A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

by Marianne Williamson


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Back by popular demand — and newly updated by the author — the mega-bestselling spiritual guide in which Marianne Williamson shares her reflections on A Course in Miracles and her insights on the application of love in the search for inner peace.

Williamson reveals how we each can become a miracle worker by accepting God and by the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career, or health, she shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how by practicing love we can make our own lives more fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060927486
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/15/1996
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 17,921
Product dimensions: 7.96(w) x 5.24(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and activist. Six of her published books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books include A Return to Love, A Year of Miracles, The Law of Divine Compensation, The Gift of Change, The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, and Illuminata. She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Good Morning America, and Charlie Rose.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Darkness

"The journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it."

What happened to my generation is that we never grew up. The problem isn't that we're lost or apathetic, narcissistic or materialistic. The problem is we're terrified.

A lot of us know we have what it takes-the looks, the education, the talent, the credentials. But in certain areas, we're paralyzed. We're not being stopped by something on the outside, but by something on the inside. Our oppression is internal. The government isn't holding us back, or hunger or poverty. We're not afraid we'll get sent to Siberia. We're just afraid, period. Our fear is free-floating. We're afraid this isn't the right relationship or we're afraid it is. We're afraid they won't like us or we're afraid they will. We're afraid of failure or we're afraid of success. We're afraid of dying young or we're afraid of growing old. We're more afraid of life than we are of death.

You'd think we'd have some compassion for ourselves, bound up in emotional chains the way we are, but we don't. We're just disgusted with ourselves, because we think we should be better by now. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking other people don't have as much fear as we do, which only makes us more afraid. Maybe they know something we don't know. Maybe we're missing a chromosome.

It's become popular these days to blame practically everything on our parents. We figure it's because of them that our self-esteem is so low. If only they'd been different, we'd be brimming with self-love. But if you take a close look at how our parents treated us, whatever abuse they gave us was often mild compared to the way we abuse ourselves today. It's true that your mother might have said repeatedly, "You'll never be able to do that, dear." But now you say to yourself, "You're a jerk. You never do it right. You blew it. I hate you." They might have been mean, but we're vicious.

Our generation has slipped into a barely camouflaged vortex of self-loathing. And we're always, even desperately, seeking a way out, through growth or through escape. Maybe this degree will do it, or this job, this seminar, this therapist, this relationship, this diet, or this project. But too often the medicine falls short of a cure, and the chains just keep getting thicker and tighter. The same soap operas develop with different people in different cities. We begin to realize that we ourselves are somehow the problem, but we don't know what to do about it. We're not powerful enough to overrule ourselves. We sabotage, abort everything: our careers, our relationships, even our children. We drink. We do drugs. We control. We obsess. We codepend. We overeat. We hide. We attack. The form of the dysfunction is irrelevant. We can find a lot of different ways to express how much we hate ourselves.

But express it we will. Emotional energy has got to go somewhere, and self-loathing is a powerful emotion. Turned inward, it becomes our personal hells: addiction, obsession, compulsion, depression, violent relationships, illness. Projected outward, it becomes our collective hells: violence, war, crime, oppression. But it's all the same thing: hell has many mansions, too.

I remember, years ago, having an image in my mind that frightened me terribly. I would see a sweet, innocent little girl in a perfect white organdy apron, pinned screaming with her back against a wall. A vicious, hysterical woman was repeatedly stabbing her through the heart with a knife. I suspected that both characters were me, that they lived as psychic forces inside my mind. With every passing year, I grew more scared of that woman with the knife. She was active in my system. She was totally out of control, and I felt like she wanted to kill me.

When I was most desperate, I looked for a lot of ways out of my personal hell. I read books about how our minds create our experience, how the brain is like a bio-computer that manufactures whatever we feed into it with our thoughts. "Think success and you'll get it," "Expect to fail and you will," I read. But no matter how much I worked at changing my thoughts, I kept going back to the painful ones. Temporary breakthroughs would occur: I would work on having a more positive attitude, get myself together and meet a new man or get a new job. But I would always revert to the patterns of self-betrayal: I'd eventually turn into a bitch with the man, or screw up at the job. I would lose ten pounds, and then put them back on in five minutes, terrified by how it felt to look beautiful. The only thing more frightening than not getting male attention, was getting lots of it. The groove of sabotage ran deep and automatic. Sure, I could change my thoughts, but not permanently. And there's only one despair worse than "God, I blew it." -- and that's, God, I blew it again."

My painful thoughts were my demons. Demons are insidious. Through various therapeutic techniques, I'd become very smart about my own neuroses, but that didn't necessarily exorcise them. The garbage didn't go away; it just became more sophisticated. I used to tell a person what my weaknesses were, using such conscious language that they would think, "Well, obviously she knows what her patterns are, so she won't do that again."

But oh yes, I would. Acknowledging my patterns was just a way of diverting someone's attention. Then I'd go into a rampage or other outrageous behavior so quickly and smoothly that no one, least of all myself,...

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix(2)
Foreword to the New Edition xi(2)
Preface xiii(8)
Introduction xxi
Part I. Principles 3(86)
1. Hell
2. God
3. You
4. Surrender
5. Miracles
Part II. Practice 89(212)
6. Relationships
7. Work
8. Body
9. Heaven
Endnotes 301

What People are Saying About This

Deepak Chopra

“Marianne Williamson’s book is a classic. She reveals, with elegant simplicity, that love is not a mere sentiment of emotion, but the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.”

Wayne Dyer

“When I first read A Return to Love, I literally felt the excitement as I absorbed Marianne Williamson’s insights. Today, it is still a treasure to me, and Marianne is a light for the transformation of the world. You will love this book. I guarantee it.”

John Bradshaw

“With this gutsy book Marianne Williamson has single-handedly ushered in a powerful spiritual renewal. I wholeheartedly recommend your reading it.”

Oprah Winfrey

This book helped me realize that there are only two emotions, love and fear. In every relationship, you're always moving toward one or the other.

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Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where do I even begin with this review? This book has entirely changed my life, my perspective, my attitude, my feelings about myself and others, I could go on and on. This is something that I cannot stop talking about. Anyone who is lost, confused about religion, who feels poorly about themselves or others, depressed, or just doesn't feel like life is much "fun" anymore.....read this book! I can't even tell you what a load it takes off and how wonderful it is to learn that God LOVES you, is not out to punish you, and only has your happiness in mind. I can suddenly walk into a room and feel GREAT about myself knowing that I am a BEAUTIFUL, wonderful child of God. It is the most amazing thing I have ever felt! From this book I have learned what life is about, and what it's not about. After reading it, I bought an additional 10 copies and hand them out to anyone who seems interested. My hope is that everyone can find this love that Maryanne teaches so that they may be as incredibly happy with themselves and their lives as I am today! Thank you so much Maryanne, for changing my life!
Riverstone70 More than 1 year ago
I could listen to this lady talk forever. I have listened to several of her speeches; which all feel so spontaneous and from the heart. She is not the prefect representation of what she is speaking about. Rather, she is very much like all of us seeking; understanding and a new way to go about things. I would say she has a solid skill for inspiration and a powerful grasp of her source material, A Course In Miracles. Her book, A Return to Love is one of the best introductions to A Course In Miracles, that exist. If you get the chance, listen to her audio work... it is very inspiring! Warning: Although the Course In Miracles speaks with Christian terminology it is not specifically Christian. Rather it is quite mystic and beyond the grasp of those who take comfort in dogma and fundamentalism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book that I have had the opportunity to read. Williamson gives simple solutions to change the world around us. Her basic principles are profound. My career, love life, and many other aspects have greatly improved. This book even helped me with my mother's death. After reading "A Return to Love," I feel more awakened and conscious. I can truly say that I now know my purpose. This is a must read for everyone. Marianne Williamson thank you for the gift. Your book has truly ministerred to me, my family, and friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I swear by this book. Even if you are not interested in the Course in Miracles it breaks down how we allow ourselves to surround ourselves with darkness and how our ego can be our own enemy. Great explanations and a wonderful way of getting back to love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fluffy? Feel good? Are you kidding....? This book has changed my life. It has turned my marriage around and made me realize that if I'm not showing divine LOVE in life, then my life isn't really amounting to much! Read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is great for those people reading the Course in Miracles. It makes the Course make sense
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago and i bought the tapes so that i can listen to them whenever i need a 'pickmeup' or just some more insight. The book is quite simple, but it's also quite powerful. I thought i had everything together until the foundation of my life started crumbling beneath me and i realized/learned that i had to look at everything and everyone differently, with love and not fear. Easier said than done, but if you are ready for a change (a big one) and you are ready to take real responsibility for your life, then this is a great place to start. It may take some time, but it is truly worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Love and Fear rules us, and until I read this book 6 years ago my life was a mess. Now I see life and others so clearly. I wish I could afford to keep a case of this book stocked in my closet to give to everyone I know. I have giving this book as a gift to several people and advise to anyone to give this book as a gift for any occasion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems those "who have been there, done that" make the most insightful writers. Marianne Williamson always presents well in person, but even more so in the written word. A must read for those seeking personal enlightenment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a game changer! Our constant need to have more, control more & be more is getting most of us no where bu stressed and frustrated with life. Learning to allow God to be our guide is the only real answer to happiness and peace. This book has an amazing way of helping to shift your mindset in just the right direction. I have given it to so many people in hopes of them finding the indescribable peace that is available.
firewalkteacher More than 1 year ago
This is the "Course in Miracles" in layman's language. Everyone can understand it. This is how I live my life. When everyone can live in the state of love and not fear we will have peace on earth. I just ordered six more to give away.
noseinabookNC More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read it... read it! This book is a life-changer! 
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I need to be reminded that there lies something powerful within me-- something that I can draw to the surface, and that will see me through anything. When I read certain books, I am reminded of such things. This book, along with several others, does just that. I do not claim that it has all the answers, as I believe we each have the answers within us, but books such as this one, Esamuel, Islands of the Soul: A Guide to Personal Truth and Happiness, as well as others, can be great sources of understanding and enlightenment for those who read with open minds and hearts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not read the book. A friend bought me the tapes. I have received many gifts in my life but, this was such a unique gift and very thoughtful. It's easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget what we ourselves need to remember and listening to her does that for you. I recommend the tapes very highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good book that allows the author to share her wounds with us, and this allows us to be truer to ourselves. It also gives us an insight on how to apply the principles of A Course in Miracles.
BarbaraNYC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book two or three times in the 90s. It's a great book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about A Course In Miracles, or even if you just want a book to remind you of what's really important in life and what isn't. It helped me to get through some difficult times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting. I don't agree with everthing she says but do with alot of it. This book is worth reading if you want to become a better human being.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be a must read for every individual in the World...brings you back down to the simplistic reality of how we were born and what our true life's purpose should be
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is by far the best book I've ever read!! Not only did I read it once or twice, oh no its more like sseven or eight times. I have had this book for quit sometime now. I believe about fifeteen years. I just love Marieanne. I try my best to see her whenever she comes into Detroit area. I have read the majority of her books. Don't ever feel you may not like the book...?...please do yourself a favor and read not only this one, but all of her other books as well!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was undecided about purchasing this book as I do not care for religious dogma. However, the author makes assurances that although Christian language is used readers would not see it used narrowly, so I bought it. I don't know how Williamson defines inclusive, but this book is not it. It is more akin to when women are told they should just feel included when others say "mankind" and then the word will be inclusive. There are plenty of excellent books out there on spiritual topics that are, in fact, inclusive. This is not one of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done - worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago