“There is no time, no place, no state

                    where Gods is absent.”

THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES IN MY LIFE, and they still happen today, though they’re more the exception now than the rule, when I have felt as though sadness would overwhelm me. Something didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, or there was some conflict between myself and someone else, or I was afraid of what was going to happen or not happen in the future. Our lives in those moments can be so painful, and the mind begins an endless search for things that could make us feel better, or change the situation.

What I learned from A Course in Miracles is that the change we’re really look-ing for is inside our heads. Events are always in flux. One day they love you; the next day you’re their target. One day a situation is running smoothly; the next day chaos reigns. One day you feel like you’re an okay person; the next day you feel like you’re an utter failure. These changes in life are always going to happen; they’re part of the human experience. What can change, however, is how we perceive those experiences. And that shift in our perception is the meaning of mira-


There’s a biblical story where Jesus says we can build our house on sand or we can build it on rock. When our house is built on sand, then the winds and rain can tear it down. When our house in built on rock, then it’s sturdy and strong and the storms can’t destroy it.

Our house is our emotional stability. When the house is built on sand, that means our sense of well-being is based on fleeting things and passing moods. One disappointing phone call and we crumble; one storm and the house falls down. When the house is built on rock, it means we’re not so vulnerable to life’s passing dramas. Our stability rests on something more enduring than the current weather— something permanent and strong. When our house is built on rock, it means we’re depending on God.

I had never realized that depending on God meant depending on love. I had heard it said that God was love, but it had never kicked in for me exactly what that meant. As I began to study A Course in Miracles, I discovered the following things about God:

                    He is the love within us.

                    Whether we “follow Him,” i.e. think with love, is

                    entirely up to us.

                    When we choose to love, or to allow our minds to

                    be one with God, then life is wonderful. When we

                    turn away from love, the pain sets in.

So when we think with God, then life is peaceful. When we think without Him, life is painful. And that’s the mental choice we make, every moment of every day.

                    LOVE IS GOD

                    “Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all

                     things right.”

Love taken seriously is a radical outlook, a major departure from the psychological orientation that rules the world. It is threatening not because it is a small idea, but because it is so terribly huge.

For many people, God is a frightening idea. Asking God for help doesn’t seem very comforting if we think of Him as something outside of ourselves, or capricious, or judgmental. But God is love and He dwells within us. We were created in His image, or mind, which means that we are extensions of His love, or Sons of God. The Course in Miracles says we have an ‘authority problem.’ We think we authored God, rather than realizing that He authored us. Rather than accepting that we are the loving beings that He created, we have arrogantly thought that we could create ourselves, and then create God. We have made up a God in our image. Because we are angry and judgmental, we have projected those characteristics onto Him. But God remains who He is and always will be: He is the energy, the thought of unconditional love. He cannot think with anger or judgment. He is mercy and compassion and total acceptance. We forgot this, and having done so, we have forgotten who we ourselves are.

I began to realize that taking love seriously would be a complete transformation of my thinking. A Course in Miracles calls itself a ‘mind training’ in the relin-quishment of a thought system based on fear, and the acceptance instead of a thought system based on love. Now, over a decade since starting the study of A Course in Miracles, my mind is hardly the touchstone of holy perception. I certainly don’t pretend that I always achieve a loving perspective of every situation in my own life, at least not immediately. One thing I’m very clear about, however, is that when I do, life works beautifully. And when I don’t, things stay stuck.

Surrender to God means surrender to love. This is a very difficult perspective to achieve when you think of surrender as something you do when you’ve lost the war. Surrender is passive. We think of it as weak. But passive in a spiritual sense is strong. It’s the only way to balance out our aggression. Our aggression isn’t bad. In many ways, it’s our creativity. The mind that’s separate from God has forgotten how to check in with love before it saunters out into the world. The mind’s function is to experience love. Without it, we have no wisdom. Without love, we might be active but we’re hysterical.

To surrender to God means to let go and just love. By affirming that love is our priority in a situation, we actualize the power of God. This is not metaphor; it’s fact. We literally use our minds to co-create with Him. Through a mental decis-ion—a conscious recognition of love’s importance and our willingness to experi-ence it—we “call on a higher power.” We set aside our normal mental habit patterns and allow them to be superseded by a different, gender mode of perception. That is what it means to let a power greater than we are direct our lives.

Once we get to the point where we realize that God is love, it’s not too difficult to understand that following God just means following the dictates of love. The hurdle we have to face next, is the question whether or not love is such a wise thing to follow. The question is no longer “What is God?” The question we ask now is, “What is love?”

Love is energy. It’s not something we can perceive with our physical senses, perhaps, but people can usually tell you when they feel it and when they don’t. Very few people feel enough love in their lives. The world has become a rather loveless place. We can hardly even imagine a world in which all of us were in love all the time, with everyone. There would be no war because we wouldn’t fight. There would be no hunger because we would feed each other. There would be no environmental breakdown because we would love ourselves, our children and our planet too much to destroy it. There would be no prejudice, oppression, or violence of any kind. There would be no sorrow. There would only be peace.

Most of us are violent people—not necessarily physically, but emotionally. We have been brought up in a world that does not put love first, and where love is absent, fear sets in. Fear is to love as darkness is to light. It’s a terrible absence of what we need in order to survive. Fear is the root of all evil. It’s the problem with the world.

When infants aren’t held, they can become autistic, even die. It’s accepted that children need love, but at what age are the rest of us supposed to stop needing it?

We never do. We need love in order to live happily, as much as we need oxygen in order to live at all. It’s not that mysterious, really. Without love, the world is simply not a great place to be.

                      ONLY LOVE IS REAL

                    “God is not the author of fear. You are.”

So the problem with the world is that we have strayed from God, or wandered away from love. According to A Course in Miracles, this separation from God first happened millions of years ago. But the important revelation, the crux of the whole Course, is that in reality it never actually happened at all.

          The introduction to A Course in Miracles states:

                    “The Course can be summed up very simply:

                    Nothing real can be threatened.

                    Nothing unreal exists.

                    Herein lies the peace of God.”

What that means is this:

1.       Love is real. It’s an eternal creation and nothing can destroy it.

2.       Anything that isn’t love is an illusion.

3.       Remember this, and you’ll be at peace.

I contend that A Course in Miracles says that only love is real: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” When we think with love, we are literally co-creating with God. And when we’re not thinking with love—since only love is real—then we’re actually not thinking at all. We’re hallucinating. And that’s what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion. Our craziness, paranoia, anxiety and trauma are literally all imagined. That is not to say they don’t exist for us as human beings, and need to be brought to light in order to be released. But they do not replace the love within us. They are literally a bad dream. It is as though the mind has been split in two, with one part staying in touch with love, and the other part veering into fear. Fear manufactures a kind of parallel universe where the unreal seems more real than the real.

In A Course in Miracles sin is defined as ‘loveless perception.’ The way out of fear is through opening the mind to love. Love casts out sin or fear the way light casts out darkness. The shift from fear to love is a miracle. It doesn’t fix things on the earth plane; it addresses the real source of our problems, which is always on the level of consciousness.

Thoughts are like data programmed into a computer,registered on the screen of your life. If you don’t like what you see on the screen, there’s no point in going up to the screen and trying to erase it. Thought is Cause; experience is Effect. If you don’t like the effects in your life, you have to change the nature of your thinking.

Love in your mind produces love in your life. This is the meaning of Heaven.

Fear in you mind produces fear in your life. This is the meaning of hell.

Our worldly problems are actually just symptoms of the real problem, which is always a lack of love. The miracle, a shift from fear to love, works on an invisible plane. It transforms the world at the Causal level. Anything else is just a temporary palliative, a fix but not a healing, a treatment of the symptom but not a cure.

To say, “God, please help me,” means, “God, correct my thinking.” “Deliver me from hell,” means “Deliver me from my insane thoughts.” God Himself will not violate the law of Cause and Effect. It is the most basic law of consciousness, and was set up for our protection. As long as we follow the Golden Rule, we are safe.

Adam and Eve were happy until she “ate of the knowledge of good and evil.” What that means is that everything was perfect until they began to judge—to keep their hearts open sometimes, but closed at others . “I love you if you do this, but not if you do that.” Closing our hearts destroys our peace. It’s alien to our real nature. It warps us and turns us into people we’re not meant to be.

Freud defined neurosis as separation from Self, and so it is. The real Self is the love within us. It’s the “child of God.” The fearful self is an impostor. The return to love is the great cosmic drama, the personal journey from pretense to self, from pain to inner peace.

So then it might go like this, or at least it did for me. I’d get myself into some terrible mess, and I’d remember that all I needed was a miracle, a celestial fix, a radical curative. I’d ask God to reprogram my mental computer. I’d pray. “God, please help me. Heal my perceptions. Wherever my mind has strayed from love—if I’ve been controlling, manipulative, greedy, ambitious for myself, in any way using my body or resources lovelessly—whatever it is, I’m ready to have my mind healed. Amen.” Great.

So, the universe would hear that, and “Ding!”, I’d get my miracle. Relationship healed, situation forgiven, whatever.  But then I’d go back to the same thinking that had gotten me down on my knees to begin with, and I’d repeat the pattern. I’d get myself into some emotional car crash, once again end up on my knees, once again ask God to help me, and once again be returned to sanity and peace.

Finally, after a lot of repetition of those embattled scenarios, I said to myself, “Marianne. Next time you’re down on your knees, why don’t you just stay there?” Why don’t we just stay in the realm of the answer, rather than always returning to the realm of the problem? Why not seek some level of awareness where we don’t create these problems for ourselves all the time? Let’s not just ask for a new job, a new relationship, or a new body. Let’s ask for a new world. Let’s ask for a new life.

When I was down on my knees completely, and I finally knew what it meant to feel sincerely humbled, I almost expected to feel God’s anger. Instead, it was as though I heard Him gently say, “Can we start now?” Until that point, I was hiding from my love, and so resisting my own life. The return to love is hardly the end of life’s adventure. It’s actually the real beginning, the return to who you are!

who you are.



by: Marianne Williamson

          Reflections on the Principles of

          A COURSE in MIRACLES

Copyright @ 1975. Foundation for Inner Peace, Inc.

P..O. Box 1104, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

                              A RETURN TO LOVE

                              Copyright @ 1992 by Marianne Williamson

                                         HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

                                         10 East 53rd Street,

                                         New York, NY 1002

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