“Love in your mind produces love in your life.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles
I’ve run in a circle of yogis for a little over a year now and, along the way, have received my fair share of book recommendations. Some are practical asana guides like Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, while others are more spiritual like Be Here Now by Ram Dass or The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve been a little “meh” about, and others just weren’t my cup of tea. But like anyone else that lives by the adage, “never stop learning,” my yogi library seems to grow more and more each month.
Not too long ago, I stumbled across A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles during my yogic journey. I can’t for the life of me remember when or where, but I just know it was there, floating in the background, for quite a while before I finally picked up a copy and started reading.
For those of you that are also newbies to A Return to Love, it is one woman’s thoughts and insights about another book called A Course in Miracles. I haven’t dived into The Course myself just yet (although there is a brand spankin’ new copy at the ready on my bookshelf), but the gist of this mammoth book goes a little something like this:
- Everything we do in life, all of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions…comes down to love
- God (or whatever label you choose to attach to it) is really just love…the love within us, around us, that “thing” that’s there all the time
- We can choose to act through love, which is the only real truth, or we can choose to act out of fear, which is really just an illusion anyway
- Miracles, therefore, are products of a mindfulness based in love
From the casual perusing I’ve done so far, The Course sounds like one hell of a book. But’s it’s also a whopping 1,164 pages long.
This is the true beauty of Williamson’s A Return to Love; in just 300 pages, she manages to beautifully explore all of the themes referenced in The Course while making the material refreshingly relatable and honest. As one of my favorite yoga teachers, Rachel Brathen put it in a recent podcast, read A Return to Love first and then dive into the full Course when you’re ready. And that’s what I did.
When I started reading A Return to Love, I had little if any expectations. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching recently and figured hey, why not try this book everyone in the yoga community seems to be raving about? Turns out it was just the secret sauce I’ve been looking for…
For the past few months, I’ve been thinking. A lot. About my career, about my writing, about my relationships…you name it. And all of this thinking came with its fair share of worry and fear. I’ve known for a while now that I have absolutely zero desire to be an attorney again, but what I didn’t have figured out was what I wanted to do instead…after all, I’m only 27 and I have a hell of a lot of “workable years” still ahead of me.
It wasn’t until I started reading A Return to Love that things started clicking for me again. Instead of asking the Universe (i.e. God) to send me a sign for my writing career, I changed my tune a bit:
I started asking the Universe to guide me towards work that would help me find peace and love.
I’m not sure if I’ve just missed the mark for the past few months about what exactly manifesting your dreams looks like, but this must be it. Because as soon as I opened my heart to that question, one rooted in love instead of fear, things started happening…
Once I started approaching my professional life with more compassion and love, writing opportunities started flooding in. Inspiration struck. Book ideas started forming. Before long, I found myself staring down my wildest and most passionate dreams realizing that this was it…it was time.
Unsurprisingly, the lessons I’ve been learning from A Return to Love also started spilling over into my personal life. In fact, just this week, I noticed a mind shift when I was confronted with a bout of unexpected stress.
As usual, life happened. And when life happens, particularly when Mercury is in retrograde, shit happens. And this past week was no exception. Right smack in the middle of packing for a much anticipated vacation, we had a health scare. And it was just enough to push me riiiiight to the edge of my very familiar anxiety cliff.
Just as I could feel the tears bubbling up inside me, I stopped. I remembered A Return to Love and I remembered what I had learned about fear. Fear is just an illusion…the only truth is love, I thought to myself. And just like that, my heart rate slowed down and I fell back into the here and now.
Sure, there were some seemingly rational fears going on in my head, but none of it was true. That’s the thing about A Return to Love: you start learning that no matter how rational your fears and anxieties may be (“I’m worried about starting a new career” or “I fear that I might lose a loved one because he’s sick”), none of it is actually happening yet. It’s all an illusion, a sick game of make believe your ego conjures up during moments of extreme vulnerability.
And the same thing goes for that endless spiral of self-doubt and criticism. You’re not a bad person just because you fucked up, no matter how many times you’ve made a mistake. It’s a tough reality to face sometimes, particularly when we have to extend the same courtesy to our enemies and foes, but in the end…we’re all just doing our goddam best. And that “best” comes from a place of love.
I’m nearly through reading A Return to Love and am still a little shocked by just how much one little book can resonate with me. I have a feeling that I might just need to buy my own copy once I’ve finished (I’m currently borrowing one as a part of my restorative teacher training) just so I can return to its wisdom again and again. I’ve never been much for re-reading books, but this one just might have to be an exception…
May You Also Return to Love,
The Yogi Lawyer