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