A course in miracles is the holy grail when it comes to spiritual ascension and having a more conscious awakened life. It can completely change your life and heal all fears and wounds. I can’t think of one awakening spiritual helper or leader who hasn’t referred to it at some point. Eckhart Tolle refers to it a lot, as did Wayne Dyer and today’s author Marianne Williamson. Her book “A Return to Love” is, as the subtitle tells us, a reflection on the principles of “A Course in Miracles” (I will refer to “A Course in Miracles” as ‘the course’ or ACIM throughout the blog). I love her simplification of the course into a short book, with lots of relatable examples and stories about spiritual ascension. Whilst it is simplified and condensed, it doesn’t lose it’s power or magic, in my opinion.
A return to love is about just that – returning to love – but not romantic love of course. By love, Marianne Williamson means spiritual love. The course explains there are only two things in the universe love and fear… all that is not love is fear and visa versa. When we are in a state of love, we are balanced and feel peaceful and whole – this is the crux of spiritual ascension. This book is a book about working with a course in miracles in principle and applying it in life. Marianne Williamson has lectured on the course for many years. The book was written a long time ago but has been updated and revised more recently.
I really love the book and think it could help you. Marianne Williamson says that when she comes to life from a state of love, everything works beautifully. I agree, it is my experience also. She explains how to do it in the book . ACIM explains how fear is actually a bad dream and not real … it may sound far fetched to you, it may not. The course is compelling and convincing in its demonstration that it is true and how you can, with spiritual ascension, stop feeling afraid for good!
Marianne Williamson makes it simple and easy to see how fear can be dissolved with a little understanding. She urges us to take responsibility for our own lives and to take action but not in the usual egotistical way that stomps and postures to be right and listened to, but in a more mature and balanced way. She encourages us to act from love. We don’t do it through brute strength and by problem solving our issues away, but rather through passing our fears and worries to the Universe or God for support, help and guidance.
Warning: ACIM, and so Marianne Williamson’s book, uses Christian terminology but it isn’t a religious book or a reason to avoid it. It can be off putting at first if you are not religious (or have any negative bias towards Christianity) but I really urge you to try and look past it and see the symbols for what they are – just symbols. Marianne Williamson is actually Jewish and this hasn’t stopped her spending much of her life teaching the course.
I am not at all religious at all but I don’t see the terminology distracting once you get used to it. I almost look at it this way – imagine you do believe in those symbols for a moment and take the advice, apply it in your life and – if it works – then just accept it. When she says ‘the holy spirit says x, y,z’, I take it in such a way that you could substitute anything instead of holy spirit – for me I’d probably use Universal energy or source but I don’t mind that ACIM call it holy spirit.
Marianne Williamson explains why so many of us feel depleted and lacking somehow…we are lacking in love. She describes it as internal oxygen. She shows us how we pollute our own lives with unloving thoughts and actions both towards ourselves and others and how to rectify that. She shows us how we are supposed to ‘give over’ our troubles and questions to the flow of life and allow the universe to guide us. One of my favourite quotes is, “We are given plenty of opportunities but we tend to undermine them. Our conflicted energies sabotage everything. To ask for another relationship, or another job is not particularly helpful if we’re going to show upin the new situation exactly as we showed up in the last one. Until we’re healed of our internal demons, our fearful mental habits, we will turn every situation into the same painful drama as the one before.
Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful. Change starts within us. As we change the inner world, the outer world starts to mirror it back. Whilst it’s easy to be reactive and blame the outer world for our inner states. It really is the other way around. I think this is one of the best ways of knowing how awakened you are and is a great way of understanding consciousness or unconsciousness. When we’re asleep, spiritually speaking, everything is about surviving what’s going on out there…. if we ever become totally awakened there will no longer be any sense of an in here and out there – only oneness.
Most of us are somewhere in between. The book, like most spiritual awakening books reminds us that whilst we may still act really unconsciously and it is normal, we would be best not to keep acting on trying to change the outside and just take these external problems as opportunities to go back inside and do the work. We know that on a human level we’re upset by someone, for example, but we know really that it’s our own judgements, loveless thinking that’s the real cause of our pains and then we’re prepared to do the work to heal it.
Please watch this, it’s golden!
Some of you may recognise how similar this idea is to other spiritual books and methodologies like Byron Katie’s book ‘Loving what is’ … most new age or spiritual transformational texts and courses are really mostly saying the same thing just in different ways. The premise of those around us and the situations and events are such that they teach us… often the most challenging things have the most to teach us… they help us notice where we have walls to love. The old paradigm of romantic relationships is challenged and outlined in the book – the guides talk about this a lot during readings and I like way Marianne Williamson talks about it.
The idea is that when we’re looking for unconscious romantic love we’re actually trying to take from the other rather than really and truly love. We’re looking for someone to give us what we feel we either need or are lacking. But, I really like how Marianne Williamson talks about how we can bolster the other in a partnership and do things such as look nice for the sake of the other person. This is perhaps a little different from the, what may be considered inaccurate, concept that the true spiritually robust relationship should be about two totally independent beings. I like the way Kim Eng describes it in a video as interdependent as opposed to either co-dependent or independent. In other words we can be there for each other but we’re not specifically needing, demanding or manipulating for the sake of self creation. Check out Kim Eng here:
Marianne Williamson talks about how we can spiritually heal or handle challenges such as when wanting masculine energy from men, as a woman’s job to offer herself the gift of her feminine energy. When she really feels like a woman by gifting it to herself, she finds masculine energy coming towards her. Or when a man felt his father never gave him enough gifts, she suggests the healing would come through him gifting to his father.
The books points out over and over how we project our problems, fears and wounds onto others. When someone hurts us, it’s really about an old idea or wound being poked. The wound – for example feeling not good enough – is still very much alive in us and so we react when someone does something that prods this. Instead of expecting the world to change to accommodate this, we need to go inside and let go of the thought that we are not good enough. When it comes to having a fulfilled life, the book talks about work in chapter 7: “Success is about knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” It’s less about what you do and more about how… you need to do things kindly. “If something makes your heart sing this is God;s way of showing you this is somewhere you can make a contribution,” Williamson explains. This again, comes up time and time again in the readings and I wrote about it in the green book (see below for the affiliate link).
The overall idea is that we give our lives to the universe and then things come together… we open our hearts and our talents and lives start to blossom. This is why I love this book so much, it’s totally in line with the general trend of information I’ve gotten from the guides and read or heard about from spiritual teachers and helpers. Marianne Williamson does it really well. She’s very experienced in talking about the topic of ACIM and therefore can break it down really well for the average reader like myself.
There’s a lot of emphasis on miracles in the book. The basic idea is that the Universe can help you or solve any problem when you approach it from grace, service and being humble and authentic. You can expect miracles when you are acting from a loving, service oriented place. Sharing your love, your own spirit and your talents is very important – we might get other things such as money, status or things as a result of our work but – after our basic needs and survival are met – we should be focused on service rather than riches. It doesn’t mean riches are wrong but that focusing on that rather than service, is not coming from love.
Get “A Return to Love” here (this is an affiliate link):
Marianne Williamson suggests that when we show a “willingness to supply love where there was none before, new energy bursts forth from deep inside us.” She tells a story, in chapter 7 part 6 ‘New hearts new jobs”, about someone mentioning to her about her habit of drinking coffee last thing at night. Until that point, it had never effected her. After the comment she found it kept her awake. I found this fascinating and never more poignant than now in the world. It was fascinating to me how someone, particularly someone who was so conscious, could make such a change in a person just by their suggestion. I wondered if perhaps we could all do with considering how much we’re consuming from the so called outside world and how it might be affecting us.
Along with the Dalai Lama, Marianne Williamson talks of how ACIM speaks that our purpose in life is to be happy… some argue this point, but I think if we notice the energy that fear gives off and the energy that joy and love gives off, it’s clear that we’re not just helping ourselves by being happy. In the book there are a lot of suggested prayers and asking the holy spirit to heal us, help us or guide us. If you don’t like the idea of prayer, there are perhaps other ways to do it – maybe seeing them as affirmations but I can’t personally see the harm in prayer. I like prayer even though I am not religious. I see it as spiritual surrender.
There’s a real emphasis in the book of seeing the Universe or God as the great power that it is but not in an intimidating way but rather in a powerful and reverent way – we are to be humble and in a state of open appreciation – knowing that we have part of that greatness within ourselves. Could this book feel too spiritual and woo woo? Perhaps, if you still think you can solve all your problems with thinking and 3D solutions. I think Eckhart Tolle (who is by the way a good friend of Williamson) says about his work, “if you don’t get it you just need to suffer a bit more”… that’s not actually what he says, but something along the lines that.
As human’s in this day and age, we struggle to let go of the idea that it’s all material and can be solved through force and will alone. It essentially takes us to have run out of other options before most of us will wake up to the spiritual beingness that we are and take the steps we’re guided to take. For example in my life, I had a nervous breakdown so that I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t leave the house… the only thing I could do was read and write.
I wouldn’t have left my steady job and done this by choice. I wouldn’t have given up my comfort zone, so the Universe had to speak very loudly to me. Suffering is always optional though – we don’t actually have to suffer but most of us won’t budge until we are. I love when Marianne Williamson says on page 249, we have to “let go of our belief in fear and danger, and embrace instead, a view of the world that is based on hope and love.” Marianne Williamson’s book is a great insight into the basics of ACIM and it is convincing that we should feel hopeful and that we have the power to change our lives and contribute in the world. If you feel lost, hopeless or uncertain, this book can really be like a beacon that sets you back on course.
Until next week….
Love Kat xx