In summer of 2011, Marianne Williamson held a popular weekend workshop in Los Angeles on "A Return to Love" -- a weekend about miracles -- shifts in thinking from fear to love -- deeply impact how we live and feel. In this transcribed excerpt from the workshop, Williamson talks about how she came across A Course in Miracles, and the essence of what it's all about.
The reason reading Volume 1 and Volume 2 simultaneously was great for me personally was because the theoretical foundation of Volume 1 was explaining to me what I was doing in Volume 2. Because what Volume 2 does, the Course (in Miracles) says, is it trains the mind to think along the lines that the text sets forth. So the text is this marvelous philosophy about how we should live but Volume 2, the workbook, is actually a training of our mental musculature, as it were, because our process here has to do with taking the abstract intellectual understanding of Volume 1 and making that, what the Course in Miracles calls “journey without distance from here to here”. It’s one thing to know that I should be forgiving. It is another thing to be able to forgive.
The practical goal in the Course in Miracles, as I already said, is the attainment of inner peace and the way we attain inner peace, according to the Course in Miracles, is through the process of forgiveness. So you could say that the Course in Miracles is a rather radical study and practice of forgiveness.
Now in the introduction to Volume 1… I saw the book on somebody’s coffee table back in the 1970s in New York City. I picked it up, I looked at the introduction, and I found the introduction very compelling. I think I had already noticed that there is no author mentioned on the cover or in the beginning of the book. This is a Course in Miracles. It is a required course. That right there. What book says of itself that it is a required course?
Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. The Course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim however at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way: Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.