Excerpt from "Giving Thanks & Happiness" with Marianne Williamson
In this transcribed excerpt from a lecture given by Marianne Williamson during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season, Williamson talks about how focusing on the "happy, happy, happy" can generate the exact opposite. Williamson talks to us about how we tend to live in this all the time -- and how to shift focus. "Giving Thanks & Happiness" was recorded live in Los Angeles as part of Williamson's weekly lecture series.
I want to talk to you tonight interestingly enough about Thanksgiving. When even though you know intellectually that there is a lot to be thankful for, you’re not feeling it, which is another way of saying that I want to talk tonight about unhappiness, particularly as we approach this season. American focus on happy, happy, happy. We must be happy because it’s the holiday season. And even though we are supposed to be happy and we are supposed to be thankful, counter-intuitively, what that kind of emphasis does in the culture is that it actually makes even more painfully true the fact that there are many things about our lives about which we don’t necessarily feel so happy.And particularly now, with the economic stresses of the time in which we live.
We have been through a lot this year. I think here in the United States we did have this incredible high of the Obama campaign, and now, you know, life has set in and political realities have set in and it does seem on certain levels, anyway, that the whole political dialogue, we are back to same ‘ol, same ‘ol and the economy is what it is. And even that it doesn’t so much feel like a recession as almost like a new reality perhaps. So there are a lot of things that a lot of people are going through, and once again it is like love brings up everything unlike itself. This concentration on happy, happy, happy actually makes us even more aware of the places that we are not.
You know, spiritual mastery does not mean that you come to a point where you have no sadness in your life. Even the happiest life -- until we are at that point of total enlightenment, even happy lives have sad days. And that’s okay. You know, the Course in Miracles says, “Look at the crucifixion but do not dwell on it.” When those situations occur in our lives where the ego has prevailed, your ego, somebody else’s ego, the two egos together -- when one or two people at least have gone off track from the higher angels of their nature, creating the karmic dramas that so often we live through… We don’t want to move into denial of the feelings that this brings up in us because just going into denial of those feelings is just pushing them down, and in that process of pushing them down, we often find ourselves doing so in some rather dysfunctional ways. Addictive ways -- that’s what over-consumption is. You know, that’s what Thanksgiving and Christmas are -- they are orgies of consumption. You know, it’s like Thanksgiving is when we consume too much food and Christmas is when there is this overemphasis on material consumption. But it’s all that same thing -- taking it in, taking it in, taking it in.