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Marianne WilliamsonIlluminating testimony to the presence of miracles in our everyday lives. All those seeking a heartfelt connection to the Divine will find, in these pages, spiritual nourishment an grace.
— Napra Review
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There are three mysteries in this world: air, to the birds; water to the fish; and humanity to itself. ~Hillel This book owes its very existence to divine interventions in both the authors' lives: One night in the summer of 1966, a motorcycle crash shattered the leg and ended the Olympic dreams of a young gymnast named Dan Millman; 12 years later, on a dark San Francisco street, two thugs, one armed with a metal pipe, closed in to attack a young writer named Doug Childers. Both of the authors' lives were changed by these events. Back then, Dan and Doug did not know of one another's existence or that, years later, their lives would intersect or that they would become the best of friends and collaborate on this book. Nor did they know that a divine thread connected their own turning points to the transformations of countless other individuals. All these stories—markedly different in detail, yet sharing the same mystery—convey the many facets and forms of divine intervention. No story you read will be quite like the one before it. For the purposes of this book, we define divine intervention as a form of extraordinary guidance, revelation, or grace that transforms human lives by leading to a higher path, courageous choice, inspired creation, or call to service in the world. The true evidence of divine interventions, no matter how spiritual they may appear, is found not in their drama but in their fruits. Whether they strike like lightning or take root over time, these divine wake-up calls open doorways to a higher reality; expand our awareness; promote wholeness, growth, and wisdom; heal wounds; bestow uncommon gifts; unleash extraordinary creative and spiritual powers; relieve the fear of death; and give new meaning to life. They have even changed the course of history. No matter what one believes about the phenomena themselves, their outcomes are as real as they are mysterious. Bridging Faith, Religion, and Reason Within each of us lives a skeptic inclined toward reason—and a believer drawn to faith. When asked to choose between these two apparent opposites, the wise embrace both, seeing in each a necessary part of the whole. Only with the two eyes of faith and reason can we see the transcendent truths that set us free. Therefore, this book invites believers and skeptics alike to witness in these stories the evidence of phenomena both timeless and universal. These stories portray the transformations of individuals infused with a variety of religious faiths. Yet even nonbelievers will encounter in these pages a nameless power that reveals the spiritual dimensions hidden within the natural world. Whether you believe that these stories demonstrate the loving grace of God or the changing winds of fate, you will find both substance and spirit here. It is not our business or mission to prove the reality of divine interventions or to insist on a particular spiritual worldview. We let the stories speak for themselves. Historical records, based on memory and perception, are ultimately unprovable—no testimony can claim absolute truth. In our research and selection process, we declined obvious fiction or fantasy as well as events easily explained away as coincidence, suggestion, or wishful thinking. We often checked and cross-referenced a variety of sources to establish, as much as possible, the validity of the events and phenomena described. Some of the most "unbelievable" stories in this book— from levitations, miraculous healings, and angelic visitations to spiritual apparitions witnessed by tens of thousands—are also the most well-documented. Ultimately, doubts about the authenticity of specific phenomena are balanced by the compelling evidence of lives transformed as a result of the experiences. Must others share our experiences in order to validate them? Must an apparition appear in an outward, tangible form to be authentic? After all, how substantial is light? How tangible is love? Can those angels who appear in our visions be less than genuine if they transform our hearts and minds and change the course of our lives? Our universe contains many realities, each operating according to hidden laws. The "supernatural" may be quite natural after all. Perhaps our bodies, minds, and psyches contain built-in mechanisms—divine abilities we don't yet fully understand—that account for spontaneous healings, visionary experiences, levitation, and enlightenment. Perhaps our full powers and divine destinies are still waiting to reveal themselves to us. Life's Larger Questions Those who doubt the reality of divine interventions may ask: Why does God seem to help some people, answer some prayers, and apparently ignore others? Why is one person saved or cured, and another lost? Why does evil sometimes seem to triumph over good? They may point out that for every person miraculously healed, thousands die of their diseases. For every pilgrim fed, millions go hungry. Is grace, or God, arbitrary and capricious? Or is there sense to our suffering and a spiritual purpose in our adversity? Some view suffering as divine punishment for moral transgressions; others see it as a necessary part of the soul's education and evolution. To find meaning in the suffering and adversity in your own life, look back to before they occurred, and then observe yourself now—stronger, wiser, perhaps more compassionate as a result of your struggles. You may see in your own life, and in stories that follow, how the path to Heaven may pass through Hell—and how we sometimes have to deal with the darkness before we can see the light. Divine interventions operate outside the limited perspective of our personal desires. We may ask for healing, but we cannot dictate what form this healing will take. Hoped-for physical regeneration may fail, even as deeper wounds are healed on emotional or spiritual levels. Pain may purify our spirits and serve our ultimate destiny—we cannot always know what is for our soul's highest good. Like all true mysteries, these stories yield no final answers to life's larger questions. Instead, they inspire hope and reawaken a sense of reverence, wonder, and awe. They remind us of a divine presence in our world and in our lives, as close as our next heartbeat, our next breath. Join us now for a mystery tour through a living portrait gallery highlighting humanity's contact with a timeless power that continues to stir our imaginations and awaken our souls—a power that nourishes all living things, makes saints of schoolgirls and sages of kings, and turns everyday life into the most extraordinary adventure of all.