Book Excerpt: Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein
288 pages; Three Rivers Press
Available at Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound.com Introduction
The journey that we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. Nothing you understand is fearful. It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening, and shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet it is only the hidden that can terrify, not for what it is, but for its hiddenness.
—A Course In Miracles
For more than twenty years I kept a journal. In it I wrote about heartbreak, anxiety, and eating disorders. I wrote about trying to quit drugs while high on drugs. Pages and pages are filled with self-loathing, self-doubt, and a running calorie count. I wrote the same romantic mini- drama with dozens of different names attached. My journal entries were my only outlets from the turmoil and deep-rooted pain I lived with every hour of every day. Through writing I’d release my fears onto the page and get honest about my sadness as I scribbled over my tears.
Today my journal entries are much different. They reflect an empowered woman who is happy and bleeds authenticity. Instead of dwelling on my diet or obsessing over romance, I use my journal to honor myself. The words on the page are tinged with pride and compassion. I’ve overcome my addictions to love, drugs, food, work, fear—you name it, and I’ve recovered. I worked hard, and man, was it worth it. Today each of my journal entries shows a deep desire to continue growing from the inside out.
My primary guide on my journey to self- love has been the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles. The Course is a self-study curriculum emphasizing practical applications for relinquishing fear in all areas of life. The Course’s unique thought system uses forgiveness as the road to inner peace and as a guide to happiness. I was first introduced to the principles of the Course through the spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, known throughout the world for her best- selling books and her international speaking circuit. Marianne is the leading teacher of A Course in Miracles and is a straight-up spiritual rock star.
The Course’s lessons have taught me to view my life and how I experienced it in a totally new way. I’ve learned that much of what I feared in my life was not frightening at all, or in many instances even real. I’ve learned that fear is simply an illusion based on past experiences that we project into the present and onto the future. For instance, I came to realize that my experience of being dumped by my high school boyfriend had morphed into an illusion that I held on to for more than a decade. This simple adolescent breakup managed to morph into a belief system of unworthiness and debilitating fear of being alone.