Lisa Garr's Gaiam Inspirations interview with spiritual activist, teacher and author Marianne Williamson comes at a time of year when reflection and soul searching arise naturally in the long, dark nights of winter. Garr's lively questions on Williamson's latest book, The Law of Divine Compensation, coupled with Williamson's unvarnished responses, provides plenty of illumination. This inspiring interview deftly shows how the practical -- work and money -- is determined by mystical, universal laws that can be applied to all realms of experience.
In the interview, Williamson focuses on what defines meaningful work and how our jobs can be an extension of our spirituality. When we choose to connect to love rather than fear, Williamson says, we walk "a path to material abundance through immaterial means." Again and again, she speaks about the universe as self-correcting and self-organizing, designed to remove lack as soon as it arises. As she teaches what she needs to learn in that book, and ruefully admits some of her own money missteps, the sense of endless possibility to reshape our lives unfolds. I love her imagery as a universe acting as our personal GPS, constantly recalibrating as it shows us the way "home."
Williamson's strength is the way she boils down complex dogmas into simple truths. At one point, she says, "You think you have many problems, but really you have only one: separation from God." Here are three of my favorite Williamson strategies for aligning with the sacred.
Williamson counsels vigilance in the sense of having the honesty to see yourself as you really are. Can you notice if you are identifying with spirit or with scarcity? "Every thought we think either invites -- or blocks -- a miracle," she says.
Observe a secular Sabbath, Williamson suggests, to unplug from the distractions of media and to nourish the sacred substance of our relationships. Williamson herself meditates daily -- she likens it to a power wash for the mind. As she discusses in the interview, a meditation practice helps you feel grounded and clear. It's also a way of reaffirming that you are not of the material plane, which, paradoxically, gives you more power in that plane, says Williamson.
Here's one of Williamson's most beautiful quotes: "Give the old story up, so the universe can write a new one." In order to be receptive, we have to let go of the stories we tell ourselves that keep pushing us back into the past. The new enters emptiness, not clutter. Even the way Williamson describes liberation is rooted in receptivity. "Liberation is not a bursting out but a melting in," she says.
As she lays it out, work and money are not separate from our spiritual life but part and parcel of it. Rather than thinking you have to go out and find a job, start the job search within. "A calling is something that organically unfolds -- you give birth to it," she says. "If we see our work as an act of love, it becomes a ministry." If you use the principle of moving toward love as your lodestar -- no matter the question -- the universe, Williamson assures, will respond quickly.
Elizabeth Marglin is a freelance writer for GaiamTV.com. She writes on everything from acupuncture to temper tantrums. Marglin is the co-author of The Mother's Wisdom Deck and co-writes the blog Mothering with Soul.
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