I first discovered this book 2 ½ years ago. I specifically say discovered, for it's like unearthing a treasure. I can't begin to express the impact this book made upon my life & continues to do so. Williamson explains in vivid detail how thoughts & perception can literally alter your life. Happiness isn't something we're innately in contact with, it requires cultivation, something we actively choose every moment of everyday. Anguish & suffering is a part of the human condition, but it doesn't have to consume your life. Oftentimes modern society is so consumed with success, competition, and acquiring material things, we forget the concept of joy is also a part of the human condition. We have a right to anticipate it, but it doesn't just saunter up & plop in your lap. It's labor intensive. I found concrete steps on how to redirect my energies & thoughts, and eventually my reality. What value does life hold if we can not love, permit ourselves to be loved, & be joyful? This book is the ultimate "how to" improve your consciousness book. I refer to it every time I feel a bit blue. It's really my blueprint of reaffirming or correcting my thought patterns. I've highlighted points crucial for my life & refer when necessary. Most importantly it works without fail. That is indeed the true litmus test. I also strongly recommend Williamson's various cassette lecture series. If you're weary because of some negative things you may have read about Williamson I urge the reader to disregard them. Truthfully I don't care if she has some inconsistencies in her life, don't all humans? You're not moving into her home, you just want to benefit from some profoundly wise & inspiration advice. The basic truth is, the principles she details quite simply work. I am forever grateful to her & have purchased this book for my friends. If you desire to live & not just exist, this is a great gift for yourself & loved ones. Enjoy.
In its own way, "A Return to Love" is a seminal piece of writing, more for its message than its poetry. I turn to Marianne Williamson's when I need a little pick-me-up; I have found she is one of the few "religious" voices I can handle these days. This book is based on her interpretation of "A Course in Mircacles," a kind of New Age bible. I have never attempted to read that tome, so this book acts as a kind of cliff notes version for a mainstream audience. Its basic message is the following: when we are born, we are programmed perfectly to focus on love, but as we grow older we are taught a bad philosophy of fear. The key is to reconnect with our essential, loving selves by asking God to erase the fearful thoughts that block our essential selves. This process--letting go of fear and anger-- is a miracle.
The logical side of me says that the central supposition of this book is false; in fact, children are born with both love and fear --on a primal level, anger in a baby (crying) is an expression that needs aren't being met, and that anger is an essential part of an infant's survival. In a sense, anger is a form of communication, and is something people are born with.
And, yet, this book distills spiritual principles in a language that is more accessible to a general audience than traditional religion. It has the power to reconnect people to a basic type of spirituality that is lacking in a lot of mainstream life. It also contains a lot of advice about relationships that is greatly helpful, and is a fun read. I found that reading it lead me to a greater curiousity about religion and spirituality; it is a gateway.