A thickness of anxiety hangs in the air, and many people feel exhausted as a result. Talk to any group, and you will most likely hear about the heavy burdens they are carrying and their sense that things are getting worse, not better.

Marianne Williamson, author of eight books including the mega-bestseller A Return to Love, agrees that we are coping with intense amounts of chaos and fear, both personally and as communities. In her view, we are being challenged by world events and the tides of history to develop a more mature consciousness: "This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of moment on earth." We can either turn toward the imprint of the divine within or succumb to the fear-based demands of the ego and a world system based on power and war-making.

Williamson returns to the wisdom of A Course in Miracles and comes up with 10 basic changes that each of us can make "to actualize the greatness of God that lives within all of us." All of us are actors in a great unfolding drama, she says, but until we travel the path toward spiritual maturity, there will be no great performances. Some of the required changes are moving from forgetting who we are to remembering who we are, from negative thinking to positive love, from anxiety to atonement, from asking God to change the world to praying that He change us, from focus on guilt to focus on innocence, and from separation to relationship. One of Williamson's key phrases is that we must become miracle-workers, unleashing the love within rather than giving in to fear. "The thinking of the world is like a computer virus that has invaded our system,” she writes. “The Holy Spirit is like an antivirus program that both protects us from false thinking and dismantles false thoughts once they've entered our minds." To illustrate, Williamson tells the story of always being able to tell the correct time without a watch when she was a child. However, when she was in her twenties, it occurred to her that she should not be able to do that; it was weird. Naturally, this wonderful gift vanished with her negative thinking.

Williamson challenges us to live in the present moment and to see that it can be a portal to the miraculous, like gate 9 3/4 that Harry Potter passes through on his way to wizard school. She advises us to make the most of our mistakes and in so doing to let God "turn our scars into beauty marks." A really important change is to give up judging people and to become peace-makers instead. We can do this every day in the Holy Spirit's laboratory — our relationships. Williamson concludes: "The wonders of the external world are as nothing compared to what's happening inside us. This is not the end time but a new beginning. What is being born is a new kind of human, played out dramatically in each of our lives. Freed from the limitations of the ego, free to see and hear and touch the magic we've been missing all our lives, we're becoming at last who we really are."