Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TEARS TO TRIUMPH by Marianne Williamson -- Spiritual Journey Book Review


I highly recommend TEARS TO TRIUMPH: THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY FROM SUFFERING TO ENLIGHTENMENT by Marianne Williamson! Her broad message -- although it ain’t easy, ego (and addictions) can be overcome by practicing a soul-led life.

I read this book recently because I’m in a dark place. Not, long-dark-tea-time-of-the-soul dark, but dark-valley dark. In other words, I have no doubt that Jesus is with me here in the valley.

I didn’t know it when I started out, but recovery is a major part of my spiritual journey which has been happening one epiphany and challenge at a time. This latest one was so difficult, I couldn’t do it by myself. In fact, I so couldn’t do it by myself that I didn’t realize I was doing it until right before I did it.

Jesus, in a confusing way that involved weirdness, another consciousness, and far too many people catching me whispering to myself, finally got through to me that I had to stop the train, get off, and climb aboard the wagon.

When I told my new recovery counselor about what was going on with me during the time it took to stop the train, he said, “You were under a tremendous amount of stress. It’s normal. You’re normal.”

Halleluiah. I mean, really, Hal-le-lu-iah.

Someday, I might include that other consciousness in a novel, or maybe I’ll keep that story locked away in my heart forever, or best yet, let it fade from memory . . . remembering only the part where Jesus was with me when I most needed Him.

One of the things my counselor asked me was why I had told so many people about stopping the train. I answered, “Well, I have this blog about the saints, then I started a spiritual journey which I also post about because people like to know they aren't the only ones. Plus, I heard from people going through the same thing, one of whom recommended you." 

Also, being authentic on social media slaps all three of my addictions right in the face.

But, you know, that’s it. I can’t blog about the specifics of this passage in my journey, it’s too personal. The clouds are thick down here, and I don’t know what’s on the other side of the valley . . .

Meanwhile, I’m also sad because my mother-in-law, Carolynn, passed away.

And Charlottesville and Hannah Heyer. I mean, how many times can one person’s heart break at the mess our country is in right now? How long can one person ignore what going on for the sake of inner peace? How long before the barriers one sets up to block bad news from one’s psyche shatter? And so, when they do, we grieve and step up our social activism yet again. But the grief doesn’t go away.

So why am I posting this book review now when no one would fault me for simply wallowing? Because this blog is my mission from God. At least, for now.

Here are some of my favorite passages:

The spiritual universe is the mind of God. Miracles are the thoughts of love, extended from the Mind of God through the mind of humans and out into the world. God is Love, and as God’s children, so are we. Our purpose on earth is to think as God thinks, which means to love as God loves. When our minds are attuned to love, things unfold miraculously. Loving thought creates loving feelings, and loving feelings create loving behavior. In this way, we create happiness for ourselves and for those around us. Page 48

The right time to be heartbroken is when the heart is breaking. Just as an expectant mother sometimes serves her pregnancy best by resting comfortably, her feet up and drinking chamomile tea; so, during times of grief we, too, are gestating the next phase of our lives and serve the process best simply by allowing it to be. We need to rest into who we are and where we are; in being gentle with ourselves, we make great space for the gigantic processes of personal transformation that are occurring deep inside us. Spiritually, we are always dying and we are always being born. Page 65

No matter what happens in life, it is our own choice whether to play it deep or play it shallow. And whenever we play life deep, we feel our feelings deeply. Times of great sadness might open up painful wounds that were buried before. They might be wounds that are not just ours, but generational or societal. Suffering through them with our hearts wide open is not for sissies, but for seekers. Those wounds were keeping us from being who we’re cable of being, and their coming up to be healed is part of our journey to enlightenment. Page 66

Author Paul Hawken has coined the phrase “blessed unrest” to describe a general sense of unease that many people feel. If anything should be worrisome, it’s how many people are not horrified by so much unnecessary suffering in the world today. Sometimes neurosis is best measured not by the things that make us sad, but by the things that do not make us sad. Page 80


The closer we are to genuine joining, the greater the probability that the weakness of one partner or the other – usually both – will be subconsciously triggered. “You’re needy and emotionally demanding” will meet “you’re arrogant and selfish.” Although the ego seeks relationship as a place to hide our wounds, the Holy Spirit uses relationships to bring those wounds to the surface – not to destroy the relationship, but to make it all that it can be.

In the presence of mutual understanding, compassion, faith, and forgiveness, our wounds can be healed. Page 119

The spiritual journey dredges up the mud of our subconscious fears, yet it does so in order to remove them. In the words of Carl Jung, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making darkness conscious.” Fear and negativity that remain hidden in the darkness of our unconsciousness have the power to hurt us; when brought to the light of conscious awareness, they can be surrendered to God and miraculously transformed. Page 145

The benefits of a spiritual practice to the sorrowful mind are that it changes our brain circuitry in relation to that which makes us suffer. It brings the mortal world into harmony with a greater truth when we see situations not through prescribed mental filters, but as they are. Each of us, when in our right minds, is more powerful than the ego – and more powerful than our sadness and more powerful than our fear. Page 170

What’s most important is the revelation that the God within us is our essential self; the essence of God is the essence of each of us, and the essence of each of us is the essence of God. When we are speaking from our true selves, or from love, we are expressing what the Voice for God has told us. Through prayer and meditation, we begin to hear the small still Voice for God. Our purpose on earth is to then reflect, in words but also in actions, what we have heard. Page 180

So, imagine this: you’re taking a walk, and all of a sudden you have an epiphany, or a sense of divine presence, and it doesn’t last just for a moment; it’s a high that lasts for a while. And it’s not just pleasurable, it’s directive. You get a feeling, a sense of mission, a calling – you have a very strong sense that God has work for you to do. Page 179

All of us make an Exodus in our lives; all of us are delivered from slavery to the Promised Land by a mysterious hand. The Exodus is our journey through suffering, as we suffer from bondage at the hands of the ego to freedom in the hand of God. Page 192

In being delivered to God, we’re delivered from the illusion of who we are to the reality of who we truly are. We go from being addicted to being sober; from being needy to being independent; from being afraid to being brave. We’re dying to the parts of ourselves that need to die in order to give birth to what is trying to be born. We’re burning through a lot of ego on our way to the life that lies beyond it, having to face whatever we need to face before we can face God. And this is painful, perhaps even torturous. It’s humiliating. It is terrifying. But that journey through the spiritual wilderness is not a waste, for it leads to the Promised Land at last. Page 193


Giddyup. 

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