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Beyond the appearances of history, there is a great and glorious unfolding plan for the destiny of nations. According to the mystical traditions, God carries His plan within his mind, seeking always, in every way, channels for its furtherance. His plan for the evolution of humanity, and the preparation of teachers to guide it, is called within the esoteric traditions, the Great Work. Contribution to this work is not unique to any one nation or people. On every continent, in every age, there have been spectacular contributions made to humanity’s journey toward the fullness of our being. Worldly institutions are useful in advancing God’s plan for the enlightenment of the world, to the extent to which the ideals of that institution reflect the highest philosophical truths. The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and other great beams of American light have reflected and furthered the evolutionary arc of humanity’s progress. Yet no mortal, and no nation made up of mortals is immune to pride or ego or selfishness or greed. Where immoderate ambition or brute power take hold, the fragile bond is broken between the spirit of the Great Work and the structure that contained it. The Work continues; it always continues. But it leaves behind what becomes unworthy of it and gravitates towards truer hearts. In modern sociological terms, there is a phenomenon called the “local discontinuity of progress.” The next step forward in a system rarely comes from a predictable place. Grace is not logical, nor can brilliant insight be rationally formulated. Where human beings pride themselves, the spirit of God departs. Human arrogance is not a container for God, nor will it ever be. When a particular group or structure fails to keep faith with the spirit of love—not measured by its words but by its actions—that structure then loses the privilege of guardianship of the great Work. The plan passes on to other groups or structures. Human beings cannot stop or pervert the work of destiny, but we can dissociate ourselves from its higher unfoldment. Having done so, then we will cease to share its blessings. America has been a vessel of the great Work from its inception. Now, however, we have in many ways lost our conscious contact with the greatness of our destiny. We ignore invisible principles yet obsess about all manner of visible pursuits. We allow our time and attention to be frittered away in a scramble for things too shallow to satisfy us even if we can attain them. Having overcome so many forms of dysfunction, we are now bound by the internal ones. But powers greater than we continue to minister to humanity. Today, as always, any heart or institution that surrenders itself becomes a channel for the vibrations of love still emanating from the mind of God. It is never too late to change our minds, to self correct, to embrace the notion that all men are brothers, that indeed we are One, that what we do to anyone we are doing to ourselves, and that in time we will come to see this and know this and live this in truth. America keeps trying to find the right drivers, when instead we should be questioning what road we’re on. Contrary to what we are told, the road that we are currently on is not full of just light; the road ahead is full of consequences. But there is another road that America can take, a road of high and enlightened purpose for both our abundance and our genius. Material expansion will take care of itself if we take care of all things true and beautiful. For those whose hearts respond to this thought, it is time to break through the superstitious thinking that might lead us to believe it’s too late to change. We can change, we will change—in fact, we are changing. That is our destiny. A question that faces us is this: Can we recreate politics and society to reflect these things, or must the pursuit of higher truth remain separate from the public sphere? This moment is one of opportunity for the creation of a new civic forcefield. It is up to each and every one of us to decide where America goes now. This is an excerpt from Marianne Williamson's landmark book, Healing the Soul of America. Reprinted with permission. — Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her 11 published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best-seller A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the LA area. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance and serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world. According to Time magazine, “Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity.”