It took 4 recommendations for me to give this book a go. At first the title just sounded too heavy. Not to mention pretentious. “Who’s this Walsch guy to come waltzing along claiming he’s got divine revelations for us all?” I said to friends who told me I’d really enjoy reading it.
But finally, my partner and I started sharing an ear plug each (the van, although comfy to sleep in, is far too old for any mod-cons like a stereo system), and listening to the audio book files of Conversations with God on our weekly drives to and from Auckland.
I discovered that it was concise. It was intelligent. It offered simple answers to pretty much every tough God/purpose/Universe related question I’d ever heard.
And whether Mr Walsch did in fact receive all this information directly from a higher-channel or not, he certainly seems to be on the money!
It’s tempting to try and pass on the parts I love about this series of books, but I know I can’t do it justice here. All I can say is – if you want an inspiring, outside-the-box take on spirituality that doesn’t have the barest whiff of religion floating around it, then this is for you. If you want the audiobook files, feel free to email me on: email@example.com, or if you’d prefer a hardcover book, I have a spare copy I’ll post to the first responder.
It only took 7 months, but I’ve finally finished this book. Because I kept doing the old pick-up-put-down trick which inevitably meant I had to re-read the last section I was up to, it took longer, however I definitely absorbed a decent amount! Here’s 5 more things that stood out for me from the last half of A Return to Love …
- There is no ‘Mr Right’ or ‘Mr Wrong’. I really liked two quotes in the book: “…it is not our job to seek for love, but to seek for all the barriers we hold against it coming.” I have had conversations many times with both my girl and guy mates that run along the lines of, “Why doesn’t that perfect person just show up already!” Marianne suggests in the book that there is no one perfect person, simply, “…whoever is in front of us right now, and the perfect lessons to be learned from that person.”
- The purpose of relationships is for both people to be healed. Rather than looking for what you benefit from, or what you ‘get’ from a relationship, the book outlines how really the ultimate goal in romantic and friendship relationships is to help each other heal; to help each person become their best, most whole self. “We recognise, first and foremost, that we’re not in a relationship to focus on how well the other person is learning their lessons, but rather to focus on learning our own.” This aligns with the Biblical principle I was taught from young about not looking at the speck in another’s eye when there’s a log in your own. Great principle to hear, much harder to put into action!
- Make whatever you do your ‘ministry’. Life isn’t about making money, achieving status, or having all the cool toys. It’s about knowing yourself and using that awareness to love others and help them unlock their own awareness. Author Marianne urges readers to think of whatever they do, be it cleaning toilets or running multi-million dollar corporations, as their ‘ministry’. (which has a whole different set of connotations than ‘job’!)
- Our bodies are a blank canvas. We create our own health or sickness through our thoughts – “Disease is loveless thinking materialised”. This might be a tough idea for many to read, but when you dig into studies (the book highlights a few and I’ve read many others), the mind-body connection is incredibly strong. This is an empowering concept, to realise that by changing our thoughts we can impact our state of well-being.
- There is nothing wrong with being ‘too’ happy. Have you ever had something really amazing happen to you, or achieved something awesome, but hesitated from sharing it with others because you were worried they might feel bad or left out? Somewhere in us seems to have developed a mostly un-spoken belief that we can’t be too happy, too successful, too in love, too joyful. It might be too much for people we think. Surely we don’t deserve to have so much when others are missing out. This martyr-like belief that I often find myself listening to is something I’m sure is false, and I was glad that the book delved into that. “It is not only our right, but in a way, our responsibility to be happy … we are happy to the extent that we choose to notice and create the reasons for happiness. Optimism and happiness are the results of spiritual work.”
It turned out to be a really good book, and a great spring-board into my current reading project – ‘Conversations with God’, which I’ll report on in another post.
I stand in a waiting room, eyeing my watch more often than I’d like.
Someone much younger and smaller than me is also getting impatient. The receptionist says to her, ‘Now, can I maybe give you a chocolate biscuit?’ She smiles, eager to accept. Her mother looks down and cautions, ‘Ask the lady if you can help her with anything Naomi – remember, nothing comes for free.’
I understand her sentiment – encourage effort in exchange for reward.
But does a three year old, who two seconds ago told me her toy puppy doesn’t have a name yet because he’s invisible, really need to have this ‘payment’ mentality drilled into her?
There are things that do, and should, come for free.
Things like smiles.
If we have to work for everything, earn everything, put blood, sweat and tears into it – how will we ever know how to just accept? Or give without expectations?
Why can’t we just take the chocolate biscuit gratefully … because life sent it to us today.
Someone I know speaks of frustration with a strategy project. ‘They want me to present conclusions each week – I have no conclusions. I’m still learning the industry, studying trends, analysing reports. Until I’ve finished gathering data, I don’t have conclusions, I only have questions.’
I understand this frustration.
It’s the same feeling you’d have if someone came along when you’re 1 hour into a movie like Cloud Atlas or Inception, and asked you to tell them what the plot of the movie is, what deeper meaning is behind it, and explain the character’s motives in depth.
You don’t know.
Any answer you give is a guess at best, a half-framed hypothesis, a shot in the dark based on a patchwork understanding of the evidence so far.
This is exactly how I feel when someone asks me what I’ve decided after studying different faiths. What my conclusion on God/creation/Heaven/spirituality/the point of existence is.
I’m still gathering data. And I feel that even a lifetime of this won’t be enough.
When I started delving into ‘A Return to Love’ by Marianne Williamson, initially I thought it was all a bit fluffy. Too love-is-all-we-need, pink hearts and group hugs. But now that I’m half-way through, I’m appreciating Williamson’s way of tackling tough topics and loving them into place.
It’s funny how we seem to expect complex answers for big problems. Like somehow a simple answer isn’t adequate. (‘it can’t be that easy, surely?’)
So far, it seems that everything does become a little simpler when you apply the love principle to it. And who ever said simple was bad?
I’d like to share 5 things that have captured my interest from the book so far:
It’s not a word that we hear a lot in everyday conversation.
Religions around the world do seem to have this common thread though – the idea that if we follow the rules / be a good person / do what aligns with God’s will / develop our souls enough … then we’ll be rewarded by eternal bliss. A heavenly nirvana where all is happy and good and the pain and toil of life on earth long-forgotten.
I’ve been thinking about this, and wonder if we’ve got it all a bit backwards.
Walking into Mt Albert Spiritual Church I feel like two worlds are colliding. The elderly gent handing me a hymnal, old-school padded chairs and pulpit style front look like they hail from the Presbyterian or Anglican churches back home. In contrast, our speaker for the evening is a Clairvoyant.
I sit there amused by this funny mix, and read the ‘Seven Principles’ inscribed in cursive font on a plaque –
- The Fatherhood of God
- The Brotherhood of Man
- Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels
- The continuous existence of the Human Soul
- Personal Responsibility
- Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all the good and evil deeds done on earth
- Eternal Progress open to every Human Soul
I had originally chosen to investigate Islam this year, but that has been placed on hold til April when my Islamic-insider becomes available. In the interim, I’ve decided to take a look into the mysterious, (and somewhat taboo!) world of spiritualism / New Age philosophy.
To get why this has always been a closed-off mind area for me you’d have to understand more about my background of growing up in a devoted Christian family.
We didn’t do tarot readings at home. Crystals were seen as something a bit spooky. People who read horoscopes were weird. Fortune-telling, astral travel, rocks with powers, spirit-guides … all that stuff came bundled up in the demonic lucky-dip – you didn’t know what demon you’d end up with if you reached your hand in!
So I guess I’ve always viewed spiritualism with a healthy dose of cynicism and even – yes, that awful little four-letter word – fear.
Which seemed like a great reason to take up my spiritualist friend’s offer to have my cards read! She’d been telling me little bits and pieces about her beliefs for quite awhile, and my curiosity was piqued.
A friend told me once that he has a knack for seeing the disfunction in things – what’s not working, what’s falling down, where there’s room for improvement.
We all do it, don’t we? Judging, assessing, putting little x’s on our perfection-checklist.
Especially when it comes to religion. You don’t need to have many convos before you realise that people have a LOT of issues with the systems around faith –many won’t even give it a second look because of some glitch they’ve previously encountered.
I don’t always fix things that break.
If it seems too complicated, too expensive, or too much hassle to fix at the time, I’ll just find a work-around. And once I’ve found it – the way to open the door by wiggling the lock just right, how I can cover the hole in my favorite piece of clothing so no-one would even notice, the button to click so the program I’m running forgets its error message and lets me get on with what I’m trying to do, the trick of accessing phone contacts a roundabout way because it loads faster, or how turning a gadget on and off again seems to get another day out of it … I’ll get used to it. My imperfect, complicated way of doing things will replace the need to repair whatever is broken.