A Response to the Urgency of Our Time: An Interview with Marianne Williamson
I’m honored to bring you this conversation with one of my greatest sheroes and a woman who is undoubtedly one of the most influential spiritual thinkers of our time, Marianne Williamson. Ever since reading Marianne’s bestselling book, A Return to Love, I experienced a transformation that has impacted the way I think about love, relationships, and what it means to stay connected with one another in an increasingly disconnected world. This book also contains the now-famous paragraph that begins with, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…,” which is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.
Marianne has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America,and Charlie Rose, among others—sharing her unflinching message of love, responsibility to one another and our planet, and spiritual transformation as a gateway to lasting peace. As an internationally acclaimed author, activist, and lecturer, 7 out of 12 of her books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her latest book, Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment, dives into what she calls the medicalization of despair, and the importance of applying a spiritual lens to the widespread epidemic of depression.
Marianne and I discussed the power of mercy, forgiveness, and atonement as antidotes that can help alleviate depression. Her book offers a number of powerful tools to address the pain and suffering of our time, which she believes are the result of the malignant consciousness that has taken hold of our society—a consciousness that has made us forget that “love is our natural intelligence.”
“A cosmically ordered universe stems from our capacity to love each other,” she explains. With love, the moments of sadness can become gateways to truth and transformation. As we discussed, the key is empathy and connection—simply “being with each other in the hour of our agony,” instead of attempting to fix or numb our feelings.
“This is Act 3 for me now,” Marianne mentions. Having turned 65 recently, she’s more aware than ever that there is no time to waste—and, true to her humanitarian spirit, she isn’t about to stop giving her best to the world anytime soon. I hope you are as inspired and moved by this conversation as I was.
3:20 Marianne’s focus in life: bringing together all she has learned and done to be of the greatest service
6:00 Suffering—a spiritual issue that cannot be addressed by psychology and pharmaceuticals
9:00 The medicalization of despair and why it is hurting us
10:45 Unhappiness as a symptom of the larger collective, not our personal conditions
12:30 The power of owning our own mistakes and forgiving others for theirs
15:00 Why the happiest and most meaningful life needs its sad days
17:00 The power of empathy—how suffering gives us X-ray vision into one another’s lives
21:30 Healing ourselves and our planet—why we aren’t here to ignore but to transform our illusions
24:50 The power of making room for our depression
27:30 Opening yourself to the winter of life—how our failures can lead to wisdom and enlightenment
30:30 The way to find your voice—using it on behalf of others who don’t have one
33:30 Why a purposeful life is about service and connection, and how living solely for ourselves leads to unhappiness