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Excerpt from Marianne Williamson's Lecture "The Altar Within"

Marianne Williamson Cover The Altar WithinIn this transcribed excerpt from her lecture recorded live in Los Angeles this past June titled "The Altar Within", Williamson stresses the importance of looking at our own ways of thinking and being in any given situation, particularly the uncomfortable ones and the ones we'd like to change.

Now normally when we think in terms of asking God to guide our lives, we would most usually think in terms of “guide my acts”. But remember, knowing that in asking God to change our lives, what we are asking is for a shift in our thinking because our acts emerge from our thoughts. So we’re not just asking God to guide our steps, our footsteps; we are asking God to guide our thoughts, because until we look at the world differently, our experience of the world will not change. I know I have seen in my life and the lives of those around me where we want a radically new life but aren’t yet necessarily willing or ready to think in radical new ways, and that is what the Course in Miracles is about. It’s about a radical shift in the way we see the world.

Sometimes, you know, there’s a part in the Course in Miracles where it says, “My way is not difficult but it is different.” Well, on a certain level, it’s not difficult but sometimes it can still feel very difficult because what is difficult is getting over our resistance to making those changes. And what I want to talk about specifically tonight is the emotional responses to which… sometimes it is as though we are addicted, and whereas it might be one thing and easy enough to say, “Dear God, guide my thoughts today”, sometimes when a situation, for instance, makes us angry, well, it might be easy to say “guide my thoughts” at the moment when I am most absolutely sure that the person in front of me is the biggest son of a bitch I ever met, then it can be very difficult indeed to just simply shift my thoughts.
Now we’re living in a time of what feels like some pretty instant karma. I don’t know if you have noticed. I want to tell you about something that happened in my life the other day. Many years ago, I had gotten some criticism that was very unkind. It was that I am just the biggest, you know, really not a nice person. And usually what happens is that, well, sometimes it will not shock you to know that when it comes to the press, the media, and the internet, sometimes they are just outright lies. But other times there is some kernel of truth, some something that then somebody made into whatever. I have mentioned myself that when people come to me and say, “Oh Marianne, this issue, you know, it’s 90% the other person’s.” And I’ll say, “Well then, our job is to look at the 10% that’s yours.” And that’s been true of myself as well. So when some of these awful things were said and I found myself saying -- I don’t know if it was to myself or someone else -- “Well only 10% of that story is true,” I knew well then that 10% is clearly up for review. That 10% better be handled.

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