marianne williamson
Photo: David Beeler
The author of A Year of Miracles explains the daily practices that keep our minds—and selves—open, including a transformative sentence to use with everyone.
Gravity exists on many levels, both physical and emotional. There is a force in the universe that literally weighs things down.

In order to counter gravity in the physical body, we physically exercise to develop strong muscles. Emotionally and spiritually, things work the same way. We nullify the effects of emotional gravity through accumulated repetitions of positive thoughts. Where the world says things like, "This can never happen," we repeat to ourselves that with God, all things are possible.

Strong physical muscles give us the power to navigate the external world more effectively, while strong spiritual muscles give us the power to navigate the internal world. With physical musculature, we gain the power to move; with internal musculature, we gain the power to sit still, to be nonreactive, to be centered and calm and wise.

There are many meditative practices, from Transcendental Meditation to completing the workbook A Course in Miracles to others that are rooted in traditions like the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist faiths and so forth. What is important to note is that meditation is more than mere deep relaxation. We don't just feel relaxed after meditation. Brain scans have proven an actual shift in brain-wave patterns. The religious call to a "new mind" is not just a metaphor; it is a call to become our more peaceful, creative and productive self.

With the modern world having become so frantic, it is easy to become as frenetic as the world around us. The problem with that, though, is that without calm, there is no wisdom, no impulse control and no real peace of mind. We're more likely to become emotionally reactive and unclear in our thinking. Without deep peace of mind, we cannot be the people we are capable of being, and we cannot live the lives we are capable of living.

The power of meditation is of little use if only understood intellectually. When this spiritual exercise is built into our everyday, practical lifestyle, it becomes utterly transformative. It's not enough just to know how important healthy food and exercise are; we must actually eat well and exercise regularly to enjoy the benefits of those habits. So, it's not enough to just know the power of prayer and/or meditation; we must practice these rituals, through daily devotion.

We routinely wake up in the morning and take a bath or shower, because we don't want to take yesterday's dirt on our body into the new day. Yet unless we pray, meditate, do inspirational readings or some other practice of spiritual alignment in the morning, we take yesterday's burdens on our mind into the new day. Are body and soul not equally important?

We find excuses for why we're not doing our spiritual exercise, just like we find excuses for not doing our physical exercise. But, in both cases, once we start doing our exercises, we start to crave their continuance. Often, people say they don't have the time to meditate; but, in fact, meditation slows time. Time, in the words of Albert Einstein, is "an illusion of consciousness." Shallow thinking literally speeds up our experience of time, while deep and peaceful thinking slows it down. We inhabit time more effectively when our mind and heart are clear.

Such a world view is like a mental filter, leading us to experience the world through a lens of love instead of fear. Fear is the thinking that dominates the world, but love is who we really are. Grounding ourselves each day in a deep remembrance of who we really are, we actualize the spiritual power that lies latent within all of us. We were created to love, and in loving we are fulfilling the purpose of our lives. With every thought we think, we either extend love or project fear into the world. Taking a few simple principles and applying them to our daily lives lifts us above the turmoil of the world:

Ask every morning of your God: "Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?"

Before you go into work, into a meeting, into a party or into any situation at all, consciously blast everyone who is going to be there with love. Just as light casts out darkness, so does love cast out fear. You can't send love to someone and, at the same time, worry about what they will think about you, fear what's going to happen or succumb to controlling, judgmental or manipulative thoughts. The presence of love literally casts out neurotic, fear-based thoughts.

As you go through the day, anywhere you might be, look at someone's face and silently say to them, "The love in me salutes the love in you." I defy you to do this for two minutes each day and not become happier.

No one needs to be reminded today that we are in need of a counterforce to the world's despair. All the hatred and unnecessary suffering that have gripped our planet are a challenge to our species to evolve and grow—to become who we are capable of being, so we can rise up with greater power and behave with greater wisdom. When any of us does this individually, our lives transform. And when we do it collectively, our planet will transform. Love will not just heal your life or mine. Love will heal the world.



A Year of Miracles Marianne Williamson is the author of A Year of Miracles, A Woman's Worth and many other books.

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