Every night before she goes to bed, my daughter says a prayer which I too said when I was her age: "Four corners round my bed, four angels round my head. One to watch, two to pray, and one to chase bad things away." It took me forty years to understand what a prayer like that is really saying.
Angels are the thoughts of God, and to ask for angels to gather near is to ask for God's thoughts to overshadow our own. To pray to an angel is to look to a level of pure thinking, divine thinking, and to ask that it replace our thoughts of fear. Such thoughts—of separation from others, as well as from God—are distortions of reality, mental "miscreations," and they lead us to conclusions and behavior that are destructive to ourselves and the world around us.
"One to watch": May the Spirit of love tend my thoughts, guarding the holiness that alone should remain on the altar of my mind.
"Two to pray": May I remain in conscious contact with God, ever alert to the miracles in my midst.
"One to chase bad things away": May God's Spirit cast out of my thoughts, and my world, the things that are not of love.
When we pray to something higher than ourselves, we are not praying to something outside ourselves. Angels do not live "somewhere else"—ultimately we realize that there is nowhere else—but simply in another realm of perception. They live within us as latent energies of divine power, potential but not yet actualized within most of humanity. In summoning angels, we're responding to the evolutionary lure of the angelic state. We're recognizing angels as spiritual mentors who can lift our thoughts to the heights of truth. And as we rise to meet them, we will ultimately become them.
With this second wand, we remember that it is our own responsibility, as best we can, to live up to the divine potential God has placed within each of us. We have our wings, should we choose to spread them. In almost any situation, if we're truly honest with ourselves, there are ways that we can fly higher, at fuller wingspan. There are ways to show greater honor and compassion to all life, to get over ourselves and serve something bigger. We are given as many opportunities to reconstruct the nature of our lives as there are moments in a day. We can think more insightfully, love more deeply, give more selflessly, and serve more faithfully the call of love. How many times have we regretted not having been kinder, or wiser, or more respectful to others? And how many times have we shown up lovingly for another person and been told, "Thank you. You're such an angel." Indeed.
Angel's wings are not just metaphorical, any more than a butterfly's are. Just because they don’t materialize physically does not mean that they do not exist. They are an actual set of cosmic probabilities, increased in the presence of mystical awareness. They are higher thought forms through which we transcend limitations, flying above the earthly fears that would otherwise hold us down.
Humanity is now challenged as never before to actualize our divine potential, summoned by history to expand into dimensions of mind and spirit that will divert us from a most destructive path. This is not a time to wait for angels, but to actively become them. Indeed, we are waiting for something that is waiting for us. The distance between the lives we are living now and lives of mystical enchantment—between lives of material bondage and lives of spiritual freedom—is no farther than a decision to think miraculously. Each time we consider a miracle impossible, or assume that we ourselves are not capable of working it, then we're choosing not to take flight. But that doesn't mean that we can't, or that we won't. We will emerge from our spiritual chrysalis into the light of a new state of being, when human consciousness has realized our capacity to do so.
We need not wait for the world to become more mystical; the world is mystical. Our problem is not that the world lacks magic; our problem is that we don't believe in its magic. We do not show up fully for life, and then wonder why life is not showing up more fully for us. I've seen so many people auditioning for life, waiting for the right relationship, or the right job, or the right house, before deciding to live life to its fullest. People say, "When I've met the right person, I will show up fully in a relationship. . . . When I have the right job, I'll throw myself one hundred percent into it. . . . When I've lost the weight, I will try to look great. . . ." Imagine a narcissistic angel.
The time to show up fully for life is right now, whatever the circumstances. The decision to be the divine attracts the divine. Life is a swirling pool of infinite potential at every single moment, and we ourselves either activate or refuse to activate the mystical fertility of the universe. The only way to achieve an exciting life is to be willing to be excited and exciting. The only way to achieve an excellent life is to be willing to be excellent. The only way to achieve love is to be willing to be more loving. Who and what we decide to be, in each and every moment, is reflected back to us in worldly forms. Situations that just "seem" to happen are not necessarily random at all. With every thought, we ourselves decide whether to welcome God's reality and its miraculous prospects.
As we convert our thinking—much as one converts an electrical current—from identifying with the material realm to identifying with the spirit, then our spiritual wings take flight. We are lifted above the limitations of the past, for when we approach a situation from merely a material orientation, we remain at the effects of material factors. But if we approach it from a spiritual orientation, we are freed from the confines of material factors. We are heir to the laws of whichever world we believe in.
Knowing this, the mystic says, "No, I am not buying into the notion that wealth and position determine my destiny. As a child of God, I am bound by nothing"; "No, I am not going to stop pursuing my dream because someone else doesn't see its value. As a child of God, I have the power to make dreams manifest"; "No, I am not wallowing in the victimization of a youth that did not go my way. As a child of God, I am able to transcend the past"; "No, I am not going to quiet my voice because other people are uncomfortable with my power. As a child of God, I am here to speak my truth."
The path to a transcendent sensibility is neither even nor easy at times, but the difficulty of the journey sometimes turns out to be a blessing. Indeed, there are ways in which the pain we suffered yesterday increases our power to work miracles today. For challenges teach us humility and faith. Having experienced the pain of a broken wing, and having been healed by the mysterious mercy of God, we then fly again with a distinctive grace.
No matter what suffering has marked our lives, if we are open to a miracle now, then a miracle can happen. And there is no greater miracle than a person becoming all that he or she can be. We are healed as we begin to realize that we will be who we decide to be. And it's never what we are not getting so much as what we are not giving that can actually hold us back . . .
When we choose not to be an angel, the angels in our midst depart. People will tend to be to us what we have decided to be to them. Yet it can be difficult to shine on others when we do not honestly feel that there is light within us. There is a light in all of us because God put it there. We can look to those in the world who evolved to a higher level of consciousness during their lifetimes. They were not made of different stuff than we are so much as they made different decisions than we do. It was not easy for Abraham Lincoln to be the Abraham Lincoln we revere today; it was not easy to be Susan B. Anthony, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. They were born, as all of us are, with potential greatness. But the actualization of that greatness was not predetermined. They could have decided to do and be otherwise. Whatever spiritual force moved within their hearts, luring them toward a magnificent destiny, is a lure that exists in all of us. There is no rational formula for greatness, for greatness is not rational. On some mysterious level, despite whatever resistance they felt, the great are those who simply said yes at times when others would have said no. Fear did not deter them so much as it honed them. Something called to them from a higher place, and they responded to what they heard.
Are we not being called by history to become the greatness that lies in us? What happens to this Earth now is up to us. We can remain who we are and sink further into the troubled world we have already made, or we can allow our hearts to crack open like cosmic eggs, out of which will emerge transformed creatures—our own true selves.
Look at it closely, in yourself and others, and tell me that creature does not have wings.
This is an excerpt from Marianne Williamson’s book EVERYDAY GRACE; Part I: Thoughts of Grace; Wand 2: The Angels Are Waiting for Us; Pages 30 – 37.
Marianne Williamson is the author of many inspirational books, all of which can be found on Amazon.com. Just type her name into the Amazon search bar and choose whichever title speaks to you!