actually, the only time that the Manual encourages us not to use words is when other people are not ready, when they don’t want to hear what we have to say. Jesus never counsels reaching out to someone is he/she is not ready, not open to what we say. Some are ready only for a smile, he says elsewhere.

7 – Words

But, when we teach, when others are ready to hear what we say, we are led to speak in words—even though words are just symbols, twice removed from reality.

8 – Proselytizing

Proselytizing doesn’t usually work, unless the person is very open to change, to a realization that he/she has not yet had. Proselytizing to the uninterested will turn that individual even further off. By what analysis would it work in the reverse? We aren’t open to what we don’t want to hear, and this is especially true in matters of faith, where doubt may make a closed mind.

9 – Share

So, share, but share carefully, when asked—or when we recognize that the other would like to hear what we have to say. A too-holy attitude will always be a turnoff. And religious people may not always represent their faith well. I have noticed that the ego gets a strong toehold in many very religious people. In fact, three of the most religious individuals I have ever known have also had the biggest egos, as I have evaluated them.

10 – Ego

This is not the way of A Course in Miracles. We need to, and indeed must, stop when we see that our ego is getting in the way of our witnessing. We need to just let the ego calm down as we don’t reinforce it. We need to pray that the ego will just dissipate, just wither away.

11 – Definition of the Ego

Note that this ego is not the same as what Freud and other psychologists are talking about. Psychologists recognize the importance of a strong sense of self in growing up to adulthood. When we are strong, then our boundaries can melt safely. This is an attitude recommended by acclaimed Course teacher Marianne Williamson in her book on prayer entitled Illuminata.

12 – Ego = Part of Our Belief about Ourselves

The ego that A Course in Miracles decries is a persona that is not only egotistical, but also a false way of seeing ourselves. It is, as defined by ACIM, a part of our belief about ourselves. But it is false, through and through. And it is constantly being undone. What good thing pursued by the ego doesn’t become ashes and dust over time? So what we pursued was not really a good thing at all.

13 – Holy Spirit

The ego always brings us to this impasse. But there is a way beyond. It is found in the simple, daily walk with the Holy Spirit, listening to His guidance (in the many ways that He shows guidance to us). Often we sense guidance by intuition. Sometimes it is just an inner knowing. Sometimes it is a chance word or phrase uttered by another. Don’t get superstitious about what you see or hear in the outer world, but test out guidance and see if you don’t thrive in a way that you have never known before.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that You protect me always, even when I ask for things that would not be good for me. Jesus assures me of this. Yet my own perception can seem to give me bad things. May my perception of my world be cleansed.

Thank You for helping through the confusions of this world. I know that You love me always, and in that I will be protected.

Amen.

Forgive Yourself Your Madness, and Forget All Senseless Journeys and All Goal-less Aims

1 – Simple Course?

Jesus says repeatedly that his course, A Course in Miracles, is simple to learn. Most students/teachers don’t agree with him, I think. It takes some digging to get through the prose, though it is beautiful prose poetry (iambic pentameter after the beginning of the Text, which was Shakespeare’s rhyme scheme). But when we master the text of all three works in the trilogy, we can see that Jesus is right: ACIM can be viewed as easy to learn.

2 – Go toward Happiness

We need to follow roads TOWARD happiness:

“Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense, and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious. (T-31.IV.7)”


We need to go in the direction toward truth, toward happiness. And we want to do so. We must remember, always, that happiness is a worthy goal. Certainly we feel more like helping our brother when we ourselves are contented, not tied up in neurotic knots. Only if we aren’t inclined to take the straight road do we encounter difficulty. The first obstacle that peace must overcome is the attempt to do away with it (peace). This is an ACIM tenet, and it is important. Why would we do away with peace? In Marianne Williamson’s opinion, we are addicted to the adrenaline rush. We have walked along our pathway in such stress for so long that we are unfamiliar with anything else. If things are calm, we think that we are getting depressed. But the Holy Spirit would tell us to relax always. Even in the midst of busy activities. Maybe especially then. We function best when we are on a relaxed and easy pace.

3 – Decisions

“This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. (T-31.IV.8)”

We often, according to ACIM, choose to learn things that are not lasting, simply because they are not lasting. This is ridiculous! It is avoidance behavior. And we would not go this way along our pathway to home. Why would we choose transient things to learn? We are scared that the permanent things are threatening to us. We also think that they are not applicable to our world. And they may not be, as we have been living. But we would not live as we have been living. It is time for a transformation. We are seeking Awakening, and, while we cannot effect it ourselves, we can study the means, as given in ACIM. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed. And they are being carefully explained. All ACIM tenets.

4 – Our Brother and Us

“All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when all the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost, and what he gains is what is given you. (T-31.IV.8)”

In ACIM’s way, we walk with our brother as a means of saving time. This cannot be stressed too often. If we walk a little ahead or a little behind, walking ahead and falling behind, we make no progress. So we take our brother’s hand, and all improves. We can also take Jesus’s hand, as he encourages us to visualize. He will come in response to one unequivocal call (ACIM tenet).

5 – Madness

“Forgive yourself your madness, and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. (T-31.IV.11)”

We need to realize that all of us are mad to one extent or another. All of us who have not yet experienced Awakening, that is. We can be especially compassionate to the certifiably mentally ill in our midst, with our recognizing that we have more in common than we realize. Joseph Campbell, in Myths to Live By, said that schizophrenics are drowning in the very unconscious waters that mystics are swimming in. That may be the secret to the fact that many mentally ill people become highly religious. They are seeing some truth, though their health providers and family/friends do not normally recognize this insight of theirs.

6 – Awakening

If we move into Awakening, our unconscious will become conscious for us—just as it does for mentally ill people. But we will not scream in mortal terror (from ACIM), because we have been prepared by A Course in Miracles. If a light is suddenly turned on in a nighttime dream, we will fear, for we will at first think that the light is in the dream. But when we awaken fully, we will realize that the dream is over.

And that is what happens in our spiritual Awakening, the culmination of all forgiveness and our blessing of greatest degree.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me in the stresses of this day. May I listen to You so that the stresses disappear into oblivion.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May we all have a good day. I ask that so often, but I know that our happiness is in Your will. Help me not to tangle myself up today. Help my brothers and sisters not to get tangled up, either.

Thank You.

Amen.

Your Dark Dreams Are but the Senseless Isolated Scripts You Write in Sleep. . . .Only Dreams of Pardon Can Be Shared.

1 – Dreams

“Your dark dreams are but the senseless isolated scripts you write in sleep. Look not to separate dreams for meaning. Only dreams of pardon can be shared. They mean the same to both of you. (T-30.VII.6)”

We cannot have smooth sailing in our relationships, even when those relationships have shifted from the special to the holy. Personalities differ, and when we live in close proximity to others, we will pick up on their unhealed natures, the parts of their personalities that the ego still rules. We will suffer accordingly, unless we invite a quick restorative, to forgive the illusion in which we live, to forgive our brother for the pain that he only seems to be causing.

2 – A Perfect Brother

For our brother is perfect in his inner Self, and only when we see him as perfect will we be freed. This can seem a long stretch, when tempers are frayed and love seems far away.

3 – Senseless Scripts

But these dark dreams are merely senseless scripts, A Course in Miracles tells us. We do not have to dwell on such misgivings. Our brother has been given up to heal. We have one purpose in our holy relationship, and that is to love despite appearances. Pray for a miracle, if the way seems hard. The miracle will not be long in coming. It may come in the form of a changed attitude on our part. Our brother may be just as vicious as he may, and it will have no effect on us, for we see that it is a script that we have written; it is our dream (from ACIM).

4 – Forgiveness

“Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again. (T-30.VII.7)”

Forgiveness, pardon, is fully deserved by every Son or Daughter of God. Because we live in illusion, in a dream, nothing bad as ever, in reality happened to us. Our brothers and sisters may have reacted to us many times out of “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM). This distress is a call for help (also from ACIM), and we are asked to run to their side with the healing for which they are really calling.

5 – Happy Dream

“The happy dream about him [your brother] takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. (T-30.VIII.2)”

We can, as Marianne Williamson so often reminds us, ask for a miracle. And life can quickly be turned around. But even if it isn’t, our minds will be at peace. We rest on knowing that, when we have consulted the Holy Spirit about our next step, we have done all that we can. If we realize that our own anger and attack is always unjustified, we will be well on our way to lightening the atmosphere in our personal spaces, and granting our brother or sister the healing that is needed.

6 – Happy Dream

So we do have a “happy dream” about this brother or sister who is disturbing us. We can see his/her perfect health, perfect freedom from all want, safety from disaster. And this will not be a pipe dream (an illusory belief in what may transpire that has no basis in reality).

7 – Relationships

Ask today for a happy dream about all the special and holy relationships in our lives. The dream will not be long in coming.

8 – Read A Course in Miracles

And, in the meantime, read A Course in Miracles. It can become, as it has for me, a “happiness” book.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live harmoniously with my brothers and sisters, especially my significant others. May all I encounter be led to a greater happiness by our encounter; help me to know what so say and do. Help me to relax as I interact with others. A pent-up mind does not do anyone any good.

Be with me today, to give me a happy day. I ask this so often, but it is always apropos. You want my happiness, and in the happiness, I am moved to make a contribution to Heaven. Guide me to know what that contribution ought to be.

May my significant others be relaxed and at peace today. We have a lot on our plate. Help us to stay on the same page in our discussions.

I love You.

Amen.

There Is No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

“But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles. In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. (T18)”

Affirmation: “unaffected by lacks of love”

Reflections:

1 – Easy Miracles

Do we really believe that one miracle is as easy to effect as another? Perhaps we contemplate that this would be easy for Jesus, but not for ourselves. But we are to do miracles under his guidance. And ours will be easy also. There is no difference in difficulty. We must take this assurance unto ourselves, and be glad. Marianne Williamson focuses on miracles a great deal. She tells one story about V8 juice, “I could have had a V8!” This is an old commercial, of course. Marianne changes this to, “I could have had a miracle!” It is clear that miracles mean a great deal to teachers of God, teachers of ACIM.

2 – Guidance in Choosing Miracles to Perform

How do we actually do miracles? For one very important thing, we don’t do them willy-nilly. We don’t choose what miracles we perform; we act under guidance only. Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misinformed (an ACIM tenet). So we wait to see what we are guided to do, and then we effectively carry it out. There is no strain, for we are acting under guidance of Jesus, or, later on, the Holy Spirit, and, still later on, the Christ Self within (from A Course of Love).

3 – Lack of Love

This passage is illuminating, too, when it talks of lack of love. We think that we are affected when others don’t love us as we wish, or when we recognize that we too don’t love as we ought.

4 – Reality Unaffected by Lack of Love

Jesus admonishes us to recognize that reality is actually unaffected by lack of love. Our real selves have never been damaged in any way. We are loved in the universe. We have been blessed. And so, if our brother attacks us or shows anger, we don’t have to feel that we are damanged in any way. For we are not. We are still whole.

5 – First Principle in ACIM

The first principle in A Course in Miracles, no order of difficulty in miracles, is a blessing that we do not understand. How can this be? But Jesus asserts that it is true, and we would be wise to take him at his word and ask for his blessing and his miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself and others, for the lacks of love that we show. May we replace lack with the grace to live peacefully in all situations and events.

Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. So this need will be answered just as soon as we ask. Thank you.

Amen.

The First Obstacle that Peace Must Flow Across Is Your Desire to Get Rid of It

1 – Masochism

I think all of us have some masochism in us that we need to overcome. Certainly if we take this passage to heart, we will realize that we do have symptoms of masochism, though we don’t often call it that, and this passage certainly does not use the term. But here it is:

“The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get rid of it. For it cannot extend unless you keep it. You are the center from which it radiates outward, to call the others in. (T-19. IV.A.1)”

2 – Why?

Why would we try to get rid of peace? Why indeed? Is it not what Marianne Williamson, lecturer/teacher of A Course in Miracles, has said in her books: We are addicted to the adrenaline rush. Certainly we must push ourselves often in this world of which we are a part. We have jobs, we have families, we have obligations. And so time is short and stress is severe. We do produce adrenaline in our bodies, and we get addicted to the high that it gives. But is this wise?

3 – Adrenaline

Most assuredly to become addicted to adrenaline is not wise. We need the peace of God. We need the felt oneness of Being that Eckhart Tolle recommends. We need to feel the presence of God in our inner body (also a recommendation of Eckhart).

4 – Peace

Peace needs extension, an extension which is the way of creation. And as much as we need peace, so do others with whom we come in contact. There is no limit to what we can do when we extend the love that we feel within. Love knows no bounds even in this world of ours, our flawed egoic world. Others need the peace that we can extend, but to be willing to extend it, we first must experience that peace ourselves. And to experience that peace, we need to “keep” it. Let us vow to do so today.

5 – Feather of a Wish

“This feather of a wish, this tiny illusion, this microscopic remnant of the belief in sin, is all that remains of what once seemed to be the world. (T-19.IV.A.8)”

This “feather” can light on anything, marring the beauty of anything. But it is only a feather, a wisp of unreality. And with our wish, it is gone. The love that we share with our brother or sister is the best example of when this feather can interfere. If we feel conflict arising in our relationship, we can know that the belief in sin has reared its ugly head once again. And we will be disquieted.

6 – Distress that Rests on Error

Know that this unreality is “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM). Seldom have I found any quotation from ACIM so useful as this one, this distress based on error. It immediately counsels forgiveness, for mistakes are being made, mistakes that can be corrected.

7 – Home

“His home is in your holy relationship. (T-19.IV.A.6)”

The “His” is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is our way of guidance, as recommended in ACIM. (A Course in Miracles uses the inner Christ Self as our guidance.) And it is through our holy relationship that we see God, that we experience Him. And that we awaken. A Course in Miracles sees our holy relationship as a means of saving time, a means to further salvation by collapsing time. Let us ask for this blessing today, for the world, as ACIM says, is worn and very weary.

8 – Accept Peace

Let us accept the peace that is ours today. We cannot know what blessings are ours until we walk in peace throughout the day—not in an adrenaline rush that has become addictive.

Affirmation: “I would accept and extend peace today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

So many times when I awaken too early in the morning, and I get up to listen to music, I eventually find myself agitated. After all, before 5 in the morning is not what I would wish to be awakened. But You have plans for me. I think that there are times when You want me all to Yourself, and early in the morning, with the black sky dotted with stars, You have me. All of me.

The next time that I awaken early, help me to remain calm, to let Your peace overwhelm me. That is what You would wish, of that I am sure.

Be with me today as I seek to walk through another day with peace and comfort and joy. I wish to be contented, and, so far, this has been a good day for that. Thank You. May I carry out Your wishes, which are also my own, in a tranquil and serene spirit.

Amen.

All Lessons Are Gifts

pennsylvania impressionism2“Acceptance of what is, is acceptance that whatever is happening in the present moment is a gift and a lesson. What comes as a lesson may not seem like a gift, but all lessons are gifts. . . .They will not be lessons that you find difficult or distressing if you accept them as lessons and realize that all lessons are gifts. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.6)”

Affirmation: “I would accept my lessons as gifts today.”

Reflections:

1 – Everything a Gift

When something good happens, we can readily see this as a blessing and a gift. When something bad happens, we bewail our fate, and sometimes we blame God for the unfortunate occurrence. Yet everything that happens, according to what Jesus channeled in this passage for today, is a lesson that is a gift. Even the bad things.

2 – Scary Things

Does anything ever have to be truly bad? Of course, here on this earth we interpret scary, frightening happenings as bad, and we recoil from them. We think that the world chaos is deplorable. We ask how a loving God could so create, and could so place us in this world. Yet this is not the right question. We have free will, and this free will means that sometimes bad things will happen. This includes illness, for physical bodies partake of the imperfections of our world as well. We never need to blame God for our misfortune.

3 – Dreams

Of course, when we dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), we see far more blessings as gifts—for the happenings that occur to us are fortunate and blissful. These are easy to accept as being from God’s Hand. Are they always? Yes, for we have aligned ourselves with Him and His will (which always is our own real will as well).

4 – Struggle

Accept gifts today, accept lessons today. The lessons may entail struggle, but we will hone character by struggle. And we will grow thereby.

5 – Grow, Grow

Marianne Williamson often tells a Jewish parable about a blade of grass, always looked over by an angel who says, “Grow, grow.” We can see this parable as applicable to us. God would have us grow. And He does, I believe, send His angels to help us along the way.

6 – Prayer

So may we pray that our lessons be gentle, but may we accept them also if they are harsh. They will be less harsh when we do not have an imprisoned will (from ACIM), the type of will forged by the illusory ego. Turn to the inner Christ/Self, and see if the lessons that we all experience do not immediately seem more benign. And then we can recognize those lessons as the gifts that they are.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would grow today, even if there is struggle. I do not believe that struggle is inevitable. When we align ourselves with You in toto, we walk a smooth path. And that is what I would do today. Be with me to make it so.

I would accept all things that happen as a gift from Your hand. I do know that some things surely happen that are not optimal, that You allow but do not condone. But traditional Christianity often talks about what You “allow,” even when this allowing does not seem good. And surely You do stand aside so that our free will is not violated.

Be with me today as I seek to do Your will, which ever is my own.

Amen.

Starve the Ego-Mind Out of Existence

pissarro - landscape“What is food for the ego-mind is fear and the removal of these final fears will quite literally starve the ego-mind out of existence. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.15)”

Affirmation: “I would remove fear from my mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Identical Questions

How do we rid ourselves of fear? How do we put the ego-mind out of existence? These two questions are actually identical, for with the one comes the other.

2 – Quiet Inner State

I have found that a quiet inner state steals the thunder from fear. I get fearful, angry, and anxious, only when I am stressed. And when this overwrought state is removed by contemplation, quietness, and sometimes meditation, then I see that the conflict-ridden ego just drops away.

3 – Timeout

But when I am overwrought, God cannot get through to me immediately, when I ask for His presence. My ego-mind has risen, and I must turn aside from this ego-mind if I am to have peace. Mostly I need to stop and take a timeout. While this is not always possible, it is possible to turn inwardly, through affirmations, to still the mind. Stilling the mind reduces the anger and the desire for attack, and soon all is well.

4 – Marianne Williamson

We tend to want to keep an aroused state going. We run on adrenaline. And this is not way to run a life. Marianne Williamson says that we are addicted to adrenaline. And she is right. We think that we would lose our edge in this sometimes competitive world if we became too laid back. But a Type B personality would do just that–take it easy and stop the frantic chase after success. For what is success anyway but a question of the ego?

5 – Keep a List

We need to starve the ego out of existence. And to do so we need to keep lists of things to do when we are fearful. Turning to our personal list will calm the mind. Sometimes we need to write out this list, for when we are too overwrought to think clearly. Other times we don’t have to resort to paper and pencil, but will call to mind what we need when we need it. And all will be well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be calm and peaceful today, easy to live with, easy to live with for others as well as myself. I would thereby quite literally starve the ego-mind out of existence. I would feel fear no more, and it is fear that feeds the ego. I would cease any and all competition, choosing cooperation as the better means to get things done. And my goals should be met just as well from cooperation as from competition–in fact, the meeting of goals from cooperation with others actualy works far better.

Help me to have a good day. Help my brothers and sisters to have a good day. We need You, and when Your are present, so that we sense You, then the day smooths out and all is well. Thank You.

Amen

The First Obstacle that Peace Must Flow Across

“The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get ride of it.  For it cannot extend unless you keep it. (T407)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Stressful Days

How often we multitask in our days!  How can we ever hope to have peace in such an environment of stress and frenzy?

2 – We Are Busy

Of course, we are busy.  Our days are filled with a myriad of activities, some chosen, some not.  Many have families as well as jobs outside the home.  Our obligations are many:  parents, children, friends.  There seems to be no end to the aspects of life that are tearing at us.

3 – Spend Time with God

In the midst of life such as this, we may have to recall that God wants part of our lives.  A Course in Miracles, in the Manual, recommends a few minutes of time spent with God at the beginning and ending of the day.  If these times need adjustment, we can make the choice as soon as our busy lives clear.  But we need to recall that moments with God do not have to take long.  The Manual makes this point precisely.  We do not have to spend an hour, with eyes closed, and maybe accomplish nothing.  We can spend only an instant and join with God completely.  (These are Manual paraphrases.)

4 – We Can Choose Peace

A Course in Miracles seems to say in this passage that we have some choice in how much peace we will enjoy.  As one ACIM teacher (Marianne Williamson) has said, we are addicted to our frantic lives, the adrenalin rush.  But if we are very certain that we want more peace of God in our lives, we can have it for the taking.  We just must be consistent in seeking it.  Even a few moments a day will make a difference.  Read A Course in Miracles, or other writing that calls you, every day.  Pray.  Life will get better, even if no outer changes occur.  The inner change will make the difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I stare at my “to do” list at the beginning of the day, I am sometimes overwhelmed with all that I intend to get done.  This is probably a bad habit, for the “to do” list crowds out in my mind the few moments I have given to You, and I become stressed just thinking about that list.

May I start anew tomorrow morning.  Regardless of how much I think I need to do, probably some of it unnecessary and self-generated.  I would get my priorities in order.  Not only would I put You first at the beginning of my day, but I would wish to keep You the center of my life at all times during the day.  I know that this practice will not make me less able to be productive, but instead, more able to be productive.  You will teach me how to work the peaceful, easy, and relaxed way.

May I spend time as You intended it today.  Surely this frantic world has gone far adrift from Your intentions for us.  May we drop our busyness and turn to You today to grant us the serene peace that will make of this a joyous day in Your love.

Amen.

A SPIRITUAL SOLUTION TO EXCESS WEIGHT: A Review of Marianne Williamson’s “A Course in Weight Loss”

Reviewed by Celia Hales.  Published in September/October 2011 issue of Miracles (publisher Jon Mundy).  To order, visit Marianne’s web site at http://www.marianne.com and click on “Books and Audio.”  Also available in bookstores internationally.

Title:  A Course in Weight Loss
Subtitle:  21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever
Author:  Marianne Williamson
Publisher:  Hay House, Inc.

Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss is a magnificent contribution to the wrenching problem of being overweight in our society.  I see this book primarily as a loving instigator of a miraculous solution for the many who suffer from excessive eating and/or food addiction.  Weight Loss is affectionately dedicated to Oprah (Winfrey), who inspired it as a personal friend of Marianne’s and someone who herself has often spoken of problems with weight.  Marianne writes in the dedication of the book to Oprah, “To any reader who might feel that this book is a gift, please know that it was a gift from her.”

It is Marianne who writes of the solution, though, and her ideas are phenomenal.  We will appreciate that they are frequently, though far from exclusively, based on A Course in Miracles.  There is a solution to the never-ending cycle of overeating and dieting, Marianne says, and it is a spiritual solution.  She notes that if anything other than a spiritual solution had worked, those with a weight problem would be cured already.  She goes on to say that the problem originates in the mind, and this is what she calls the “fear-mind.”  (Here we see Marianne’s indebtedness to A Course in Miracles, though she uses a slightly different term.)  We need to turn to Divine Mind (again, a variation on terms from ACIM) for healing.  Nothing less than a full surrender to Love, or God, will solve the problem.

But we pray for a miracle, and Marianne herself has known one, and so she knows whereof she speaks.  Years ago she had a food problem, in that she would eat excessively and then starve herself to regain her slender frame.  Once she began working intensively with A Course in Miracles, and healed some of the neurosis that was causing her problems, she looked down at her body one day, and surprisingly, noticed that it was slim–and had become so without her starving herself.  She had not asked for a miracle, because she had not recognized that this was an area which she should surrender.  But God answered her.  And she says that He can do the same for any of us.  Indeed, none will know a permanent solution to weight loss until one does experience that miracle that only God can give.

We do prepare ourselves for a miracle, though, and Marianne’s book details a comprehensive program for a way to view ourselves differently, and thus invite the miracle for which we ask.  She includes exercises (especially writing letters to and from one’s “not-thin” and thin selves); rituals  (such as a ceremonial oil treatment for the body that will promote a love, rather than hate, for one’s body, and the buying of a single piece of fruit, a healthy food choice); ceremonies (in which we invite friends–an “inspirer” and a “permitter”–to help us along the journey); new cues in the environment (such as a home altar and a special table setting that, along with the other items that are meaningful to our journey toward weight loss, go on the altar, until these items are ready for use).

Marianne never tells us how rapidly to go through the 21 lessons.  Perhaps she realizes that the one driven to find a solution will read through the whole very quickly.  But then those with a weight problem will return to study the solution that she recommends.

She explains repeatedly that the mind is what must be healed, before the body will respond.  We are trying to find solutions to our distress in food, and food is not a good place to go.  The self-loathing of the compulsive overeater is described throughout this book; it is the body to which these emotions are attached, but the body is not the real culprit.  The body is only the place where these unprocessed emotions have been played out.  These unprocessed emotions are from a past that has had its share of pain, whether in traumatic events (such as rape or sexual abuse), or the word of our culture that the blossoming body of the adolescent girl is no longer appreciated by some with whom the girl has been most closely associated, such as her father (who is not accustomed to dealing with his little girl as a woman).  We should not underestimate the power of these emotions in dealing with weight gain.  We “hide out” in a big body to escape the pain of living in a thin one; we are afraid of being thin.  Marianne says that the fear of being thin is actually what keeps the compulsive overeating in place.

She stresses the importance of healthy food choices, recognizing that many with a food problem, paradoxically, do not appreciate food enough, but too little.  We are eating for comfort, to quiet the demons inside, but we are not truly tasting what we eat.  She counsels easing into healthy choices, giving an example of her love affair with grapes, which satisfied her longing for sugar gradually, as she also sometimes ate cake.  She emphasizes, in a comforting way and the way of one who knows whereof she speaks, that our best days with food are ahead of, not behind us.

A Course in Weight Loss is carefully written.  One can tell that much time and energy went into its compilation.  This is not an intuitive book; this is one that has been reasoned out for the maximal effect upon its desperate readers.  And those with a weight problem will not come away disappointed.  There are many who read everything that Marianne writes.  She is, in fact, often described as the one whose name is most recognized as a student/teacher of A Course in Miracles.  Marianne, once again, has come through in this book with an illuminating contribution to her canon and to her large audience of returning readers.

The book is both inspired and inspiring.  Weight Loss is first recommended to those with weight issues, but is also recommended to others who love Marianne and/or want to read some very practical applications of A Course in Miracles to the problems in our lives (regardless of how much we might weigh).  My secondary recommendation to everyone is not the intent of Marianne, though.  Her words of wisdom never leave the central thrust of helping those who have obsessive, compulsive eating habits.  In reading between the lines, though, we find gems that can help us all.

We can be sure that A Course in Weight Loss will be, and, indeed, has already been,  received enthusiastically and gratefully by individuals in our society with both weight issues and other urgent needs.

I Need but Call on God to Find the Peace He Gave

ACIM Workbook Lesson 230 – for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “Now will I seek and find the Peace of God.”

“Father, I seek the peace You gave as mine in my creation.  What was given then must be here now, for my creation was apart from time, and still remains beyond all change.  The peace in which Your Son was born into Your Mind is shining there unchanged.  I am as You created me.  I need but call on You to find the peace You gave.  It is Your Will that gave it to Your Son.  (WB406)”

Reflections:

Actually what we want most in all the world is God’s peace.  We experience this as the “peace that passeth understanding” (New Testament) or “peace of mind” (more mundanely).  According to A Course in Miracles, we are being led to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  This is the ultimate peace.  And the greatest obstacle to peace is the “desire to get rid” of it (a Text tenet).

Why do we thrust off peace, when in our quiet moments of contemplation and prayer, we feel the most at home?  We are addicted to drama, to the adrenaline rush (said by Marianne Williamson).  We move so fast in this world.  Often it seems that we have to do so to keep our jobs and our livelihoods.  But cannot we find some time each day for God?

That time does not have to be lengthy.  Jesus says that we can give only a minute to God, and in that minute join with Him completely.  Conversely, we can sit an hour in contemplation and accomplish nothing.  (These are paraphrases from the Manual.)

So, today, begin a new habit of finding time for God each and every day.  Sleep is not as important as finding God.  Yet we will, once committed, find that we do not normally lose sleep when we seek God.  He will make the space for us to reach inwardly to the depths where our God is found.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I promise that I will spend time, quality time, with You today.  I need the peace that only You give.  When I am calm and quiet, and I experience Your peace, then I know that regardless of what this egoic world can do to me, I will be alright.  Thank You for this assurance, which I know comes from You.

We are not at home in this world.  When we think about it, we all know that this is true.  I would find peace in this world as I carry out the function that You would have me fulfill.  I ask only that, from time to time, I return in my mind and spirit to a real world of which You have given me glimpses.  Thank You for the glimpses.

Amen.

We Are Not Bodies

ACIM Workbook Lesson 219 – for Sunday, August 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.”

“I am not a body.  I am free.  (WB397)”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Spiritual Creatures

We are, first, spiritual creatures inhabiting a body temporarily.  The fact that this affirmation is given repeatedly is, in all likelihood, meant to impress upon us this fact.

2 – To Be Free

What does it mean to be free, not being a body, but inhabiting a body?  It means that we do not have to look to our various ailments a defining our identify.  We do not have to look to our weight or our height as indicative of the real person.  We are free of all such attachments, if we wish to be so.  Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course in Weight Loss, makes clear this assertion.  We are spirit first and always.

3 – No Imprisoned Will

What does it mean just to be free?  We are no longer bound by a “imprisoned will” (a quotation from ACIM).  When the ego is in ascendancy, we are in fact bound by an imprisoned will, and we suffer as a result.  Sooner or later, we reach the point that co-scribes of ACIM, Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman, reached, and we decide, as they did, that there must be “another way” (from the introduction to ACIM).  Helen agreed, with Bill, to try to find this other way, and A Course in Miracles was the answer.  And these volumes (Text, Workbook, Manual) have been helping several million people since.

4 – Our Real Will vs. Our Imprisoned Will

It is important to note that an “imprisoned will” is not following our real will, the will that is shown to us by the Holy Spirit.  An imprisoned will is not a punishment from God; it is simply the cause-and-effect relationship of following a way in this world that will not work.  The threshold for pain, Jesus says in the Text, may be high, but it will not remain so forever.  We will turn, and the sooner we do, the more smoothly our lives will flow.  This is the practical result of turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this good day.  May I not rue it with meaningless fears and anxieties, pain and suffering.  You are with me, and regardless of how bad things get, objectively, You will be there with me, ready to lift me above the fray.  May I learn more today about what it means to be free, to be a spirit–not a body.  May I walk lightly in my spirit.

Help us all to be there for one another.  We need each other in this world, as I am sure we need each other on the Other Side.  May we take the better way that A Course in Miracles point out, and adapt its tenets wholly to our lifestyle.

Amen.

The Peace of God II

ACIM Workbook Lesson 200 – for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is no peace except the peace of God.”

“Peace is the bridge that everyone will cross, to leave this world behind.  But peace begins within the world perceived as different, and leading from this fresh perception to the gate of Heaven and the way beyond.  Peace is the answer to conflicting goals, to senseless journeys, frantic, vain pursuits, and meaningless endeavors.  Now the way is easy, sloping gently toward the bridge where freedom lies within the peace of God.  (WB 385)”

Reflections:

The passage quoted above is especially beautiful as well as meaningful.  We can have an easy pathway home, and we do not have to die to this world to go home.  We do need to die to the egocentric way of viewing life, and when we do so, the real world comes before our eyes–at first in snatches, and then, ultimately, to be experienced on a continual basis once God has “reached down” and lifted us up to Awakening.

So often we have been led by the ego and by egotistical thinking to pathways that were bad for us.  We chose vain pursuits and hard pathways, thinking that the harder the way, the more likely that it was God’s will for us.  What a mistake!  Jesus assures us in ACIM that the way is easy, and that very little is asked of us–because the Holy Spirit contributes the greater part of our transformation.

It is said in the Text that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it.  Why would we try to get rid of peace, because peace is a great boon for those who experience it daily?  We are addicted to the adrenaline rush (a belief of Marianne Williamson), and many of us think that when we are peaceful, we are really “depressed.”  Nothing could  be farther from the truth.  We are just unaccustomed to being peaceful, and the perfect calm and quiet that ACIM promises are not always welcomed by us.  We still like drama.  Give peace time to work its way with us.  When we slow down and reach for the Holy Spirit and His way in this world, we will live a quiet life that will surpass all the time spent previously in frantic pursuits.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know the peace of God today.  Guide my decisions so that I do not ever feel that I am doing something amiss.  Help me to be good to all of my brothers and sisters, especially those who are intimates.  May all of us together have a good day.

Peace is a great boon.  So often we have chosen drama, even the drama of anger and attack, when there is a much better way to live.  When we live in peace with our intimates, we know joy that knows no bounds.  And You, God, surely smile upon us.

Amen.

The Real World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 145 – for Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“Beyond this world there is a world I want.
“It is impossible to see two worlds.  (WB275)”

Reflections:

The world “beyond” is the real world, as termed by A Course in Miracles.  We cannot live in this world of the ego at the same time that we live in the real world.  They are mutually exclusive.  It is good for us to invite the real world by the actions that we take on a daily, and even hourly, basis.  If we live on an adrenaline rush (as Marianne Williamson has described), then we will be far from living in the real world.  As Marianne says, we are addicted to this adrenaline rush.  Our fast-paced world has seemed to require that we so live.

But do we really have to live in a rush?  Years ago, when I was in graduate school. I sensed the words, “There is time for all that is needful.”  And there was.  Previous to “hearing” these words with an inner ear, I was quite apprehensive about being able to get all my work done creditably.  But as I repeated this sentence to myself over and over, I knew its truth.  And my work went well.

In a work life also, there is time for all that is needful.  And living more slowly will invite the real world.  Then experiences of the real world will, in turn, invite moments of Awakening.  Eckhart Tolle says quite a bit about the truth that experiences of Awakening first come in snatches, to be made permanent later on.  We will not necessarily have to wait long.  Shakti Gawain also says this in her writing.  There are multiple writings now available to lead us Home, but we need never to lose sight of “our” way, A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I would live in the real world today, as much of today as I can forgive fully and experience joy and peace and love.  I know something of living in the real world, but I am not consistent in my experiencing of true Reality.  I would become more consistent today.

Thank You for leading me by the hand into the real world.  You have done so repeatedly.  Now it is up to me to give myself over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to make this new state of being a constant state.

Amen.

Only Be Quiet

ACIM Workbook Lesson 125 – for Thursday, May 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “In quiet I receive God’s Word today.”

Selected Passage:

“Only be quiet.  You will need no rule but this, to let your practicing today lift you above the thinking of the world, and free your vision from the body’s eyes.  Only be still and listen.  You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true.  As every hour passes by today, be still a moment and remind yourself you have a special purpose for this day; in quiet to receive the Word of God.  (WB226)”

Reflections:

We resist being quiet.  As I have noted previously, Marianne Williamson says that we are addicted to the adrenaline rush.  May we start taking steps to reduce this addiction today.  The more quiet we observe, the more it will become our familiar state.  ACIM notes that we are meant to be perfectly “calm and quiet” all the time.  Not all of us are ready for this state of peace.  We still like drama.  But as we move toward Awakening, the interest in drama will subside.  Eckhart Tolle says that in his primary relationship, he and his girlfriend do not have drama.  What a goal to strive for!  (Eckhart is the individual who has written extensively about his Awakening and is now an international teacher.)

We do not always see illusions.  Intangibles such as peace and joy are real, and so projection does not always make perception in the false sense (discussed by Hugh Prather in The Little Book of Letting Go).  We can request today to be free of illusions, to see only the intangibles that are real.  And eventually the real world will arise briefly before our eyes, just before God Himself “reaches down” to lift us up in Awakening.

Reread the passage, and note the progression away from illusions.  The Word of God assures us that we will have a special day of quiet in which to receive that Word.  May we welcome it with our whole hearts.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I pledge to be quiet today.  I pledge to let any internal or external dramas that occur on the horizon be silenced.  Help me to do this.  I will need Your help.

Be with me today, as always.  I ask to feel Your presence, and You hear this from me a great deal.  I need You to lift my head above the clouds that hide Your presence.  I need You.

Amen.

Let Me Be Still

ACIM Workbook Lesson 118 – for Thursday, April 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s peace and joy are mine.”

Selected Passage:

“Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad exchange for all the substitutes that I have made for happiness and peace.  (WB211)”

Affirmation:  “Let me be still and listen to the truth.”

Selected Passage:

“Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am God’s perfect Son.  (WB211)”

Reflections:

Being still is often a prerequisite for hearing Universal Inspiration (the Holy Spirit).  Being still is akin to the “perfectly calm and quiet” that Jesus holds out to us as our birthright.  In this world we hurry about so much.  Some of it is chosen–an adrenaline rush to which we are addicted (as said by Marianne Williamson)–and some of it seemingly chosen by a world whose economic woes tries to get the most from each person employed.  We are not consumed by hurry, though; even in the busiest life, there is a quiet inner place to which we can retire–even when we are surrounded by activity.  Let us not discount this quiet inner place as impractical.  It can hold the secret of getting through this world with equanimity.  We can go home to God at any time.  But we don’t often recognize this.

We need to accept God’s peace and joy.  There are among His greatest blessings to us.  We make substitutes, egged on by the ego, that are wholly unsatisfying.  We know a euphoria, sometimes, that is not natural.  This is the stress of modern day life.  We would do well to ask if this euphoria seems natural, or if it is the result of too much stress.  Euphoria that is of God often accompanies revelation, but revelation is normally reserved for a few spectacular moments.  It is not an everyday occurrence for many people.  Those who are Teachers of Teachers are few, and they do, we can speculate, know this euphoria on a more constant basis.  But even they are calm and quiet in their happiness.

So let us keep our “feeble” voice silent and listen to God.  No more words are needed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be calm and quiet today.  May there be no need to rush and hurry through my day.  There is time for all that is needful.

Thank You for being with me in my stillness.  I know that I hear Your Spirit best when I am still.  May I be still today.

Amen.

MARIANNE’S GRACE; A Review of Marianne Williamson’s “Everyday Grace”

Review by Celia Hales.  Revised with new title and reprinted from Miracles (publisher Jon Mundy).

Williamson, Marianne.  Everyday Grace; Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles.  Riverside Books, 2002.  ISBN 1-57322-230-5.  Available from <http://www.marianne.com&gt;.

There is a passage in A Course in Miracles that spotlights the way of the seeker and the mystic in this world, a way of being in the world but not of it.  The passage reads, mysteriously,

There is a way of living in this world that is not here. . .you smile more frequently.  Your forehead. . .serene, your eyes. . .quiet.  And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. (W-p1.155.1:1-4).

Marianne’s gift to us in this book first spells out her powerful view of the theory behind this way of living:  miracles happen; we are helped (Marianne says by angels); judgment blocks the way; love is the best means to get to a worthy end; we need to be in silence rather than do all the time.  She then moves on in the bulk of the book to a very practical application of her truisms:  She takes us through a mythical, hour by hour, day of practical effects, and she always follows through on the hard questions (never leaving us to wonder, what did she mean by that?).  Marianne concludes her manual of graceful living by heartfelt meditations on the value of meaningful ritual in our lives, really keeping the Sabbath, the real observation of holidays, a way through thorny relationship problems to the gem of a holy relationship, and, finally, the world as our community, the place for our spiritual activism.

How close does Marianne adhere to A Course in Miracles?  Very close indeed.  True, she uses the word “magic” to connote a sense of wonder (unlike ACIM), and she frankly appropriates the term “mystical” to the way of living in this world that she proposes (also something ACIM doesn’t do).  But I am reminded always in Marianne’s writing of the passage in A Course in Miracles:

There is a course for every teacher of God.  The form of the course varies greatly.  So do the particular teaching aids involved.  But the content of the course never varies. (M-1.3:1-4)

In Everyday Grace, published in 2002, Marianne returns to her roots as a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles more than any of her books to that point since her first, A Return to Love.  In content and tone (always prayerful, ever gentle), Everyday Grace is more akin to Illuminata than any other.  (She is appropriately billed  as the author of Illuminata on the book jacket.)

Marianne is now a mature woman, a “wise woman,” if you will.  She expresses a sincere humility with still a willingness to learn, but it is clear that she has now walked far along the mystic’s path.  She has seen darkness, but she has also seen some light, and it is her gift to us that she herein does not put her light under a bushel, but claims the power she now has through the understanding her pathway has thus far given her.  It is clear that Marianne’s Everyday Grace comes from the heart, a heart honed by prayer, meditation, A Course in Miracles, and the common bonds and wisdom of spirituality’s gentle messages.

A gem of a book–not to be missed!

A GIFT FROM MARIANNE; A Review of Marianne Williamson’s “The Gift of Change; Spiritual Guidance in a Radically New Life”

A Review of Marianne Williamson’s The Gift of Change; Spiritual Guidance in a Radically New Life (HarperSanFrancisco, 2004).  To order online, visit http://www.marianne.com.  Also available in bookstores nationwide.

Marianne Williamson has contributed more in the popular mind to advance the message of A Course in Miracles than anyone else.  Frequent readers of her books will find that The Gift of Change depends more heavily on ACIM than any book since A Return to Love, the classic that opened the eyes of many to the blessing of ACIM.  There is a difference, though, one which Marianne herself recognizes; she is now a mature woman, more buffeted about by the contrary winds of life, and she knows more fully how drastic is the message of forgiveness developed in ACIM.

The Gift of Change is structured (after an introductory chapter) into ten profound and fundamental changes that the serious student of ACIM will undergo.  Marianne’s chapter headings are worth highlighting in detail, for here one may gain an appreciation of the depth and breadth that The Gift of Change embodies:

–From Forgetting Who We Are to Remembering Who We Are;
–From Negative Thinking to Positive Love;
–From Anxiety to Atonement;
–From Asking God to Change the World to Praying That He Change Us;
–From Living in the Past and Future to Living in the Present;
–From Focus on Guilt to Focus on Innocence;
–From Separation to Relationship;
–From Spiritual Death to Rebirth;
–From Your Plan to God’s Plan;
–From Who We Were to Who We Are Becoming.

Marianne footnotes ACIM ideas either by stating her debt directly or by inserting an asterisk.   She does not stray far from ACIM, and the delightful images in her own words highlight why reading her books is edifying, whether one has studied ACIM or not.  As has been pointed out in the pages of the magazine, Miracles, Marianne’s audience reaches those also who have never been drawn to A Course in Miracles.

The thesis of the book is given in a succinct two sentences that, in essence, summarize all of the ten changes that Marianne goes on to elucidate:  “The online way the world can make a quantum leap, from conflict and fear to peace and love, is if that same quantum leap occurs within us.  Then and only then will we become the men and women capable of solving the problems that plague us.”

How do we do this?  Marianne says that we spend a committed part of each day in prayer and contemplation/meditation.  Then, ever so gradually, we present ourselves authentically to God all the time:  “not just every hour, but every moment of every day.”  Yet Marianne recognizes that virtually none of us can sustain Awakening; she says, “Sometimes we walk closely with God, and sometimes we sprint to the other side of the universe.”  But God’s mercy redeems; we fall on our faces many times, but He is always there to pick us up—and to move us through the changes that we need to embody.  Changing ourselves, we will thereby be led to change the world:  “The only thing that will triumph over evil is for enough good people to actually do good.”  Marianne says early on, “It is time to do what we know in our hearts we were born to do.”

The ten changes are applicable to ACIM students/teachers as well as to those who are not.  Marianne is very much attuned to the world in which we find ourselves, and there is a strong evangelical tone to her words.  In reading her, I find myself asking, “Will I be part of the problem or part of the solution?”  Marianne fervently hopes that her readers will sign on as part of the solution.  And in these ten changes, she details exactly how to do just that.

Marianne’s gift is a joy to read and a clarion call to change our world.  The call to change our world, though, is predicated on an inner shift in perception (in  ACIM terminology, a “miracle”).  Marianne belongs to a long line of ministers of the word who believe that outer change is misguided unless it is predicated first on inner shift.  In The Gift of Change she develops exactly how to effect that inner shift through changes with which everyone can identify.  The Gift of Change merits an unqualified endorsement.

_____
The reviewer is Celia Hales.   A former religion librarian, she lives with her husband in Oxford, Mississippi.  She has several blogs at the following addresses:

https://celiaelaine.wordpress.com

http://celiahales.wordpress.com

http://elainehill.wordpress.com