Marianne Willamson Transcript

Marianne Willamson Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. There have been over 370 of them now and if this is new to you go to, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu and you’ll see all the previous ones archived in four or five different ways. This whole show, program is made possible by the support of appreciative viewers and listeners, so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it there is a donate button on every page of the site. I’m really pleased to have as my guest today Marianne Williamson. Marianne is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. She has been a popular guest on TV programs such as Oprah, Larry King, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and Bill Maher. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times bestsellers and four of those have been number one. I’ll be linking on her page on to all of her books. Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989 she founded Project Angel Food, a Meals on Wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the LA area. To date Project Angel Food has served over 10 million meals. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance and she serves on the board of directors of the Results Organization working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world. Marianne is the founder of Sister Giant which is a pretty much annual conference dedicated to forging a deeper conversation about what is happening in America today and what we can do to change it. This year’s conference is coming up February 2nd through 4th in Washington DC. Speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders who will be giving the keynote address, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Hartman, Gene Houston, Robert Thurman and many more. And the event will be live-streamed as well as being able to be attended in person. So mostly today I think we’re going to talk about Sister Giant and we’re, actually about spirituality and politics. We may touch a little bit on Marianne’s latest book Tears to Triumph which I’ve been reading and there’s actually some overlap between that book and the whole theme of spirituality and politics. And as I think you’ll see, well if you’ve been listening to this show you’ll be aware that I feel that spirituality is relevant to everything. It’s not just some pie-in-the-sky thing, it’s relevant to economics and politics and the environment and astronomy or whatever, any field of human knowledge or endeavor and I think Marianne feels that too. So Marianne is a brilliant speaker, I’ve totally enjoyed getting ready for this interview, listening to a lot of her talks and I’m really pleased to have her on the show today. So thanks Marianne.

Marianne:  Thank you, thank you so much. I’m honored to be here. I appreciate your work as well.

Rick:  Yeah, you and I were just talking before the interview that when you spoke in Fairfield, gave a talk which I attended, you made the very prescient comment that a mainstream status quo candidate will not win the 2016 election. It’ll either be Trump or Bernie basically you said at that point and you were right. I don’t think that we quite achieved the outcome that we had been hoping for but you were right on that point anyway. And so what I’d like to do today if possible is go as deep and as broad and as big picture as possible into what’s really going on in the world today and in the United States in particular but in the world at large and why spirituality is relevant to politics and vice versa. You know, after the election a whole lot of spiritual teachers posted commentaries and blog posts and so on trying to give some kind of perspective into what had just happened and you probably did too and people were saying things like you know, whatever is happening is ultimately happening for the highest good and our culture, our human species are in a healing crisis and in a healing crisis things become much worse before they get better. This is a good sign as toxins are flushing to the surface. In the wake of the presidential election we are collectively poised to make a global shift to a higher level of function. Lynn McTaggart said, “This is a worldwide primal scream against a corrupt Western system that has benefited only a tiny proportion of the population. It’s happening all over Europe right now. Fasten your seatbelt—it’s going to be a bumpy ride but it’s a ride we all have to take.”

Marianne: Who said that one?

Rick:  Lynn McTaggart. You know her? She lives in the UK. Yeah, so anyway and you know everyone was surprised by the outcome of the election but a lot of people quickly scrambled to try to put a sort of a philosophical context to it and so I’ve talked enough to get you started here. What do you think? What’s going on?

Marianne: Well you obviously brought forth a very multi-layered and multi-dimensional picture of what’s happening so it’s more like Jeopardy, pick one.

Rick:  Yeah.

Marianne: Which aspect?

Rick:  What is that thing on Jeopardy? There’s this wild card thing, I forget how it goes. The Daily Double.

Marianne: First of all, I don’t think it’s going to ultimately be okay unless we ultimately make it okay. I think, you know, in the Course in Miracles it says God’s will has never not been done, love will ultimately prevail. But we shouldn’t just rest on that, because it’s like the symbolic 40 days in the Old Testament between the suffering in Egypt and deliverance to the Promised Land, or the symbolic three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Those are very important factors, but how long that 40 years is or how long that three days is, is completely up to us. So to me, we don’t get to take a pass on activity here by just assuming that this is a healing crisis. I mean these are just platitudes. This is a healing crisis then it’s all brought up for review. Yeah, but what happens when it’s brought up for review? Certainly what is occurring now, I do not see Donald Trump as a disease, I see him as symptom of a deeper disease. And I think that this demagoguery that he represents, the ways that he has harnessed some of the darkest forces in the American psyche for political purposes in the most cynical, almost diabolical way, could not have occurred had we not become so disengaged from our own citizen responsibility. If you have enough generations, enough decades, enough individuals who disengage from the process and don’t see it as our own responsibility to tend to our democracy, just like you tend to your car, you tend to your house, you tend to your things, you tend to your children, you tend to your marriage, you tend to those things which feed you, you feed them. If we only show up to feed our democracy once every four years, maybe once every two years, this is one of the things that occurs. But there were also many factors that led to our disengagement having to do with the corruption of the mainstream media, corporate owned and controlled, so that ratings mattered more than real ethical journalistic perspective. The fact that we haven’t been teaching civics to our children, the fact that so many of us don’t even remember the civics that we learned, the fact that there’s so much meaningless preoccupation in the air to take our attention and sort of suck our life juice, you know this is an all systems breakdown, it’s a perfect storm that came from a lot of factors. But the issue now to me is for us to become deeply aware not only of what those factors were, but also to become deeply aware of the places inside ourselves, where we, even if we did not directly conspire with the forces that brought this about, can now see places where we indirectly at least acquiesced by just going on with our own lives. And one of the things that to me is most disconcerting is this kind of faux artificial spirituality which is based on nothing of any fundamental theological or spiritual theme that would indicate that any of us get to take a pass on addressing the suffering of other sentient beings. In any serious spiritual path there is the recognition that a life lived outside the circle of love and alignment with the divine is chaotic and is filled with fear. And that is not only true in our own individual lives, but it’s true collectively. So what we have now is the fact that hate has spoken very loudly, hate has spoken very loudly internationally with the international terrorist threat and so forth and hate has now spoken very loudly. Hate and fear have gotten a stronghold. You know, they have been used by a presidential candidate of a major party to create a kind of winning edge. Now I don’t think that everybody who voted for Trump is filled with hate or racism or misogyny or anything like that. But when you have only 80,000 votes in major states that separated Trump’s candidacy from anyone else’s, it is clear that some of these darkened forces of the American psyche were used for this political purpose. From a spiritual perspective however, hate could not have been so strong in this election had we not been whispering so much with love. And this is what is so significant to me about a spiritual and metaphysical perspective. Anywhere, and you know this you’re living in Fairfield, you know you can look at any major area of our country, you can look at health, you can look at education, you can look at business, you can look at science, anywhere where meditators and people from a higher consciousness perspective have brought our paradigm, our shift, our perspective to bear, we have prevailed in causing a real fundamental shift in worldview in that institutional area. The one major area in America and in American civilization that has not been permeated, that has not yet been impacted by a real worldview shift that meditation and higher consciousness brings, is politics, and that’s only because we haven’t gone there. Now you’re writing from Fair— you’re in Fairfield you can, certainly John Hagelin did his part and others of us have tried. But for me, and this is what I’ve been involved with, what you’re involved with, what many of us are involved in is saying to our community, “Hey guys, no, it’s not enough to just say oh, this is a healing crisis.” Yeah, it’s a healing crisis, but you could say that about any physical disease. You could say, well I have the flu it’s a healing crisis. But still the issue is are you going to go outside in the snow while you have the flu? Because the healing crisis, you know what I’m saying? You’ve got to take care, you can’t just leave it at that. So I think that this is, I have felt for a long time that those of us who are part of a more spiritual perspective and seekers, and you know whatever you want to call our little tribe here, should be the biggest grown-ups in the room. We shouldn’t be those standing on the periphery infantilized and just thinking if we, you know, do our own individual spiritual practice that that’s not enough. And that’s why I, you know when you started talking this morning you said you think spirituality is relevant to everything. I couldn’t agree with you more. I take it further, it is the issue in everything because spirituality is the path of the heart. In your career is it the path of the heart or not? Are your relationships the path of the heart or not? Is your health impacted by path of the heart or not? All that politics is, is our collective behavior, and if our collective behavior just like our individual behavior is not in alignment with the path of the heart, hello, karma cause and effect, we will suffer. And if you’re not living the path of the heart individually you’re going to suffer as an individual, and if we’re not living the path of the heart collectively we will suffer collectively, and in that sense this is not mysterious. It’s more than the 11th hour. We’re kind of at midnight now. The issue is whether or not we will reset the clock.

Rick:  Yeah, that triggers a number of questions. One thing is that I was rather surprised to see the number of decades-long meditators who were rooting for Trump. They had their yard signs out and so on, and they had all sorts of rationalizations and there were others who were rooting for Bernie. But you know, I asked Hillary this when she came to town. We all get to talk to the candidates here and, you know, I said I have friends who are rooting for Bernie and if you win the nomination they’re not going to vote or they’re not going to vote for you, because they feel sort of that you are too centrist or that you’re just moving left in order to placate the Bernie people and you’ll move right back to the center if you win the nomination. And her response was, you know, there’s too much at stake here and, I don’t know, she went on it was it was a rather elaborate answer. But it perplexes me that people, we tend to sort of correlate or associate our own perspective with spirituality if we’re spiritual people and it’s a little outside my comfort zone. And there are other people who said things like, I hope Trump wins because then all hell will break loose and out of the rubble a Phoenix will arise and we’ll have a new civilization, we’ve really got to let everything collapse before that can happen.

Marianne: Well, there were people who said that in 1939, there were people who said that about why Germans should vote for Hitler. It is an immature, reckless, irresponsible perspective.

Rick:  What do you think about the notion that Maharishi used to say, that the leader is a kind of a reflection of the collective consciousness, and that as such he’s sort of an innocent mirror of the nation. I mean that that’s a little hard to understand if as we move from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Trump, unless each of those leaders is reflecting—

Marianne: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Well, wait a minute.

Rick:  Well okay go for it.

Marianne: This country voted for Al Gore.

Rick:  Yes it’s true.

Marianne: So you can’t say that Bush was a reflection of the consciousness of the nation in the year 2000. Gore won more votes and because of the machinations of the of the Supreme Court the presidency was given to Bush. And even on this one, if you’re talking about the consciousness of the nation, almost three million more people voted for Hillary than voted for Trump. And even though I think in concept what the Maharishi said is correct, it only is true if you have free and fair elections.

Rick:  Yeah.

Marianne: The crisis here is centered on our own electoral process having to do, first of all, with how the elite democratic establishment suppressed the candidacy of Bernie. I think that if Bernie had been the candidate, I think he would have trounced Trump personally. And it has to do with all the things that happened after that, the terrible propaganda machine, not only from Russia but from Trump himself. Trump metaphysically, this is why I think our crowd has the capacity for an understanding of what occurred here that some people don’t, he’s a black magician. You know, this is a man who used to sleep with Hitler’s speeches next to his bed and did not deny that when the press asked him about it. His response was, that doesn’t mean I read them. He’s a metaphysician.

Rick:  They just kept him company.

Marianne: And the mistake that Hillary made, you know, the divine message was given to Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.” Hillary clearly didn’t understand that. She followed the black magician into the devil’s lair. She went into the cave and he’ll always eat you for lunch when you do that. So what happened here, I don’t believe, is that the consciousness of the Americans was expressed. And I think that that goes back to what I was saying before. I think the Americans are a good people. We are a decent people. But our decency, our conscience, our goodness—which I do believe is in far greater, far greater than the aspect of the American psyche and character which is showing itself now—has not been harnessed for political purposes. You know, when I was younger the Democratic Party was a real container for conscience and soul. That’s what Bobby Kennedy said. He said, this is the soul of the nation. As soon as the Democratic Party started taking corporate donations back in the 1990s, I mean, you have one major political party who doesn’t even make any bones about the fact that they are outright handmaidens of a corporate order which they honestly think is better for America. And then you have another one which plays footsies with them under the table enough to have corrupted its basic institutional functioning. So what happened is not that the best of America doesn’t exist. It’s that the best of America was not given a chance here to live and to breathe in the political sphere. Now I agree with Hillary, there was too much at stake. I pivoted once the primaries were over. Yes, she would have been in some ways more centrist than many of us like, but compared to Donald Trump what are we even talking about? But there are a lot of conversations around that. And you know, nobody has a monopoly on truth. There are many aspects of reality there. However, I don’t think any of us should be naive enough to think that, “Oh, all hell’s going to break loose now so it’s going to be a really good thing.” It’s going to be a very painful thing. I think long term we’re going to be fine, in fact better than ever. But short term and medium, I grieve for my country and for the world possibly.

Rick:  So just as some say that a person has to go through a dark night of the soul before coming out the other side into the light, do you feel that the world, or the country or the world, has to go through a dark night which will manifest as all sorts of social and economic chaos? Or, do you think that that can be mitigated or minimized and we can still come out the other side without having had to feel it so strongly?

Marianne: Well, you mentioned before my book Tears to Triumph, and that’s about the dark nights of the soul. I think what we need to remember when you said everybody has to go through a dark night of the soul, well first of all, I’m not sure everybody has to, but second of all, there is no guarantee you come out of it. Some people go into a dark night of the soul and they do not come out of it. Once again let’s all wake up here, let’s not be naive. Dark night of the soul, the whole point of religious and spiritual understanding is coming to recognize how to navigate a dark night of the soul. But if you do not navigate a dark night of the soul through the lens of the light which lies beyond it, then that it can take you down all the way. People go through dark nights of the soul and end up killing themselves. This is a bit of a suicide spiral the United States is in. So no, there’s no guarantee that we’re coming out and let’s forget the woo-woo spirituality. When we see this deeply, we understand how you have to navigate a dark night of the soul. First of all, you have to take responsibility for your part in getting you here and atoning for your own mistakes. So a lot that’s coming up, things I mentioned before, such as all of us recognizing the extent to which we have disengaged from politics, recognizing, you know, when Gandhi said that politics should be sacred he meant that it should be an expression of our deeper authentic selves. We need to get brutally honest with ourselves, we need to atone, we need to atone for our racial disparities, we need to atone for our racist past, we need to atone for slavery, we need to atone for police brutality, we need to atone for the racial disparities in our private prison system and our criminal justice system. We need to atone for what we’ve done to Native Americans, we need to atone for the ways in the last few decades we have systematically moved the major resources of our country into the hands of very, very few people. We need to atone for the economic injustice that has become so prevalent that this election was a cry of the heart from the economically desperate. And that’s why I said this was either going to be a progressive populist revolution this year or it was going to be an authoritarian one. And when the Democratic Party suppressed what could have been a populist candidacy, we see what happened. So when you’re going individually through a dark night of the soul, I think it’s important spiritually to remember that what a nation goes through in terms of its psychological and moral development is no different than what an individual goes through, because the nation is just a collection of individuals. So you have to atone for your own mistakes, you have to make amends, you have to get very serious, committing yourself to do better, and you have to forgive other people for their mistakes and that’s what I think is happening now. You know we have an immune system, we have a social immune system just like we have a physical biological immune system, and now as each of us really see ourselves as immune cells, people are going, “What do we do, what do we do?” The issue from a spiritual perspective, you affect the horizontal plane by going deep into the vertical and as we all meditate, praise, do spiritual practice, deepen our commitment, deepen our devotion and say, “Okay, love, use me; use me for the healing of my country, use me for the healing of the world.” Then what begins to happen is your mind expands, you have greater insight, you have greater savvy, you have greater synchronistic opportunity to collaborate, to meet with other people in collaboration with whom. We know who Trump’s going to be this year, the issue is who are we going to be and if we deepen in our spiritual practice. You know, one of the things that has always interested me is the psychological difference a couple hundred years ago and a little bit less than that too, between being against slavery and actually being an abolitionist. Being against slavery is you’re like, “Oh, ain’t it awful?” To be an abolitionist means I do more than think it’s awful. I stand my ground, that because it is intolerable to me I will do anything to resist it, and because of my spiritual faith I believe that there is an alternative possibility. This is why abolition came from the Quakers. This is why so many of the women’s suffragette movements were Quakers. Dr. King was a preacher. Those of us with a spiritual and religious perspective have historically, in the social justice movements and journeys of the United States, been extremely important. We haven’t been those standing on the sidelines, we’ve been central to the mindset that is necessary to both resist that which is unacceptable and to invoke that which is preferable.

Rick:  I listened to a talk you gave at Occupy, I guess it was Occupy Oakland, but you know, at the time when the Occupy movement was happening, but that was years ago now. And then there was a big upsurge of enthusiasm with Bernie and that got quashed. In fact, the public, you know, the mainstream media gave 27 times more coverage to Trump than to Bernie during the primaries, even though Trump was among 17 candidates and Bernie was among two or three. And so people get discouraged. They think, well we tried, you know, it flopped. And so and you’ve just been saying, we should do this, we should do this, we should do this. I remember at the Democratic Convention about eight years ago, Dennis Kucinich giving a speech and literally jumping up and down on the stage saying, “Wake up America! Wake up America!” And of course, everybody was talking in the crowd nobody’s even listening to him. So you know, where do we get the leverage to actually affect change when the numbers are so small and the static is so loud?

Marianne: Okay, well first of all, most people who say we tried, what did you do? I mean really, we tried. What, you went to a couple of Bernie rallies, you sent him some $27 a few times? Most people who say we tried, really? Well compare that to what abolitionists did, compare that to what women suffragettes did, compare that to what people in the civil rights movement did and tell me you tried. So we need to stop coddling, when we hear each other say this stuff we need to laugh out loud, we’ve tried. You know anybody who has any kind of political perspicacity knows that whether it was abolition or women’s suffrage or civil rights movement, it didn’t happen in an election cycle or two. These are huge movements for change. So first of all, number one, the fact that we didn’t get— we’re a generation that’s so used to getting what we want when we want it, that when we didn’t get what we want when we wanted, then we move into cynicism, which is our subconscious excuse for not helping and taking it to the next level. Where, no, it’s not going to be convenient, and it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be fun, and it’s not going to be sexy, but we’re doing it because we are grown-ups now and we know that there it is meaningful to show up for your country and to show up for future generations. So that’s number one. Number two, hey listen, people who didn’t vote for Hillary in the general election, hey, I mean a lot of people including in the spiritual community have a lot to look at. You wanted this? You think this is going to be great because it’s going to be a healing crisis? Great, because let me tell you something, maybe the worst of it won’t impact your life, but it’s going to impact a lot of people’s lives whether it’s yours or not. So good luck with all that healing crisis stuff, right? And secondly, there is plenty we can do, that’s why we are doing Sister Giant. You know, whether it’s Zephyr Teachout and Ari Berman who will be there to talk about voter suppression, to talk about getting the money out of politics. Opal Tometi, an angel, Kyoto Williams, who was a Buddhist meditation teacher but talks about racial justice. Opal Tometi is one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter. Michael Weiss will be there. Corinna Gore talking about the environment. Bernie Sanders, one of the great new, talking about going forward, Pramila Jayapal, one of the great new Congresswoman, progressive from Washington. None of this is nothing we can do stuff. That’s why we’re doing Sister Giant, whether it’s people who show up live in Washington or watch it live stream. I mean, if you, you know, I’ve heard people say, it’s an interesting psychological dynamic. People will say, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do.” And then I’ll tell them, “You know, we’re going to do this great conference and Sister Giant.” I’m not saying it’s the only thing, but it’s one thing that will just light you up and give you information and give you a spiritual perspective on what we need to do on the outside, and what we need to do on the inside. And then the person will respond, “Yeah, but I just don’t know what to do.” I’m like, “I just told you something to do!” We have to look in ourselves. This is not a time for whining. The abolitionists didn’t whine, the women suffragettes didn’t whine, the civil rights people movement did not whine when they were on that bridge, they were not whining. And I think we need to grow up and toughen up and become far more serious about our devotion to love. You know, when you look at terrorists, they are not kind of, sort of, sometimes when it’s convenient committed. You know, those who are committed to hate, unfortunately, have a perverse kind of courage. And too many of us are kind of, sort of, you know, when it’s convenient, committed to love, and we are obsessed with talking about love in our own personal lives. But when you’re talking about politics from a spiritual perspective, and Gandhi and King, they’re talking about love as it impacts our economic relationships, our social relationships, our political relationships, like you were saying, the spiritual path is relevant to everything. So we should be leaders in this. We should be the leaders in this, the biggest grown-ups in the room. So I think Sister Giant, coming two weeks after the election will be, after the inauguration will be an extremely important thing. I meet so many people in the spiritual community who have never even been to Washington. We believe in the effect of molecules. Put your molecules there if you can, or at least live stream, because of that field, the resonant field, how the Course in Miracles says an idea grows stronger when it’s shared. Whether you’re hearing from Robert Thurman about Buddhism, or you’re hearing about meditation, you’re hearing Jim Houston, whether we’re talking about the internal or moving the next day into the external, we have to love hard, pray hard, and kick ass, and not even indulge the silliness of, we’ve tried so hard already. And we have elections two years from now, and there is much to be done in these next two years. We must not be silent, we must not be passive, there is much to do to resist this man. In my opinion, we have a mentally unfit, unstable human being, whether it’s drugs, and I don’t know, or whether it’s just some narcissistic personality disorder, I don’t know. But I think any rational person has reason to doubt not only the competency, but the mental fitness of the man who is about to be given the greatest political power to wield in the world. This is not a time to sit on the sidelines and just kind of wring our hands, to whine, or to say it’s so wonderful because it’s a healing crisis. And it is a healing crisis, but the issue is, therefore, what are we called to?

Rick:  Right, I think that Trump’s unfitness is going to become more apparent as he’s confronted with the actual presidency. And they say that the presidency is like drinking from a fire hose, there’s so much coming at you, and we’ve seen how he handles stuff coming at him, even, you know, some movie star making some kind of comment, he has to respond to it at three in the morning. It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out, and how the people who voted for him feel four years from now.

Marianne: I think people, I think, you know, just even on what you just said, that is more than lack of impulse control.

Rick:  Yeah. You know, one thing about, it reminded me just now when you were talking about terrorists being really committed, love is more subtle than violence. It’s like yesterday in the Fort Lauderdale airport, somebody shot up the baggage claim area. Now, that makes big news. Now, if I had been there, and that guy wasn’t there, and I had just sat in the baggage claim area and felt infinite love for everyone in the room, I don’t think anyone would have noticed it, and it wouldn’t have made the news. And yet, it would have been having an influence. And yet, it doesn’t seem adequate to just emit love on a transcendental level, you know, on a subtle level. You say, you often say, God cannot do for us what he cannot do through us. And so, it seems like we have to resist the temptation to just love from the abstract, and make the effort, if it takes effort, to translate that into something more concrete, more explicit.

Marianne: Well, I think it’s both and. I think if we taught enough children in the world to meditate, that that would be enough.

Rick:  It could be, yeah.

Marianne: Yeah, I mean, if we did have enough meditators on the planet, and enough people in serious prayer meditation and emitting love on the planet, then I do think that would be enough. But right now, I’m reminded of Deepak Chopra’s line when he said, if I want to cultivate health I will take the Ayurvedic path, but if I’m in a car accident, a bad car accident, somebody please get me to a Western hospital emergency room as soon as possible. So, right now, we’ve been in this car crash, so we do need the political activism. What Martin Luther King said to that is, we need a qualitative shift in our souls and a quantitative shift in our circumstances. Martin Luther King said that the desegregation of the American South was the political externalization of the goal of the Civil Rights Movement, but that the ultimate goal was the establishment of the beloved community. So, the way I see it, it’s both and. It’s extremely important that I meditate in the morning. It’s extremely important that I atone for my errors. It’s extremely important that I seek to be, to answer to the call to the rise to the occasion in my own life and my own relationships, to monitor myself, to course correct when I’m off, to forgive others for their mistakes, to atone for my own, and to be politically active. There are a lot of hours in the day. It’s the yin and the yang of mature, responsible living.

Rick:  Yeah, and we see what happens when people are just out on the street in anger without having established deep peace within themselves. You know, what actually are they contributing through that emotion?

Marianne: That’s why Gandhi said, and it’s a basic tenet of nonviolent philosophy, that the end is inherent in the means. That’s why at Sister Giant we’re talking about the internal purification as well as the external transformation, because of what you just said. Everything we do is infused with the consciousness with which we do it. So, if we don’t work on ourselves, as Martin Luther King said, there’s a great line, “You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.”

Rick:  Good point. So, to summarize what you’ve just been saying, it would seem that you would recommend doing some sort of inner work, whatever you find to be effective, and doing it with dedication and regularity. And at the same time expressing the results of that in some form of service, some form of activity that suits your temperament and your capabilities, right? Would that be a good summary?

Marianne: That’s not enough.

Rick:  Okay, more.

Marianne: Times ten, times a hundred, because we’ve all been saying that. It’s a little too easy, it’s a little too light. I would add to what you were saying, to include in that, that this is an urgent moment in the history of the world, that we now have holding the levers of power in the most powerful country of the world, someone whose mindset does not seem to promote a sustainable option, necessarily, even for life on earth. And that therefore we must, and that we are called on to realize, particularly those of us who are Americans, that we are as citizens empowered to influence, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, one of the most potent factors in deciding which way the world will go. And that for the sake of our country, the sake of our world, and the sake of future of life on earth, we must dedicate ourselves, we must go deep into the vertical, pray every day in whatever way is true for us, use me, and to include in that effort that you were talking about, the public sphere. Too many in the spiritual community make it about private issues, and we must expand our thinking to the collective and the public issues. That’s what politics is. I don’t care what the political issue is, if it’s a public issue, it will make its way to your private door. You might think you’ve got the food thing down because of your green juice and all the stuff that you’re doing, but if they’re poisoning the air and they’re poisoning the food supply, it’s going to get to you. So there’s no putting yourself in some little bubble, where because you’re handling sustainable options in your own personal life, you will be able to escape the worst ravages of what would happen, God forbid, if the shit could hit the fan. And with this man at the realm, that is a possibility. So you know if you’re spiritual and the house is burning down, you yell fire, you don’t just say your mantra five times and just trust the outcome to God. God needs to be able to trust the outcome to us. The issue is not just what God can do for us, he’s doing it all the time, he’s doing it right in this moment, he’s providing each and every one of us with collaborative opportunities. You and I, for example, in this moment are doing our best to take advantage of the collaborative opportunity we’ve been given. But for the rest of your day, for the rest of my day, for the rest of the day of everybody watching this, there are collaborative opportunities to work with others in uplifting the consciousness of the human race, but particularly at a time like this, to be part of the great resistance of 2017. Because if you were reading the newspaper, if you were looking at what’s going on, which is a revolutionary act in the world today, things are happening every single day that call us to sign up in our own way for the job of being part of the great resistance.

Rick:  Yeah, so I can hear a lot of people saying, “Yeah, but— “, I know what you’re going to say to this part but, “Easy for her to say, you know, she dedicates her life to this stuff, it’s her profession, she makes a lot of money writing books about it. I’m busy, I got three kids, I have a job, I’m exhausted at the end of the day, I have a two-hour commute and I don’t have time to do anything else.” So, I mean, what would you—

Marianne: Okay, may I say something even to that already? This is not what I make a living doing, this is what I lose a lot of money doing. You know, Sister Giant is—

Rick:  But you have the liberty to do it because you have a passive…you have an income stream.

Marianne: Well…just how much money I’ve lost on all my crazy political desires. So I, you know, if you talk to my accountant about that, she would say, “This is crazy she’s doing this.” So, that’s actually not, it’s simply not the case, people can say that, but it’s simply in my case not the case. But I will tell you this, what we need to understand is that the fact that people are too busy to have time, and too stressed to have time, to involve themselves in politics is exactly what, quote unquote, “they” wanted to happen. That’s exactly what the ploy is here, get what’s happened here guys. When you do not have universal health care, that causes a lot of stress in people’s lives. When you have the absolutely immoral burden of all these college loan debts that so many of our young people carry, when you have educational costs, when you have the economic disparity that we have in so many cases, so many people trapped in a kind of permanent underclass economically in this country, of course people are too tired to get involved. That’s the game. When you don’t teach people civics so people don’t feel that they have the tools, when you have all these efforts state by state to suppress the vote, that’s the game. That force of consciousness has systematically, step by step, created and maintained a situation where you’ve got the majority of people being screwed by the system, too tired and too stressed, to express their outrage. Hello, see that for what it is. And when you see that for what it is, something rises up in you and you realize, my God, they’re not going to get me like that. So, yes, I am, even though, believe me, as I said to you before, my political activism certainly does not make me money and I think clearly loses me money given how many people say, “That’s it, I’m not going to read her books anymore,” whatever. Even more than that, it is true that a free market economy has been very, very good to me and that’s part of why I am so outraged that not enough people can get into the game these days. When you get into the game, if you can make it into the game in America, this is an incredible country and it’s a very forgiving system. Once you’ve had some any kind of financial success, you kind of made it in, the system is good to itself. But you’ve got too many Americans today who can’t get into the game, particularly young people. And that, the American dream, is that you can play the game, that you can get in there. And I realize that because of, you know, a good public school education that I got, the love I got from my parents, and just a more giving and forgiving society that I grew up in, I had a shot at it. Whereas I see too many young people today, what do you expect them to do? What do you expect them to do? They’re stuck where the best they could do is that. I don’t know if you saw the film made by John Fugelsang on the American dream. So, I think that the fact that the system has been good to me is part of why I feel, you know, moral outrage is not born of anger, it’s born of love. I realize everybody’s child is important as my child, and should have the same opportunities to be in there. You know, you see all these young people with these college debts, they’d love to be entrepreneurs, they’d love to be capitalists, they’d love to have $2,500 in discretionary income that they could build their own website and go out and make it happen. But there are too many ways in which people can’t get in. You want to make your economy thrive, help more people be in it, get into it. So, the fact that I have a taste of what America does right only increases my hunger for, to do my part, which I think every generation owes every future generation to maintain what we’ve got, what we do right, as well as course correct where we’ve gotten it wrong.

Rick:  So if millions of people in this country, let’s say everybody who voted for Bernie or Hillary, were to say, “Alright, I will do whatever Marianne tells me to do. She’s the boss. I don’t know what to do. I’ll take her advice and guidance.” What would you tell them?

Marianne: First thing I’d say is don’t, please don’t think, even think that way about me or anyone else, I will do whatever Marianne tells me to do.

Rick:  Well, I know that sounded funny, like you’re some kind of—

Marianne: No, I mean, I can’t let that stand, you know that’s, first of all, I don’t think anybody who is a serious reader of my books or, you know, that’s just, we can’t even joke about it. No, no, no, no, no, I don’t want that about me or about Trump or anybody. But what I, the answer to that question is that I hope people will look at Sister Giant, you know, I don’t have a Mecca complex, there’s no one person or one project or one conference or one issue that’s going to fix all this. It’s a multi-dimensional problem and each of us will be led by our hearts. But I would say that for those of you who want a two-and-a-half-day conference where you’re in Washington, laying down your, you know, molecules in the ethos there, or on live stream where you are listening to people and participating in a resonant field of people who are considering what is happening now through a spiritual lens as well as a political, who want to heal all this from an integrative approach—mind, body, and spirit—who want to bring to the political challenges of this moment an integrative holistic response, then I would hope that you will look at and that you will ask in your heart if you belong there. You won’t feel when you leave that Marianne has told you what to do, but you will feel that Marianne has, along with others, placed before you a plethora of options and ideas and insights. My goal is simply that people leave there just lit up, whether they saw it on live stream or there, and then what you do after that is your business. That natural intelligence is inside all of us, we just need to turn it on.

Rick:  Yeah, that last sentence kind of corrects the lameness of my question, which is obviously, I don’t think everybody should do what you would tell them to do. But I think you would agree that we all have an inner resource, and in a sense we’re all millionaires in a spiritual sense, and yet we’re walking around like paupers not realizing we have this bank account. And if we could start, you know, dipping into the bank account we’ll find hopefully good ways to spend the money, the spiritual money.

Marianne: That’s just hopefully…

Rick:  Yeah, it will, it will all, my cup runneth over, it just…

Marianne: Yeah, the natural order of things.

Rick:  So I mean the reason I asked that kind of question is that there’s a sort of a frustration that I am, that I feel that people are feeling, of hopelessness. Again, that the power brokers seem to be so powerful, the corporations, the people who run the politics, the media, everything else. And there’s a little bit of a, I think a lot of people just feel like it’s hopeless, you know, what can little old me do, but there’s strength in numbers. You know that, you happen to remember that Margaret Mead quote about small…how does that go?

Marianne: Yeah, that we should never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. You know, the majority did not wake up one day and say let’s free the slaves, and the majority didn’t wake up one day and say let’s give women the right to vote. The majority didn’t wake up one day and say let’s end segregation. What happened was that a small group of people, once again enough people, a critical mass of people, you know this as meditators know this, I mean it’s law that you, spiritual law, if you have enough people going into the deep ethers, the quantum field of infinite possibility, that shifts the system. Whether it’s the 11%, you know, what is that critical mass? I think we have the critical mass, we just need to activate it. So I, you know, this hopeless thing, I feel hope is born of participation in hopeful solutions. You know during the AIDS crisis, I was very involved in the AIDS crisis. I didn’t feel hopeless. When you’re involved in, “we’re going to fix this,” you can’t be involved in we’re going to fix this and feel hopeless at the same time. You don’t have time for hopelessness. It’s like, you know, it’s if the house is burning you’re just thinking about getting everybody out of the rooms to safety. You don’t take it— One of the things that I, that’s always interested me is I’m always fascinated by really great athletes, because not only of their athletic abilities but their emotional psychological discipline. If they make a mistake on the court, they can’t afford the 0.001 percent of a second to go, oh damn. They can’t, you just got to keep going.

Rick:  Unless they’re John McEnroe.

Marianne: Yeah right, there are a few who would indulge and that’s if you’re so great. But I think even that hopelessness that people are expressing, which really is an excuse for not helping and is kind of a self-indulgence and a whininess and a childishness, it also isn’t realistic. We have an election two years from now. We have an election where, as Abraham Lincoln said, there’s not that much damage. Oh no, he said evil. There’s not that much evil any of our governments could ever perpetrate as long as the people remain vigilant. And what he was referring to is the fact that every two years we can kick out all of the members of the House of Representatives. Right now that’s very difficult because of gerrymandering, but gerrymandering is one of the things we need to address. Right now, you know the other day when the Republican first official act was to scuttle the independent office of ethics. Well, there was such a public outcry, and I think basically a lot from Republicans from the right, that they stopped. I mean these are responsive. I mean, if you were knowledgeable enough about civics, you know you can just say in your mind, “I will do something proactively to annoy him every single day.” You know?

Rick:  Yeah.

Marianne: Use your voice and when you are out there working it, it’s almost like it’s not about hopelessness. It’s about dying knowing, someday dying knowing that you did your best. Susan B. Anthony did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment, but I feel like every time a woman votes, her soul must tingle. You know, we need to grow up and the spiritual among us should be the leaders of this. You’re serving the ages. You know, whether you get it— One of the things I’ve always been fascinated by is the building of the great cathedrals of Europe and even St. John the Divine here. It took hundreds of years to build these things. So every artist knew, I will not live to see this completed. That’s not what’s driving me. Right?

Rick:  And Newton stood on the shoulders of giants.

Marianne: Exactly, exactly. So, I think that’s where we need to be in our spiritual conversation, and not indulge ourselves, and not indulge each other, as much as this become kind of a mental and emotional habit among us.

Rick:  Yeah. And you know, actually I don’t feel that way, but I’m trying to…trying to give voice for people who I—

Marianne: I know you don’t. I know your work. I have great admiration for you.

Rick:  Thank you. You know one thing I often wonder, see what you think about this, is that…Well let me preface this by saying that I saw an article yesterday that said 99 things to be optimistic about. And it was a really cool list of all sorts of things in all sorts of areas, technology, environment, economics, hunger, disease, where things are really starting to turn around in many respects. Or, at least very positive things are beginning to spring up. Like there’s something like 10,000 solar panels being installed every day, and there are many diseases which are down a lot, and reading is way up, you know, I mean some form of basic education is way up now, worldwide. So, you don’t often see this stuff in the news and it is a little easy to get discouraged when you just, you know, read about all the crap that’s happening in Washington and all the bombings and the shootings and all this stuff. And this other stuff is a little bit more under the radar. So there’s that. Maybe you should comment on that point before I bring out my next point that I had in mind.

Marianne: Well, I, first of all I’d love to see that list.

Rick:  I’ll send it to you.

Marianne: But I believe that list already. I believe it every time I see a small child or a baby, I see how God is saying, “You can start all over.” I see forgiveness. I see love. I see things to be hopeful and optimistic about every day. I don’t look at politics because I think that it is the channel of transformation. I think politics is important because if we are not careful it will be a vessel of destruction before we get a chance to fully manifest all these marvelous opportunities. People are good. I believe in people. I just feel that the great institutional, political, economic and institutional vessels of power have been corrupted by some of the worst aspects of human consciousness. And this represents a serious crisis for the human race. It’s not like I don’t think good things would happen if that stuff would just get out of the way. All the more reason.

Rick:  Yeah, I think that looking back historically, it’s interesting to consider that people living in the Roman Empire probably thought that that was going to go on forever. People living in the Soviet Union probably thought that was going to go on forever. And then these things just sort of, you know, sometimes suddenly collapsed. And so big changes can take place when we’re really not anticipating them. So that’s encouraging perhaps. Go ahead, you want to comment on that?

Marianne: Well, I think one of the problems is that too many Americans did just assume we were guaranteed this.

Rick:  Yeah.

Marianne: It was a very immature view because anyone with perspective of history knows that great empires fall, and we have been behaving like an empire. And we’re behaving like an empire now. And if we continue to behave this way we will fall. And I think if anything Trump’s presidency represents is end of empire behavioral patterns, and that’s why we must resist it.

Rick:  Another thing that often occurs to me is that we waltzed into a continent that was incredibly rich and abundant in all sorts of resources, having been confined, most of us in Europe, which had been densely populated for hundreds and hundreds of years. And all of a sudden it was like this huge, vast resource which, you know, obviously we handled it in a rather brutal way with the genocide of the Native Americans and all, but it enabled us to become very wealthy, just this tremendous resource. And there’s this attitude, you see it in agriculture for instance, where there’s this attitude that the soil is just going to last forever. But there’s been this, you know, tremendous reduction in the topsoil. So I think on a larger scale, there’s this attitude that whatever has made America great is going to last forever. But we may have depleted the resources to a significant extent now.

Marianne: Well it has made us, the things that you talked about, made us materially rich but spiritually poor. As Mother Teresa would said and also as JFK said, we cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor. I do think there’s a critical mass of people in the United States who realize that. And who realize not only the way we treat the planet including the topsoil and all of, you know, everything having to do with fossil fuel companies, having to do with big agriculture, having to do with chemical companies, pesticides, Monsanto, Round-up, all that stuff, we understand that. I think that, and how we treated the native nations, you know, the indigenous American nation, the original peoples of the United States. Which is such a tragedy, not only to them personally, but also the marriage of European prowess and native, indigenous, philosophical spiritual outlook could have been such an extraordinary gift to the planet. We did not take that option. But I think that that was then and this is now. You look at something like Standing Rock. You know, once again, I think Bernie would have won and I think that if the Democratic establishment had not suppressed his candidacy, I think there’s a very good chance he would have won the nomination and I think he would have trounced. So, let’s be clear here and even with all that, she won by almost three million votes.

Rick:  And if you listen to Greg Palast, she won the electoral college too. There was so much hanky-panky going on.

Marianne: Greg Palast, you know, I listen to everything he says. So, there’s a lot of conversation here and even when it leads you to pull your hair out, it doesn’t lead you to hopelessness.

Rick:  No.

Marianne: It just leads you to, “Oh my, okay, let’s get in there.” This is not, if you look at the great, you know, look at World War II. The Allies didn’t win every battle and the first people on the beach on D-Day, you know, they died. But they still took that beach. So let’s have some real perspicacity here and perspective here that backs up courage. And I think we’re spending, to be honest Rick, I think we’re spending too much time being the devil’s advocate. I think for me when you say, “Well what do you say to people who…are depressed?” I don’t take my, they are, they’re not the people that we need to be in conversation with. It’s more like, “Okay, what do we talk about among those of us who are ready to do whatever it takes?” That’s what Sister Giant is about. If you haven’t woken up enough to know that you should be the grown-up, you know, people say it’s sad when somebody misses their childhood. It’s sad when somebody misses their adulthood too. And we should spend less time coddling that and more time talking among ourselves, “Okay, what are we going to do?” And that to me is what Sister Giant is about.

Rick:  That’s great. And thank you for continuing to come back to that. I don’t mean to be skirting along away from it. It’s good that we—

Marianne:  That’s part of your job here, I understand.

Rick:  I’m just asking lots of questions that come to mind. Another thing that I’ve wondered for years and years and years, I’d like to get your perspective on it, is, and we’ve kind of touched upon this but maybe not directly, that there are so many things that are just so firmly ensconced, you know, economic systems, companies, various things that seem very powerful and that don’t, to my understanding, actually have a, would not belong in an enlightened world. They’d have no place. I mean, just liquor companies for one thing, or the fossil fuel industry, and many, many, many things that you wouldn’t expect a society of relatively enlightened people to patronize or be interested in or want to have it continue to exist. So I’m just wondering about if we actually, and I guess you’re saying it’s not a done deal, it’s not a given, but if we are actually headed toward a kind of an enlightened society to whatever degree it gets, it arrives, I wonder what the transition will be like. I wonder what there will, what will happen to, and how these, sort of huge, powerful entities, I mean Enron, look what happened to that, just poof, disappeared one— So, I’m interested in how smooth or how tumultuous that will be.

Marianne: Well, as I’ve been saying, and as many people have been saying for years, there is a cancer that underlies that cancer, and that is the undue influence of money on our political functioning. So, when you look at this huge behemoth multinational corporate matrix, whether it has to do with fossil fuel companies, health insurance companies, chemical companies, all of the huge corporate influences that really are answerable to no one country’s laws, they’re answerable to the short-term economic gain for their own shareholders, which is a very small portion of the world’s population. They are able to have the kind of power that they have in the United States and on the functioning of the American government for one reason, and that is money. And that has been true for a while, but became particularly true with the Citizens United decision. Which right there was a reason to vote for Hillary, because with Hillary who stated herself that she wanted the overturning of Citizens United, the people that she would have appointed to the Supreme Court. We now have with Trump as president, a 0% chance that we’re going to be able to bring that to the court and have the court override Citizens United. However, there are still ways, and that has to do with constitutional amendment to establish public funding of federal campaigns. This is why Lawrence Lessig, I’m a big fan of his, a Harvard professor who’s a leader in this, he is in Rwanda right now so he couldn’t be at Sister Giant, but we’re going to have Ari Berman and we’re going to have Zephyr Teachout, both of whom are leaders in this. That’s once again, let’s get together, let’s discuss it, let’s learn. So, the greatest moral challenge of our generation is to get the money out of our politics. Until we do, these multinational corporate forces will be able to run roughshod over the peoples of the planet and the planet itself. So, you know, when you have a new Secretary of State who’s the CEO of Exxon, I mean, what do you even say to this? What you have to say is, what we need, and that is the point, what we need to say in response. So once again, we do have means. You know, what did you think the abolitionists looked at slavery and thought it was going to be easy? I mean, come on, yeah, get out there, get in here and get out there.

Rick:  That’s great. Ari Berman also grew up in Fairfield, as you probably know. I used to go over to his parents’ house and fix his mother’s computer while he’d be, like, playing on the floor fighting with his sister.

Marianne: He’s excellent, so that’s so cool and he’ll be there.

Rick:  I know, he’s great.

Marianne: That’s what Sister Giant brings together, people who have the inside scoop and the outside scoop.

Rick:  Yeah. Do you want to talk about Tears of Triumph a little bit?

Marianne: Thank you so much.

Rick:  Tell us about that. Yeah. I have a lot of notes from the book, but why don’t you just introduce it.

Marianne: Well, I think that there, you know, when I wrote that book Trump had not been elected president, but there was still a lot of despair. And by the way, when I say that, I understand a lot of people who are watching right now are very excited about his presidency. There’s nothing about which I’ve so wanted to be wrong. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m totally wrong about what he brings. So I just want to say that. And I respect democracy, you know, so I respect we don’t all have to agree with each other, so if I’ve been a little lazy in my communication. In terms of Tears to Triumph though, there’s so much despair and so much depression. And what has happened, talking about this huge multinational corporate behemoth, the pharmaceutical companies have done a real number and they have absconded with the word depression and they have medicalized it. Now from a spiritual perspective, life lived outside a circle of love and dedication to the divine, is a life lived outside a cosmically ordered universe. If your consciousness is not aligned with the higher laws of love and truth, by whatever name you give them, then you are cast into a psychically disordered, fractured universe where chaos and despair are inevitable. This is not a medical issue, this is a spiritual issue. People say they have an anxiety disorder. Who doesn’t? This entire, the way we order our civilization is anxiety producing, because it trains us to think the thoughts that make despair and depression inevitable, in that these thoughts focus on our individual pain, our individual circumstances, as opposed to our unity, which is the only plane of existence where inner peace resides. So, hundreds of years ago if people were upset, they needed comfort, they needed inspiration, they looked to religion. Now that baton was passed, in large part because of malfeasance on the part of those religious institutions, but it was passed to modern psychotherapy. But modern psychotherapy has failed in that too often the prevailing paradigm has focused on the individual sufferer and the travails and the circumstances of their individual suffering, as opposed to a larger realization that I’m suffering from the same thing you’re suffering from. And it’s not about you or about me, it’s about a whole cultural order which makes your economic stress, your upset something that is inevitable and we should be addressing it together. So basically, because of its over secularization and its overly individualistic approach, modern psychotherapy has failed to provide the comfort and hope and inspiration on a mass level that people have wanted. What’s happened over the last few decades is that the baton has been passed again, and this happened so quickly, it’s like you turned your head you came back, everybody’s on meds. And you’ve got the every, masses and masses of people, one in four American women are diagnosed as clinically depressed. And I remind you, clinically depressed, what does it mean? There’s no blood test for this, there’s no blood test like for diabetes, it means that somebody in a clinic said you’re depressed. Well, hello, if you’re into something like the Course in Miracles, or any kind of spiritual path, of course you are, we live our lives in fear of each other and through a mental lens which fosters depression. So, then you have what we have today, which is this unbelievable prevalence of the use of antidepressants. Now, I’m not talking here about schizophrenia, I’m not talking about bipolar disease, that’s outside the purview of my expertise. But what I am saying, which is a spiritual issue not a medical issue, is that there is a spectrum of normal human despair—someone that you love died, you’re depressed about this; you lost your job, you’re depressed about this; you went bankrupt, you’re depressed about this; you got a divorce, you’re depressed about this. But that sadness and that despair and that depression is not a mental illness. And the fact that it’s being treated as a mental illness, in far too many cases, including these antidepressants given by doctors who are general practitioners, even gynecologists, people who do not even claim to have any expertise on mental illness, means that what happens is, not only the multi-billion dollars being made, going back to the corporate behemoth and the matrix, not only does that mean billions of dollars being made by the pharmaceuticals, but it means that at a very time when we need to be, if ever there was a time we need to be awake, if ever there was a time we need to be on alert, too many of us are at this kind of flat affect. And this flat affect is desensitizing you to your own suffering, but it’s also desensitizing yourself to the suffering of others and it’s desensitizing yourself to some of the alarms that you need to be hearing that are going off. So this is a crisis, this is a crisis for us individually and collectively. And the only thing, and so what I wanted to talk about in this book is what does Buddhism say about suffering, what does the Old Testament say about suffering, what does the New Testament say about suffering—whether it is the suffering that Buddha saw which was a precursor to his journey to enlightenment, whether it is the suffering of the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt or the suffering of Jesus on the cross. All the great religious perspectives point to the human suffering and animal suffering that is absolutely inevitable when lived outside the context of holiness, or wholeness, wholeness of mind. And what is that transformation, whether you’re talking about enlightenment, self-actualization, deliverance of the promised land, resurrection or inner peace, they are all the same thing. And so I wanted to talk about, well, what do the spiritual traditions have to say. And the one last thing I want to say about that, and why I also felt particularly strongly wanted to write this book, the FDA has issued a black box warning, and you know they don’t exactly have a high bar anymore, a low bar anymore, well yeah, the opposite. For people 25 years old and younger, antidepressant use actually increases, it does not decrease, but it increases the risk of suicidal ideation. There’s a woman named Kelly Brogan who’s written about this, wrote a book called Own Your Mind. A lot of these people, including the shooters, these mass school shootings, you look deep into the use of meds, a lot of these famous celebrities who have hanged themselves, a lot of the suicides. I love it when they come out and the paper will say things like, they weren’t, the autopsy shows they weren’t on drugs except for mental health treatment. Hello, this is drugs. So this is one of, this is America’s deep, dirty little secret. And so I wanted to talk about, you know when people say things, two things. One is when people say, well, they need to take the meds just to take the edge off while they’re doing the work. First of all, being with the edge is the work. And second of all, if you take the edge off, they don’t even necessarily really know the deeper work is to be done. And there was one other thing I was going to say about it, but I don’t remember.

Rick:  It will come to mind. To my way of understanding, the proliferation of pharmaceuticals, the widespread use of them, is sort of symptomatic of really the materialistic paradigm that governs our culture. We think of ourselves, or the scientific paradigm thinks of us as biological robots in a meaningless universe, and it’s all neurochemistry. And we can change our neurochemistry, and kind of engineer a better state of mind, you know, chemically. But, as you say from your book, “Your human self may be in hell right now but your Divine Self is literally untouched by your suffering, and your Divine Self is who you are.” And you mentioned enlightenment being the only true antidote to suffering. And all the religious traditions talk about the kingdom of heaven within, Sat-Chit-Ananda, you know, we have this tremendous reservoir of happiness within us. So it would seem that, you know, depression is a failure to connect clearly enough with that reservoir. And you’re not going to connect more clearly with it by doping yourself up with whatever these people are taking. You’re just going to probably muck up the wiring even more.

Marianne: That’s right, I agree with you 100%. And you know, some people say, “Oh yeah, we tried all the spiritual stuff.” Like yeah, they looked into a candle for a couple times. We tried that.

Rick:  Right.

Marianne: That’s kind of the same thing that people do politically, “Oh we tried.” Really? Because I want to know what you did, exactly, that was your deep trying. Oh, and people would hear what you’re saying, what I’m saying and say, “How dare you?”

Rick:  Well, we dare. I mean it’s our own experience, right… And I think, we both, you write in your book very candidly about going through very deep depression. And I can’t honestly say that I have, although my life was not all peaches and cream, especially when I was growing up with an alcoholic father and all that. But boy, I’ve always felt that, in my direct experience not a belief, that meditation gives you access to tremendous inner happiness. And if you just kind of keep dipping in like that, it grows and grows and grows, and becomes very stable.

Marianne: I agree.

Rick:  And you yourself have been meditating, I guess TM, since the 1960s or 70s or something?

Marianne: Well, I got my mantra in the 70s. I’m a student of the Course in Miracles.

Rick:  Yeah.

Marianne: And the Course in Miracles workbook is my more every day, no matter what. TM, I would not be honest and truthful if I said it’s my twice a day practice, no matter what, every day, but several times a week absolutely. And I know that my life is better when it’s that twice a day.

Rick:  Yeah, and I was a TM teacher for 25 years, but these days I’m very eclectic and whatever floats your boat, you know, whatever works for people, I’m all for it. So, before we wrap it up, is there anything else you’d like to say about this book that we haven’t really touched upon?

Marianne: I think that one of the things that the book does talk about, which relates to so much else that we’ve been talking about today, is how so much of our depression and our anxiety is collective. And how even recognizing that, and knowing the ways in which it’s true, does lift us above and beyond the narrow concerns, why I’m depressed, what happened in my life. You know, the realm of the human story is not only not the realm of the real cause of our despair, but it’s also not the realm of the solution to our despair. So, for those who are seeking a deeper understanding of where our despair and our anxiety and our depression comes from, and what it represents, but most importantly how to navigate it, and what the spiritual tools are, and what the inner dimensions of, of what the light of Buddha, and the light of Moses, and the light of Jesus, I hope that it provides some light for people. We all go through our rough times in life and part of our problem is that we have taken a cheap, yellow, smiley face in our society and put it over everything like happy-happy-happy, as though there’s something wrong with a sad day. And there’s nothing wrong with a sad day, sometimes it is what we need to go through, just as we’ve been talking about with this country, this is a pregnant moment, much to see. So, we need to stop making sad, bad. The body would not survive and thrive were we not imbued with an immune system that enables the body to take quite a hit, quite a lot of assault and injury. But that’s true psychically as well. We have a psychic immune system. It’s amazing how much assault and injury we could can take and have been taking for many thousands of years, before Big Pharma came along, and grief is a bulwark of that. So, if you’re in grief because someone you love died or you’re in grief because you got divorced, you’re in grief because you lost all that money or made those decisions you regret, there’s a way to honor that experience, not just try to buffer yourself from it, go deep into it in order to learn from it and that is the key to moving out of it. And in that sense, I think everything you and I have talked about politically, and this conversation spiritually and personally is the same conversation, how to dwell within the darkness in such a way as to bring forth greater light on the other side.

Rick:  And to reiterate the point you were just making about the psychic immune system. You know, what we know the physical immune system heals us. I mean if we get a cut then the white blood cells go there and they start you know fighting the infection, and the thing heals. And the mind, the psyche has the same kind of function, and we need to do everything we can to assist it and not thwart it, And, a lot of the stuff, you know, all the drugs I mean, they kind of put a band-aid over it but they don’t actually go to the cause, and in effect they can probably make things worse in the long run.

Marianne: And that’s why prayer and meditation and forgiveness and atonement, which are all the things that I talk about in the book, make all the difference in the world.

Rick:  Yeah, and just to conclude back on the, sort of the national global perspective. For some reason, as you were talking, I started thinking about It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. And how he was shown what a difference one man’s life can, one person’s life can make, and you know in this really nice community versus Pottersville, which if he hadn’t lived, we would have had. So if you and I are fortunate enough to live, let’s say another 35 years or something, do you think we’re going to see a nice Jimmy Stewart town with nice housing for people and all that, or are we going to see a Pottersville? Or, is it really up to us now to determine which way it’s going to go?

Marianne: It’s up to us to determine which way it’s going to go. I saw that movie again this year in a movie theater. What a profound film.

Rick:  Yeah, it is.

Marianne: What a profound film that is. And you’re right, that is our choice before us now, just as the director of that film, I think was Frank Capra, knew. Do you want to live in Pottersville or do you want to live in the world that we all know is possible? In which love is the bottom line, rather than short-term economic gain. We don’t make short-term economic gain the bottom line in any area of our life. We make love the bottom line in any area of our life. And we can do this collectively too. So, it’s all about expanding our consciousness to embrace that possibility, to stand with conviction within that possibility, to make ourselves available to the possibility, to do it in a deep way, not just a kind of, sort of, sometimes when it’s convenient way. You know there’s a prayer in the Course in Miracles that we’re to say every day, “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say and to whom?” And you know, I’m no enlightened master. I don’t, I’m not a 24-7 got it right, girl. But I’m certainly better than I used to be, and I certainly see the differences that it makes in my life and in the lives of those around me when I seek to live in this place. And like you said, it makes us happier but it also makes us more of use. We want love to be able to use us, and that will make all the difference.

Rick:  Yeah, it’s interesting, when I was listening to a lot of your talks, very often there were so many different sentences where I thought, “Okay, this is the concluding point because this is so profound,” but then you’d say another one. So we could probably go on like that all day with this interview, and you’d keep saying things and I would think there’s nothing more I can squeeze out of this, and then you would come up with something more. But I think I’ll let you go and wrap it up and just thank you very much for taking the time to do this.

Marianne: Thank you, thank you very much. You’re great. You know, you are one of those sites that…I know that you had the Kali Takes America article up. And when I read that article I called her and she will be speaking at Sister Giant.

Rick:  I noticed that, yeah, Vera.

Marianne: Yeah, so I see that with the work that you do. We’re definitely allies in the field and I salute you from the bottom of my heart.

Rick:  Well, thank you so much. Maybe a few years from now when we’ll see what has happened to the world and we’ll have another conversation, you know, in retrospect.

Marianne: Or sooner than that.

Rick:  Or sooner than that, great.

Marianne: Thank you.

Rick:  Yeah, let me just make a couple of concluding remarks. So I’ve been talking with Marianne Williamson and this is an ongoing series of interviews. If you’d like to be notified of each new one there’s a place on to sign up to receive an email about once a week. This also exists as an audio podcast. There’s a link for subscribing to that. And I always just say, explore the menus because there’s a bunch of stuff and we’re always adding things and so, just poke around in the site and see what you find. So thanks for listening or watching. Next week, or next time I’m going to have J.P. Sears who’s a very funny guy, sort of a satirist, talks about being ultra-spiritual. Have you ever seen J.P. Sears, Marianne?

Marianne: No, sounds good though.

Rick:  You’d like him. He has long red hair, wears a kind of a bandana around his head, and usually has a flower in it. And he gets into this—

Marianne: Is it Sears or Spears? How do you spell it?

Rick:  It’s Sears, like Sears-Roebuck.

Marianne: Okay. I’m going to look it up. I could use some laughing.

Rick:  J.P. Sears, yeah, watch a few of his videos.

Marianne: Okay.

Rick:  You’ll like him.

Marianne: Like the yoga guy video that was so funny?

Rick:  Yeah, he did one like that. He had one about how to take Instagram photos of yourself doing yoga poses, and he goes on and on. He comes up with some real clever stuff. Yeah, watch his Christmas message if you get a chance. All right, so thank you everybody. Thanks Marianne and we’ll see you next time.

Marianne: God bless you, honey. Bye.

Rick:  You too. Bye-bye.