I recently participated in a four-week online course with Marianne Williamson called "Divine Alignment of Body & Soul: Body Issues and the Spiritual Journey." I joined the course to have another level of breakthrough with my weight and knew that Marianne would pack a really good spiritual punch into a month-long journey. She did not disappoint.
I had read A Course in Weight Loss and loved it, lost all my excess weight and kept it off until I had some health issues that knocked me off my game and apparently incurred some memory loss with respect to everything I had learned. So, I needed a refresher. She used this groundbreaking book, her bestseller Return to Love, as well as, of course, the book that all her teachings are based upon, A Course in Miracles, as the foundation for the course.
During the final session Marianne coached a participant whose challenges are much greater than my own. I have an able body and enjoy working out every day. This woman is dealing with some serious health challenges, is in a wheelchair and can barely exercise.
It would be warranted for the spirit of this woman to be very dark and heavy, and yet all I could hear was the very bright light in her voice. Her spirit didn't sound like it was bound by a wheelchair. I would never have guessed had she not told her story. The juxtaposition of the tenure of her voice and her story made me realize that underneath all our circumstances we are all vibrant spirits. Our pain and struggles are just masking our perfection and dimming our light.
I then realized how lucky this woman was -- and then how lucky I am as well -- that we do have our issues. Were there no suffering, we wouldn't be drawn into this breathtaking and breath-affirming conversation that is drawing us closer to our highest, lightest selves. All of our issues -- no matter how big or small -- are all leading to the same place.
In that moment, I felt wonderfully unequivocally equal to everyone on the call, and even to everyone suffering on the planet. Our spirits are all drawn back to our purest states, to our most vibrant selves. At all our various levels of struggle, frustration or challenge, we are all just marching closer and closer to that lightest self. Sometimes we trip and fall hard. Sometimes we create issues so that we can avoid, or shield ourselves from, the light. Yet, we march on.
Life's challenges are just God beckoning us to veer toward him on our journey: "Come closer to me..." The challenges are simply invitations from God.
Marianne consistently reminded us throughout the course of the tenet that runs through A Course in Miracles" that there really is only ever one problem: our belief that we are separated from God.
We think we have many different problems with many different sources, manifesting various levels of pain and suffering. Yet there is only ever one issue: that we believe we are separate from our light, our divinity.
So we have a choice: keep working on this one itsy bitsy teeny weeny single problem or continue to suffer in the myriad creative ways we have set up for ourselves. Of course I know it's not an itsy bitsy issue. But, how great is it that it truly is the one common river that runs through all of our problems. If we work on our connection to the divine, we can heal it all.
I take comfort in my new awareness of this invitation. I don't have to curse my weight issues. They are leading me closer to my divinity.
One of the most breathtaking moments of this course was a moment when Marianne said slowly, clearly and firmly: "God is in you. GOD. IS. IN. YOU." There is nowhere to go, nothing to fill up, nothing to seek, there is only going inside.
The very cool thing is that this invitation doesn't expire. It's a never-ending, always-open-for-business request for us to go inside and understand there is no separation, and, indeed, there is no need to suffer.
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