EVERYDAY GRACE.

(Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles.)

By: Marianne Williamson


The Angels Are Waiting For Us.

E very night,

 before she goes to bed

 my daughter says a prayer, which I to said when I was her age.

“Four corners round my bed, four angels round my head. One to watch, Two to pray, One to chase bad things away.” It has taken me over forty years to understand what a prayer like that is really saying.

 


A ngels are the thoughts of God,

 and to ask for angels to gather near at anytime, is to ask for God’s thoughts to overshadow our own. To pray to an angle is to look to a level of pure thinking, divine thinking, and to ask that it replaces our thoughts of fear. Such thoughts----of separation from others, as well as from God, ----are really distortions of reality, mental “miscreations,” and they lead us to conclusions and behavior that are destructive to ourselves and the whole world around us.

.“One to watch”; May the Spirit of love tend my thoughts, guarding the holiness that alone shall remain on the altar of my mind. “Two to pray”; May I remain in conscious contact with God, ever alert to the miracles in my midst. “One to chase bad things away”; May God’s spirit cast out of my thoughts, and my world, the things that are not of love. When we pray to something higher than ourselves, we are not praying to something outside ourselves. Angels do not live “somewhere else.”----ultimately we must come to realize that there is nowhere else.----but simply in another realm of perception. They always live within us as latent energies of divine power, potential but not yet actualized thin most of humanity. In summoning angels, we’re responding to the evolutionary lure of the angelic state. We’re recognizing angels as spiritual mentors who can lift our thoughts to the heights of truth. And as we rise to meet them, we will ultimately become them.

 

Thoughts of Judgement Block the Light.


W hen I was a little girl, anytime I would ask my mother something mundane---such as, “Are we going to go out to dinner tonight? or “Are we meeting Daddy at the zoo?”----she would always answer with a particular old phrase: “God willing.”


I never thought much of it as a child when it was said, but, as I grew older it struck me as to how right she really was. How very often have people assumed this or that was going to happen, only to find themselves experiencing something very different indeed. You think you’re going out to dinner tonight. But what’s really true is that if something horrible like a car accident en route to the restaurant doesn’t happens, then you’re going out to dinner tonight. You think you’re going to do this or that, but what you really mean is: If something out of my control doesn’t interrupt my plans, then I’m going to do it. All of us agree that God has to agree with out plans, or our plans will come to naught.


When my mother said “God willing”, she was instinctively showing humility before the power of God. She knew it wasn’t a good thing to assume that human will can totally control anything. And in saying “God willing”, she was also praying that God would be willing---- that God would bless our plans. I think she had all the bases covered 

The End Is Inherent in the Means


W hen Mahatma Gandhi, articulated his principles of political nonviolence, he stressed that, in our doings, the end is inherent in the means. This concept reverses the modern common Western truism that “the end justifies the means. According to Gandhi, how we do something is as important as what we’re trying to do, because ultimately whatever we do will be determined by how we do it. Who we are as we go through a process----whether we choose integrity, faith, honesty, and for sure, compassion or their opposites-----affects the outcome of a situation more powerfully than the mortal mind admits. Love is a process as well as a goal.


As we concentrate on being the people that God would have us be, a path of light opens up before us to ease our way. Circumstances begin to fall into more harmonious patterns as we find more harmony with ourselves. We can all tell when the situation is in the “flow.” When we’re no longer paddling up-stream, when there is less stress involved in making something happen. The effect to align ourselves with the holy and good is our greatest power to affect external situations.


So it is that if we foster good causes, then good effects will ensure----not always immediately, but ultimately . In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” There are laws of the universe that do not change. If we take care to honor the roots of a tree, then the trunk and the branches will take care of themselves. The mystic surrenders to the flow of God’s love, knowing that it flows naturally in the direction of the highest good for all. There is a spiritual beneficence at the center of the universe. And as we gain, through experience, more and more faith in that basic goodness, we learn to give up our efforts to control and instead begin to deeply trust. It is not human will or personality we are trusting, or human machinations of any kind; rather, we’re placing our trust in the Law of Cause and Effect, or karma, which is God’s blueprint for the spiritual workings of all creation.


The world is rife with human suffering. And yet there is, behind the wordily veil of darkness and fear, another possibility, a truer realty than that which we are living now. Our capacity to reach beyond the veil does not emanate from what we do, but from whom we are audacious and devoted enough to now become. That is why entering deeply into the still waters of God’s love is every bit as important as any external action we take if we are anxious and serious about trying to change the world.

                     

I have learned from experience that happiness is an acquired skill! There is always something to complain about, even in the best of times. There is always something to celebrate, even in the worst of times. Happiness is not an objective reality as much as it is a subjective decision. Chronic complainers always miss the boat. Many people are addicted to suffering and have a mental habit of pointing out the worst in people and situations. Now, not only are they robbing themselves of joy, but their failure to appreciate all the goodness that life has to offer actually diminishes that good. Both our blessing and our condemnation have power.

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Gratitude is essential to real happiness.

Developing a grateful attitude----knowing that every time we arrive somewhere safely, we have something to be happy about; Every time our children run up to us and smile, we have something to be happy about; yes, every time we get out of bed and can take a deep breath and then go out for a brisk walk, we have something to be happy about! After all, that is the very essence of a happy existence. It is most true----happiness is a muscle that we must use, or it will wither away.


Whatever we focus on is bound to expand. When we choose to see the negatived, we call forth more negative. And where we se the positive, we call forth more positive. Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Also, having tasted the bitter, I now really savor the sweet.

Relationships


F rench philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote that “hell is other people.” People are heaven, too, of course, when relationships go well and people behave the way we wish they would. Either way, people are real hard to get away from in this world, and our relationships with others go far towards determining our happiness or lack of it, while we are here.


I remember when my daughter was a baby, I kept wishing she could talk because I wanted to have a conversation with her. And now, that she’s talking as fast and as much as her mother, I remember how very sweet it was when no matter what I said, she just looked up at me admiringly, gaggling, never arguing! So, if I want sweet and cuddly relationships with no disagreements, I might want to hang around infants. But, should I desire intelligent dialogue, I’d better get out my magic wands. People over three usually have a habit of saying what they actually think, which may or may not make your day.


The key to right relationships----and every other type situation is, in some way, a relationship ---is to allow each one, in every moment, to be lifted from the past. A relationship is reborn whenever we see someone as they are right now and don’t hold them to who they once were. Focus on the present, not the past, is essential to the experience of grace


Relationships represent assignments made by Divine Intelligence, bringing together those who represent the greatest opportunities for learning from each other. In every relationship, there’s and endless stream of potential healing, both for the people joined in the original encounter and for countless others they will each meet in turn. In A Course in Miracles, they are referred to as “laboratories of the Holy Spirit.” Every relationship is a temple of God, blessed by love and innocence or desecrated by fear and guilt. Which it is, is up to us!


A Life of Grace


I t has been said that when the Buddha comes again,

 he will come as a community. We will known that God is here on earth when we can see Him in one another.


Once when I was in my early twenties, I lived in a house in San Francisco with several other people. In the dining room overlooking the city, there was a very long table at which there was always people drinking coffee and engaging in very lively conversation at almost anytime of the day or night. That was a period of my life in which I thought of my future as more important than my present----surely in my future I would find the secret to happiness. But, now that I’m living what my younger self thought of as the future, I look back to that long table surrounded by all those friends and think, That was it! Right there at that table, I remember having my first,, and still to this day, one of my most potent experiences of community. My house today is much nicer, to be sure. Like others of my generation I finally “graduated” into my own self; my own this, my own that. But also, like others in my generation, I sort of miss the “good old days” when there was more community and much less isolation, more conversation and much less TV.


Today, when we think of people joining together, it’s not always for such wonderful purposes. Now we know about “terror cells”, made up of terrorists joined together for the purpose of wreaking havoc on our world. We get chills as we realize the power of two or more terrorists joined together, exerting greater power than the sum of the individuals. Yet the power of joining together applies as much----in fact, much more----to those who love than to those who hate. For there is a cosmic propulsion behind love that is not behind hate. Our only problem is not that hated is more powerful than love, because in deed it is not; our problem today is that hate is more energetic and active than love. It’s now high time for our generation to allow ourselves not only the satisfaction of deep love and community, but also the power of deep love and community. It is the greatest antidote to the darkness of our hate-filled times.


Metaphysically speaking, God did not create us individually, but as one; that is the esoteric meaning of “only one begotten Son.” The awareness of our oneness, while foreign to the ego, is very clear to the heart. And that’s why unity is the key to our happiness. Spiritually, we do not exist in isolation. It is unnatural for us to perceive ourselves as separate; in fact, we’re like sunbeams of the same sun and waves of the

same ocean. Imagining ourselves as separate waves, we feel that we are tiny and powerless, when in fact we are integral to the immense power of the sea.


It’s only when we transcend the illusion of separation, refusing the false testimony of our physical senses, that we will really make the quantum leap forward into a joy-filled life. We will know unbelievable peace in our lives when we learn to love as God loves, and God really loves all of us as one. We were created as one and we will remain as one. “ THE GOLDEN RULE” is so very fundamental because “what we do unto others we literally are doing unto ourselves.”


The recognition of our unity is the healing of all wounds. Yet, just how do we convert the consciousness of humanity to a perspective of spiritual oneness? And what would the world look like if we succeeded? Now, every once in a great while, we accidentally give ourselves taste of what life on Earth could be like, were we just truly interact like brothers and sisters and glimpse a higher possibility for connection among us all.


On the final da of the last millennium, as people geared up for the grand New Year’s Eve celebration all over this world, television networks broadcast fireworks displays from London to Sydney, New York to Hong Kong, Russia to Brazil. I remember a particular moment that day, when I was simply walking through my living room, becoming aware of the sense that the entire world at that very moment was in love. I didn’t have the feeling of being in love with a particular person, but of love as a feeling that filled all the air I was breathing, an all-pervasive sweetness such as I had never known. Suddenly, I felt as though everyone was capable of loving everyone. Any in that very moment, I thought, This is how life is supposed to feel. It is how we will feel one day, when we’ve evolved to our divine potential.

Love did not feel like the exception----it felt like the rule that day. The air itself was peaceful in a way we do not ordinarily experience. I will never forget that moment.


A dear friend of mine who lives in New York City told me about her unforgettable, remarkable experience on “day one” of the year 2000. as she was unhappily on her way to work. She told me, surprisingly, the subway was like one big party. Everyone was celebrating, everyone was being kind to one other, people who didn’t even know each another were talking and joking. (And, please remember that this is New York where this is happening.) Many of these people had been riding to work together every workday of the week for months, even years, and yet what a vast difference this day made.


So, what really happened on that day? 

Was there actually an external, objective shift of some sort----or rather, for one shining moment, did we simply change our social contact? What spell of peace and goodwill came upon us, and why, like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, did we feel compelled at day’s end to go back to who we were before?


Just as Abraham Maslow asserted that studying psychologically well-adjusted people was more revealing, in the end, than studying those who were psychologically impaired, it behooves us to question what is really going on in those moments when we come together in peace. The truth is, nothing objectively occurred on New Year’s Day, 2000, as we entered this millennium. What did actually occur is that for a period of about 24 hours, we gave ourselves permission to behave like brothers. We reached for a universal love that day, beyond the confines of a particular relationship to an individual or group. Our natural knowing superseded our ego, and we entered into a different, unspoken agreement with one another: This was not to be a day for competition, but for cooperation; not a day for war, but fr peace; not a day for judgement. Nothing more than a simple shift in how we saw life made the difference that day. It was an internal ----not an external----power that tilted us toward light. We simply changed our perspective for one day. 


From that shift in our thinking there arose, if only for a very brief (one day) time, a different kind of world. For just one day, the focus of our attention and genius was on the celebration life We saw the world we would want to see, because on that day it was what we decided to see. For that one day, we got it right!

Now, if we could do it for a day, and we did, then isn’t it reasonable to assume that we could do it for longer periods? My point is surely idealistic. That’s a given. But, what more is an ideal than a thought that has not yet descended from heaven to Earth, a thought that waits the evolution of the human race to be accepted and made manifest?


Wasn’t the abolition of slavery once merely an ideal? Wasn’t women’s suffrage once merely an ideal? Wasn’t the end of Britain’s rule in India once merely an ideal? Idealism, after all, is not a neurosis. What is most neurotic is how little idealism we display about anymore about anything, how lacking in imagination we’ve become about anything beyond individual goals. Now; right now, is the time for collective goals and collective ideals, as our near-fanatical adherence to the belief in separation has finally reached such dangerous proportions. Realism is not particularly helpful when what is real is so painful to witness.


What is idealism, after all, but a message from the Real to the real? It’s the force that inspires us to improve the world with a deep inner knowing that something better is possible. An ideal is a pure idea that becomes miraculous when blended with human imagination and effort. Great ideas need not languish in the realm of abstract possibility; they are meant to be embodied, Through the willingness of people and the grace of God, they become part of our earthly experience whenever we choose.



Source: EVERYDAY GRACE

      by: Marianne Williamson

                Copyright @ 2002 by Marianne Williamson 

Riverhead Books,

Penquin Putnam, Inc.

375 Hudson Street,

New York, N.Y. 10014

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