Saturday, April 3, 2010
Marianne Williamson is one of the many powerful spiritual teachers in this country. She is an accomplished author with 9 published books, four of them -- including A Return to Love - were #1 New York Times Bestsellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure" - is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela's Inaugural address (see below for her full poem).
Marianne also founded The Department of Peace Campaign, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation to establish a U. S. Department of Peace.
I lift Marianne Williamson up this Easter weekend as we move forward into our lives having immersed ourselves in a spirit of rebirth during Easter weekend. I believe that Hope,Forgiveness and Reconciliation are relevant themes that we must pursue.
Marianne Williamson's' words:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others
One of the things that I love about Marianne Williamson is her willingness to step out with a vision regardless to how unorthodox it is.Her letter below to Sarah Palin is such a act - a sister to sister connection. Her ability to go beyond the stereotypes that stop most of us.
You go girl!
Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah
Themes of Love, Rebirth and Reconciliation
Those of us that have devoted our lives to love, healing and liberation I have captured numerous quotes from Marianne Williamson's book, Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles:
quotes Marianne Williamson
... We meet the monsters in order to slay them. The only way to rid ourselves of darkness is by bringing it to light. . . For all darkness in the world stems from darkness in the heart. And it is there that we must do our work. . .as we address the shadow within us, we are addressing the shadow of the world. The mystic does not deny the darkness, in ourselves or in the world, but affirms a light that lies beyond it. And we have faith that light is our true identity. Our task is to remember that. . . We are moving now toward a universal compassion because, if we do not, we will cause our own extinction. . . Only by finding the love within us can we provide the love that will save the world. . . all thought leads to love or to its absence. . . Our task is to harness the energies of love. . .
"One day, after we have mastered the winds and the waves, gravity and the tides, we will harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the second time in human history, mankind will have discovered fire." Teilhard de Chardin, French Philosopher.
. . . In choosing love, we are choosing to be healed from the forces that would hold us back. Love heals the world by healing our minds, for that which is healed on the level of consciousness is healed on the level of ultimate Cause. . . There is a power beyond the mortal mind, which can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. . .
. . . Our greatest power to change our world lies in our power to see beyond the veil. For we will invoke the world we choose to see. This may mean we repudiate the testimony of our physical senses, or even of our logical minds. This repudiation is a positive denial of the so-called realities of a darkened world. As we stand firmly within a point of light - though darkness might be all around us - the darkness begins to dissolve into the nothingness from whence it came. . .
Reading Marianne Williamson's open letter to Sarah Palin provides some glimpses into Marianne Williamson's willingness to extend love and compassion beyond her circles of like minded friends and allies:
An Open Letter To Sarah Palin from Williamson's website (www.marianne.com)
Dear Sarah Palin,
I don't share your politics but I do share your country. I am writing to you now as a fellow American and also as a woman who, like you, puts my spiritual journey above all else.
When your book first came out, I knew I had to read it because I felt judgment in my heart that was not in keeping with my religious convictions. I was tempted to think about you in prejudiced stereotypes, and I know that this doesn't jive with "Love one another" or "Judge not lest ye be judged." So I bought your book.
And I liked it. I admire you as a self-made woman who has achieved a lot in your life, and I can see how some unfair criticisms that have been leveled against you could have hurt terribly. I am sorry for that. As a woman from Texas, I recognized your refusal to "sit down and shut up" as the attitude of a kick-ass woman from a kick-ass state. Although I am pro-choice, I felt your spiritual process regarding coming to acceptance and obedience in relation to giving birth to a Down Syndrome child was both inspiring and profound.
When I read your descriptions of liberals in the book -- not just critical, but simply false -- my jaw did drop a couple of times, like I almost thought you must be joking... you couldn't really think that. But I knew my job in reading the book was to beware my own judgments, so I simply read on and tried to ignore your jibes.
I have defended you since reading the book, particularly when others would make fun of your comments about looking to God's Will to guide you. But something is happening now that is so critical to this country, with such genuinely significant repercussions, that I implore you to hear me -- not just as a fellow American, but as a sister who I know prays to the same God that I do: Words have power. Please modify your words.
In my lifetime, we have lost a President, a Civil Rights leader and a Presidential candidate -- all to gun violence. Another President was shot and survived the ordeal, while his press secretary was paralyzed for life. These are not left-right issues; they are not political correctness issues; they are human issues concerning life and death. I am not suggesting you would pick up a gun and shoot anyone; I am suggesting that there are other people who would, however, and in your position as a leading political figure you are stoking fires -- regardless of your intention -- that are simply too dangerous to be safely stoked.
This is not the stuff of media bias. It is the stuff of history -- in the United States and elsewhere. From Hitler's Germany to the arousal of genocidal fervor in Rwanda, there are more than enough examples of how a group psychosis can emerge within a nation. I beg you to join with me -- even though I am not your political ally -- in praying for blessing and protection on all our politicians and their families, and looking deeply within our own hearts for where violence lurks so we can cast it out.
I am speaking from genuine concern for our country -- a concern no more or less meaningful or legal or freedom-loving than your own. I have a pretty tough edge myself, and I don't mince words when it comes to politics. But no one needs to be "re-loading" now, and our political opponents are not "enemy territory." In a free society, we do not have to agree; in fact, that's the point of freedom. "Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win" is a frightening statement, Sarah. It is not funny; it is threatening. There are some crazy people in this country on both sides of the political aisle, and saying such things could incite them to violence that is very real.
Please join with me in turning to a God of Love and not fear, that our country and our world -- and perhaps most importantly, our own hearts -- might be purified of hate. It is love and love alone that will heal our country and heal our world.
Posted: April 1, 2010
Individuals that identify as Unitarian Universalists (UUs) reflect diverse theologies and ideologies, ranging from Christianity, Humanists, Buddhists, Muslims, Agnostics, Mystics, Atheists, Pagans as well as those Questioning and others with no labels and those who define themselves as Way Farers on the Journey (just to name a few). We gather each Sunday in community as people of vastly different faith expressions in and under the common tradition of Unitarian Universalism to lift up our joys and sorrows, our gifts and needs, to raise our collective voices in prayer, meditation, reflection, and song - not at home or in our yards - but here in commonly shared space and in community. The mighty canopy that holds us and embraces us is UUism and within that tradition are a continuum of beliefs. As a clergy person during the Easter season I seek to lift Easter up in a number of ways to glean the fullness of this powerful story that has survived over 2,000 years. For Christians, clearly it is about a defining moment of salvation where God's son in the person of Jesus took on the ultimate act that cleansed humans of their sins and "washed them white as snow." It is for many a time of redication and renewal in remembrance of the love of the Living God through the sacrifice of His Son. The story of the Cross, the pain and suffering that by all accounts had to have been horrendous. But as we know it does not end at Calvary. For the bonds of death did not hold Jesus. And the story tells us that he arose on the third day. For non Christians and liberals that do not interpret the story literally it is nevertheless a story of significance. It is a story about the painful dying to ones old self and old ways and rebirthing into a newness. It is about breaking the chains of ennui and addictions that can be physical, spiritual, emotional, financial and experiencing a rebirth. That rebirth is symbolized in the resurrection of Jesus.
So whether you believe the account of Jesus' extraordinary life is completely accurate or you believe it is a parable there is much to be derived from this rich story.
May you search your heart and your beliefs for the gems that await you this Easter Weekend. For church and religion, more than any other places and things ought to be a source where we can hear about and then practice what it means to be human - to tell and retell our stories and others; to make meaning of them and our purpose and their larger meanings. Jesus, may be one of those models in your life. Buddha may be one of those models. Muhammad may be one. Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Caesar Chavez, Alice Walker, Gloria E. Anzaldua, Kwok Pui-lan, Mother Teresa, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks . . . (insert some names of your own here). These are individuals that have offered truths for living to us.
Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah
to loving authentic relationships.
"He died for You"
These words are powerfully symbolic and resonate across faith traditions. We know what it evokes for Christians that embrace the crucifixtion. There are many other richly descriptive sources that the reader can access to be reminded of the "Greatest Love Story Ever Told." The story has prevailed over 2,000 years and will be the center point of worship at Christian churches around the world on Easter Sunday, April 4.