"I believe that hunger for a 'lost dimension' of experience is a natural yearning in all of us, and it doesn't go away just because we ignore it. It is evidenced among other places in the millions of children and adults who obsessively read the Harry Potter books. It is said that fiction is where someone gets to tell the truth. We are a bunch of silly Muggles, and we really do miss out on the magic of existence," writes Marianne Williamson in the opening page of her new book on the challenges and joys of living the mystical life in the present era. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Return to Love, A Woman's Worth, Healing the Soul of America, Enchanted Love, and Illuminata. She calls this resource "a traveling companion for the modern mystic who goes through his day with the deepest desire to be in the world but not of the world - to be walking with her feet planted firmly on the ground, but thinking with her head soaring powerfully through the sky."
Williamson reminds that we are so much more than we think we are and that Jesus told his disciples that one day they would do even greater works that those he did in his three-year ministry. Unfortunately, most of us still don't believe we have the capacity within us to be healers, helpers, and miracle-workers. Carrying on with her Harry Potter imagery, the author points to intention, positive thinking, and hope as magical wands for creating new possibilities. Starting the day with a focused mind, an ardent spirit, and prayer is imperative given the busyness, speed, and pressure of our daily lives. "We can set our day upon another course. Each of us has an inner room where we can visit to be cleansed of fear-based thoughts and feelings. This room, the holy of holies, is a sanctuary of light."
Williamson goes through what she calls "a day of grace" covering such activities as hearing the news, working or needing work, feeling jealous or bored or guilty, making decisions, arguing, grieving, and learning compassion. This is a wonderful overview of everyday spirituality in which she applies her thoughts about grace, discussed in the first section of the book, to feelings and experiences that will be familiar to most of us. For example, she provides a helpful spiritual practice of reading the newspaper and using it as a prayer list. "Read about war? Pray to be a peacemaker. Read about abused children? Pray to be an advocate for them. Read about corruption? Pray to be an active citizen who does his or her part to change that. Read about a reign of terror? Pray to see a loving world that exists in a realm beyond it, and for God to make you a significant part of the effort to bring it forth."
Even more useful is the author's plea for modern day mystics to move beyond an "us versus them" mentality where we are constantly blaming others for the woes of the world. How we react to the news, she explains, inevitably affects our power to influence it. In these tense times when judgments fly freely and resentments build with each day, an open and loving heart is needed in the public arena, not to mention in our homes and offices. Her words on "hoping against hope" are especially cogent: "Hope lies in having more faith in the power of God to heal us than in the power of anything to hurt or destroy us. In realizing that as children of God we are bigger than our problems, we have the power at last to confront them."
In the closing section of the book, Williamson presents brief meditations on infusing our rituals, holidays, relationships, community, and Sabbath with grace and meaning. Everyday Grace speaks poignantly to the passions, fears, tensions, and yearnings of our times.