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Excerpted from Imagine by Marianne Williamson. Copyright 2001 by Marianne Williamson. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"There is no changing the external world without addressing internal factors."

  Marianne Williamson, Imagine, Part 3

We are living in extraordinary times, when old boundaries are melting, assumptions long sanctified are being fearlessly questioned, and mental boxes that had seemingly been made of steel are crumbling all around us. 

Ask someone in business about their quarterly earnings and they're liable to tell you about emotional factors affecting the workplace. Ask someone about their spiritual awakening, and they're liable to talk about extending their spiritual values into social activism. 

One simple thought now promises to transform Western civilization: At the deepest level, there is no separation between internal and external. All outer phenomena are mere reflections of consciousness, and there is no changing the external world without addressing internal factors. Knowing that our primary spiritual task is to love, the highest work of consciousness is to not only try to find our love but also extend it into the world.

Thus, in addressing the future of America, we have sought in this book to address issues of both personal, internal transformation as well as institutional, external change. At heart, they are not separate. Writing about our legal system, a law professor speaks of injecting love into the heart of it. Writing about religion, a theologian posits the value of a sacred sensibility in the functioning of our secular institutions. 

Our deepest understanding of the world today involves our recognition of the creative, yet often fragile, marriage between the inner and outer realms.

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