Monday, February 11, 2008

Marianne Williamson's latest book

Marianne Williamson is one of my all-time favorite spiritual writers. Her writing and spiritual philosophy is based on the classic work A Course in Miracles, which is in itself so dense and difficult to understand, that Marianne's interpretation of it in her own books is far easier to understand and apply to real life than the Course itself, I find. The basic premise of the Course, as I understand it, is how the practical application of unconditional love and forgiveness for others as well as for ourselves can help us deal with all sorts of problems in our lives.

So of course while I was in the US recently and saw her newest book (The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife) in the bookstore, I had to buy it. Unfortunately at the beginning I was a little disappointed by it. Simply because it felt to me that she was recycling insights she had already written elsewhere and that there was little new to be found, and it is fluffier than her previous books. Still, Marianne writes beautifully about love, forgiveness and spirituality, and by the end of the book I was happier with it. She applies the principles of the Course to the middle phase of life - 40 and up.

However, if I was recommending one of her books to read to someone who has never read her before it would not be my first choice. Here are three others I personally find better:

  • A Return to Love : Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (1992)
  • Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and Making Miracles (2002)
  • The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (2004)

I actually read these in reverse order, having first discovered Marianne Williamson with The Gift of Change. This is a fabulous book, much denser than her most recent one. My copy has tons of passages underlined. A major theme in the book is the fact that we have a choice in how we respond to things in our life, and by consciously choosing to respond in a certain way, we create our life:

Practive kindness, and you start to become kind. Practice discipline,
and you start to become disciplined. Practice forgiveness, and you
start to become forgiving...We have the power to generate as well as react
to feelings; to hone our personalities as we travel through life...It is
never too late to become who we really are
.

Everyday Grace is a gem of a book, taking some of the core principles of the Course in Miracles and applying them to everyday situations. Another book that I have lots of pencil marks in and one I turn to in difficult moments for inspiration and comfort.

A Return to Love was the first book she wrote, which grew out of her extensive lecturing on the Course in Miracles. It might be better to read this one first before the others as her explanations of the principles of the Course are more fundamental, and the applications of it are more to individual problems and themes, rather than the more universal viewpoint that Marianne later adopts.

And I don't feel that it is necessary to get a copy of The Course in Miracles to benefit from Marianne Willamson's books. I have a copy of it, but to be very honest, it is so dense and difficult to understand that I quickly gave up my attempt to read it (at this point in my life anyhow!) and rely on Marianne and other spiritual philosphers like Dan Joseph (http://www.danjoseph.com/) to point out and clarify the important points to me - in ways that I can apply in my own life.

Incidentally, for those of you who have XM radio (we don't here in Belgium) Marianne has a regular show on Oprah's network. For more information about Marianne Williamson, go to: http://www.marianne.com/

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I love the quote you printed up from Marianne's book. That is so true in life.