Douglas Gillies
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an interview with

Marianne Williamson

author of

A Return to Love and Woman's Worth

Marianne Williamson was interviewed by Douglas Gillies at "The La Casa Invitational," an invitational conference hosted by Jean Houston and produced by East Beach Productions for La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara, CA.

Marianne Williamson's books and lectures inspire hope in millions Douglas Gillies: How can we inspire hope?

Marianne Williamson: There is more of it than we’re acknowledging and I think we should acknowledge it because words are important. If you look at the bestseller list, if you look at many social indicators—people speaking hope, products which speak hope, messages of hope—they are extremely popular throughout America. We’re living in a time where we must take a step forward knowing that the movement begins in the heart and the mind. There’s something very positive about forming relationships and sharing information, hope, and inspiration with people of like mind so that the road doesn’t seem so lonely. Feeling that you’re the only one walking a road can lead to despair—why am I doing this anyway? Nobody else is doing this—and that’s just not the truth. The truth is that millions of people are thinking this way, millions of people are doing the work in their own individual lives in an effort to transform the center of gravity from an external orientation back to an internal soul depth of experience.

Douglas Gillies: Do you see that on the streets or just among the fortunate few friends that you find along the way?

Marianne Williamson: I walk the streets filled with those people. Somebody came to the gate of a town and said to the gatekeeper, “What is this town filled with?” The gatekeeper said, “Well, what is the town like that you just came from?” The traveler said, “Oh, I just came from a horrible town. People were murderers, people were violent, people were terrible to each other.” And the gatekeeper says, “Well that’s what this town is full of too.”

They continued down the road and somebody else came up to the gatekeeper and said, “Can you tell me what that town is like?” He said, “Well what’s the town like that you came from?” He said, “Oh the town I come from is full of wonderful people. Everyone was so kind to each other and so forgiving and so merciful and helped each other and served each other.” And the gatekeeper said, “That’s just like this town.”

So, I think you find what you look for and you have to take responsibility for that. There are so many insidious ways to be tempted into saying, “the world just doesn’t get it”. The world you inhabit gets whatever you get.

Douglas Gillies: So we’re creating reality, we’re literally creating the world that we live in.

Marianne Williamson: Newtonian physics is over. You don’t act on the world to change the world. You realize the world is a projection of your inner self. If you change, the world changes.

Douglas Gillies: How does that work for you personally? Is it a smooth road or do you have your ups and downs?

Marianne Williamson: I find being a mother harder than I though it was going to be. That is a tremendous revelation for me personally and it changes my sense of what we most need to understand. Much more time, more care, more attention and more effort needs to be spent on care for the children. That will save the world at large.

Douglas Gillies: And you walk your talk. You really do spend time with your child.

Marianne Williamson: I try to walk my talk. I am trying my best. I’ll talk as much about the days that I stumbled and fell as the days when I succeeded. It dishonors the past to pretend that it’s easy for yourself or others. There are two kinds of teaching. Well there are probably about fifty million kinds of teaching - but two main categories that interest me. One is the perfect master, which certainly has its place and the great religious entities are like that. But there’s another kind of teaching. The Course in Miracles talks about how the teacher is half a step ahead. Not where we’re perfect, but there’s one area of life where we might have been at it a little bit longer, thought about it a little more deeply and so we have something to offer to a person who is just half a step behind us and will soon catch up as we all move faster.

Douglas Gillies: How do you pick yourself up?

Marianne Williamson: God picks you up. You don’t pick yourself up. You’re the one who knocked you down or even if somebody else knocked you down, your willingness to believe that what they said had value, was your conspiring with them, with their effort to knock you down - I’ve never been able to get myself up and I’ve noticed that every time I ask God to pick me up - he does.

Douglas Gillies: What’s your discipline and how do you keep writing?

Marianne Williamson: Those were two very distinctly separate questions to me. My discipline is meditation and prayer. I try to discipline myself to practice what we all preach. In terms of my writing, some professional writers write everyday no matter what and perhaps that’s the way it should be done, but it’s not the way I do it. If I’m not pregnant with words and I’m not in labor with them, I don’t even try to bring them forth because they won’t be any good anyway. Once I’m ready to deliver, it’s like being pregnant. I’ve got to find a typewriter or a piece of paper. The only words that have ever had any possible value to others seem to have been those words that just had to come out.

Douglas Gillies: This morning people were telling each other their story. Did you find out anything that you didn’t know?

Marianne Williamson: Oh yes. Marion Woodman was in my group. She is a kind of idol of mine. So in her speaking, as in her writing, every word was like an Ahah! for me. And Robert Muller said I don’t think we’re a generation of seekers anymore. We’re a generation of pilgrims. By that I mean that if we had a group like this twenty years ago we’d all be seeking the path. We’ve all been through higher conciseness 101-A now, so we all know what the path is. We’re not seeking the path. We are pilgrims, which means we’re dealing with our daily resistances to walking the path. I don’t think that we come to weekends like this to learn things we didn’t already know. We come to access more deeply the things which we all already know. So when ask if I learned anything, I would say I had things I already knew more deeply illumined.

Douglas Gillies: How do you access your learning? What’s the dominant way that you pick up information?

Marianne Williamson: I think I pick up information every way that I can possibly receive it and I try to be alert to the understanding that God has many mansions. I might pick it from a taxi driver. I might pick it up by something my yoga teacher says. I might pick it up by the stretch itself. I might pick it up by watching myself succeed. I might pick it up by watching myself fail. Is there any moment that doesn’t have something to teach us? Once you know that there’s something to learn in every moment, the issue is not where the information is coming from, the issue is how alert are you? How big is your listening? The issue is not is the universe not show you everything, the issue is are there scales in front of your eyes, the issue is, is the cotton out of your ears. So once you know that every moment and every person and every situation has something to teach you, you’re a student all day. You know it’s the depth of your observation that is the issue—not how much the world has to show you.

Douglas Gillies: So many people have trouble listening because their own mind is filling them with thoughts.

Marianne Williamson: That’s why we meditate, that’s why we pray. That to me is the primary conversation for this moment because hysterical thinkers won’t bring peace to the world. You know you can be a Ph.D., you can have two PhD’s in Sanskrit and Comparative Religion, but if you yourself haven’t achieved some modicum of a quiet mind, you’re not a transformer because you’re not transformed.

Douglas Gillies: Does it matter to you where you are?

Marianne Williamson: Physically? Geographically? I’m very clear that there is a revolution which is occurring with ourselves, therefore a revolution which is occurring everywhere on the Earth and I see it whether I’m in Cairo or Santa Barbara. I believe that the spirit of God enters into the details and if we ask for guidance we will be led to the places where we can learn most fully because we can be most joyful. If I’m in a place that’s lonely, I think God has one or two things to say. Extend your hand in service so that you might meet people or go somewhere else - or both.

Douglas Gillies: Speaking of service, how has Jean Houston influenced your life?

Marianne Williamson: Jean Houston influences my life profoundly. Like Marion Woodman, I hang on to every word she writes. Every word she says, I tend to hang on. When I endorsed one of her books once, I wrote that her mind is a national treasure. I feel like I’m a student and she’s wise enough and big enough to know that there are those who are her students. I’m lucky to know her.

Douglas Gillies: She writes that she considers herself to be a healer. Do you see yourself the same way?

Marianne Williamson: First of all, in the tradition from which I speak, the healer doesn’t refer to him or herself as a healer; the teacher doesn’t refer him or herself as a teacher. In the moment when you would refer to yourself as that, you’ve exited the realm itself. But in the context of your question, yes. I’m new in the room and nothing compared to how I’ll be when I’ve been doing it as many years as the Jeans and the Marions.

Douglas Gillies: Who are you in the Grail story?

Marianne Williamson: First you have to unmask yourself and I’m deeply involved in trying to unmask myself. Abundance—I receive abundance in some areas and in others I am working on my ability to receive it. Manifesting your skills—I am deeply involved in the effort and teaching others, very deeply involved, and I’m a good intermediate student at this stuff.

Douglas Gillies: At this conference we are asking the question, “What is the Grail of a new story?” What do you see as the elements of the new story?

Marianne Williamson: Jean said last night, “We have all been trained to be white males in 1926.” I thought that was a great line because that means all of us, men and women, we’ve been trained to be something we’re not or at best trained to be a portion of who we are. So the story to me has to do with the unmasking, taking off the masks of the 1926 white male and the pain that can accompany the process, feeling naked and alone because being authentic does make you feel naked and alone in a masked society. I believe this is a critical moment and I believe that it’s an awesome window of opportunity. I believe the planet is being flooded with the wisdom and insight of the ages. This is not just a mystery school that happens once a decade on a remote island - it’s happening in people’s living rooms.

So the story to me is the incarnation of true democracy, a power that comes to the individual not because it is handed to us politically, but by allowing it to rise up from deep within us through the grace of God. To cast out and cast beyond. It’s like something rises up and says society has told me I’m this big, but that which rises up within me says no. So I push and I push and I will not be this small, I will be this big. When I try to be this big and you trivialize me for making the effort and the status quo invalidates me for making the effort and marginalizes the effort itself, I will not be tricked by that and I will find other people who are making the same efforts so that when they get invalidated I’ll support them and when I get invalidated they’ll support me and we will feel all these hands reaching across and realize we’re the majority.

I believe hope is in the majority of human hearts. I believe beneficence is the majority of human hearts. I believe the impulse to grow past the constrictions and the boundaries of the desperate past is in the majority of human hearts. But we need to speak the word so that other people around us will say Ahhh. A hero is someone who stands in the community and speaks their hopes and speaks their passion. That’s almost an act of heroism today because higher consciousness is so trivialized. It’s really interesting to see the insidious game by which you will now shut-up because when you say these things we will laugh at you. And you keep trying to say them and it so easy to appear foolish because we don’t quite have the language yet, so it’s so easy to trip up, but that’s the story. It’s that impulse rising and the consciousness.

I’ve been at this work since the early 80’s so I’ve seen a shift. The listening is getting more sophisticated and the speaking is getting more sophisticated and something is maturing within us. It began as this baby saying “I think there’s something else here, could I please say it?” That is becoming is becoming more sophisticated. We’re not asking for permission to speak anymore. The ears have been opened.

Douglas Gillies: So one of the elements of the new story is speaking the truth.

Marianne Williamson: In stereo. You’re saying it over here and you come to know through conferences like this that I’m seeking my truth but it’s not just that I’m seeking my truth, it’s that somebody else I know is speaking it while I’m speaking in Seattle, somebody else is speaking in Delaware, somebody else is speaking it in Bali, somebody else is speaking it Crete, somebody else is speaking in the pyramids. It’s stereophonic. If I speak my note, I don’t have to speak every note. If I speak my note somebody else is speaking the third and in the overtones there’s harmony. It’s the heavenly choir. Once you’ve heard that you can play your part with joy and with faith and without fear.

Douglas Gillies: When I interviewed Houston Smith, he posed an interesting question. “What is the dominant issue of our time?” How would you answer that question?

Marianne Williamson: I think we must create a new politics. We must create a soul-filled politic. In the last couple of decades, after the Sixties, so many of our hopes were smashed that people interested in higher modes of service said no to politics. You’d have to be crazy to even try. Look what happened to people in the 60’s.

At the end of the 19th century, Theodore Roosevelt said the great minds in America must go back into politics. I think that that’s what will be next, subtle body politics. However, it won’t be the old politics because new wine needs new bottles. We know there’s no real social revolution until we apply ourselves. If you look at the etymology of the word politics, it doesn’t mean of the government, it means of the citizen. So if we are truly interested in empowerment and the possible human we recognize that that force field, what is in that sense the political, is very important and it’s very important in America particularly because some very constricted thought forms have entered into that realm and I don’t think that people interested in higher consciousness can in good conscience remain silent much longer.

Douglas Gillies: One more visit to the new story. Let’s say that we find the way to free ourselves - what will that look like?

Marianne Williamson: I don’t think question for me it is so much what will it look like as what will it feel like. Pure love and joy and peace. I always say that you’ve been to heaven on Earth either in your mother’s arms or someone elses. I think that’s why we’re so haunted by the memory. It could look like anything. The point is not what it look like, you can have two people embracing each other, but inside there’s not true communion. You can see a picture of two people when you’re looking across a room and you wouldn’t think that they’re touching - but they’re touching. So the real issue is what does it look like with another set of eyes? And it would look like two souls embracing.

The real new story is the new Jerusalem. Heaven on Earth. It’s where we’ve all merged again into the oneness which is the ocean of the one self we share and how that feels is what it feels like anytime we feel that the walls that separate us from others have melted and we’ve become one with someone. We will enter two by two, to re-pair the world, just as the animals entered Noah’s Ark, two by two. I forgive you, I join with you. We find oneness between us, that’s one link in the circle of atonement. Ultimately everybody will be in love with everybody and then I think history as we know it can end. But there’s a lot of work to be done.

Douglas Gillies: Have you had glimpses of that?

Marianne Williamson: Oh yes, I’ve had my glimpses. Everybody I know has had glimpses. What we want to do is make it the rule rather than the exception. Right now we have moments of love and we think, “What would it be like to have years of love, decades of love, thousands of years of love?”

Douglas Gillies: I think we should do that, don’t you?

Marianne Williamson: Oh, I think we definitely should. Theoretically, it’s already accomplished. We’re just remembering.

Interview with Marianne Williamson © Concensus Designs, Inc. For permission to reprint portions of this interview, please contact East Beach® Productions.

© 2019 Douglas Gillies. | All Rights Reserved