Here’s my latest feature on Manchester Confidential about spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson’s upcoming event, An Awesome Power, in Manchester.
Let There Be Light
Thea Euryphaessa gets tongue tied with one of the world’s foremost spiritual teachers
“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. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. 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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I recently had the privilege of interviewing the author of the above famous quote; no, not Nelson Mandela as it’s often misattributed, but internationally acclaimed lecturer, spiritual activist and bestselling author, Marianne Williamson.
Before I continue, however, I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make: for someone who rarely, if ever, gets star-struck, on this occasion I had eyes the size of supernovae and a gormless mouth more befitting of a black hole. You see, Marianne Williamson is, in my humble opinion, one of the most gifted orators at work today. And if there’s one skill I admire immensely when done well, it’s public speaking.
Few can command the stage as confidently and engagingly the way, say, Barack Obama can. Which is why, when I found out Marianne was coming to Manchester on 20 March for an afternoon-long seminar, I grabbed the opportunity to chat with her. When my allotted time rolled around, I was reduced to a jabbering wreck scribbling nonsensical gobbledegook in my pad which later made no sense to me whatsoever.
Marianne, however, was utterly charming, down-to-earth and, much to my relief, as chatty as me. In fact, once we got going we were like a couple of gasbagging teenagers. As a speaker and teacher of psycho-spiritual issues myself, it was particularly inspiring for me to learn Marianne studied, A Course in Miracles, every single day for five years before she even began giving talks on it. It was another five years before she wrote, A Return to Love, which caught Oprah’s attention, shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and catapulted her onto an international stage. The rest, as they say, is history.
To be clear, A Course in Miracles, is not a religious dogma or doctrine; rather, it’s a 365 day self-study curriculum of psycho-spiritual themes to help aid and encourage personal transformation. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter whether you study the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita or Jungian psychology — if you move deeply enough into any teaching you’ll soon realise they’re all saying the same thing, albeit with different cultural inflections. Problems only arise when folk confuse the connotation with the denotation; in other words, when they literalise and concretise what it is ultimately symbolic and beyond description.
So don’t let Marianne’s use of the word ‘God’ in the above-quoted paragraph, put you off. Although it took me a long time to reconcile myself to use of the word, I eventually understood it as the quickest, most convenient way to describe the transcendent/divine/deep Self or Nature as my African ancestors called it. I (and I think I also speak for Marianne when I say this) do not believe God to be a bloke complete with beard sat on a throne in the clouds, meting out rewards and punishments, lording it over all and sundry.
Which is why I recommend that, regardless of your beliefs (or not), you take the opportunity to see Marianne when she comes to Manchester Central on this all-too-rare occasion and hear her speak in what promises to be one of the most inspiring and thoughtful events of the year.
Marianne Williamson will be at the Manchester Conference Centre on Sunday 20 March, 12:00 – 5:30pm. Tickets for the event are priced at £55 and are available from mindbodyspirit.co.uk.
Marianne’s latest book, A Course in Weight Loss, is out now and available to buy on Amazon.
Thea is author of the inspiring memoir Running into Myself. Buy a copy from Amazon UK, Amazon US or, better yet, order a limited edition signed copy direct from her publisher here (also ships worldwide).
“Thea’s personal journey is utterly compelling. I couldn’t put her book down. Thea manages to make Greek mythology not only understandable, interesting, and relevant to our lives today, but shows how it can be utilised as a tool for self development. She introduces ideas and ways of thinking that broaden your mind, and lights the way for others to follow.”