by Marianne Williamson
STARTING THE DAY
At the beginning of the day, the mind is most open to
receive new impressions. One of the most important
things we can do is to take full responsibility for the
power of the morning.
If you want to have a nonmiraculous day, I
suggest that newspaper and caffeine form the crux of
your morning regimen. Listen to the morning news while
youíre in the shower, read the headlines as you are
walking out the door, make sure youíre keeping tabs on
everything: the wars, the economy, the gossip, the
natural disastersÖBut if you want the day ahead to be
full of miracles, then spend some time each morning with
Most of us wouldnít think of beginning our day
without washing the accumulated dirt from the day before
off our bodies. Yet far too often we go out into the day
without similarly cleansing our minds. And our minds
carry more pollution than our bodies, for they carry not
only our own toxicity but that of the entire world. We
carry the fear, anxiety, stress, and pain not just of
our own lives, but of our families, our nation, and
millions all over the planet.
Our greatest weakness is the weakness of an
undisciplined mind. We need not let fear steal the
morning; we can consciously choose not to allow our
minds to be programmed by the worldly viewpoint that
dominates the earth. We can set our day upon another
course. Each of us has an inner room where we can visit
to be cleansed of fear-based thoughts and feelings. This
room, the holy of holies, is a sanctuary of spiritual
light. The light is not a metaphor, but rather an actual
energy of mystical vibration. When we begin our morning
within it, the mind receives a radiance that illumines
our thinking as we go through our day.
Imagine yourself sitting in a perfect, comfortable
spot for meditation. It might be a chair in your bedroom
or living room. It is a place of relative quiet and
calm, where you go on a regular basis to find the peace
that only God can give. You have come to realize that
this time of rest, in its stillness and peace, is
beneficent to both your mind and body. Here you come to
surrender to God, using a prayer or mantra to move
beyond the frantic and overwhelming thoughts that stalk
us night and day. You are making your daily pilgrimage
home, where your life will be renewed.
While the power of such quiet time can be profoundly
healing, we often resist it fiercely. We have scores of
reasons why we donít have time to meditate: "The
kids have to get off to schoolÖI have to go to workÖMy
partner wants to be with meÖI have early appointmentsÖ,"
and the list goes on. Yet none of those excuses would be
used to avoid taking a shower or getting dressed. It
would be ludicrous to say, "Iím just too busy. I
had to give up showers." And yet
"busy-ness" is a common excuse for why we do
not take the time, or give the time, to meet regularly
Just think about it: We turn down the chance for a
meeting with God. Itís a meeting He is always
available for, and perhaps that is why we fail to take
full advantage of the opportunity. Perhaps itís hard
for us to embrace what an astonishing gift is being
offered. We figure if itís really that easy to do,
then how could it be that powerful? Thatís how much we
underestimate how important we are to God.
In choosing not to listen for Him, we are choosing
not to hear Him. For Godís voice is a whisper, not a
shout. Legend has it that when the angels came to the
Virgin Mary in the middle of the night, they told her to
get out of bed and go up to the roof. There they would
reveal the extraordinary destiny that was to be hers.
She had to go on to the roof in order to receive their
message, the roof symbolizing her higher mind. If they
had merely told her to sit up in bed, her mind and body
still close to sleep, then she would not have been able
to hear them. We too must be in a heightened, awakened
state if we wish to hear the voice of God. Certain
insights come to us after five or ten or twenty minutes
of meditation, which simply do not emerge from the
shallow waters of normal waking consciousness. Setting
our mental focus within deeper waters in the morning
helps ensure that our mind will remain there throughout
The story of Maryís annunciation is the beginning
of the Christ story and, like all beginnings, sets the
energy for what will come. Her deep surrender to the
will of God was the original opening through which God
revealed Himself. Whether itís the beginning of a life
or the beginning of a day, energies become set and
hardened then; once a pattern is off and running, itís
more difficult to change.
Time spent in morning prayer and meditation can save
hours of tears shed later over something we have said or
done. How many times have we said to ourselves,
"How could I have been so dumb?" The answer is
that we are not dumb; we were simply at the mercy of a
frantic mind, not centered on its own sublime power. We
were focused on things that were ultimately unimportant,
while the deeper issues of life were left mainly
ignored. These are the things that are bound to happen
when we do not take the time each day to purify our
According to A Course in Miracles, five
minutes spent with Godís Spirit in the morning
guarantees He will be in charge of our thought forms
throughout the day. Each morning we can begin with
spiritual confidence, surrendering to Godís will and
praying that our eyes be opened to the miracles He has
planned for us. Each day can be a glorious canvas
painted by the hand of God, and we pray for eyes with
which to see it.
Every morning, visualize and pray for divine right
order: If you are a teacher, for instance, bear witness
with your inner eye to an angel, or Jesus, or Buddha,
wrapping his arms around every child in your class, then
allow your mind to hold that image for five minutes or
more. See Godís Light around your coworkers, your
neighbors, your children, your spouse. Whatever it is
you will be doing with your day Ė whatever your
workplace or activity Ė consciously bless the people
youíll meet, as well as those you donít even know.
Remember to include those you donít like as well as
those you do. Allow yourself to imagine, while in a
prayerful, meditative state, the life you most long to
experience. Then bless that image, and surround it with
Now you can leave the house smiling, because youíve
placed your future in the hands of God. Youíve helped
set the universe on a harmonious trajectory. Every day
we have a chance to re-create life, for ourselves and
others, reshaping our energies with the thoughts we
think, just as we reshape our bodies with physical
exercise. Bless the house in which you wake, and the
people who also sleep there. Bless your city and your
country and your world. Bless everyone you will meet
today. Bless everyone else who is driving along the
freeway with you. Ask that your mind be filled with
light, that you might be a channel for Godís love. You
cannot do this regularly in a committed way and feel
like your life has no purpose. When you give love you
will feel love. That is Law.
Some days are harder than others, to be sure. Perhaps
some of your mornings have gone like this: "There
is no way I can do this. Iím supposed to go to
Chicago, and my daughter is having her dance recital
tonight. If I canít get home on the three oíclock
flight, which I probably wonít because my meeting isnít
until one, then I will miss her recital and be a
Now commit this truth to memory: There is no problem
that holiness will not solve. No matter what the problem
is no matter how big or small, important or unimportant,
you are entitled to a miracle because you are a child of
Using only our mortal minds, we have very little
power to fix anything. The world is full of confusion,
it is moving too fast, and the demands of parenthood,
career, economics, and health are proving too stressful
for almost everyone. But youíre equipped with more
than just your mortal mind. Within each of us there is a
divine mind, the Mind of God. It is always there, with
no exception, to work whatever miracle is necessary to
lift us above the limitations of the world.
In A Course in Miracles, it is written,
"Prayer is the conduit of miracles." There is
no prayer too big or too small that we should withhold
it from God.
So try this instead, on such a morning: "Dear
God, please give me a miracle. I donít know how Iím
going to go to Chicago and still get back to my daughterís
recital. This life is so full of stress, dear God.
Please take my day and plan it for me. Thank you, God.
Everything in the universe is of concern to God,
since He loves everything as one. If youíre too
stressed, then youíre not fully alive, and your
problem is therefore very much Godís business. If youíre
not fully alive, then youíre not being who you were
born to be or living the life you are meant to live. If
youíre not living the life you are meant to live, then
youíre not doing on this earth what youíre intended
to do Ė youíre failing to take part in the unfolding
drama of infinite good, which is the spirit of God. If
youíre not being the parent you are capable of being,
then another child is set up to fail. Why wouldnít a
loving God wish to correct that situation? We are told
in A Course in Miracles that we do not ask God
for too much, but for too little. Every need we have
should be placed in His hands.
The moment a mistake Ė any deviation from love Ė
occurs, a perfect, all-knowing God has already planned a
correction. All we have to do is ask that it be revealed
to us. "Dear God, please show me a miracle."
We take spiritual responsibility for our day when we
pray that it be blessed. More than the way we look, more
than the clothes in our closet, more than whether or not
our papers are organized, this simple request Ė that
our lives be reflections of an eternal love Ė releases
us from the confines of yesterday and frees us to
unlimited possibilities today. Every single morning we
can receive from the universe an entirely new day, in
every sense of the word. Our ego will screech,
"Denial!" should we have the audacity to
consider the possibility of a radically new life today.
Yet thatís exactly what is available to us, and
courage lies in claming it.
Every morning, consider doing this: Light a candle.
Sit down. Close your eyes. Be with God.
There are many different prayer and meditation
techniques, and they are all paths to God. It matters
not which path we walk to Him, but only that we walk
it. In whatever way suits you, talk to God.
I give you this morning.
Please take away
My despair of yesterday.
Help me to forgive the things
That caused me pain
And would keep me bound.
Help me to begin again.
Please bless my path
And illumine my mind.
I surrender to You
The day ahead.
Please bless every person
I will encounter.
Make me who You would have me be,
That I might do as You would have me do.
Please enter my heart
And remove all anger,
Fear and pain.
Renew my soul
And free my spirit.
Thank you, God,
For this day.
Holidays have become desanctified in America today.
The firewall separating the concerns of commerce from
the concerns of God now seems to have crumbled, as we
render unto Caesar what is Caesarís, and frequently
render unto him what is Godís as well.
Many of us know this and donít like it, yet the
cultural undertow has been tugging at us for years. Like
swimmers along the shore, we could have sworn we were
far down the beach just a little while ago. We have no
idea how we got where we are, having been pulled along
by a force much more powerful than ourselves. Slowly and
insidiously, the values of the marketplace have begun to
dominate our entire culture.
Presidentsí Day has become less a day to deeply
honor great souls, such as Abraham Lincoln, and their
contributions to the history of our nation than a day to
take advantage of the Presidentsí Day sales at malls
across America. Memorial Day weekend has become less a
day to deeply honor those who have died for our country
than a weekend for barbecues, travel and visiting
friends. Christmas has become so commercialized that the
miraculous birth of Jesus gets practically swallowed up
by the materialism surrounding it. And Martin Luther
King, Jr.ís birthday? Great! The kids can get a day
Days of honor thus become days of dishonor, as ego
concerns take center stage time and time again and the
spirit of love, the spirit of God, is pushed aside. But
those of us who wish for a deeper experience of the
holidays should remember that we are responsible for our
own thinking. We can embrace the deeper meaning of the
holidays that matter to us, celebrating the days on
which they occur from a place of serious wonder and awe.
We donít need to go along with the pack; indeed, we
can consciously repudiate the shallower thought forms
that pervade it. Sometimes you can feel thereís an
undertow, but choose to try to swim across it with every
bit of strength that you have.
Every year, weeks before Christmas and Hanukkah, I
say to people, "Decide right now: Are you going to
give this season to God, or are you going to give this
season to the ego?" These holidays are about the
birth of God and the arrival of miracles. They are about
personal transformation and the emergence of a new self.
They are not about whose relatives weíre going to be
with, who we have to buy gifts for and whether or not we
have the money to pay for all of them. Such material
considerations rob our energy and eat away at our soul.
Yet anxiety-ridden dynamics will prevail if we surrender
to the endless nagging of our ego mind.
In surrendering a situation to God, we are asking Him
to give us new thoughts and feelings about it. We are
asking His help in deemphasizing things that donít
ultimately matter and focusing on what does. We are
asking that His thoughts replace our own, that we be
lifted by His Spirit to a lighter consciousness and thus
a lighter life. The spiritual life is one of mental
discipline in which we cleave to higher thought forms
because we know they are key to our happiness and peace.
Only in Truth do we find a context for life that makes
sense of our existence. And only deeper meaning assuages
the suffering of the soul. When it comes to the
temptation to make Christmas and Hanukkah more about the
gifts of the catalogue than the gifts of the spirit, just
One rarely hears a Christian say, "Iím not
going to Easter services this year, because I already
know what happens." One rarely hears a Jew say,
"Iím not going to Passover seder this year,
because I already know what happens." True, we know
the stories intellectually. Jesus died on the cross, and
then he rose. The Jews were in bondage, then Moses led
them to the promised land. But religious stories are
more than they appear: They are coded messages sent by
God, heard by whatever part of our consciousness is open
to receive them. If we meet the religious stories with
shallow listening, they have shallow effects on our
lives. The way we receive Godís messages determines in
large part what they are. Met superficially, the
holidays are superficial. Met with genuine devotion, the
holidays are transformative. They are as relevant to our
lives as we allow them to be.
Why does the mystic celebrate Christmas? Because the
birth of Jesus heralds the opportunity for new life on
earth, not just for one man but for the entire human
race. Christmas represents the spiritual possibility
that we will leave behind who we used to be and become
who we were created to be. Mary represents the soul,
impregnated by the seed of God, giving birth to the
highest possibility within us. We emerge as transformed
beings, mothered by our humanity and fathered by God,
risen at last to our true reality. The star of
Christmas, the light that glowed in a darkened sky, is
literally the realization that there lies within us such
divine potential. Our mystical union with Mary and Jesus
illumines not only our understanding, but also the
trajectory of our entire lives. It lifts us into the
spiritual vortex of the truth their lives revealed.
Why does the mystic celebrate Hanukkah? Because the
oil that the Jews were burning in their lamps was not
enough to guarantee their survival, yet the oil
continued to burn despite the laws of the physical
universe. The Jew is reminded on Hanukkah that the God
of our fathers is eternally there for us, aware of our
suffering and committed to its end. He is the flame that
casts out all darkness. For it is the light of God, not
the light of the world, that nourishes and sustains us.
To know this and remember it is to keep our living
covenant with Him.
And why does the mystic celebrate Easter? Because
Jesusí resurrection demonstrated a power that casts
out fear, even unto death itself. "Be of good
cheer, for I have overcome the world." The message
was not that Jesus had fixed the world but rather
that he had overcome it. He had achieved a
perfect love, which then made him invulnerable to the
lovelessness of the world. His consciousness had risen
so high that in his presence all lower thought forms
were rendered null and void. Yes, it would take a
symbolic three days, but love prevailed for him and will
now prevail for us as well. No matter what has happened,
if we should hold on for those "three days"
Ė standing on faith that love and forgiveness will
work a miracle for us Ė then we too will experience a
rising up as our hearts and our relationships receive
new life. As long as we remain true to love, then love
remains true to us. That is the resurrection of Christ.
Why does the mystic celebrate Passover? Because the
slavery of the ancient Jews in Egypt is a slavery to
which we can all relate. The pharaoh of our ego mind
would bind us to the meaninglessness and pain of a life
of fear. Yet God lifted up his servant Moses, as He
lifts up hope in all of us. All of us feed the whip of
Pharaoh, and all of us hear, if we listen well, the
voice of Moses calling us out of bondage. Our bondage
might be an addiction, a dysfunctional relationship, or
a self-defeating pattern. And like the Israelites who
initially resisted Moses, we fear the flight to freedom
might be worse than our slavery. But, in the words of A
Course in Miracles, "God will outwit our
self-hatred." Finally, the Israelites were
delivered and we will be as well. Though God had to part
the waters of the Red Sea to save the Jews from
perishing, so He is willing to part the waters for us.
In celebrating Passover, we remember that the God of
Israel has been there for His people before and will be
there always. Godís love for us is so immense, we can
scarcely recognize the dimensions of its mercy.
To celebrate these holidays is to do much more than
buy presents, open them, cook dinner, show up for
dinner, or make children happy. The joy is not just for
children. Itís for each and every one of us, when we
realize the internal dimensions of the great religious
holidays. The gift that needs to be unwrapped is the
holiday itself. And one need not be Christian to
experience the glory of the Christ, or Buddhist to
experience the power of the sutras or Jewish to
experience the comfort of Godís promises. The mystic
responds to universal spiritual themes, all echoing in a
different way a unified message from God: The potential
of a divinely empowered consciousness lies in every one
From Yom Kippur to Ramadan to solstice celebrations
to Christmas to Shivaratri, the great religious holidays
Ė as well as civil holidays celebrating noble civic
principles Ė are ways in which humanity is reminded to
keep faith with what is true. We appreciate the
miraculous possibilities that the holidays provide: that
on Christmas morning, for instance, millions of people
consider the possibility of a perfect love; that on
Passover, the Jewish people consider the possibility
that God is here to deliver us even now; that on Easter
morning, millions of people consider the possibility
that through love we can transcend all limitations of
the world Ė such is the power of the religious
holidays, when we consider their invisible influence on
hearts throughout the world.
And how do we participate in the mystical meaning of
the holidays? Through prayer, quiet, spirit-filled
ceremony or fellowship, reading, or any cultivation of
deeper meaning that works for us. We might fast,
meditate, sing, or build altars in our homes; we might
read spiritual books with our families or create new
rituals that deepen our experience of ageless truths.
And, most important, we pray. For prayer, in the words
of A Course in Miracles, is the "conduit of
miracles." We need simply pray that God reveal to
us, in our own life, the meaning of a holiday. And watch
what happens. He will do the rest.
Once we recognize the real power of holidays, we
begin to approach them with deeper devotion. A holiday
is a holy day, and holiness doesnít happen to us.
Holiness is a choice we make, and holidays are portals
of energy through which the experience of things that
matter most is increased within us and in the world in
which we live. Bear witness to what happened to someone
else two thousand years ago or more, and you will enter
the timeless dimension in which it is happening to you.
© Copyright 2003 Marianne Williamson. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted by permission from Everyday Grace
(Riverhead Books) by Marianne Williamson.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally
acclaimed author and lecturer. She has published eight
books, four of which -- including the mega bestseller
A RETURN TO LOVE and the newly-released EVERYDAY GRACE
-- have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her titles
also include ILLUMINATA, A WOMAN'S WORTH, and HEALING
THE SOUL OF AMERICA. She also edited IMAGINE: What
American Could Be in the 21st Century, a compilation
of essays by some of America's most visionary
Ms. Williamson has been a
popular guest on numerous television programs such as
Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and
Marianne Williamson has
lectured professionally since 1983. In 1989, she founded
Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that
serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles
area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people
Ms. Williamson also co-founded
the Global Renaissance Alliance (GRA), a worldwide
network of peace activists. The mission of the GRA is to
harness the power of non-violence as a social force for
Ms. Williamson's latest book -
EVERYDAY GRACE Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and
Making Miracles, was published by Riverhead Books (Nov
2002) and quickly reached #1 on the New York Times
Best-Seller List (Dec 2002).
Marianne's website is: www.marianne.com.
Marianne is also now the host of her own weekly radio
talk show, "The Marianne Williamson Show."
Visit www.marianneradio.com for more details.