A Conversation with Marianne Williamson

Conscious Life Journal: From your mastery and experience on the subject of “consciousness,” how do you see the world shifting?

Marianne Williamson: The study of spiritual subjects has become mainstream as never before. Even more importantly, there are signs throughout the culture—medicine, education, business and so forth—of people expressing a more evolved, compassionate, holistic perspective and putting it into practice.

CLJ: What are some of the principles in your earlier work that have stood the test of time? For example, are your teachings regarding forgiveness still relevant?

MW: That’s almost amusing, our musing on whether eternal subjects ever go out of vogue. Our capacity to reconnect with a divine source to ameliorate suffering in ourselves and others was the most important issue thousands of years ago and will be the most important issue thousands of years from now.

CLJ: What are some of the biggest roadblocks to healing? In other words, what do you believe are the hardest concepts for people of our time to integrate into their lives?

MW: Our culture breeds fear, isolation and narcissism. The false belief in separation—from God, from each other, from the earth itself—underlies our most fundamental assumptions about the meaning and the purpose of life. This is why people can’t find the meaning and the purpose of life!

Learning to let go the fear-based thought system that dominates the world, and to accept instead a thought system based on love and forgiveness, is the only way to happiness and the salvation of the human race. Fear is to love, what darkness is to light. In the presence of one, the other disappears. So the only way to get rid of our fears is to replace them with love. We can’t fight our fears; we have to dispel them.

And this is not a soft and gauzy thing; it’s a tough and gritty thing. It takes self-honesty and a willingness to change. Questions confront us like, “Who have I not forgiven? Where am I withholding love? Where are my actions more selfish than loving? Who am I not showing compassion and mercy? Where am I not expressing myself with kindness?” We bolster our fears with every loveless thought and action, and until that changes we will be in the grip of pain and suffering. Only love—not only felt but expressed, not only recognized but actually applied—will cast out the fears that bind us. And it works every time.

CLJ: Tell us about your new book, Tears to Triumph.

MW: Because of the issues I mentioned above, we’re experiencing today an epidemic of depression. This depression is essentially a spiritual crisis—the soul’s rebellion against having been so trivialized by the modern world. The same worldview that marginalized the interior life to begin with now sees the sadness this has produced through its own foggy lens, casting a crisis of the soul in purely medical terms. I wanted to give a complementary perspective on sadness, based on universal themes expressed in the lives of Buddha, Moses and Jesus. All great religious stories have at their core the story of human suffering and how to transcend it.

CLJ: What are some of your personal pains and practices?

MW: I’m a student of A Course in Miracles, and I do the Workbook lessons every day. I also do Transcendental Meditation. More than anything else, I do my best—not that I’m claiming to succeed always so brilliantly—to practice what I preach.

CLJ: What is your most relevant piece of advice for someone in the awakening process and looking to live a more conscious life?

MW: Think of who you’re judging or blaming, and be willing to forgive them. Even if what they did to you seems unforgivable, tell God you’re willing to see the situation differently. Nothing lifts a burden from our hearts like forgiveness does because it opens us to a life beyond the hurt. Beyond that, learn to meditate. The two together will change your life.

CLJ: What’s next for you?

MW: I’ve just moved to New York, and will give my weekly lectures
and live streams from here on Wednesday nights. And I’m excited about the publication of my new book, Tears To Triumph: The Spiritual Journey From Suffering To Enlightenment. I poured a lot of my heart into the book and hope that people will find some comfort and inspiration there.

CLJ: Do you have any predictions for what’s next for the world?

MW: What’s next for the world will be whatever we collectively decide. If we continue to acquiesce to short-term economic gain for huge multi-national corporate forces being our civilization’s bottom line, then I see very rough times ahead. But if we awaken more quickly than we are doing now, all of us doing our part to shift our organizing principle to love and compassion and humanitarian concern, then miracles will happen, and we will forge another path.

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times Best Sellers—four of them reaching #1. Marianne also serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world. marianne.com