Marianne Williamson, 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 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.