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Jan 16, 2007

Marianne Williamson (not aka Nelson Mandela) on Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your paying small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-- Marianne Williamson, in Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

This quote is widely misattributed to Nelson Mandela, and that's how it was credited in The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence, which I started reading this week.  I wanted to share it via blogland so of course I double-checked the source, and what should I find but the fact that Mandela never said it.  Dang.  The quote meant a lot more to me for the day or so that I thought they were his words.  The quote still has meaning without the backing of Mr. Mandela's extraordinary experience, but now I have to interpret it through my own experience, since I know nothing of Ms. Williamson's life or work.

In any case, a couple of thoughts:  First, I thought for the longest time (while the book sat unread on my shelves) that The Power of Flow was related directly to the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Turns out, though, that this book focuses on living a life entwined with Jung's synchronicity.  To give the Jungians their due, maybe it was a sign that I picked up The Power of Flow when I did.  But it doesn't help that the authors have boosted my skepticism by introducing one of their chapters with a sloppy piece of work.

Speaking of pet peeves, here are two more of mine: inaccurately copied quotes and inaccurately attributed quotes.  Please poke me if you ever see me generate either. Thank you for your support.

12:02 AM in Quotables, Reviews | Permalink


I too, liked that quote a lot better when I thought it emanated from Nelson Mandela. Then it seemed to be a philosophy hard won by his amazing and tortuous life. Then when I found out it's true source, it seemed much more trite. Kind of interesting that the deliverer of a message can have an impact on the interpretation of the message, don't you think?

Posted by: Marianne | Jan 16, 2007 7:31:51 AM

Marianne Williamson is a pretty remarkable woman, although I no longer have any of her work. She is a follower of A Course In Miracles, which is a vaguely-Christian-related New Age sort of religion which is based on the belief that the opposite of love is fear. I had several of her tapes at one point, and she's a very dynamic, rapid speaker who has a real gift for words. I don't think there's anything bad about A Course In Miracles and I have a lot of respect for Williamson - she's worth checking out.

Posted by: Celeste Copeland | Jan 16, 2007 9:12:20 AM