An Exclusive Interview with
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. She is a native of Houston, Texas and has been lecturing professionally on spirituality and new thought since 1983.

Veronica: Marianne, I understand your work is based on the ideas in a self study program of spiritual psycho-therapy called A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles is not a religion, but a psychological training in the relinquishment of a thought system based on fear, and the acceptance instead of a thought system based on love. In your book, Return to Love you state that fear is the root of all evil. It is the problem with the world and fear seems more real than love. Could you talk about that?

Marianne: We have been programmed by a fearful thought system for millions of years. Any time we read a newspaper or take any look at the world around us, we are aware of the cruelty and violence that dominates our world. It is so pervasive that it is easy to forget that the fearfulness of the world reflects the fear in our mind. A Course in Miracles trains us to look for peace not in the world, but in our own heart, and in doing so, we become contributors to the healing of the world.

Veronica: A Course in Miracles likens us to sunbeams thinking they are separate from the sun, or waves thinking they are separate from the ocean. Just as the sunbeam can't separate itself from the sun, and a wave can't separate itself from the ocean, we can't separate ourselves from one another. So, why do so many of us feel so isolated and separated from one another instead of connected?

Marianne: The Course says that "illusions are as powerful in their affects as is the truth" and in this three dimensional reality, the illusion of the physical world is very powerful. We think that because we dwell inside our bodies that we are separate from other people who dwell inside theirs. Because our consciousness is tied to the physical manifestation of reality, we are tied to the belief in separation. The transformation from body identification to spirit identification is the purpose of our lives.

When we begin to see each other through what the metaphysician calls, the third eye, we begin to know each other on a level that is beyond what our physical eyes can see. A mother can unite so wonderfully with her child and the level that separates them is as nothing. The same can be true of course for lovers and friends. All we are talking about here is getting to the point where everyone has that experience of oneness with everyone all the time. It is not easy, but one day it will be.

Veronica: That kind of relates to my next question. You say there is only one of us here, and what we give to others, we give to ourselves, and what we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves. So, the very thing we want someone else to do for us, is what we should do for them?

Marianne: As the Course in Miracles says, an idea doesn't leave its source. So, what I think about you, I will not be able to escape thinking about myself, and what I do to you, I will not be able to escape experiencing myself. It is not so much a matter of should, as it is a matter of intelligent understanding of how consciousness operates.

Veronica: When we get down to feelings, do you mean that if we want someone to give us flowers, if we give them flowers, we will experience that same feeling back?

Marianne: Well, what the Course in Miracles says is that if you give to a person, the form of good that you receive in return may or may not be the form that you had in mind, and your attachment to the form of the result is in fact part of what you want to heal. When you understand spiritual law, then you realize that everything you give, good or bad, will in fact come back to you tenfold and that's just the way it is. You give someone flowers and the person you are ultimately giving to is yourself.

I also remind you of the spiritual principal, virtue is it's own reward. At the highest level of awareness, the greatest gift given and received when you give someone flowers, is the joy of living a life based on love.

Veronica: Love isn't love until it is unconditional. How is it possible to love everyone unconditionally, to love for example someone who has hurt you deeply, either physically or emotionally?

Marianne: Well, it certainly isn't an easy thing to do. But an important point is that there are those who have achieved that level of enlightened love, and the purpose of our lives is to try our best to become like them. It is not a race. It is just a process.

Veronica: So, it is our intention that is important?

Marianne: Yes, our intention to be like those who have gone before us, who have attained that level of enlightenment, and who now show the way. That intention, that commitment, that focus, is what matters. It is nice to temper that commitment and focus with a nice sense of humour of course and it is extremely important not to take ourselves too seriously. On the other hand, you do what you can do. While enlightenment is not a weekend seminar, when we work at forgiveness, we certainly find ourselves more healed and whole than we were before we did the work.

Veronica: Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don't know it. Can you explain that?

Marianne: Jung said, "The psyche is in inexorable drive for balance." To me, that indicates the action of God's spirit within us, the fact that it is built into our consciousness, that we are on a path of evolution and that the universe is always nudging us in the direction of a higher life. Clearly, not everyone is in conscious touch with this, but not everyone has conscious knowledge of how their lungs operate either.

Veronica: I'd like to talk about a subject that seems to affect a lot of people these days with the large number of layoffs and the current economic situation, and that is work. In your book, Return to Love, you say, "Do what you love. Do what makes your heart sing. And never do it for the money. Don't go to work to make money; go to work to spread joy. Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and the Maserati will get here when it's supposed to. Think of your work as your ministry. Make your career an expression of love in service to mankind. "

For a lot of people, this seems impossible. It would require an enormous amount of trust. I have seen people do work they hate and make a lot of money. I have seen people do work they love and starve. I have seen people do both. What is the secret of success here?

Marianne: The secret of success is to realize that the crisis on our planet is much larger than just deciding what to do with your own life, and if the system under which we live - the structure of western civilization - begins to collapse because of our selfishness and greed, then it will make no difference whether you have $1 million dollars when the crash comes or just $1.00. The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world. The prayer has to be, "Dear God, how can I help this world through this very difficult time of transition, through this urgent crisis?"

Veronica: You have also stated, "When I first began my career as a lecturer, doing my best to make a positive difference in my community, I often heard people say, "Isn't she nice!" But as my work became visible to a larger public, the same work done the same way and with, if anything, even greater dedication, drew cries of "Who does she think she is?"

Marianne: Boy is that the truth!

Veronica: And you continued to state, "I have never received the criticism for failure that I have for success, and it is clear to me that people in our society at least unconsciously hold the conviction that someone else's success limits their own, makes them lesser, and puts a permanent lid on their own chances. The world believes in finite resources and in everybody's guilt. As long as we adhere to these pernicious beliefs we will not only fail to let others shine, but we will never be able to allow ourselves to shine fully either."

I have found this to be true. It just seems that there is so much of it out there. The other day I was watching the television show, 60 Minutes, and they were talking about President Clinton's new health care proposal and this fellow was talking about how there just are not enough resources to go around. There aren't enough hospitals and doctors and everything to handle all of the United States. There just isn't enough of the world's "good stuff" to go around.

Marianne: Well, there isn't! Because the world as it is perceived by most people, is a world of finite resources. To the extent to which we believe in this world, we are heir to the laws which rule this place. Jesus was able to do the miracle of the loaves and the fishes because he realized that he was not a being of this world. When we realize that we are not beings of this world, we are freed from being at the effects of those laws.

If we look merely to the world for answers this will merely increase our fear. If we come to see that this world does not have the final word, then we open our mind and therefore our entire lives to experience the possibility of infinite possibilities.

Veronica: Thank you Marianne.

To learn more about Marianne Williamson and her work, visit her website at www.marianne.com

 

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