“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.”
This post is Part 5 (the final post) in a discussion series on A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. You can read the last post and discussion questions for Chapter 6, Relationships, here. In this fifth and final session, our book group discussed Part II, Chapters 7, 8 and 9 – Work, The Body and Heaven. These chapters together are fairly long and you’ll likely want to divide the discussion into two sessions to give people more time to read and discuss.
Session 5: Chapter 7 (Work)
There are two parts in the Work Chapter that resonated with me the most. The first, is on page 184 of my printing in the “Personal Power” section, “Don’t ask God to send you a brilliant career, but rather ask Him to show you the brilliance within you. It is the recognition of our brilliance that releases it into expression.” The second, is on page 203 of my printing in the “Ministry” section, “I used to think I was lazy. I was always tired. Actually, I was just blocked until I discovered the purpose of my life.” Whew, can I ever relate to that.
Now, some “Work” related discussion questions.
1. Marianne defines career and work in a new way for Western society. The idea of career as “ministry” or “service to the healing the world” and letting your brilliance lead you in creation of a career provides a new perspective on the concept of work. When you consider this perspective, how does it make you feel? Can you identify the brilliance within yourself? If our “Achievement doesn’t come from what we do, but from who we are” (Page 185), then how would you redefine yourself with that understanding?
2. Probably the most famous and quoted writings from the book is on pages 190-191, “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…” Can you resonate with that concept? Are there areas in your life where you hide your light or fail to shine brightly? Is it based on fear? Dig down to identify those fears. What is holing you back? Your thoughts? Unsupportive people? Lack of stability? Fear of failure? Identify all of the aspects of your life that contribute to the dulling of your bright light.
3. On page 202 we see Hemingway would write as long as the story was writing itself, and stop when he was writing the story. He understood the concept of being God’s instrument in the world and did not try to control the creative process. (On page 215, “God’s Plan Works… Yours doesn’t.”) When we live in co-creation with God’s plan for our life, “energy bursts forth.” Our impact on the world is not neutral, we either radiate positive or negative energy. What is your energetic state? Are there changes you can make to shift that energy to a higher vibration? What actions can you take to release and allow God’s energy to flow through you?
Session 5: Chapter 8 (The Body)
One of the best off-hand comments in Chapter 8 is, “But once the Course has gotten into your system, you never again have guilt-free b*tchy thoughts.” (Page 235) Isn’t this the truth? Just revisiting these chapters again to write these discussion questions, I am reminded of the principles. In recent conversations with my boyfriend I immediately apologize and feel guilty about any communications with him based out of fear instead of love. It’s of benefit to him that I’m revisiting this book! The other quote I really love is on page 249, “The body is an illusionary wall that appears to separate us, the ego’s chief device is trying to convince us that we are separate from each other and separate from God.” Truth.
1. When you read “The Body in Relationships” (beginning on page 249), can you relate to an identification of spirit as your true self? Does your body make you feel inferior, different or unworthy? Do those feelings contribute to a feeling of separateness from others? What would it take to embrace your spirit as your true being, and claim the truth that we are all one with each other and with God?
2. On page 261, Marianne writes, “Growth is not always about getting what we think we want. Always, it’s about becoming the men and women we have the potential to be. Loving, pure, honest, clear.” Can you recall a time in your life when you were striving for something that did not happen? Did the experience turn into something unexpected that revealed more of who you truly are? Looking back, what would you have lost if actually received what you thought you wanted in the beginning? In other words, what were the unexpected gains?
Session 5: Chapter 9 (Heaven)
One of the more beautiful lines in Marianne’s text is on page 286 of my printing in the “The End of the World” section, “We embark upon an endless search for what we cannot find – one person, one circumstance that holds the keys to Heaven. But Heaven is within us. It has nothing ultimately to do with the thoughts of someone else, and everything to do with what we choose to think ourselves, not just about one person, but about all people.” We create our own heaven with how we perceive and respond to the world.
1. “Heaven is within us.” Heaven is within you. How does that make you feel? Can you feel it in your bones? Beyond your bones, into your center, true being and soul of it all?
Please share any other questions and topics you would like to talk about or discuss in the comments. I’d love to host sharing of thoughts in this space. Happy reading and bright blessings to you and yours!