Pittsburgh Friends Meeting Library

Library Committee: The “Stories & Scones” Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 27. We will discuss Marianne Williamson’s book “A Return to Love,” which gave George Lakey the title of his book “Powerful Beyond Measure.” More information about Williamson and her work can be found on the Internet.

“A Leading to Read”
by Judy Irvin.
Note: The Stories and Scones Book Club will discuss this book at its meeting on Sunday, January 27. We appreciate Judy’s suggesting this book to us and reviewing it. All are welcome to attend the Book Club. I first read A Return to Love in 1992, when it serendipitously arrived at my house from a book‐of‐the‐month club. I found it to be
fascinating and have reread it several times. This book shares Williamson’s understanding of A Course in Miracles. First, she explains her introduction to ACIM. In her twenties she had tried several jobs and relationships. She was unhappy and was aimlessly searching. When she first read ACIM she was turned off by the Christian terminology (she had been raised Jewish), but after a few years she read it again. In 1983 she began sharing her understanding of ACIM in lectures. A Return to Love explains some of the basic principles of the Course as she understands them and applies them to her life. The text of ACIM can be confusing and daunting to some who attempt to read it on their own, but Williamson simplifies many of the principles.
Return to Love is divided into two main sections, the first covering the principles of the Course and the second the practice of these principles. The chapter headings in Part I are “Hell,” “God,” “You,” “Surrender” and “Miracles.” Hell, Williamson says, is self-loathing and endless searching. She found her way out of this hell when she surrendered to God with the simple prayer, “God, please help me.” In the chapter entitled “God,” she states that God is a constant in all things and at all times; God is the love inside us. I feel that this is similar to the Quaker concept of “the light within.” In Chapter 3 she defines “You” as a child of God created to be perfect. We often mistake our ego for our true selves. She defines the ego as our mental power turned against ourselves. The Holy Spirit is God’s answer to the ego; it is the bridge back to God. In Chapter 4 she explains that “Surrender” involves trusting in God, in the flow of the universe. As in other spiritual practices, surrender calls us to give up attachment to results. In the last chapter of this section Williamson explains that “Miracles” are a natural state following the surrender of results. Miracles transcend physical laws of the universe; they are a shift in our minds.
The second part of the book, “Practice,” concerns the application of the five principles. The first chapter is on “Relationships.” It is easy to practice ACIM alone, but the challenge is in applying it to all relationships in our lives. This section of the book is lengthy and repeats some basic tenants of the Course; for example, we should seek to change our minds, not the outside world, and our greatest opportunity to affect another person’s life positively is to accept God’s love for ourselves. Chapter 7 is about applying ACIM to “Work.” It calls us to surrender our careers in order to be truly helpful. Any career, when given to the Holy Spirit, can be used as part of God’s plan. It is in this chapter that we find the quote, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
Chapter 8, “The Body,” says that the body is not the source of health; our minds are. As stated in previous chapters, the body is a symbol of the ego, and like anything else in our lives, it can be turned over to God for the healing of our perceived separation.
The last chapter, “Heaven,” states that heaven is not a time or a place but is a decision that we make. The book concludes with our decision to welcome heaven as existing now. I highly recommend this book either as an introduction to A Course in Miracles or simply as a personal spiritual tool.
The holdings in our Meeting library can be checked from your computer at home at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/PittsburghFriendsMtg


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