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The Gift of Change Spiritual Guidance for Living Your Best Life
By Marianne Williamson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2005 Marianne Williamson
All right reserved. ISBN: 0060816112
Crossing the Bridge
Life as we knew it is passing away, and something new is emerging to take its place.
All of us are playing a part in a larger transformative process, as each of us is being forced to confront whatever it is we do, or even think, that keeps love at bay. For as we block love's power to change our own lives, we block its power to change the world.
Humanity is moving forward now, though in some ways we are doing so kicking and screaming. Nature seems to be saying to all of us, "Okay, it's time. No more playing around. Become the person you were meant to be."
We would like to, but it's hard. The problems of the world today seem larger than they have ever been before, making it easy to succumb to cynicism, fear, hopelessness, and despair. Until, that is, we remember who we are.
For who we really are is a power bigger than all our problems, both personal and collective. And when we have remembered who we are, our problems -- which are literally nothing other than manifestations of our forgetfulness -- will disappear.
Well that would be a miracle, you might say. And that is precisely the point.
This book is about learning who we are, that we might become agents of miraculous change. As we release the fear-based thoughts we've been taught to think by a frightened and frightening world, we see God's truth revealed: that who we are at our core is love itself. And miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
It is said in Alcoholics Anonymous that every problem comes bearing its own solution. And the gift being borne by our current challenges is the opportunity to make a large leap forward in the actualization of our own potential. The only way the world can make a quantum leap, from conflict and fear to peace and love, is if that same quantum leap occurs within us. Then and only then will we become the men and women capable of solving the problems that plague us. As we leap into the zone of our most authentic selves, we enter a realm of infinite possibility.
Until we enter that zone, we are blocked, for God cannot do for us what He cannot do through us. To say He has the solutions to our problems is to say He has a plan for the changes each of us needs to go through in order to become the people through whom He can bring forth those solutions. The most important factor in determining what will happen in our world is what you decide to let happen within you. Every circumstance -- no matter how painful -- is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being. Our task, for our own sakes and for the sake of the entire world, is to do so.
Yet for us to become who we most deeply want to be, we must look at who we are now -- even when what we see doesn't please us. This moment is driving us to face every issue we've ever avoided facing, compelling us to get to some rock-bottom, essential truth about ourselves whether we like what we see there or not.
And until we make that breakthrough in ourselves, there will be no fundamental breakthrough in the world. The world we see reflects the people we've become, and if we do not like what we see in the world, we must face what we don't like within ourselves. Having done so, we will move through our personal darkness to the light that lies beyond. We will embrace the light and extend the light.
And as we change, the world will change with us.
From Fear to Love
We spend so much time on unimportant things -- things with no ultimate meaning -- yet for reasons no one seems to fully understand, such nonessentials stand at the center of our worldly existence. They have no connection to our souls whatsoever, yet they have attached themselves to our material functioning. Like spiritual parasites, they eat away our life force and deny us our joy. The only way to rid ourselves of their pernicious effects is to walk away ... not from things that need to get done, but from thoughts that need to die.
Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside our minds, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. We're in the habit of thinking fearfully, and it takes spiritual discipline to turn that around in a world where love is more suspect than fear.
To achieve a miraculous experience of life, we must embrace a more spiritual perspective. Otherwise, we will die one day without ever having known the real joy of living. That joy emerges from the experience of our true being -- when we detach from other people's projections onto us, when we allow ourselves permission to dream our greatest dreams, when we're willing to forgive ourselves and others, when we're willing to remember that we were born with one purpose: to love and be loved.
Anyone who looks at the state of the world today is aware that something radically new is called for -- in who we are as a species and in our relationship to each other and our relationship to the earth itself. Yet the psychological fundamentals that hold this dysfunctional world in place are like sacred cows: we are afraid to touch them, for fear something bad will happen to us if we do. In fact, something bad will happen to us if we do not. It is time to change. It is time to do what we know in our hearts we were born to do.
We are here to participate in a glorious subversion of the world's dominant, fear-based thought forms.
There are only two core emotions: love and fear. And love is to fear as light is to darkness: in the presence of one, the other disappears ...
Excerpted from The Gift of Change by Marianne Williamson Copyright © 2005 by Marianne Williamson. Excerpted by permission.
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