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Marianne Williamson: The Spiritual Purpose of Relationships

Sometimes we need a spiritual pick me up when things aren’t going quite right in our life. Whether we are struggling with loss, grief, depression, trauma, shame, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness… or possibly we’re just in a funk… sometimes we need distractions, motivation, and inspiration to help us feel a bit better. Sometimes we need to take a break from sadness, hurt, pain or grief as a form of self-care. Sometimes we need something or someone to help us re-connect to our spirituality and our bigger purpose in life. This doesn’t have to be religious, although it can be. Sometimes we need help getting back in alignment with our highest self and having faith (in something – whether that’s God, the Universe, spirit, whatever you want to call it). Someone to help us turn on the light. Marianne Williamson is an example of one of those resources and beacon of hope for me.

I met Marianne Williamson last month, and it was such a synchronistic meeting that meant so much to me spiritually! I was at a panchakarma retreat and I saw her walking down the stairs in our hotel, and heading toward the exit in the lobby. I did a double take… I was so relaxed and out of it while I was there, that I wasn’t even sure it was her. “Marianne?!” I exclaimed, as she turned around.

She graciously sat down her luggage and chatted with me for a few minutes. I was so star struck that I’m not sure what I said to her, except that I didn’t expect to meet her looking like this (no makeup, oil in my hair, in a cropped topped sweat pant outfit 😆) and that I’m in the utmost support of her, her messages and what she’s doing!

I completely see this divine chance meeting as a sign from the Universe that I’m on the right path with healing, spirituality, my dharma (life purpose), and all the clarity and creative visions I had while there at panchakarma to help further fulfill my dharma and be of service. It’s amazing the clarity that comes from deep peace and relaxation. 

The talk below that Marianne Williamson gave, that was recorded on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast was just SO GOOD, I had to listen to it five times. And after listening to it several times, I found myself compelled to write it down. Writing these words down and listening to them over and over, became a small spiritual practice for me, until the whole thing eventually fell onto these pages. I’d highly recommend listening to the episode, but in case you want to read along (for all my visual learners out there), and remember the teachings, here is an almost word for word transcription. I wish I could take credit for some of these words, but I can’t. They all flowed from source and love through Marianne’s courageous speech. (Link to the episode at the bottom). Sending so much love, peace, and good vibes your way as you read and listen. You can listen to this podcast episode here.

The Spiritual Purpose of Relationships” 

Taken from Marianne Williamson’s podcast episode on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations. 

“I want to talk to you today about your relationships… your relationships to each other, to the Universe, and to God (if that’s what you believe). We’re making a mistake if our spiritual conversation is only about ME. The spiritual conversation is about US and about WE. 

Let’s begin by contextualizing the Universe and seeing the Universe like a house that is wired for electricity. And you and I are lamps. And the lamp can be tall, short, any color, any shape, any design. The power of the lamp has to do with the electricity that causes the light to shine through it. 

So no matter what the lamp looks like, it if it’s not plugged in, light won’t shine through it. 

Enlightenment is a shift in self perception and self identification; from body identification to spiritual identification. If I only think of myself as my body, my circumstances, as what happens in my life, it’s all about me and mine, I’m identifying with the lamp. 

If I identify with my spirit, I’m identifying with something much bigger than me. Something which flows through me and lights up the entire Universe. To the extend that I think of myself as a lamp whose only purpose is to plug in so that light might shine THROUGH me. That is how I actualize and become the best lamp that I can be. 

The Universe Itself is Intentional. 

So when we talk about my intention for this, or my intention for that, that can actually be misused. When we think about the intentionality of the Universe, something much bigger is going on. When you have an egg and it meets a sperm, they come together, and all of a sudden these miraculous occurrences begin to reveal themselves. Cells begin to appear out of this natural intelligence, which is the intention of the Universe. It is SO intentional. It is so intentional that not only do cells appear, but cells actualize and then they begin to collaborate with other cells, and then next thing you know, you started with an egg and a sperm, and then other cells begin to appear, and the next thing you know you have a brain. You have a spleen, and eye balls, and skin and a heart and you have lungs. This natural intelligence that is emerging and working through these cells. Then, the Universe, using it’s intentionality turns the embryo into a baby. 

So the Universe is intentional turning embryos into babies. The Universe is intentional turning acorns into oak trees. The Universe is intentional turning buds into blossoms. So this intentionality of the Universe, the embryo doesn’t have to say “I intend to become a baby.” The acorn doesn’t have to say “I will become an oak tree.” But rather, the embryo and the acorn are USED by the larger intentionality of the Universe whose intention they are that they become the highest creative manifestation possible for them. 

So just as the Universe intends for the embryo to become a baby, and just as it intends for the acorn to become an oak tree, it intends that you become the highest possibly creative manifestation possible for you in this life. The Universe already intends it. So if we allow ourselves to be used for the larger intention of the Universe, that is how we find our highest self actualization. 

Now, this Universal imprint is in nature itself. Now, let’s talk about how these cells operate. Not only from the time they originally emerge, in the embryonic form, but also what happens after you’re born and these cells continue to operate. The lungs continue to breathe, the heart continues to beat. First of all, the cell actualizes. The cell actualizes as the best that it can be. The self actualization of the cell. Second of all, collaboration… the cell collaborates with other cells. Third, They collaborate in order to be of service to the higher functioning of the system of which they are a part. 

What happens in the body when the cell says, “I don’t want to.”? You see this is the difference between the cell in the body, the embryo, the acorn, and you and me. The acorn doesn’t get to say, “No, I don’t want to.” You and I can. We either say YES, use me natural intelligence, or don’t. 

What happens in the body when the cell says, “I don’t want to. I don’t want to collaborate with other cells and be a part of a higher functioning of the spleen. I want to go off and do my own thing, and I’m going to get other cells who think the same way I do and we’re going to build our own little Kingdom over here.” What do we call that? CANCER. It is a malignancy in the body and it’s a malignancy in the spirit. And that is what is wrong with the human race. 

-Marianne Williamson

We have been infected by a spiritual malignancy. 

And that spiritual malignancy is, “It’s all about me.” 

That spiritual malignancy is, “I’m just here to get what I want and do what I want and it’s not about like actualizing so that I can be my best so that I can collaborate with you.” 

And then we wonder why our relationships don’t work. We’re making it all about me, but somehow I want a good relationship with you. So how is that supposed to work? 

But actualization, collaboration and service are the key to Right relationship because they are the way that The Universe operates. The way God operates. The way that natural intelligence operates. Whatever word we are using by which we understand these things. 

The Universe intends for the natural intelligence of the cell to be all it can be and to collaborate with others. And the Cancer cell, the malignant cell, is the cell that somehow goes insane. And it disconnects from its natural intelligence. That’s what happens to us when we disconnect from our natural intelligence…

We are like lamps that are not plugged in. 

That is why we meditate. That is why we pray. That is why we have spiritual practice: to plug in. That is why we wake up in the morning and we don’t just say, “What do I want?” 

The sickness of our society is that we have become a transactional rather than relational. And that’s why “may God’s will be done,” which means may all loving thoughts for all living things past, present and future, now occur here. Knowing that when LOVE is present, natural intelligence flows through. That’s what it means for the lamp to be “plugged in,” in a moment of love. If your intention in any given situation is to GIVE love. 

When Oprah does her show, what is her intention that lifts it up to the highest? I actually heard her once say, as soon as I get something wonderful, my first thought is “How can I give it away to everybody else?” Now that is so much bigger than the intention of what we associate with someone whose successful. It’s a cosmic intention. 

If it’s only your intention as you, then it’s a low level vibration. And by the way, if that’s your low level vibration, yes you will collaborate with other cells, but you will collaborate with other cells as sick as you are. 

So what we want to be open to is the intentionality of the Universe, the highest expression is, 

Dear Spirit, USE ME. Now, the Universe is already intentional that you become the highest manifestation possible in this lifetime. And so it has a tool by which this is accomplished, and it’s called: relationship. 

Right Relationship

First of all, if I’m only thinking about me, I’m not in my Right relationship with God, spirit, natural intelligence, because my Right relationship with natural intelligence or love is that I be used to receive that love and then extend outward. So if I’m in Right relationship, you make spirit your primary relationship. If your spirit is your primary relationship, then your relationship with other people will be correct. If your relationship with spirit is unaligned, your relationship with other people will be unaligned. But if your relationship with spirit is aligned, USE ME… Use me as an instrument of Love. 

So then, I don’t go into relationship with you trying to sell you something, exploit you, manipulate you, or on any level, even the most subtle levels trying to get what I want. It’s so trendy these days… what are you looking for in a relationship? What is it that you want? Which is really saying, “How can I get other people to serve my needs as I define them.” But that, by definition, means that I see myself as separate from you, which by definition is a core belief that makes me not in relationship with you. 

Any time I define myself, anytime I see myself as separate from others, you are by definition not talking about the level of your ultimate reality, and your ultimate reality is the level of which you are already one with other people. You don’t have to create intimacy, you simply… sink down into that place where, “How much more intimate can we be once we realize that we are each other?” 

Because on the level of the lamp, on the level of the body, you’re over there and I’m over here. But as Einstein said, time and space themselves are just illusions of consciousness. So on the level of the body, you’re over there and I’m over here, enlightenment shifts to spirit identification other than body identification which is: there’s no place where my spirit stops. My spirit doesn’t stop at my flesh. Your spirit doesn’t stop at your flesh. So there’s really no place where you stop and I start. 

-Marianne Williamson

A wave in the Ocean vs. the entire Ocean

We’re like sun beams thinking we’re separate from other sun beams. We’re like waves in the Ocean thinking we’re separate from other waves. Now think about this, if I think that I’m just one wave in the Ocean. And I’m surrounded by this huge Ocean… how could I not be terrified of the Ocean? How could I not be terrified of other waves? How can I not be terrified that other waves are completely going to overwhelm me? 

But if I realize, I’m one with the whole freakin’ Ocean… I’m like one with this thing. I move, it moves. We’re a powerful thing. And I have no problem recognizing my oneness with the rest of the Ocean because there in lies my power. 

So relationships are actually assignments made by natural intelligence. Every cell is assigned… you, go to the Liver… you, go to the heart… you, go to the spleen… you, go to the lungs. Natural intelligence assigns the cells. And natural intelligence assigns us. You, go into the arts… you, go into science… you, go into education… you, go into this… and same with you, meet her. Sit next to her. You, you’re going to sit next to him. 

The body is a perfect ecosystem, it knows exactly what it’s doing. It’s not like the body is an ecosystem and the Universe isn’t. So we are all being assigned all the time. 

Sometimes I hear people say, “Oohhhh, where am I supposed to go? And I’m waiting for my purpose to reveal itself.” Like you’re going to get something Fedex’d in the mail. But the truth of the matter, if you really want to know… one day I said to somebody, I said, “Oh my God, I know exactly where you’re supposed to be, and I know exactly what you’re supposed to do. This is amazing, do you want me to tell you?” And she said, “Yeah, where am I supposed to be and what am I supposed to do?” And I said “Okay, you’re supposed to be… right here. And you’re supposed to be talking to me. How do I know? Because you are right here and you are talking to me. Now the choice is, what are you going to do with that?” 

A course in miracles says that every relationship is an assignment made by natural intelligence, made by the spirit, to foster the intentionality of the Universe running through you, the intentionality of the Universe so that both people lifted up to the highest level of creative possibility. That does not mean we will necessarily like each other. What that means that in each other’s presence and in combination with each other, we have the maximum opportunity for soul growth.

-Marianne Williamson

Relationship Assignments are our maximum opportunity for Soul Growth 

Isn’t it easy to be enlightened when everyone’s really nice to you? Isn’t it easy to be enlightened when everyone is doing exactly what you want them to do? But where is the growth in that? The Universe doesn’t work like that. Whenever we think we’re going so good, being so spiritual, I’m so loving, I’m so forgiving, and that’s about when the Universe goes… uch! Can you take that?! Because that person’s going to be really rude right now… That person’s going to be really really challenging to you. 

How is it that when you have a rough emerald, a rough amethyst, or a rough ruby, how do they get smoothed out? They rub up against each other. 

And to say that we’re assigned to other people in which we have the maximum opportunity for soul growth, actually means that relationships are laboratories of the spirit. They are hospitals of the soul. They are the places where the wounds that we hold WILL be brought up, because that’s the only way they can be healed. 

-Marianne Williamson

If you go to the doctor and you have a broken elbow, the doctor doesn’t say, “Hey, let’s look at that knee.” Now if a little child comes up to its daddy and says, “I have a boo-boo,” then mommy or daddy says, “Here, let me kiss it. It’ll be fine now.”

When a person shows you their wounds, and we ALL have them. We all had childhood. We all have triggers. And those triggers and those wounds are to God or the Universe no different than that little cut on the hand of a child. Our salvation lies in being available in the healing of the other. But the ego mind, which is the mind that resists relationship, because it resists love, because it resists God; it is the delusion of the separate self. 

If I see your wound… remember, your wound as an adult doesn’t manifest like a cut on the body, it manifests as a character defect. Now that character defect, our neuroses, is not where we’re bad, it’s where we’re wounded. But only the enlightened master next to you knows that. That other person just thinks, “God, you’re obnoxious…. God, you’re rude… God, you’re controlling… God, you’re needy.” 

Now, that’s why you’re with that person. But instead of saying, “Awe, honey, let me kiss your boo-boo.” I go, “UCH!!! I want nothing to do with you.” And I resist the relationship. Because I’ve forgotten the purpose of the relationship. The purpose of the relationship is #1 for me to actualize. To ask myself, “Would spirit (or God) have me reject you if you’re wounded? Is that what love does?”

If my Right relationship with the Universe is to BE LOVE, then I’m to stand in the presence of your wound and to know that what’s not love is a call for love. That doesn’t mean I need to date you, it doesn’t mean I need to marry you, it doesn’t mean I have to have sex with you, it doesn’t mean I need to work with you…

But It does mean that my spiritual calling in order for me to be in the right relationship with the world, my right relationship with love, my right relationship with spirit, and my right relationship with you is to stand here not in judgement or in blame. Not to say, “Well, you’re not giving me what I want,” but rather to ask that I be an instrument of love. Otherwise, I’m not actualized. 

-Marianne Williamson

And if I’m not actualized, I cannot collaborate with you. This relationship, whatever it is, is not just to get  what I want, but rather so we might be collaborative, to serve the flow of love through us for all living things. And then we serve something higher than ourselves. That’s why our relationships don’t work, is because we’re trying to use them for our purposes only. 

How do we evolve as a species?

That malignant thought is exactly why we are here as a species to evolve beyond. And we must, because humanity itself is now at a crossroads. There will be either mass enlightenment or mass global destruction. Those are the only two choices humanity has at this point. And that is why all of this is happening. All of these books are being written, all of these television shows are being made, all of the individuals who are understanding within us is that our purpose here is for something higher than ourselves. And to greet everyone we meet with that Namaste consciousness where we know: This is something holy going on here…This is a holy encounter if I intend that it be so. 

This is how we do it, we wake up in the morning and we ask (this is how the lamp plugs in), we ask that our intention be, “Where would you have me go?” we say to natural intelligence, to love, to the Universe, to God as we understand it. “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say and to whom?” This puts you in Right relationship with the intentionality of the Universe. With your primary function on the Earth. 

And then we are asked to see that in every single relationship encounter, even the most casual ones… either God is in everyone or God is in no one. The highest power position, the highest power thought is not, “I am unique.” The highest power thought is, “I am just like everyone else. I’m just as wounded as everybody else, I’m just as hurt as everyone else, I’m just as hungry for love as everybody else.” Because that gives you empathy. That gives you compassion. And then relationships aren’t even something you have to strive for. Relationship is simply the primal state of being. And then we heal. 

Western psychotherapeutic tradition and mentality is how can we analyze our wounds? And learn more about our wounds? And own more about our wounds? Yes, we have to look at them. But I heard an oncologist say, that what happens in Cancer, is that the body gets confused and it begins protecting the tumor… We start coddling our neuroses. We talk about our wounds more than talking about the fact that in any given moment I can be wounded but I can choose not to act from my wound. And when I’m having an awful thought, I can say, “I surrender this thought,” because I know that I’m not actualized. If I’m having a critical thought, if I’m having a negative thought, if I’m having a blaming thought, if I’m having a victimizing thought, I may not be evolved enough to not have that thought, but I can be evolved enough to say, “I am willing to see this differently.” 

“I am willing to ask for a divine intercession from a thought system beyond my own. To enter into this thought system and restore the celestial order within my thinking.” So that, I will bite my tongue, I will not send a text, I will not send an e-mail, I will not pick up the phone, I will not listen to the part of me that says, “No, he NEEDS to hear this from me and he needs to hear this from me now!” I can probably be experienced and aware enough to know that will probably not get me what I want. That is my ego mind, my self-hatred posing as my self-love. 

We have the tendency to perceive without love. And if we’re perceiving without love we will not ultimately be happy, we will not ultimately be successful, and we will definitely not be in relationship. So we can know those voices are there, because we’ve been wounded, because wires got crossed. We all had childhood, and we’ve all had the experiences in life of betrayal, of unkindness, and sometimes those situations are right in front of us right now, particularly in relationship. And particularly in intimate relationship. 

When I talk to couples, and they ask how they can make their relationship better, I’ll ask, “When you husband / wife left for work today, did you pray for their happiness?” That’s what that plugging in of the lamp is. And in any given moment we can practice it. With yoga or exercise we train our body’s muscles… with spiritual practice we train our attitudinal muscles. 

And just like with yoga, you discipline our muscles so we can rest in that place. With spiritual practice we discipline our thoughts. Yes, we all have those thoughts. Yes, we all have those selfish thoughts. Yes, we all have those negative thoughts, etc. But we can take a stand. We can take a stand for Love. We can take a stand for the Universe. We can take a stand for enlightenment. We can take a stand for God. And ultimately, we can take a stand for our own self. That IS self-care. That IS self-love. Self-love is knowing that myself is more than myself with a little “s” it’s self with a big “S.” 

And when we ask, may I be actualized today, that doesn’t mean I won’t fall off the spiritual wagon every once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with the word “try” when it comes to our spirituality.

We try, sometimes we get it wrong, sometimes we say things we wish we hadn’t said, we do things we wish we hadn’t done, but we can atone… And we can make amends… And we can start over… And we can be even better..  And we can know, yesterday I was weak, but today I can be strong. And everybody that I meet, if I love you, I’m going to continue to meet people like you. And where I’m good, I’m going to get even better. And where I get it wrong with you, I’m going to meet you again down the road. And I might have been weak in this relationship last time, but I’m going to be strong now. Where I was weak, I’m going to be strong. And where I was selfish, I’m going to be giving. And where I was bound in fear, my love is going to free me. Because I am no better than anyone else, but am no less than anyone else. I’m an instrument of the Universe. I’m a lamp from which this light was meant to shine. 

-Marianne Williamson

And once we realize that, that all the children of God are special, and none of the children of God are special. The Course in Miracles says, the people who have achieved the most in the world have achieved a fraction of what all of us are capable of. They have achieved a fraction of what all of us are capable of. They have achieved that which is potential in all of us. When I think of the Oprah’s of the world, that’s what I think of. They have actualized that which is potential in all of us. That’s why we’re grateful to them. They are displaying that which is possible for all of us. Not just because of her relationship to you, or her relationship to me, it’s because Oprah and people like that are clearly in relationship with the ages. They’re in relationship with the Universe. They’re in relationship with something bigger. They’re in honor of their ancestors and in service to our descendents. That’s relationship, and that is LOVE.”

I love and wholeheartedly support you, Marianne, and your beautiful messages of peace, love, truth, and spirituality. You are truly living out your dharma and are such an angel, I’m just in AWE of you and everything you’ve accomplished and continue to do! Thank you for spreading so much light and love and for teaching me (and everyone else) the importance of plugging in, having faith, service, and returning to LOVE always. Thank you for your service!

Now I would love to hear from you.  

Now that you’ve read and possibly listened to this speech by Marianne Williamson, what do you think? Do you agree with her? Do you have a favorite quote from this? Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to connecting and going deeper with you. Sending much love, self-care, and centering. 


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