Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
If I've learned anything -- and these days I feel more aware of what I have not yet learned than of what I have -- it's that my life in any given moment is exactly what I make it. If I have a positive attitude, then there is positivity in my life; if I have a negative attitude, there is negativity in my life. If I take care of my body through proper diet and exercise, I'm more likely to be happy than if I do not. If I meditate and keep my spiritual practice constantly in mind, I'm more likely to be happy than if I do not. If I forgive, I'm more likely to be happy than if I do not. I realize not only intellectually but viscerally that the purpose of our lives is to learn to be happy, and I understand my own responsibility to do and think and say the things that make happiness more probable.
Sometimes I look at the world around me and despair, as I suppose most everyone does, at the current spate of humanity's trials and tribulations. But I see enchantment and miracles and and love all around me too, and I know that they are God's consistent response to the mess humanity can make of things. How tragic the suffering a wrong-minded view of the world creates, and how merciful that the universe keeps throwing us new opportunities to do things differently. I know that beyond this world is a realm of greater possibility, and the veil that separates us from there is so much thinner than we think.
Every time we see beyond the veil, we become veil-lifters for others as well. Our criticism, blame, judgment and such only thicken the veil, while forgiveness and mercy and compassion dissolve it. It really is so simple, yet sometimes so difficult. And yet it is the choice we make, every moment of every day.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. She has published ten books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers. She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and Charlie Rose.
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