Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles

( 24 )

Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Illuminata comes a book about everyday peace, everyday purpose, everyday hope, everyday love, and everyday grace.

In these pages, author and lecturer Marianne Williamson acts as a guide back to the spiritual source, exploring the ways to nurture a thriving soul in a harsh world. The large and small difficulties of our days challenge us to open our hearts and minds. With an attitude of hope, a call to forgive, and a celebration of ...

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Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Illuminata comes a book about everyday peace, everyday purpose, everyday hope, everyday love, and everyday grace.

In these pages, author and lecturer Marianne Williamson acts as a guide back to the spiritual source, exploring the ways to nurture a thriving soul in a harsh world. The large and small difficulties of our days challenge us to open our hearts and minds. With an attitude of hope, a call to forgive, and a celebration of miracles, Williamson helps readers to find sacred footing on ordinary ground. For no matter what, there is always an opportunity to be happy. Everyone is entitled to the pleasures of everyday grace.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Whether we like it or not, our hectic lives shape our spiritual being. Traffic jams, job tensions, marital difficulties test our faith daily. But, according to Marianne Williamson, these everyday ups and downs also offer an opening to the soul. Everyday Grace is a call to mine our inner resources; to accept the opportunity to be happy and holy in the very moments it least seems possible. A celebration of miracles and sacred silence.
Publishers Weekly
Although many people may perceive the achievement of mystical union with the divine as an arduous feat, requiring fasting, pilgrimage and mortification of the flesh, spirituality diva Williamson says "thirty minutes each morning" of "quality time with God" will do the trick. The author of Illuminata aims her book of nonsectarian religious consolation squarely at harried professionals who are frazzled by overscheduling and fret over the disasters they hear about on the news. The path to serenity lies in becoming a "modern mystic" who sees that "everything connects to everything" and that "every issue [is] a spiritual one," from dry-cleaning mishaps to the Middle East peace process (which will be resolved when Israelis and Palestinians understand their essential oneness). Readers can even spiritually transcend their wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles, because "every person in line is someone we can bless." In Williamson's rapturous, liturgical prose, oceanic bliss is conveniently tapped into with prayer and by beaming positive mental energy to a universe karmically primed to beam it back. Although Williamson's insistence on the magical oneness of our desires and our external reality may strike some as wishful thinking, her message will continue to bring peace of mind to her many fans. (Nov. 11) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
An extremely timely program, this audio offers strategies for inner peace in a world full of turmoil. Williamson believes that the world can change fundamentally when individuals take responsibility for their own actions and thoughts. Each person must seek to eliminate from life anything that does not promote love. Seeking hope and offering forgiveness even in the midst of very bad situations can cause miracles to occur for both the individual and the world. Williamson's tactics include daily contact with one's God, constant vigilance to turn one's negative thoughts into positive affirmations and actions, and the elimination of sources of negativity. One of the most difficult concepts, and one that is not explored in-depth, is assuming that, at a spiritual level, all persons are "innocent," even those who do harm. The author does not tackle the question of evil, and this may confuse and anger some listeners. For those starting a search toward inner peace and Williamson's legion of fans, this work will be required listening. Recommended.-Kathleen A. Sullivan, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573223515
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/5/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 162,482
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.09 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Illuminata, A Woman's Worth, and A Return to Love. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Currently, Marianne Williamson is the spiritual leader of The Church of Today, a Unity church in suburban Detroit.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction:
Reclaiming Our Magic

My father used to speak of the Byzantine Rule, which is that nothing is as it appears to be. I have always had a sense that something is missing in this world-that at the very least there is something important we're not discussing.

I believe that hunger for a "lost dimension" of experience is a natural yearning in all of us, and it doesn't go away just because we ignore it. It is evidenced among other places in the millions of children and adults who obsessively read the Harry Potter books. It is said that fiction is where someone gets to tell the truth. We are a bunch of silly Muggles, and we really do miss out on the magic of existence. There's a collective knowing that a dimension of reality exists beyond the material plane, and that sense of knowing is causing a mystical resurgence on the planet today. It's not just children who are looking for a missing piece. It is a very mature outlook to question the nature of our reality.

We are like birds who have forgotten we have wings, kings and queens who have forgotten our royal heritage. We feel enslaved by conditions that should have no power to bind us, and powerless before forces over which we have been given dominion. No wonder our children are drawn to reading about a world in which people live a more magical existence than the one we offer them here.

I have watched my daughter bury herself, like so many other children, heart and soul in the Harry Potter books. I remember that when I was her age I had a similar fascination with books like A Wrinkle in Time, Half Magic, and the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. In a particularly passionate moment, my daughter once told me that the only time she was really happy was when she was reading Harry Potter. And, sadly, I understood what she meant. It was the only place she felt she could stay in touch with all the magic.

When I am honest with myself, I know that I cry deep inside, just as my daughter does, when I cannot find the magic. Emma has asked me several times, "Mommy, are the Harry Potter books true? Are there really magical places like that?" And I answer her as honestly as I can, which is to say that I answer "yes." But she is never satisfied when I talk about different realms of consciousness, when I tell her that the magic in Harry Potter is a magic that lives in all of us. She wants a simpler magic, which I understand. And I assume that one day she'll find her own path to the magic that lives and breathes inside her. No one can take the journey for anyone else-even parents for our children-as much as we might like to. But if and when my daughter makes her own mystical journey, she will learn that magic indeed is here in this world right now. It is literally all around us. Each of us has a mark on our forehead, just like Harry Potter, that speaks to the fact that all of us come from a very magical source.

Harry Potter is one boy in a long line of mythical heroes who have reminded the human race that we are so much more than we think we are, so much more powerful than we seem to know. Jesus said that we would someday do even greater works than He; should we not take Him at His word? And should not "someday" be today? It's time for us to start working miracles, if indeed we have the capacity within us to do so.

This book is for those who seek to work miracles. The search for the Holy Grail of miraculous power-humanity's instinctive understanding that we are meant to soar above the limitations of our physical world-has been going on for ages. Yet now the search has become a popular yearning not just among monks or adventurers in far-off places, but among many of us living very practical lives. We wish to cultivate the sacred in the midst of the great and small difficulties of our daily existence. We want spiritual principles to be more than beautiful abstractions; we want them to actually transform our lives.

"Heaven and earth shall be as one," according to the Bible, meaning that one day we will live on the earth but think only the thoughts of heaven. The intersection between our material and spiritual existence is the mystical power represented visually in both the Christian Cross and the Jewish Star of David. It is the point where the axis of God meets the axis of humanity. The modern mystic is someone seeking to embody that point in his or her own experience.

In the words of author Manly P. Hall, mysticism is not a religion, but a "conviction of the heart." I realize now that the journey, which started in my childhood-beginning with books about magic, then moving on to philosophy classes, astrology, tarot, the I Ching, and ultimately more classical theological studies and A Course in Miracles (a self-study psychological training based on universal spiritual themes)-has been a fairly common version of my generation's spiritual journey. I was once someone-and in the 1960s and 1970s, there were many of us-who had moons and stars on the walls of every place I lived and encrusted in the jewelry of every outfit I wore. And we needn't discuss the Maxfield Parrish prints: the color, the light, the hint of another reality . . .

I can see now what I was going for, however crudely, and I have compassion for the young woman I was, always thinking there was "something more." Now that I'm firmly planted in my middle years, I can see that the spiritual path has been the calling of my soul for a very long time, and I am ready to devote the rest of my life to walking it as best I can.

The seeker in us is always seeking more Truth, knowing that the search goes on forever. The mystic in us, on the other hand, is trying to practice what we've learned of it: right here, in this moment, whatever we are doing. The mystic is a spiritual practitioner, seeking not merely to understand the principles of spiritual awareness, but to embody them as best he or she can. We embrace the idea-advanced by both ancient philosophers and modern physicists-that the world is one. Everything connects to everything; therefore, as we change, the world cannot but change with us.

Modern mystics form a kind of spiritual underground in the world today, seeking to transform everything. We are everywhere, as mystics have always been everywhere; we come from every religion, as mystics have always come from every religion; and some of us relate to no religion at all. The mystical realm lies beyond all dogma and beyond the evidence of the physical senses. The mystic has been called to an inner journey, through the darkened entanglements of human existence to the radical love at the heart of God.

I have written this book as a traveling companion for the modern mystic, who goes through his day with the deepest desire to be in the world but not of the world-to be walking with her feet planted firmly on the ground, but thinking with her head soaring powerfully through the sky. To live solidly grounded, but from a spiritual foundation, integrating within ourselves the consciousness of earth and the consciousness of heaven-such is the mystic's longing. And that longing is not for ourselves alone. For as any one of us finds our wings, the entire world is lifted.

The mystical path is not always easy, and my hope is that this book might be a bit of a map through some of its thorniest passages. I do not write as someone who has mastered the way, but as someone who has been walking it, though often clumsily, for several decades of my life. There are bits of information I've discovered on my way, pieces of knowledge and understanding that have made their way to me, as they've made their way to mystic travelers for generations. I have seen darkness, but I have glimpsed a little light as well.

May this book shed light on someone's path, and may all of us enter the illumined door beyond which darkness is no more. May the darkened skies of the human heart be lit by the Light of Truth. May the mercy and the peace of God be upon us now and for all our days.

Amen.

The Mystical Wands

T The first thing a mystic needs is his or her tools. When I was a little girl, every August my mother would take me to the store to buy school supplies. First there was the important decision to be made about my lunch box. Did I want Cinderella on the front of it, or ballet shoes, or Snow White, perhaps? And then, of course, there were the notebooks, pencils and pens, erasers, and myriad other accoutrements, such as index cards, Marks-A-Lots, and notebook dividers. Only when I had all my supplies together was I prepared to go to school.

Ultimately I realized that tools are essential to almost any worthwhile endeavor. You don't go to school unprepared, you don't try to climb a mountain unprepared, and you don't walk the mystical path unprepared.

What are the mystic's supplies? They are spiritual principles, much like magical wands in their capacity to turn any situation into a crucible of miraculous transformation. They change the world by changing us. The mystic path is a journey of personal transformation, and while the goal of the journey is to become our true selves, we can only do this by letting go of who we are not. If we wish to experience the fullness of life, we must cut through layers of illusion that hide the truth of who we really are. The mystical path runs through a very deep forest-the forest of our own psyche-and we need our supplies in order to walk through it.

We meet monsters and demons on the inner path. We meet humiliation in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to humiliation; we meet rejection in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to the pain of rejection; we meet the pangs of deep regret in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to regret. We meet the monsters in order to slay them. The only way to rid ourselves of darkness is by bringing it to light.

Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work. The universe is holographic, which means the whole is present in every piece. Therefore, as we address the shadow within us, we are addressing the shadow of the world. The mystic does not deny the darkness, in ourselves or in the world, but affirms a light that lies beyond it. And we have faith the light will prevail because we have faith that light is our true identity. Our task is to remember that. We invoke the light by actively acknowledging it is there, standing as Harry Potter stood on platform 93Ú4, knowing the door would reveal itself because of the nature of who we truly are. Being magic, Harry lives in a magical world. And, being magic, so do we.

The mystical realm arises from a different mode of perception than the one we are used to. The human race now stands on the brink of a historic transformation, with new eyes, new ears, new minds, and new hearts emerging from the cosmic drama of human evolution. As an embryo becomes a baby, we are becoming a new, more spiritualized version of ourselves. We are growing mystical wings as we evolve, as any species does, in the direction that supports our survival. We are moving now toward a universal compassion because, if we do not, we will cause our own extinction. To be a mystic is to choose rebirth, for ourselves and for the human race. We are participating in a collective quantum leap forward, in which our species will experience a fundamentally new chapter in our history.

Fundamental change is not a casual occurrence. We cannot casually commit to the process of spiritual transformation. It's not enough to say, "Oh, I think I'll be a mystic this year." Mysticism is not a trend. Our entire being is called to the task, for the journey from density to light involves every aspect of who we are. Whether we are angry at the dry cleaners because they've ruined our favorite sweater, upset with a friend who has broken a promise, or frightened at the diagnosis of cancer in the breast of a best friend; whether we're worried about the state of our marriage, looking for a new job, or anxious about nuclear bombs and terrorists in our midst, we see that everything we go through is a step along the path. We are taking the mystical journey as a way of transforming the world by transforming ourselves. Only by finding the love within us can we provide the love that will save the world.

Each of us carries, in the depths of our consciousness, a boxful of mystical tools. And central to our tool kit is the magical wand. A wand is not just silliness from children's literature. Fairy tales are rife with archetypal truths that teach not only children, but open-minded adults as well, deep and fundamental truths about the nature of our reality. A wand is a medium of power, not just for wizards, but also for you and me. A wand is essentially a principle, an intention, a focused thought. When focused thought is negative, it creates ill. And when focused thought is loving and enlightened, it creates miraculous breakthroughs. A mystical wand is the illumined power that emanates from the mind when it is married to the heart.

Most of us love, to be sure. Yet far too often our love is passive; we must be proactive in our love in order for it to change our lives. Spiritual laziness has no place on the path. First, we must outgrow the myth of neutrality. For in fact there is no neutral thought; all thought leads to love or to its absence. One who is not committed to love is surrendered to that which opposes it, opening up the door to fear as surely as one who consciously welcomes that fear.

There is so much love in the human heart, yet hatred threatens our planet. And why? Because hatred is currently more committed than love. In the words of philosopher Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing." Indeed, the forces of fear in this world are more disciplined, more courageous in a perverse kind of way, than are the forces of love. For hatred, as we know all too well, has no problem announcing itself and its intentions to the world. Our response should not just be that we oppose hate; our response must be that we love the world. Then and only then will love truly triumph: when the children of God don't just feel our love, but express our love.

Our task then is to harness the energies of love-to actualize its enormous power in practical and meaningful ways. Love too must announce its intentions to the world, with all the passion born of a compassionate heart. We are a species that has everything, yet what we lack is what only we can give: conviction. It is the conviction to love that gives birth to miracles.

In the words of the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, "One day, after we have mastered the winds and the waves, gravity and the tides, we will harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the second time in human history, mankind will have discovered fire."

The mystic lives with that fire in our hearts. And that is why we use our wands, directing the power of their fiery glow to the darkened areas of human existence. Everything we encounter throughout the day is a spiritual opportunity, if we approach it with love. Every moment challenges us to rise to our highest: to choose strength over weakness, forgiveness over blame, faith over faithlessness, and love over fear. And when we can't, we ask God to help us. In choosing love, we are choosing to be healed from the forces that would hold us back. Love heals the world by healing our minds, for that which is healed on the level of consciousness is healed on the level of ultimate Cause.

The world will change when we change. We are living at a time when our technological power has so vastly outdistanced our spiritual progress that we are threatened by the prospect of global catastrophe. And yet there is within us the knowledge-etched on every human heart-that indeed there is a power beyond the mortal mind, which can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And if ever there was a time to humble ourselves, atoning for the arrogance of human conceit, it is now. There is a ripple of rising consciousness among the peoples of the earth today, as we consider the possibility that there might be a better way-a way the mechanical, rationalistic, technological left brain cannot access-which offers us hope that the mortal mind cannot.

There is another way of knowing, another way of living, and another way of loving on this earth. This "other way" is a realm that is full of magic and miracles. It is a world more real than what we see around us. It is the realm from which we have come, and to which all of us long to return. "As to me," wrote Walt Whitman, "I know of nothing else but miracles." Everything but miracles, in time, will dissolve in the presence of love.

Our imagination is the womb out of which a new world will be born. Think of every situation in your life as being ripe for new birth. See luminous energy emerging from your heart, extending outward to touch all things. Cast the light over your childhood home. Cast it over your physical body. Cast it over warring nations. Cast it over the entire planet. Cast it over the people you love. Cast it over the people you judge. Feel now a bolt of energy coming over you as you extend this light. Avoid the temptation to invalidate this image. It's not an idle fantasy, for the light is real.

Now allow the light to flood your body, your blood, your bones. Allow it to illuminate your mind, your emotions, your relationships, your career. Congratulations. You have picked up your wand and begun to use it.

Our choice to stand within a field of infinite possibility is our miraculous authority in any situation. Changing our mental perspective is much like changing the lens on a camera. In the Bible it is written, "Be still and know I am." That moment of stillness is when our mental lens has a chance to refocus. And there, in a moment of sacred connection with all life, we know that only love is real. In the midst of war, we can quietly and powerfully know that peace is our natural state. In the midst of sickness, we can quietly and powerfully know that health is our natural state. To "know I am" is to know, and affirm, that only God's universe is real. Everything is a veil of illusion brought about by our illusion of separation from Him. Our greatest power to change our world lies in our power to see beyond the veil. For we will invoke the world we choose to see. This may mean we repudiate the testimony of our physical senses, or even of our logical minds. This repudiation is a positive denial of the so-called realities of a darkened world. As we stand firmly within a point of light-though darkness might be all around us-the darkness begins to dissolve into the nothingness from whence it came.

The attention we pay to the nature of our thinking, therefore, is the most powerful attention we can pay. Our spiritual victory lies in rising above the mental forces of fear and limitation, using our wands to purify our thought forms, thus attaining the power to heal and be healed. We will think anew and see anew. Such is humanity's next step: our spiritual challenge, our power, and our destiny.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Reclaiming our Magic 1
Part I Thoughts of Grace 9
The Mystical Wands 11
Wand 1 Miracles Happen 20
Wand 2 The Angels Are Waiting for Us 30
Wand 3 Thoughts of Judgment Block the Light 38
Wand 4 The End Is Inherent in the Means 48
Wand 5 Sacred Silence Rights the Universe 58
Abracadabra 67
Part II A Day of Grace 71
8:00 am Starting the Day 73
9:00 am Hearing the News 85
10:00 am Working 97
11:00 am Needing Work 111
12:00 Noon Being Happy 121
1:00 pm Feeling Jealous 127
2:00 pm Making Decisions 135
3:00 pm Feeling Bored 143
4:00 pm Arguing 153
5:00 pm Hoping Against Hope 163
6:00 pm Feeling Guilty 171
7:00 pm Grieving 181
8:00 pm Learning Compassion 189
Part III A Life of Grace 199
Ritual 201
Sabbath 210
Holidays 217
Relationships 225
Community 240
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First Chapter

Introduction:
Reclaiming Our Magic

My father used to speak of the Byzantine Rule, which is that nothing is as it appears to be. I have always had a sense that something is missing in this world-that at the very least there is something important we're not discussing.

I believe that hunger for a "lost dimension" of experience is a natural yearning in all of us, and it doesn't go away just because we ignore it. It is evidenced among other places in the millions of children and adults who obsessively read the Harry Potter books. It is said that fiction is where someone gets to tell the truth. We are a bunch of silly Muggles, and we really do miss out on the magic of existence. There's a collective knowing that a dimension of reality exists beyond the material plane, and that sense of knowing is causing a mystical resurgence on the planet today. It's not just children who are looking for a missing piece. It is a very mature outlook to question the nature of our reality.

We are like birds who have forgotten we have wings, kings and queens who have forgotten our royal heritage. We feel enslaved by conditions that should have no power to bind us, and powerless before forces over which we have been given dominion. No wonder our children are drawn to reading about a world in which people live a more magical existence than the one we offer them here.

I have watched my daughter bury herself, like so many other children, heart and soul in the Harry Potter books. I remember that when I was her age I had a similar fascination with books like A Wrinkle in Time, Half Magic, and the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. In a particularly passionate moment, my daughter once told me that the only time she was really happy was when she was reading Harry Potter. And, sadly, I understood what she meant. It was the only place she felt she could stay in touch with all the magic.

When I am honest with myself, I know that I cry deep inside, just as my daughter does, when I cannot find the magic. Emma has asked me several times, "Mommy, are the Harry Potter books true? Are there really magical places like that?" And I answer her as honestly as I can, which is to say that I answer "yes." But she is never satisfied when I talk about different realms of consciousness, when I tell her that the magic in Harry Potter is a magic that lives in all of us. She wants a simpler magic, which I understand. And I assume that one day she'll find her own path to the magic that lives and breathes inside her. No one can take the journey for anyone else-even parents for our children-as much as we might like to. But if and when my daughter makes her own mystical journey, she will learn that magic indeed is here in this world right now. It is literally all around us. Each of us has a mark on our forehead, just like Harry Potter, that speaks to the fact that all of us come from a very magical source.

Harry Potter is one boy in a long line of mythical heroes who have reminded the human race that we are so much more than we think we are, so much more powerful than we seem to know. Jesus said that we would someday do even greater works than He; should we not take Him at His word? And should not "someday" be today? It's time for us to start working miracles, if indeed we have the capacity within us to do so.

This book is for those who seek to work miracles. The search for the Holy Grail of miraculous power-humanity's instinctive understanding that we are meant to soar above the limitations of our physical world-has been going on for ages. Yet now the search has become a popular yearning not just among monks or adventurers in far-off places, but among many of us living very practical lives. We wish to cultivate the sacred in the midst of the great and small difficulties of our daily existence. We want spiritual principles to be more than beautiful abstractions; we want them to actually transform our lives.

"Heaven and earth shall be as one," according to the Bible, meaning that one day we will live on the earth but think only the thoughts of heaven. The intersection between our material and spiritual existence is the mystical power represented visually in both the Christian Cross and the Jewish Star of David. It is the point where the axis of God meets the axis of humanity. The modern mystic is someone seeking to embody that point in his or her own experience.

In the words of author Manly P. Hall, mysticism is not a religion, but a "conviction of the heart." I realize now that the journey, which started in my childhood-beginning with books about magic, then moving on to philosophy classes, astrology, tarot, the I Ching, and ultimately more classical theological studies and A Course in Miracles (a self-study psychological training based on universal spiritual themes)-has been a fairly common version of my generation's spiritual journey. I was once someone-and in the 1960s and 1970s, there were many of us-who had moons and stars on the walls of every place I lived and encrusted in the jewelry of every outfit I wore. And we needn't discuss the Maxfield Parrish prints: the color, the light, the hint of another reality . . .

I can see now what I was going for, however crudely, and I have compassion for the young woman I was, always thinking there was "something more." Now that I'm firmly planted in my middle years, I can see that the spiritual path has been the calling of my soul for a very long time, and I am ready to devote the rest of my life to walking it as best I can.

The seeker in us is always seeking more Truth, knowing that the search goes on forever. The mystic in us, on the other hand, is trying to practice what we've learned of it: right here, in this moment, whatever we are doing. The mystic is a spiritual practitioner, seeking not merely to understand the principles of spiritual awareness, but to embody them as best he or she can. We embrace the idea-advanced by both ancient philosophers and modern physicists-that the world is one. Everything connects to everything; therefore, as we change, the world cannot but change with us.

Modern mystics form a kind of spiritual underground in the world today, seeking to transform everything. We are everywhere, as mystics have always been everywhere; we come from every religion, as mystics have always come from every religion; and some of us relate to no religion at all. The mystical realm lies beyond all dogma and beyond the evidence of the physical senses. The mystic has been called to an inner journey, through the darkened entanglements of human existence to the radical love at the heart of God.

I have written this book as a traveling companion for the modern mystic, who goes through his day with the deepest desire to be in the world but not of the world-to be walking with her feet planted firmly on the ground, but thinking with her head soaring powerfully through the sky. To live solidly grounded, but from a spiritual foundation, integrating within ourselves the consciousness of earth and the consciousness of heaven-such is the mystic's longing. And that longing is not for ourselves alone. For as any one of us finds our wings, the entire world is lifted.

The mystical path is not always easy, and my hope is that this book might be a bit of a map through some of its thorniest passages. I do not write as someone who has mastered the way, but as someone who has been walking it, though often clumsily, for several decades of my life. There are bits of information I've discovered on my way, pieces of knowledge and understanding that have made their way to me, as they've made their way to mystic travelers for generations. I have seen darkness, but I have glimpsed a little light as well.

May this book shed light on someone's path, and may all of us enter the illumined door beyond which darkness is no more. May the darkened skies of the human heart be lit by the Light of Truth. May the mercy and the peace of God be upon us now and for all our days.

Amen.

The Mystical Wands

T The first thing a mystic needs is his or her tools. When I was a little girl, every August my mother would take me to the store to buy school supplies. First there was the important decision to be made about my lunch box. Did I want Cinderella on the front of it, or ballet shoes, or Snow White, perhaps? And then, of course, there were the notebooks, pencils and pens, erasers, and myriad other accoutrements, such as index cards, Marks-A-Lots, and notebook dividers. Only when I had all my supplies together was I prepared to go to school.

Ultimately I realized that tools are essential to almost any worthwhile endeavor. You don't go to school unprepared, you don't try to climb a mountain unprepared, and you don't walk the mystical path unprepared.

What are the mystic's supplies? They are spiritual principles, much like magical wands in their capacity to turn any situation into a crucible of miraculous transformation. They change the world by changing us. The mystic path is a journey of personal transformation, and while the goal of the journey is to become our true selves, we can only do this by letting go of who we are not. If we wish to experience the fullness of life, we must cut through layers of illusion that hide the truth of who we really are. The mystical path runs through a very deep forest-the forest of our own psyche-and we need our supplies in order to walk through it.

We meet monsters and demons on the inner path. We meet humiliation in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to humiliation; we meet rejection in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to the pain of rejection; we meet the pangs of deep regret in order to grow to the point where our behavior would not lead to regret. We meet the monsters in order to slay them. The only way to rid ourselves of darkness is by bringing it to light.

Until we have met the monsters in ourselves, we keep trying to slay them in the outer world. And we find that we cannot. For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work. The universe is holographic, which means the whole is present in every piece. Therefore, as we address the shadow within us, we are addressing the shadow of the world. The mystic does not deny the darkness, in ourselves or in the world, but affirms a light that lies beyond it. And we have faith the light will prevail because we have faith that light is our true identity. Our task is to remember that. We invoke the light by actively acknowledging it is there, standing as Harry Potter stood on platform 93Ú4, knowing the door would reveal itself because of the nature of who we truly are. Being magic, Harry lives in a magical world. And, being magic, so do we.

The mystical realm arises from a different mode of perception than the one we are used to. The human race now stands on the brink of a historic transformation, with new eyes, new ears, new minds, and new hearts emerging from the cosmic drama of human evolution. As an embryo becomes a baby, we are becoming a new, more spiritualized version of ourselves. We are growing mystical wings as we evolve, as any species does, in the direction that supports our survival. We are moving now toward a universal compassion because, if we do not, we will cause our own extinction. To be a mystic is to choose rebirth, for ourselves and for the human race. We are participating in a collective quantum leap forward, in which our species will experience a fundamentally new chapter in our history.

Fundamental change is not a casual occurrence. We cannot casually commit to the process of spiritual transformation. It's not enough to say, "Oh, I think I'll be a mystic this year." Mysticism is not a trend. Our entire being is called to the task, for the journey from density to light involves every aspect of who we are. Whether we are angry at the dry cleaners because they've ruined our favorite sweater, upset with a friend who has broken a promise, or frightened at the diagnosis of cancer in the breast of a best friend; whether we're worried about the state of our marriage, looking for a new job, or anxious about nuclear bombs and terrorists in our midst, we see that everything we go through is a step along the path. We are taking the mystical journey as a way of transforming the world by transforming ourselves. Only by finding the love within us can we provide the love that will save the world.

Each of us carries, in the depths of our consciousness, a boxful of mystical tools. And central to our tool kit is the magical wand. A wand is not just silliness from children's literature. Fairy tales are rife with archetypal truths that teach not only children, but open-minded adults as well, deep and fundamental truths about the nature of our reality. A wand is a medium of power, not just for wizards, but also for you and me. A wand is essentially a principle, an intention, a focused thought. When focused thought is negative, it creates ill. And when focused thought is loving and enlightened, it creates miraculous breakthroughs. A mystical wand is the illumined power that emanates from the mind when it is married to the heart.

Most of us love, to be sure. Yet far too often our love is passive; we must be proactive in our love in order for it to change our lives. Spiritual laziness has no place on the path. First, we must outgrow the myth of neutrality. For in fact there is no neutral thought; all thought leads to love or to its absence. One who is not committed to love is surrendered to that which opposes it, opening up the door to fear as surely as one who consciously welcomes that fear.

There is so much love in the human heart, yet hatred threatens our planet. And why? Because hatred is currently more committed than love. In the words of philosopher Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing." Indeed, the forces of fear in this world are more disciplined, more courageous in a perverse kind of way, than are the forces of love. For hatred, as we know all too well, has no problem announcing itself and its intentions to the world. Our response should not just be that we oppose hate; our response must be that we love the world. Then and only then will love truly triumph: when the children of God don't just feel our love, but express our love.

Our task then is to harness the energies of love-to actualize its enormous power in practical and meaningful ways. Love too must announce its intentions to the world, with all the passion born of a compassionate heart. We are a species that has everything, yet what we lack is what only we can give: conviction. It is the conviction to love that gives birth to miracles.

In the words of the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, "One day, after we have mastered the winds and the waves, gravity and the tides, we will harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the second time in human history, mankind will have discovered fire."

The mystic lives with that fire in our hearts. And that is why we use our wands, directing the power of their fiery glow to the darkened areas of human existence. Everything we encounter throughout the day is a spiritual opportunity, if we approach it with love. Every moment challenges us to rise to our highest: to choose strength over weakness, forgiveness over blame, faith over faithlessness, and love over fear. And when we can't, we ask God to help us. In choosing love, we are choosing to be healed from the forces that would hold us back. Love heals the world by healing our minds, for that which is healed on the level of consciousness is healed on the level of ultimate Cause.

The world will change when we change. We are living at a time when our technological power has so vastly outdistanced our spiritual progress that we are threatened by the prospect of global catastrophe. And yet there is within us the knowledge-etched on every human heart-that indeed there is a power beyond the mortal mind, which can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And if ever there was a time to humble ourselves, atoning for the arrogance of human conceit, it is now. There is a ripple of rising consciousness among the peoples of the earth today, as we consider the possibility that there might be a better way-a way the mechanical, rationalistic, technological left brain cannot access-which offers us hope that the mortal mind cannot.

There is another way of knowing, another way of living, and another way of loving on this earth. This "other way" is a realm that is full of magic and miracles. It is a world more real than what we see around us. It is the realm from which we have come, and to which all of us long to return. "As to me," wrote Walt Whitman, "I know of nothing else but miracles." Everything but miracles, in time, will dissolve in the presence of love.

Our imagination is the womb out of which a new world will be born. Think of every situation in your life as being ripe for new birth. See luminous energy emerging from your heart, extending outward to touch all things. Cast the light over your childhood home. Cast it over your physical body. Cast it over warring nations. Cast it over the entire planet. Cast it over the people you love. Cast it over the people you judge. Feel now a bolt of energy coming over you as you extend this light. Avoid the temptation to invalidate this image. It's not an idle fantasy, for the light is real.

Now allow the light to flood your body, your blood, your bones. Allow it to illuminate your mind, your emotions, your relationships, your career. Congratulations. You have picked up your wand and begun to use it.

Our choice to stand within a field of infinite possibility is our miraculous authority in any situation. Changing our mental perspective is much like changing the lens on a camera. In the Bible it is written, "Be still and know I am." That moment of stillness is when our mental lens has a chance to refocus. And there, in a moment of sacred connection with all life, we know that only love is real. In the midst of war, we can quietly and powerfully know that peace is our natural state. In the midst of sickness, we can quietly and powerfully know that health is our natural state. To "know I am" is to know, and affirm, that only God's universe is real. Everything is a veil of illusion brought about by our illusion of separation from Him. Our greatest power to change our world lies in our power to see beyond the veil. For we will invoke the world we choose to see. This may mean we repudiate the testimony of our physical senses, or even of our logical minds. This repudiation is a positive denial of the so-called realities of a darkened world. As we stand firmly within a point of light-though darkness might be all around us-the darkness begins to dissolve into the nothingness from whence it came.

The attention we pay to the nature of our thinking, therefore, is the most powerful attention we can pay. Our spiritual victory lies in rising above the mental forces of fear and limitation, using our wands to purify our thought forms, thus attaining the power to heal and be healed. We will think anew and see anew. Such is humanity's next step: our spiritual challenge, our power, and our destiny.

—from Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles by Marianne Williamson, Copyright © November 2002, Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 18, 2013

    I think that without it, we would not 'get it"! She has a r

    I think that without it, we would not 'get it"! She has a remarkable way of 'putting' the truth into LIGHT! May she live a long life so we can learn more and more. God continue to brighten her heart with LOVE the greatest power in the Universe. Spelled G-O-D.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Great book. I could not put it down. Marianne is very inspirational. A feel good book!

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Finding Grace

    Marianne has an amazing way of explaining the love that is all around you, if you look for it! She offers such clarity in helping heal your soul, through the Spirit. Thank you Marianne, another blessing added to my life and library!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2003

    For Women Who Need Confidence

    Inner peace is certainly something that today's busy, stressed out people today have trouble achieving. We have such a sense of powerlessness as we're buffeted about by one crisis after another. Crises are opportunities for change, I know, but peace and quiet is hard to settle into. I don't think our competitive society fosters much acceptance or affection for the strangers we meet every day. Changing our point of view really does change our inner reality. Whether we should regard ourselves as all-knowing divine beings with the power to change external reality is something I doubt the wisdom of-- a philosophy of universalism and New Age spiritualism. I guess religious or spiritual beliefs taken to extremes are like anything else: moderation is the key. What I worry about is people who believe that each person defines right and wrong for themselves, with traditional values going out the window as the individual does her 'own thing' to the detriment of the majority. I like the idea of women as 'goddesses' who are getting back in touch with their feminine natures, and perhaps away from the burdens of being feminist super women who burn out. It's good for those who are lacking in self-esteem, self-confidence, who are dominated by men. But let's not go to the other extreme and overestimate our importance. We need to be realistic about our inner powers, and beware of being too fascinated by the workings of our own minds and hearts. We might miss out on the reality that others are experiencing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2003

    This book will have impact on you

    This is one of the rare good books that is truthful yet opens the readers eye in the opening pages. I benefited significantly and know many others will as well. An applicable book with solutions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2003

    A delight

    I'm glad to have been graced with this book. Today is a good day. And Tomorrow will be too if I live today to the fullest. Another book with equal insight is called I Talked God And He Wants To Talk To You. I highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2002

    This book is a must for everyone in modern America

    Everyday Grace is a book for every citizen in this country. No matter what your dogmatic beliefs are, Marianne brings it home to what really matters- LOVE. This book is a blessing to America in our current political and social climate. It is my hope that the wisdom shared in the book will help heal our society to truly be a beacon of hope unto the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    TRANQUILITY

    The truest path to peace is indeed grace and forgiveness. And in finding and creating the good in every day life experiences. Just plain being nice to people. Just plain dropping old grudges. Just plain losing the anger and replacing it with joy. Another book within the same genre as this book that I just have to recommend is called, I Talked To God And He Wants To Talk To You. I highly recommend you read this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2002

    Beautful and Inspiring

    This is such a beautiful book. For those who've read A Return to Love and Illuminata, it is a perfect combination of those two books. The material is fresh and new, but the writing still as inspiring as ever. What I really like about the book is that whenever I need a spiritual jolt, I can just pick it up and open it almost anywhere.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2002

    One of the best books I've ever read and I've ordered 5 for Christmas presents

    This book is an absolutely wonderful read. Gets you in touch with your real life every day situations and makes you see things in a different light. Gives you an entirely different perspective on life when you wake up each morning. I was an avid reader of Oprah's picks and she's giving this book for Christmas presents to all her friends. One of the best inspirational books I've ever read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2002

    The little Things Mean Alot

    Seeing the world from a spiritual perspective is a whole other world. This book uses the example of waiting in line. Instead of getting angry or discouraged we should see the other people in line as beautiful spiritual souls who need our prayers and blessings. It doesn't have to be the big things like tackling world issues all at once. It can be something as simple as giving the unhappy person at the checkout counter a smile. And if you do that the big things do get tackled. But this book isn't so much about tackling the world. In fact not at all. It's about tackling your personal world and the world of your neighbors on and everyday individual basis. In this lies inner peace and God. It's about gratitude for what you have and not dwelling on what you don't have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2002

    ENLIGHTENING WORDS!

    Marianne does it again! She absolutely enlightens the soul and mind. In 'Everyday Grace,' Marianne brings us to an understanding that God lives in us, and we must accept Him as our light on our path through life. She reveals to us the truth of who we are. "Only the truth of who you are remains, to shine on everything. And that is your job, now and always: to shine and thus illumine the world." Marianne's words are magnificent and inspiring. After reading this book, you will know that grace is with us everyday. This is a must read!

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted July 20, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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    Posted May 14, 2011

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    Posted March 28, 2013

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