The following excerpt is taken from the book The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife by Marianne Williamson. It is published by Hay House (January 2008) and available at all bookstores or online at:

I BEGAN MY CAREER GIVING TALKS ABOUT A COURSE IN MIRACLES in 1983. In ...The following excerpt is taken from the book The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife by Marianne Williamson. It is published by Hay House (January 2008) and available at all bookstores or online at:

I BEGAN MY CAREER GIVING TALKS ABOUT A COURSE IN MIRACLES in 1983. In 1992, I published my first book about it. In 2007, having been reading the book for three decades and lecturing on it literally thousands of times, I came out of meditation one day and thought, I’ve become an advanced student of the Course. Not an advanced practitioner, mind you, but an advanced student. And that took 30 years.

What is it about spiritual knowledge that takes so long to digest? The trendy nature of much contemporary seeking would lead you to think that you spend a year or two at the ashram and voilà!—you’re at the mountaintop. But my experience argues otherwise. It takes a decade to understand the basic nature of spiritual principles, another decade while the ego tries to eat you alive, another decade while you try to wrestle it to the ground, and finally you begin to walk more or less in light. Anyone who thinks a spiritual path is easy probably hasn’t been walking one.

What does all this mean: to embrace the light, walk in the light, and so on? What is all this light, light, light talk? In A Course in Miracles, light is defined as “understanding.” What a beautiful thought, that to see the light is to understand.

By midlife, you’re probably aware enough to understand which of your issues most need attention. You’ve learned where you’re strong, but also where you’re weak. You know what parts of yourself to be proud of and what parts of yourself should change. You know what your issues are this lifetime. It might not be a time when you’re learning new things about yourself so much as understanding more deeply what you already know. And new levels of self-awareness bring new opportunities for breakthrough.

This is not the time to stop working on yourself; it’s the time when you’ve finally accumulated enough clues to help crack the case and solve the mystery of why and how you’ve sabotaged yourself for so long. It’s not the time to give up and say, “This is just how I am. It’s too late to change.” Quite the opposite—it’s time to take a stand, once and for all, against the enemy inside. Don’t worry that it took you so long to get to this point. It takes everyone this long. We know nothing until we know all the ways that we’re not who we should be. Only then do we have a chance at becoming the people we’ve wanted to be, and God intended us to be, from the day we were born.

For that reason alone, these are sacred years.
When you’re young, you can’t really imagine the ages of 50, 60, or 70 being “cool.” Actually, it often takes that long to understand what cool really means. You can’t really build a life till you’ve pulled together all the things you’ve finally come to understand about yourself. Life would be cruel if at just about the time you’ve finally figured it out, it reached some sort of predetermined disintegration. Just as adolescents must separate from their parents, you need to separate from the person you were before this point, to whatever extent that that person was not the real you.

Finding out who we actually aren’t, we begin to learn at last who we actually are.

IN BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, A BEAUTIFUL PRINCE turns into a horrible beast—until finally unconditional love turns him back into who he really is. Gee, that sounds like almost everyone I know.

Years ago, after my first book was published, my lawyer recounted to me a conversation he’d had with my publisher. The publisher had made a comment about my being a “spiritual teacher,” to which my lawyer had replied, “She’s not! She writes books about spirituality, but she’s not a spiritual teacher.” I remember wanting to say, “Actually, John, I think I am a spiritual teacher,” but I didn’t, out of fear that it would appear immodest. Who was I to call myself that? Yet as it says in A Course in Miracles, we create what we defend against; in an effort to dissuade people from thinking I thought of myself as any big deal, I acted in a way that ensured they would.

Oh, you think I’m so spiritual? Watch this! I can be stupid, too! Thinking it was humble to do so, I dissociated who I was when I wasn’t working from the more enlightened persona that came naturally to me when I was. The ego defends the “separate self,” leading to thoughts that lead to behavior that often reflect our “opposite.” That is what many of us are doing in this life: living the opposite of our truth, just as the beast was the opposite of the beautiful prince in the fairy tale.

Author's Bio: 

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. She has published eight books, four of which—including the mega bestseller A Return to Love, and Everyday Grace—have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. A popular guest on numerous television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and Charlie Rose, Marianne Williamson has lectured professionally since 1983. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily. Ms. Williamson also co-founded the Peace Alliance.

In her insightful new book, The Age of Miracles, Marianne Williamson gives us a refreshing look at the new midlife, showing us that the years ahead can be something to celebrate and cherish, if we have the courage to take the reins of consciousness and create something new for ourselves and the world. Purchase Marianne’s new book and also receive free access to her live online event on Order Now»