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Crossing the Bridge
By Marianne Williamson

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The Spirit of Success

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The Ten Bridges of Transformation

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© 2009 Nightingale-Conant Corporation

Life as we know it is passing away, and something new is emerging to take its place. All of us are playing a part in a larger transformative process, as each of us is being forced to confront whatever it is we do, or even think, that Take the free test that can determine if you will be a success... or a failure. keeps love at bay. For as we block love’s power to change our own lives, we block its power to change the world.

Humanity is moving forward now, though in some ways we are doing so kicking and screaming. Nature seems to be saying to all of us, “Okay, it’s time. No more playing around. Become the person you were meant to be.”

We would like to, but it’s hard. The problems of the world today seem larger than they have ever been before, making it easy to succumb to cynicism, fear, hopelessness, and despair. Until, that is, we remember who we are.

For who we really are is a power bigger than all our problems, both personal and collective. And when we have remembered who we are, our problems — which are literally nothing other than manifestations of our forgetfulness — will disappear.

Well that would be a miracle, you might say. And that is precisely the point. This book is about learning who we are, that we might become agents of miraculous change. As we release the fear-based thoughts we’ve been taught to think by a frightened and frightening world, we see God’s truth revealed: that who we are at our core is love itself. And miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

It is said in Alcoholics Anonymous that every problem comes bearing its own solution. And the gift being borne by our current challenges is the opportunity to make a large leap forward in the actualization of our own potential. The only way the world can make a quantum leap, from conflict and fear to peace and love, is if that same quantum leap occurs within us. Then and only then will we become the men and women capable of solving the problems that plague us. As we leap into the zone of our most authentic selves, we enter a realm of infinite possibility.

Until we enter that zone, we are blocked, for God cannot do for us what He cannot do through us. To say He has the solutions to our problems is to say He has a plan for the changes each of us needs to go through in order to become the people through whom He can bring forth those solutions. The most important factor in determining what will happen in our world is what you decide to let happen within you.

Every circumstance — no matter how painful —  is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being. Our task, for our own sakes and for the sake of the entire world, is to do so. Yet for us to become who we most deeply want to be, we must look at who we are now —  even when what we see doesn’t please us. This moment is driving us to face every issue we’ve ever avoided facing, compelling us to get to some rock-bottom, essential truth about ourselves whether we like what we see there or not.

And until we make that breakthrough in ourselves, there will be no fundamental breakthrough in the world. The world we see reflects the people we’ve become, and if we do not like what we see in the world, we must face what we don’t like within ourselves. Having done so, we will move through our personal darkness to the light that lies beyond. We will embrace the light and extend the light.


And as we change, the world will change with us.

From Fear to Love

We spend so much time on unimportant things —  things with no ultimate meaning —  yet for reasons no one seems to fully understand, such nonessentials stand at the center of our worldly existence. They have no connection to our souls whatsoever, yet they have attached themselves to our material functioning. Like spiritual parasites, they eat away our life force and deny us our joy. The only way to rid ourselves of their pernicious effects is to walk away … not from things that need to get done, but from thoughts that need to die.

Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside our minds, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. We’re in the habit of thinking fearfully, and it takes spiritual discipline to turn that around in a world where love is more suspect than fear.

To achieve a miraculous experience of life, we must embrace a more spiritual perspective. Otherwise, we will die one day without ever having known the real joy of living. That joy emerges from the experience of our true being — when we detach from other people’s projections onto us, when we allow ourselves permission to dream our greatest dreams, when we’re willing to forgive ourselves and others, when we’re willing to remember that we were born with one purpose: to love and be loved.

Anyone who looks at the state of the world today is aware that something radically new is called for —  in who we are as a species and in our relationship to each other and our relationship to the earth itself. Yet the psychological fundamentals that hold this dysfunctional world in place are like sacred cows: We are afraid to touch them, for fear something bad will happen to us if we do. In fact, something bad will happen to us if we do not. It is time to change. It is time to do what we know in our hearts we were born to do.

We are here to participate in a glorious subversion of the world’s dominant fear-based thought forms.

There are only two core emotions: love and fear. And love is to fear as light is to darkness: In the presence of one, the other disappears. As we shift our perceptions from fear to love —  sometimes in cases where it’s not so hard and ultimately in cases where it takes spiritual mastery to do so —  we become miracle workers in the truest sense. For when our minds are surrendered to love, they are surrendered to a higher power. And from that, all miracles follow.


A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. It is a divine intercession from a thought system beyond our own, rearranging our perceptions and thus rearranging our world. The miracle is beyond what the mortal mind can understand.

God’s guidance doesn’t come as a blueprint that the rational mind can follow, but rather as spiritual illumination, creating psychological breakthroughs that our mortal self could never achieve. And as each of us rises to our higher selves, we begin to reach each other at higher levels as well, combining our energies in more creative ways than we might have ever thought possible. Whatever is needed, our love will provide.

We will receive the “gifts of the Holy Spirit,” arising to heightened dimensions of talent and intelligence. We will meet each other in magical ways. We will right the wrongs that had seemed unrightable. We will do these things through the miracles of God. The moment the World Trade Centers fell, the complete solution to the problem that then confronted us was created full-blown within the Mind of God. The solution is a plan involving every human being, to the extent to which we make ourselves available to Him.

Everyone we meet, every situation we find ourselves in, represents a lesson that would teach us how to take our next step forward in the actualization of our selfhood. Everything that happens is part of a mysterious educational process in which we’re subconsciously drawn to the people and situations that constitute our next assignment. With every lesson, we’re challenged to go deeper, become wiser and more loving. And whatever our next step is, the lesson awaits us wherever we are.

His work is the work of our greater becoming, and we don’t have to be somewhere else, or be doing something else, in order to do it. The journey to a better world isn’t along a horizontal road but rather a vertical one; it’s not a trip somewhere else, but only deeper into our hearts. Right in front of you, at this very moment, there are things to do and thoughts to think that would represent a higher “possible you” than the one you are manifesting now. In any given instant, there is more love we could see and more love we could express.

And as we do, we will heal the world.

Doing Our Part

As we change our perceptions, He will change who we are. When we have become who we are supposed to be, we will know what it is we’re supposed to do. And when we have remembered Who is walking with us, we will have the courage to do it.

These are the basic changes that each of us can make, from viewing the world through the eyes of fear to viewing it through the eyes of love. The predominance of fear-based thoughts has poisoned our psyches, creating a toxic meltdown within our minds. We seek in ways both healthy and unhealthy to escape into the sanctuary of a deeper truth. Yet it is not enough to just seek the truth or even to know the truth. We must give ourselves permission now to live the truth as we understand it, with all its myriad implications for our lives.

The miracle worker’s task is this: to consider the possibility there might be another way. There is. And He will show it to us. You might be thinking judgmental thoughts about someone, and in this moment you could take a deep breath and pray for God to help you forgive that person. You might be thinking about something you perceive to be lacking in your life, and you could choose to rethink that, concentrating instead on how much you do have. You might be worried about your ability to perform a job and then remember that God lives within you and there’s nothing He cannot do. In any given moment, the greater life is available.

When we begin to live the greater life —  not “seek” it, so much as simply choose to participate in it —  then and only then do we find that it’s all around us, all the time. God is in our mind. Wherever we go, He’s there.

Sometimes there are issues that we push to the back of a drawer, as it were. We know they belong to us and that we’ll have to deal with them someday. But we keep putting them off and putting them off, and finally something happens to bring one of them to the fore. The universe makes it exceedingly clear: Here, now, we’re going to deal with this one. Whatever part of our personality remains unhealed, it is time to heal it now. It might be a relationship issue, an addiction issue, a financial issue, something with our kids, or whatever. The form of the weakness is not what matters: What matters is that until we deal with it, we are limiting our availability for use in God’s plan.

This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of moment on earth. It’s not okay to be stuck in the smallness of our narcissism when our greatness is so needed. It is time for each of us to face once and for all whatever demons have kept us chained to our neuroses and pain; to stand up for our better selves as a way of standing up for God; and to take our places in God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

This is an exciting time and a critical one. It’s not a time to be a lone ranger. It is a time, despite whatever our pain or heartbreak, to reach deep into ourselves and humbly toward each other. For there we will find God, and in God there is every answer we are looking for, every solution we so desperately seek, and every joy we might have come to think was gone and gone forever. This is the time, and we are the ones.

And why are we not already functioning at a higher level of spiritual mastery? What holds many of us back is not spiritual ignorance but rather spiritual laziness. We know many of the principles of higher consciousness; we’re just too mentally and emotionally undisciplined to apply them universally. We apply forgiveness where it’s easy, faith where it seems to make rational sense, and love where it’s convenient. We’re serious, but not really. … Now contrast that with the advocates of hate.

Do terrorists hate us just some of the time? Do they have a casual commitment to their cause? Do they take less than seriously the goal of full manifestation of their worldview? The only way we will triumph over hate is to become as deeply committed to love as some people are committed to hate, as deeply devoted to expressing our love as some people are devoted to expressing their hate, and as firm in our conviction that love is our mission as some are that hate is theirs.

A lot of us are already spiritual students; the problem is we’re “C” students. And that’s what needs to change.

Living in the Light

Every moment we’ve deviated from our highest —  bringing forth pain for ourselves and others —  is a moment we deviated from love. It was a moment where we simply didn’t know how to remain righteous and still get our needs met. We fall into ancient patterns of ego and fear, for no other reason than that we are subconsciously programmed to do so.

And when all other efforts fail, we are likely, if only in the secret chamber of our heart, to ask God if He would please help us. And He will. He will reprogram us at the deepest levels. And then, through the alchemy of the divine curriculum, we’ll meet the people we’re supposed to meet, in order to go through the situations we need to go through, in order to learn the lessons that will transform us from beings of fear to beings of love. We will be given every opportunity to learn through joy, and when we deny ourselves that, we will learn through pain. But we will learn.

It isn’t easy, giving birth to our spiritual potential. Spiritual labor can be very arduous —  one holy instant at a time when we give it up, surrender, soften, don’t care if we’re right, forego our impatience, detach from the opinions and prizes of the world, and rest in the arms of God. But the end result is the love of our lives. We begin to feel more comfortable within ourselves, less laden by the chronic angst that marks the times in which we live. We begin to feel free at last of past hurts, able to fearlessly love again. We begin to exhibit the maturity and strength that were lacking in our personalities before. A new energy emanates from who we are, and others can see it too.

All of this is very simple, which is not to say it’s easy. The spiritual path is not a matter of growing more metaphysically complicated; it’s a process in which we actually grow simpler and simpler, as we apply certain basic principles to everything we go through. We don’t learn love, which is already etched on our hearts; we do, however, begin to unlearn fear.

And with every change we make from blame to blessing, we pierce the veil of illusion that separates us from the world we want. Not every lesson will feel like fun while it’s happening, and at times we will resist growth fiercely. But as long as we remain open to miracles —  then we will forge ahead into a new realm of being, where love has erased the patterns of fear that have sabotaged us in the past, lifting us to unimaginable heights. Every situation comes bearing a gift: a chance to become who we really want to be and to live the lives we really want to live.

We will inhabit the world we choose to see, and that is why it is so important that we never lose sight of love. As we read about war, let’s not forget the beauty of a sunset. When we think about the state of the world, let’s not forget how many people fell in love today. God never loses His enthusiasm for life, and neither should we.

Beneath the surface of worldly happenings, people continue to smile at each other and mean it, have babies, heal, create art, forgive each other, become more enlightened, laugh, grow wise, and love in spite of it all. In a world that seems split in two between fear and love, our greatest power lies in sharpening our own focus. Some things in the world today are very, very dark; what the world needs now is more people who are working for the light.

Seeing the light and then living in the light, we will ultimately become masters at the power it bestows.

Choosing a New Way

In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Dreamers must encourage each other today, as one of the ways our dreaming is suppressed is by making us think we’re the only ones dreaming. Suggesting anything close to the idea that love might actually be the Answer, we’re swatted down like a fly by our contemporary thought police. We’re told how naïve we are, how silly we’re being, how unsophisticated our analysis of the world situation is. “She’s a nut! She’s New Age! He’s a moonbeam!

Yeah, right. But those who build weapons systems to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year and don’t see a fundamental problem with that are sane? Those who propose building new and better nuclear bombs as the solution to global conflict are sane? Those who play with war as if it’s a little boy’s new set of Legos are sane?

The world has become like something out of Alice in Wonderland: The sane seem insane, and the insane seem sane. The entire world is completely upside down. But the good news is how many people know this; we’ve just been afraid to say it because we thought we were the only ones thinking it.

And we are not. A new commitment to love is rising up from the depths of our humanity, and its power is changing us on fundamental levels. Our mind has been opened to a liberating truth, and we feel this truth like an alchemical substance that bathes our cells and transforms our thinking. Though science couldn’t necessarily register the change, we can feel that we’re not the same. We have devoted our lives to a radical possibility: that love casts out all fear.

Externally, we don’t really change. We still look the same, dress the same, play the game as the world defines it. But something has shifted in the way we see things. We sense another reality beyond the veil. The world we see is not deep enough to sustain us; we know that now, and we stop pretending that it ever will be. We are developing the eyes to see beyond the veil, and with that vision we will invoke a new world.

Every morning as we wake up, we can bless the world. We can pray to be servants today to something holy and true. We can take a deep breath and surrender ourselves to God’s plan for our lives. And when we do, we will experience miracles.

What’s most significant is this: We are depressed if we do not. For working miracles is the calling of our souls. We are literally dying to be born into the next stage of our spiritual development. The world’s fear is old and dying away, and that’s why it’s so angry. Love has scarcely taken its first breath on this earth, and that’s why it’s so tender. But the meek shall inherit the earth for one reason only: Their strength will literally take the place over. Who we were is not as important as we thought, and who we’re becoming is simply out of this world.

A message that will touch your heart!

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- Marianne Williamson

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