Beliefnet chatted with author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson about her latest book 'Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century' on March 6, 2001, on Yahoo.

bnet_ellen: Hello everybody and welcome to today's chat with Marianne Williamson! An internationally acclaimed author and lecturer on spirituality, she'll be chatting about her lastest book, "Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century," which includes pieces written by such well-known thinkers as Deepak Chopra and John Gray. Her first book, "A Return to Love," topped The New York Times best-seller list for 35 weeks, and her second book, "A Woman's Worth," topped the best-seller lists for 19 weeks. Beliefnet welcomes best-selling author Marianne Williamson! Thanks for being with us today.

beliefnet_marianne: Thank you, I'm so glad to be here!

bnet_ellen: Let's get started with the first question ...zooey_franny asks: do you think we need more spirituality as americans in the 21st century?beliefnet_marianne: No doubt about that. We've got 9th graders killing each other in the halls at school.deuceweb2000 asks: I am a student of the course in miracles and I'm curious as to how you first got involved in the course and what part of it has had the greatest impact on your life?beliefnet_marianne: I first saw Course in Miracles sitting on someone's coffee table in New York City, 1975. I cannot believe how long ago that was. But it's true. Two years later, I began a serious study of the Course, and my life has certainly taken a different direction than it would have, had I never found that book. As I have written about before, the primary lesson that Course in Miracles has taught me, is that my relationship to God is not separate from my relationship to other people. I've learned that I can't achieve inner peace without forgiving at all times, to the best of my ability. This is not always easy, and I consider myself an intermediate student, but at least I know what the path is now, regardless of whether or not I'm always successful at walking it.zooey_franny asks: how did you get deepak chopra and john gray to contribute to your book?beliefnet_marianne: They are both very lovely, very generous men. I feel very blessed to know them both.deuceweb2000 asks: Do you believe each of us chose to come to this earth , chose our parents and our situations?beliefnet_marianne: I think the Holy Spirit made those decisions for us.
zooey_franny asks: hi marianne - where do you find the inspiration for your books?beliefnet_marianne: Wherever I can!!scientific_rationalist asks:: Please define what you mean by spirituality, and then tell us why that will cure society's illsbeliefnet_marianne: To me, the spiritual path is the path back to love -- back from our defensiveness, our hurt, our judgment, our blame, our fear, our guilt, our hurt, and our violence. Beneath all those things lies love we were born with, the love that so often remains hidden throughout our lives, and yet often surfaces on or around our death. That young boy who shot his classmates at the school in California yesterday is in essence a scared little boy. When they captured him, he was on his knees in the boys' restroom crying, "It's only me." Society can now do what it tends to do in moments like this, at least American society. We can focus on his trial and the form of his punishment, but all of us know, in the depths of our hearts, because it's not where the real problem lies. What we have here, as President Bush himself pointed out, I think in his inaugural speech, is a failure of love. The same goes for every act of violence and hatred. The person who committed the crime was not born to do that. They were born in love, and then something went terribly wrong. At bottom, these are not legal, political or even social issues. At bottom, they are spiritual issues. Because the darkness of the world begins with the darkness that first set within someone's heart.deuceweb2000 asks: In the case of the boy who just shot up the school... why would the Holy Spirit or us with our free will want anything like that to happen ?beliefnet_marianne: Neither the Holy Spirit, nor any of us in our right minds, would ever, ever want anything like that to happen. In fact, the Holy Spirit IS another name for our Right Mind. Someone who perpetrates an act like that is always quite literally temporarily insane.cutlass8520012000 asks: do u think he should be tried as an adult?beliefnet_marianne: I absolutely do not. This is a terrible, terrible trend now occurring throughout the United States. It's one more way that America can hide its face from the awful truth regarding the state of our children. I feel all of us should be vigilant on behalf of resisting this trend.LSheahen asks: In his essay in the new book, james redfield says we're changing from a newtonian model to a more jungian model. since jung came on the scene many years ago, why now?
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