spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | General | Marianne Williamson | Grace part 3 | next   

Excerpted from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson. Copyright 2002 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.

"The seeker in us is always seeking more Truth, knowing that the search goes on forever. The mystic in us, on the other hand, is trying to practice what we've learned of it."

  Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace, Part 3

In the words of author Manly P. Hall, mysticism is not a religion, but a "conviction of the heart." I realize now that the journey, which started in my childhood-beginning with books about magic, then moving on to philosophy classes, astrology, tarot, the I Ching, and ultimately more classical theological studies and A Course in Miracles (a self-study psychological training based on universal spiritual themes)-has been a fairly common version of my generation's spiritual journey. I was once someone-and in the 1960s and 1970s, there were many of us-who had moons and stars on the walls of every place I lived and encrusted in the jewelry of every outfit I wore. And we needn't discuss the Maxfield Parrish prints: the color, the light, the hint of another reality . . .

I can see now what I was going for, however crudely, and I have compassion for the young woman I was, always thinking there was "something more." Now that I'm firmly planted in my middle years, I can see that the spiritual path has been the calling of my soul for a very long time, and I am ready to devote the rest of my life to walking it as best I can.

The seeker in us is always seeking more Truth, knowing that the search goes on forever. The mystic in us, on the other hand, is trying to practice what we've learned of it: right here, in this moment, whatever we are doing. The mystic is a spiritual practitioner, seeking not merely to understand the principles of spiritual awareness, but to embody them as best he or she can. We embrace the idea-advanced by both ancient philosophers and modern physicists-that the world is one. Everything connects to everything; therefore, as we change, the world cannot but change with us.

Modern mystics form a kind of spiritual underground in the world today, seeking to transform everything. We are everywhere, as mystics have always been everywhere; we come from every religion, as mystics have always come from every religion; and some of us relate to no religion at all. The mystical realm lies beyond all dogma and beyond the evidence of the physical senses. The mystic has been called to an inner journey, through the darkened entanglements of human existence to the radical love at the heart of God.

I have written this book as a traveling companion for the modern mystic, who goes through his day with the deepest desire to be in the world but not of the world-to be walking with her feet planted firmly on the ground, but thinking with her head soaring powerfully through the sky. To live solidly grounded, but from a spiritual foundation, integrating within ourselves the consciousness of earth and the consciousness of heaven-such is the mystic's longing. And that longing is not for ourselves alone. For as any one of us finds our wings, the entire world is lifted.

The mystical path is not always easy, and my hope is that this book might be a bit of a map through some of its thorniest passages. I do not write as someone who has mastered the way, but as someone who has been walking it, though often clumsily, for several decades of my life. There are bits of information I've discovered on my way, pieces of knowledge and understanding that have made their way to me, as they've made their way to mystic travelers for generations. I have seen darkness, but I have glimpsed a little light as well.

next ->