Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
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on September 21, 2000
I first discovered this book 2 ½ years ago. I specifically say discovered, for it's like unearthing a treasure. I can't begin to express the impact this book made upon my life & continues to do so. Williamson explains in vivid detail how thoughts & perception can literally alter your life. Happiness isn't something we're innately in contact with, it requires cultivation, something we actively choose every moment of everyday. Anguish & suffering is a part of the human condition, but it doesn't have to consume your life. Oftentimes modern society is so consumed with success, competition, and acquiring material things, we forget the concept of joy is also a part of the human condition. We have a right to anticipate it, but it doesn't just saunter up & plop in your lap. It's labor intensive. I found concrete steps on how to redirect my energies & thoughts, and eventually my reality. What value does life hold if we can not love, permit ourselves to be loved, & be joyful? This book is the ultimate "how to" improve your consciousness book. I refer to it every time I feel a bit blue. It's really my blueprint of reaffirming or correcting my thought patterns. I've highlighted points crucial for my life & refer when necessary. Most importantly it works without fail. That is indeed the true litmus test. I also strongly recommend Williamson's various cassette lecture series. If you're weary because of some negative things you may have read about Williamson I urge the reader to disregard them. Truthfully I don't care if she has some inconsistencies in her life, don't all humans? You're not moving into her home, you just want to benefit from some profoundly wise & inspiration advice. The basic truth is, the principles she details quite simply work. I am forever grateful to her & have purchased this book for my friends. If you desire to live & not just exist, this is a great gift for yourself & loved ones. Enjoy.
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on January 7, 2001
Marianne Williamson takes Course In Miracles concepts and shows how they apply to her personal life. The book is honest and inspiring. I enjoyed the book. I would also highly recommend the book An Encounter With A Prophet for more honesty and inspiration derived from personal spiritual experience.
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on September 29, 2014
I had been in a dead end relationship for a good number of years. I wanted to keep it going but the other side of me wanted to just end the relationship. I hoped and prayed that one day the relationship would cease to exist. It was then that I came across the is wonderful book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles. I quickly took to it and thought that all these years I had the power all along to end the unhappiness that I had been experiencing. I was so relieved yet happy to know that the universe was not in charge of me changing but instead it was all in my hands to make the needed changes.

Soon after reading this book, I came along to the other book called Manifestation Magic: Attracting Abundant Wealth, Incredible Health, Great Relationships, and Limitless Success Into Your Life. This book was a lot more in detail about the various things that we are able to change and turn around in our lives. The biggest of these is that we actually have the power to reverse illness. This concept totally blew my mind and made me wonder what else I had been missing out on in life. The power is within all of us and after reading this book, I was quickly able to see ways that we are able to affect the course of our life on a regular basis.

While these books alone can give you a lot of insight, these two together help to unlock the whole mystery that is set in front of a person. Regardless of what the real secret is that unlocks all of the mysteries of life, you need to just know that the answer is a lot closer than you might expect it to be.
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on March 22, 2000
Where do I even begin with this review? This book has entirely changed my life, my perspective, my attitude, my feelings about myself and others, I could go on and on. This is something that I cannot stop talking about. Anyone who is lost, confused about religion, who feels poorly about themselves or others, depressed, or just doesn't feel like life is much "fun" anymore.....read this book! I can't even tell you what a load it takes off and how wonderful it is to learn that God LOVES you, is not out to punish you, and only has your happiness in mind. I can suddenly walk into a room and feel GREAT about myself knowing that I am a BEAUTIFUL, wonderful child of God. It is the most amazing thing I have ever felt! From this book I have learned what life is about, and what it's not about. After reading it, I bought an additional 10 copies and hand them out to anyone who seems interested. My hope is that everyone can find this love that Maryanne teaches so that they may be as incredibly happy with themselves and their lives as I am today!
Thank you so much Maryanne, for changing my life!
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on December 27, 2005
For the last six years of my life I have been a co-facilitator in an ongoing study group based on A Course of Miracles. A lot of the people that come to the class have not delved into the actual ACIM book but know about it due to this marvelous gem of a book. In fact, it was what brought me to studying the Course and eventually getting up the courage to start up a study group at my church.

People underestimate the Power that Love is. People think that Love is fluffy and lightweight; that there is no real strength to Love and that's because we have reduced the Power of Love to a mere sentiment expressed in a Hallmark card.

But True Love, when harnessed and consciously directed can not only change the life of the individual, it can change the world because what is the world but a collected group of individuals? And to those individuals who are willing enough and daring enough to let Love transform their minds, renew their hearts, and uplift their souls everything can and will be made possible to them.

Marianne stresses the need for forgiveness in this book. Forgiveness is not for other people as much as it is for us. Coming out of this recent holiday season a bit bruised and scraped up reminds me of the need to extend True Forgiveness to those I thought harmed me in some way. When we know that we are Love Itself, nothing can harm us. Jesus knew this of his persecutors. He knew that they could crucify the flesh but they could not destroy the Love that created the flesh in the first place. In the Course in Miracles as well as A Return to Love there is an emphasis on the resurrection rather than the crucifixion.

The future is in this moment. There really is no such thing as "the future". The future is what we are deciding to do in this new now moment. Every moment has gotten us to right here and right now and if we do not like the way our life is going we are always free to "choose again". The more we choose from a place of Love rather than from a place of fear, the more we are in agreement...in allignment with our Higher Selves...our Deeper Natures. Of course there will be some reading this review that think that God is all about fear, punishment, judgement, and condemnation but to those who have really seen the Light...figuratively as well as literally...they will know that in the Light there can never be any darkness.

May your heart be at peace.
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on May 9, 2005
About 4 years ago, I was in a REALLY bad car accident, and have since suffered with chronic pain. Although it has been a difficult road, one of the positive effects is that it somehow led me to start a spiritual journey - a quest to understand life in general, and myself in particular.

This is one of the first "spiritual" books I came across that piqued my interest, and I am definately glad I bought it! Marianne's style of writing made it easy for the "beginner" to grasp her insights - and I was definately a beginner to this genre at the time.

Overall, this book speaks about the importance of love - and how the ego tends to get in our way of truely feeling and expressing love. Although I have not yet read "A Course in Miracles", Marianne states that her beliefs are deeply connected to it.

At the time, although I had learned about the ego in college, I had never of thought of it in the terms she described. She shows through example how the ego, if left un-checked, can lead us to dwell on the negative (and even search for it in instances where it doesn't exist). But the overall message of this book is that only love is REAL - and that we must all learn to love ourselves, as well as others - even those we can't imagine loving. What a beautiful message!

I would recommend this book anyone interested in spirituality &/or "A Course in Miracles". Be sure to "bring" an open mind.
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on May 27, 2013
Before I get started, I should state that I don't write this review to be judgey of the author or the lovers of this book. I believe this philanthropic woman is very sincere in trying to be truly helpful, and has been by presenting ideas that meet many people where they are at with their spirituality.

With that said, however, I don't find this to be the ideal book to learn about A Course in Miracles. And as Jesus (or as I like call him, J-Dog) says in the Course, "Contrast and differences are necessary teaching aids, for by them you learn what to avoid and what to seek." And, "The Holy Spirit must teach through comparisons, and uses opposites to point to truth."

Now, I am certainly not saying that the author has nothing of value to say here, and that you should avoid this book. It's obviously been very helpful to many people in its own right over the years. And it could very well be exactly what you need for yourself right now. The author certainly has some good things to share. The problem with this book is that it doesn't really represent the true message of A Course in Miracles, which is referred to in the sub-title of this book.

What you really have here is a New Age/Self-Help, semi-dualistic interpretation of the Course, while the Course itself is a purely non-dualistic teaching by nature, meaning that God is and nothing else is. The Return to Love book speaks on the same level as the popular New Age authors whose books I studied in the mid 1990s through early 2000s, most notably Wayne Dyer and Neale Walsch. For me personally, I got to the point on my spiritual path where I outgrew that level of teaching just as everyone else will (or has) at some point. This level of teaching simply just doesn't go deep enough, even if it appears to be very enlightening.

Thus that leads to the other big problem with this book, from A Course in Miracles perspective, is that what the author has to say is geared towards changing the conscious mind and not addressing the unconscious mind, which is what REALLY runs us. Changing the conscious mind will only have a temporary, helpful impact at best. Like most of the iceberg is underneath the surface of the ocean, you can't see it; most of the mind is out of our awareness. But there is a way to get in touch with it, but you won't find that way in this book. And I know for me personally, I didn't make serious progress on my spiritual path until I started addressing the unconscious part of my mind.

On a level that we are not consciously aware of, we have this guilt buried in the mind over the seeming separation from God, what the Course refers to as the "blocks to the awareness of love's presence," and "the secret sins and hidden hates" which we must undo via the true forgiveness process outlined in the Course in order to really be free. As the Course states, "Of one thing you were sure: of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them." This unconscious guilt shows up to us symbolically in the form of all our negative emotions.

The author does talk about the importance of forgiveness, however, there is no real explanation as to what true forgiveness entails, and HOW to apply it in whatever comes up in front of your face on any given day. And leaving out the fact that all our problems are symbolic of the seeming separation from God, "A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct." So the Course teaches that, "Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time." And, "The way to God is through forgiveness here. There is no other way."

Another thing going on here with this book is that the author uses terms such as "energy"; "consciousness"; "vibration"; and such, making them out to be important and real. However, the Course says of such ideas that they are "...the domain of the ego." The Course also teaches that there is no hierarchy of illusions, "All that a hierarchy of illusions can show is preference, not reality."

Also, the author talks about God in a way that implies that God acknowledges our individual lives here on earth, and that God and the "power of the universe" are one and the same. The author even has prayers in the book that begin with "Dear God." Yet the Course teaches, "The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need."

And according to the Course, there is no world, so how could God acknowledge anything happening in the world, when there isn't one. A pretty far out idea for many, I grant you that, but that is what the Course is teaching and NOT what the author is writing about in this book. And the Course doesn't just say that there is no world. It says, "There is no world! This is the central thought the Course attempts to teach." And, "Whatever is true is eternal and cannot change or be changed." The universe, therefore, is obviously not true, not of God, and has no power. The Course also says, "The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever."

There's barely any mention about going Home in this book, which is what the Course is ultimately all about. Even in the section called Heaven's Gate, the author goes on a political spiel instead, making the world out to be something that needs to be fixed. Yet the Course teaches that the world cannot be fixed, "There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effect will change automatically." And the Course teaches, "This is a course in cause and not effect."

So there is no explanation on what it means to go Home, and how to go about doing that. And as the Course says, "This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true." And, "This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone." So you won't be finding the way to return to where you really belong through this book, at least not by taking it at face value. You're likely to be left with the idea it's about making your life better rather than awakening from what you think of as your life. And there's no mention of our lives being self-predetermined. Like the Course teaches, "The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself."

Furthermore, there's no mention of how time and space is adjusted by the Holy Spirit and disappears for us as we perform a miracle, a miracle meaning that we apply forgiveness on whatever comes up in front of our faces on any given day. "When you perform a miracle, I will arrange both time and space to adjust to it." And, "The miracle shortens time by collapsing it, thus eliminating certain intervals within it."

The author also implies that our uniqueness, individual identity is something to be valued. Yet with the final destination of the Course being the return to Oneness, you can't have both Oneness and individual identities; it's impossible. And the Course teaches, "Forgiveness is the end of specialness." And, "You can defend your specialness, but never will you hear the Voice for God beside it."

I understand, and this is perfectly ok, that very few are ready for the real message of A Course in Miracles which is why there are so many mis-interpretations of the Course out there such as this one. The real message is just too threatening for one's ego for most people at this point in time, including many who consider themselves to be spiritually progressive when they are actually rather conservative. So, it's just a matter of what you're ready to accept, nothing wrong with that, but people shouldn't confuse this book as being the same as the Course.

Don't get me wrong, I do feel that this is a good book for people wanting to investigate new ideas and break free from the thinking of the world and the confines of organized religion, or perhaps for people who struggle with low self-esteem; this would certainly be a step in the right direction. But this book is more about "don't die with an unmet potential" or "live life to the fullest" or "become a better human" kind of a book; certainly nothing wrong with that. However, Return to Love leaves much to be desired if you're looking for a clear explanation on what A Course is Miracles is really all about; you'll just end up confused and conflicted because it's not consistent with the Course, even if you're not consciously aware of it.

Just from the Introduction piece alone the author states, "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here." And, "We came here to co-create with God by extending love." Well, if we didn't have fear, we would not have been born into this world to begin with. In fact, the Course says, "The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear." So we're not here to co-create with God, we're not really here, we need to awaken from the belief that we are here and return to where we are a co-creator with God and the same as God, by removing the "blocks to the awareness of love's (God's) presence" via the true forgiveness process.

So if you are indeed looking for a book that puts A Course In Miracles into the everyday vernacular, without compromising on the integrity of its message, I would highly recommend The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness by Gary Renard. It explains A Course in Miracles like nothing else does, and is the only book (along with his follow up book, Your Immortal Reality: How to Break the Cycle of Birth and Death) I've ever read on spirituality that made total sense to me from cover to cover, and left me with no unanswered questions.

Gary's books are the real deal when it comes to the Course, you may not like everything said, and it may downright piss you off, but you will get the straight up truth, no sugarcoating, and no being told what you necessarily want to hear. Like it states, "As with Jesus' teachings of 2,000 years ago, the world is attempting to do its usual job of obliterating the truth by incorporating parts of it into its illusions and covering over the real message of the Holy Spirit. We won't leave out the ideas you don't like. If you resist them or don't want to accept them after you hear them then that's your decision, but at least it won't be because you weren't told."

Giddy up!

~ Mike Lemieux, author of Dude, Where's My Jesus Fish?: A Compilation Highlighting the Blunt and Uncompromising Teachings of Arten and Pursah On A Course in Miracles
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on October 11, 2011
This book is terrific. It covers a wide range of issues with a simple approach to a solution. Everyone should read this book. It uses "A Course in Miracles" principles and spoon-feeds them to you using examples from the authors life. It is easy to relate to and contains powerful Universal Truths that can allow you to overcome inner and outer conflicts. A quick and easy read packed with wise and practical advice. It is especially good for those in relationships, or those wanting a relationship, as it addresses some of the most common pitfalls and conflicts. If you utilize the principles in this book, you cannot help but be happier, more content and more successful, and much more fun to be around. This should be required reading for all human beings.
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on July 4, 2000
One could hardly expect a rational lawyer, scientist at heart, and agnostic to write such a glowing review of Ms. Williams' new age philosophy. But this book is superb! As a recovering catholic, the language is a bit hard to digest. But if you can get beyond the emotional blocks on the christian terminology, the philosophy she lays out teaches an extrodinarily powerful way to view the many challenges we face in life. This is an excellent book.
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on July 11, 1998
It took me a long time to get around to writing this review, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to think of enough powerful adjectives to describe this book! Not only is this book so full of love and compassion, it directs you to the plain ole common sense approach to solve problems and live your life to the fullest. And believe it or not, the common sense approach is simple, but the approach we usually try to take is complicated. This book is the "common sense, encouragement, loving direction, and compassion that your mom should have given you, but didn't". I encourage everyone to read it, even if you only read a couple of pages a day. As I read this book, I felt Marianne was the mother, teacher, guidance counselor, and friend that I never had. I love her advice! Love is the answer and love solves all problems. From the seed of love derives all positivity: self-confidence, love for others, being humble, going after dreams, being modest etc. Marianne's advice is the advice I should have received as I grew up. If we all received that advice, the world would be a better place. My world is a better place because of Marianne's loving and compassionate advice. That's why I advise everyone to read this book!
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