When I was at a difficult turning point in my life, I was guided to my divine teacher, Marianne Williamson (New York Times bestselling author of A Return to Love). It is because of Marianne that I became a student of the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles. Her lectures and books demystified the principles of the Course so that I could apply the life-changing lessons in my own life. I am endlessly grateful for Marianne’s impact on me—and the world.
In this interview Marianne shares about her experience with A Course in Miracles and offers up advice to people who are new to the text. Enjoy my conversation with Marianne Williamson.
GB: What was going on in your life when you found ACIM?
MW: I wasn’t the happiest person, that’s for sure. Kind of muddling through my 20’s at the time. When I first saw the book, the language was way too intense for me. But when it appeared in my life a year later, I was drawn to it like to some mysterious force. Which it is, of course!
GB: For the reader who is new to ACIM, please help them understand the difference between what is real and what is an illusion.
MW: You know how sometimes you have a fight with someone and then when it’s finally over, one of you says, “I love you” and the other one says, “I love you too” and maybe you hug and feel all emotional…? That’s what it means. It means we have to go through all the he-said, she-said, you-said, I-said, all the craziness and arguing and triggering each other just to get to the point at the very end where there’s only forgiveness and understanding and you say “I love you” and they say “I love you” too.
The love is what’s left at the end because it’s the bedrock, fundamental reality that gets hidden all the time, but never really goes away. What happened before that was just mutual projection and hurt and anger and blame, but in the end it wasn’t real. It felt real, but it was just energy…issues…illusion, really.
Love is who we are, and when we deviate from that love we’re deviating from our ultimate, essential, eternal reality. Only God’s Thoughts — or love — is actually real. So when we separate ourselves from that love, we’re actually not thinking at all: we’re hallucinating. And that’s what illusion is. Feels real, even more real than love does sometimes. But the love is who we really are.
GB: What’s your process of surrendering your fears to the Holy Spirit?
MW: Pretty simple. “Dear God, I feel this or that fear, this or that anxiety, this or that anger, this or that judgment, this or that neediness, this or that whatever. Please take it from me. Amen.”
GB: Is there a workbook exercise that you love the most?
MW: Into His presence would I enter now. Though Creation’s gentleness is all I see runs a close second.
GB: What is your favorite prayer from ACIM?
MW: Where would You have me go? What would You have me do? What would You have me say, and to whom?
GB: Right on. That’s my favorite too!
GB: How do you work miracles?
MW: By changing your mind, using it differently. Recognizing where you’re thinking thoughts of fear, and replace them with thoughts of love. Simple actually, though God knows not always easy. What’s hard is getting over our resistance to doing it.
GB: How can we best apply the principles of ACIM in our daily lives?
MW: By starting each morning doing the workbook. My mother taught me that if you make chile with too much cayenne pepper, all you have to do is put a raw potato in it and that will suck up all the excess hot pepper. That’s how I feel about my workbook lesson each day: it helps to suck up my excess neurotic thinking.
GB: Tell us about your forthcoming course on A Return to Love.
MW: My book A RETURN TO LOVE is like “The Cliff Notes” of A COURSE IN MIRACLES. It takes the basic ideas of the Course and breaks them down into “Principles” and “Practice.” Here’s the idea, then here’s the practical application. Here’s the idea, then here’s the practice.
It was mind-blowing for me reading the Course in the 1970’s. And it’s mind-blowing for me reading it today. When you really allow yourself to think about the ideas, and even try just a little bit to apply them in your lives, then nothing is ever really the same again. It really is a miracle. It really is.
I’ll be doing a video each week for six weeks that will present a spiritual curriculum on shifting our perceptions from fear to love. There will be six live question and answer sessions during which I’ll respond to questions posed by people taking the seminar. And we’ll have a private online community where students will be able to share their experiences with others taking the course – and I’ll play an active role here too. All videos and Q & A calls will remain available on our private course page enabling participants to review the material as often as they’d like. I think it will be fun for all of us. You can check out the details here.