An Interview with Marianne Williamson
by Steve Dahl
Marianne Williamson on Tour: How to Love America
Love America so much, you make her people healthy. Love America so much, you educate all our citizens.
After 12 books and with 3.5 million followers online author and speaker Marianne Williamson needs little introduction. She is currently on her “Love America Tour” and traveling across America. The tour is dedicated to articulating “an evolutionary wave of new possibility as principles of higher consciousness are brought to bear on our politics.” She speaks here of her roots and expanding into “conscious citizenship.”
Marianne Williamson has long taught and interpreted the book, A Course in Miracles. The book insists that people have only two emotions, love and fear. It’s opening words book begin, “This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary.” She will be at Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas the evening of June 15. SeasideCenter.org. (More at end).
Steve Dahl: I get the definite feeling that you have some urgency in your Love America Tour. Tell us about that.
Marianne: The urgency I feel about America today is an urgency that I think is shared by any serious person. A Course in Miracles prides itself on being practical. It is not just theoretical. It is a set of principles that we’re to apply to various aspects of our lives whether they be health or relationship or work or anything else. Politics to me is one more set of behavioral considerations. It’s simply considerations that we make collectively and not just individually.
So if the law of cause and effect organizes the universe, which in A Course in Miracles it says that it does, cause and effect is as applicable to our collective causes as it is to our individual causes. Not only does what I think and do create consequences, but what we think and do creates consequences. As A Course in Miracles talks about how the ego mind is vicious at worst and when you really allow yourself to reflect on the power of thought and as A Course in Miracles says all thought creates form on some level, then you realize that the effects we call forth in our lives are no joke.
If you’ve lived long enough and you’ve experienced enough, you’re aware of that. You’re aware you can cause suffering to yourself and others when you choose fear rather than love. When you look at something as significant as the wealthiest most powerful country in the world, which America is, and you consider the consequences that emerge from whether we choose love or we choose fear, I don’t see how anything could be deemed a more important conversation.
SD: So how do we begin the process of change?
MW: I feel that those of us who are students of the internal realms whether that is through religion, psychotherapy, AA, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, whatever our path, we are clued-in as to what changes a life because we know we are clued-in as to the things that really cause a life to change. All that a nation is, is a collection of individuals. So if you have a clue as to what changes one life, you have a clue as to what will change a country and what will change a world. That’s why I feel that those of us who are interested in spiritual principles are the last people who should be sitting out of the great social, political and economic questions of our day. If anything, we should be the biggest grown-ups in the room.
SD: If you look at the polarization we’re dealing with right now, not just politically but the race, gender, prosperity, and poverty issues going, what is the spiritual lesson we’re supposed to be getting?
MW: I think the spiritual lesson relating to everything that you just described is the same spiritual lesson that we have to face in our own individual lives. Where am I manifesting the effects of love and where am I manifesting the effects of fear and most importantly, where am I choosing or failing to choose to proactively express love?
The problem in America today is not that some people hate. The problem is that those who hate, hate with conviction and A Course in Miracles says that miracles are born of conviction. Our problem is not that we do not love but we do not love with enough conviction today and that we’re so lead by fear in the political realm that has expressed a lot of conviction and they have created a lot of force. They have harnessed fear for political purposes.
A Course in Miracles says, “Your problem is not you do not believe in love but that you do not believe in love only.” So I think the message of spirituality as it relates to our collective experience is that we’re going to have to be willing to step outside the bubble of our own personal circumstances. It’s not enough just to choose a more lightened path for ourselves. We have to choose a more enlightened path for our country. We have to choose a more enlightened path for our species. We’re living at the time when no matter what the public issue is; it will make its way to your private door.
SD: What do you mean by that?
MW: A lot of people within a higher-consciousness community have chosen to remain within this very convenient bubble even using an artificial spirituality to justify a lack of political engagement. The truth is that there is no serious spiritual or religious path anywhere that gives anyone a pass on addressing the suffering of other sentient beings.
So if people are suffering as a result of choices made, which they are, not only individual choices but also collective choices, then it is the role of a serious spiritual seeker including students of the Course in Miracles to not look away. To bear witness to the agony that is caused and to make ourselves available as conduits and channels for the love that cast out fear.
SD: So how do I demonstrate that compassionate love? Can I simply see your lovely quote on Facebook and Like it? What is my contribution as a spiritual person?
MW: The point as A Course in Miracles student, the Course in Miracles says, each of us has a highly individualized curriculum. You have your relationships, I have my relationships and those relationships are assignments but we also have collective assignments and that’s what politics is. Politics represent collective assignments, collective relationships, a collective curriculum and that collective curriculum is no more or less significant than our individual curriculum because it’s part of our individual curriculum. Part of my individual curriculum, part of yours is that we are American citizens.
SD: Can you give us an example of that?
MW: So for instance today I was watching television. I was watching the congressional hearings regarding the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director and at the center of that nomination inquiry is a profound moral question regarding torture and the use of torture. For the spiritual seeker to think, “Oh I’m not about that,” is fortunately an attitude that more spiritual seekers realize is quite absurd—because if those who claimed that our lives are centered on love and how to express it, then how can we turn away from such questions as that when they’re being asked by all of us collectively?
SD: I think people struggle with the whole concept of torture, but what do we do to protect ourselves?
MW: Well, the truth there is that there is no evidence that torture helps aid in the interrogation process. There is no evidence that torture is an effective way to gather information, quite to the contrary. What has been shown, understandably is that people who are being tortured will say whatever it is they think that torturer wants them to say in order to stop the torture.
But at the same time we make moral decisions about what we stand for and although on one hand you could argue, well, after 911 some thought that the use of torture might get information that they needed immediately, it is equally as significant in terms of America’s national security for us to recognize what it says to the rest of the world if we do not renounce the use of torture in the form of number one, admitting that ever having done it was a terrible mistake and number two, refusing to make, as the head of central intelligence agency, somebody who was part of those interrogation techniques when they occurred.
These are deep moral questions and the point that I’m trying to make is not where anyone should come down on that question. My main point is that we should all be asking the question. I believe in the power of democracy. I believe that no one has the monopoly on the truth. And I believe in the basic collective conscience of the American people and of all people, the thing to fear is not one view or another. The thing to fear is enough people dropping out of the conversation.
SD: You mentioned watching TV news. About six months ago, I reduced my cable TV subscription down to practically nothing. Got rid of CNN and Fox and I feel like the world has dramatically improved. How can we keep in touch with what’s going on in a world without being overwhelmed by the negativity of the media?
MW: Well, there are a lot of hours in the day and A Course in Miracles says, “Look at the crucifixion, but do not dwell on it.” So if you watch that stuff too much, if you read about it too much, if you make it all day, every day, you do become of it. But if you do not look at it all, you’re not in transcendence, you’re in denial.
SD: But denial can also be used as a good thing, correct?
MW: The miracle worker is in positive denial. The miracle worker is in denial in so far as to say; “I deny the power of fear over me and over us.” So the miracle worker does not look away from the darkness. The miracle worker stands within the darkness. Their mind itself is so filled with light as to cast out the darkness.
SD: Regarding your nationwide tour, you’ve said, “Love America so much, you make her people healthy. Love America so much, you educate all our citizens.” What is your intent with this long list of things that I should be doing with my love?
MW: I enjoy connecting a larger spiritual perspective with political issues and to me the founding of American democracy was important to the history of the world not only because it represented a political step forward, but it represented a spiritual step forward because it stands for the right of the individual to self-actualize. That is the point of our lives, to become the person that God created us to be. To be able to actualize the potential that lies within us and whether the chains that keep us from doing that, the barriers that block us are internal or external. We want to remove those blocks so that the light of the center of who we are might shine forth most fully.
SD: So in life there are all these challenges with our health, career, finances, politics and so forth. People have suggested meditating more.
MW: That’s a good idea, but I often find it challenging to find the time for self-care. How do you suggest finding a balance?
Well, as A Course in Miracles student, we’re taught that five minutes in the morning spent with the Holy Spirit is enough to guarantee that He will be in charge of your thought forms throughout the day. First of all, time itself is part of the illusion so when we meditate, time slows down. The more superficial your thoughts, the more anxious your thoughts are, the faster time goes. The more inner peace we feel the more time settles down around us. We literally create more time. It’s all in our consciousness.
My exercise yesterday was the one in which it says we pray every morning, “Where would you have me go? What would have me do? What would you have me say and to whom?” The principle in the course is that if you were given an assignment to do something, is it reasonable to assume I would give you a job to do and then not provide you with the means of its accomplishment?
SD: When you come to speak at Seaside, what can people expect?
MW: We’re living at a time when within our public domain, our national conversation, is dominated by fear—fear and hatred have been harnessed for political purpose. We need to harness love for political purpose. We need to have a deeper conversation than that which now dominates our politics and that deeper conversation involves our history and then understanding of our history. It understands this—it involves these spiritual and moral implications of democracy and what are not just the rights that democracy gives us, but also the responsibilities that we have as citizens towards it. What it means to repudiate some things that we do not like. What it means to proactively choose some other things that we do like.
It means looking at citizenship and expanding our understanding of what it means for us as individuals so that we can more fully inhabit the space of conscious citizenship. So many of the problems we have today did not come from nowhere. They did not come out of the blue and in many ways the path to where we are now is paved not only by certain things that people did, but by many things that many of us did not do.
SD: So change is in the air?
MW: I think it’s time for a reset. It’s time for a reset politically, but that reset will not happen until first, there’s a reset inside our minds and inside our hearts, and that is the conversation that I believe needs to precede any serious political change.
SD: Well, you’ve had an amazing influence on me, my family and millions of people around the world—keep it up! I look forward to seeing you at Seaside!
MW: Thank you so much.
Tickets for Marianne’s appearance at Seaside CSL on June 15 are available at www.seasidecenter.org. Marianne’s bio is available at https://marianne.com/about/. For more about her events and activities, visit www.marianne.com. There’s more about the Love America Tour at marianne.com and at loveamericatour.com. You can LIVE STREAM Marianne every Tuesday at 7:30pm ET. The streams are available for 72 hours. Marianne has more than 3.5 million followers. Find her at: www.facebook.com/williamsonmarianne, twitter.com/marwilliamson and Instagram: For more about the interviewer, Steve Dahl, see www.WidomCircles.com