Inspirational speaker, bestselling author, coach and consultant for over three decades, Mary Manin Morrissey’s transformational talks and seminars have empowered individuals to achieve new heights of spiritual aliveness, wealth and authentic success, firmly planting her as one of the original and elite teachers in the Human Potential movement.
Mary is the president and founder of LifeSOULutions, an international company providing programs and products that transform dreams into reality. She has spoken at the United Nations, met with Nelson Mandela, and led meetings with the Dalai Lama. An accomplished author, Mary has authored two bestselling books, No Less Than Greatness and Building Your Field of Dreams. She also appeared as a featured teacher in the hit movies Beyond The Secret and The Moses Code.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: The subtitle to your book talks about real love. We’ve been talking about love, but what does real love mean to you?
MARY MORRISSEY: Real love knows no opposite. We think of love and hate in the domain of dualities. We may think, I love that person, or I hate that person. That’s a condition-based love. Interestingly enough, the Greeks have a term for unconditional love, ‘agape’, but we, in English, have had to come up with this term ‘unconditional love’. The truth is that love that knows conditions is not love anyway. It’s only approval.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Would you say that again? I like that. Love that knows conditions…
MARY MORRISSEY: …is not love anyway; it’s only approval.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: A great way of looking at it, too, would be, I either approve of you or disapprove of you. As long as I approve of you, then I can love you.
MARY MORRISSEY: Yes. I may use the word ‘love’, but it’s not really love. It’s, I love you for, I love you because, I love you when, or I love you if. That’s a very low amplitude of the energy that we would call love. That doesn’t mean that we put ourselves in conditions or circumstances that are abusive, and it doesn’t mean that we have to be around every person. We know that all of us at times are more or less skillful in our ability to translate this energy of pure love through our awareness into our action and being.
Nevertheless, the energy of pure love is always here. As we begin to recognize that and use the content of our life as the opportunity for the instruction of serving that pure energy in form to our daily life, all kinds of things begin to happen. The Hindus call this experience the thinning of the veil. Prior to that, we’re just seeking to get someplace. After that or through the process of that, we’re recognizing we’re coming [indiscernible].
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Would you share a few of either your own experiences or experiences of people who you’ve worked with who have accepted the power of love that you’re talking about?
MARY MORRISSEY: I’ve had the opportunity, and this was really a dream of mine. Years ago, I wanted to meet two major people on the planet. I wanted to meet the Dalai Lama, and I wanted to meet Nelson Mandela. This was because I really wanted the opportunity to ask them a specific question. I wanted to ask Nelson Mandela, How did you work with your mind during the 27 years of imprisonment so that when you were released, you would not only be released by the country that imprisoned you for life, but you would become president of that country?
Instead of having trials to go after those who had harmed you or wronged you or your movement, you held truth and reconciliation hearings. How did you do that? I had that opportunity to sit with him and ask that question. I also wanted to ask the Dalai Lama, His Holiness, How have you worked with your mind and heart so that after 40 years of active seeking by the Chinese government? He’s very careful to distinguish the difference between the Chinese people and the Chinese government.
He says that the Chinese people have not done this active decimation of a 5,000-year-old culture. Even today in Tibet, someone might walk down the street saying something that is, effectively, like you or I walking down the street wherever we might be, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, or some other fundamental prayer. That person is considered insubordinate to the Chinese government.
They’re put in hard prison for the rest of their lives. I want to know how you do that? How do you work actively toward the freeing of your country and your people? Yet, there’s not even a tinge of bitterness or resentment in him, all of what we would consider to be very normal human responses to this kind of lifelong experience. There’s none of it in him. I wanted to ask him, How do you do that? Those are two people who have been instrumental and monumental as teachers and guides for me.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Can you share anything about their answers that would be of value to our listeners?
MARY MORRISSEY: Sure. I had the opportunity to sit right next to them, and this is the story of how that occurred. It’s really been my work, how you can take an idea you have that you’d love to have happen when you have no idea how. You take the seed of it, and then unravel the ‘how’ as you go along. Ultimately, I would have three different opportunities to sit right next to him for five days in a row, leading conversations with world leaders with the Association for Global New Thought.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Now, this is the Dalai Lama?
MARY MORRISSEY: This is the Dalai Lama. I was able to have a meal with him and ask him my question. He said, We all have friends. Friends, easy to love. Friends, easy to forgive. Then we have our sacred friends. Sacred friends, very difficult. Chinese government, my sacred friend. Sacred friend is the one who is so hard to forgive and become passionate for that your heart must evolve bigger than you’ve ever known.
As I reflected on that, I thought that I’ve had some sacred friends too, only I had a different name for them. It encouraged me to reflect, and I started thinking. If I went to a great play and there was a bad guy in the play. Then outside, I ran into the actor. I might say to him, You were so good at being a bad guy. You really had me going. I thought if I stood off the stage of my own life, I might be able to do that.
Over time I worked with myself to be able to say to some of the people who played a role for me very well, You did that so well. I had to get bigger than that. Thank you for that opportunity. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s just a different perspective. It gives us a bit of a perspective distance and then an opportunity to embrace all the many aspects of our lives. Again, he works vigorously for the freeing of Tibet, but he keeps the energy outside of him instead of inside of him.
I was reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the first women in the United States who really stepped outside the box of what it was like to play a traditional role, because she was a smart woman and she was not a very pretty woman. The press had a heyday with her. She said one day, All the water in the world cannot drown you unless it gets inside of you.
When I asked Nelson Mandela, How did you do this? he said it was a progression of thinking, and that when he first went to prison he was so depressed for months. Of course, he was having to do hard labor in the rock quarries. There were seven of us who got to interview him and be with him. We were told ahead of time not to use flash photography, because the retinas of his eyes were so damaged from all the sunlight bouncing off the quartz over the many years he worked in the rock quarry.
He said one day he was in his little, tiny cell just before he went to work that day, Like a drop of water on a parched desert. He’d been thinking, It’s all lost. The thought occurred to him, What if it could still happen? He said he hung onto that thought like a life raft in a big ocean of darkness over time. He talked about the spiral of upward thinking that would ultimately lead him to, It could still happen. Maybe there are others. I could pray for them. I could send them good thoughts.
Over time, one day the thought occurred to him, What if my being in prison is part of its ending? That then gave rise to a meaning and a purpose for what he was doing. Of course, part of his mind would say, That’s crazy. That’s not going to happen, but he kept nurturing that thought. What if my being here could actually be part of it happening?
That led him to the thought one day, What if this is what it looks like? It’s just a longer process. This is what it looks like while apartheid is ending. He said it wasn’t that long behind that thought that came the idea to write letters. Of course, the American media would ultimately pick it up. There would be the economic embargos, and the rest is history. It started with one man in a very dark place who had a thought.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Isn’t that amazing? I think for anyone who’s listening, all of us can relate to both of your stories. I think all of us, Mary, have sacred friends. There are those, obviously, who have been very difficult to love in our lives. To be able to look at a situation such as Nelson Mandela was in and to see this progression, I love the way you described the upward spiral of thinking.
What I’m hearing-and tell me if I’m hearing correctly-is that through both of those men, it’s been the matter of being able to progressively, or maybe instantaneously, embrace. I don’t know which one. In either case, they were able to embrace that which seems to be un-embraceable.
MARY MORRISSEY: Yes.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Is that it? I think for all of us in our lives, we all have those things. In your book you talk about the seven spiritual laws that make real love possible. This might be difficult, but if you were to pick out one that you’d like to share with our listeners and readers, what would that one be?
MARY MORRISSEY: I think one that I would say is a practice that we can all enter into is what I call the power of unusable giving. Gibran said, You say you’ll give, but only to the deserving. The trees in your orchard say not so. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. This idea of this love without limits is love that is unconditional.
Again, your behavior is conditional based on where you presence yourself, who you hang out with, and what you allow in terms of the way you are treated or you treat others. However, there’s a whole different orientation when your heart is unconditional. That’s why I love this principle about the power of unusable giving. Most of us have an idea about giving to get or giving with strings, and I’m not just talking about material giving.
I’m talking about support and really wishing well for another. There was a man who came to me once. I’d known him for a long time in the work I was doing. He had been separated from his wife for about eight months, and he’d just found out that she had been having an affair. He’d been pouring his heart out to his best friend during this entire time, and then just found out that she and his best friend had been seeing each other all these months.
He was devastated and angry, and he wanted to basically go take this guy out. I was speaking to him about how that was a very normal human response. However, the only way out for him ultimately was to forgive. ‘Giving for’ is one perception. Another perception that is more liberating is forgiveness. It’s a shift in perception. He’d been a guy who had gotten into drugs. He was now in his late 30s or early 40s, but he’d been a rough guy in his late teens. He’d spent a couple of years in prison, gotten out, and reconstructed his life, and he was a fine guy now.
All of those early patterns were starting to surface, and he really did want to go take this guy out. I spoke to him about the power of unreasonable giving. Does Bruce deserve his forgiveness? It’s not about Bruce. Does his wife? It’s about him. I said, You can begin your prayer any way you want to, but ultimately ask for help in seeing this differently, so you can get to the place where in your mind you’re doing nothing but wishing them, individually or collectively, well.
Whenever they cross the street of your mind, instead of you wanting to attack them on that street, you wish them well. He came back about three weeks later, and I didn’t know exactly what had happened, but I could tell he was way better because you could just see him: his energy, the way he held his shoulders, and just the vibrancy in him. I said, Well, how did you do it? His name was Alan. He said, I think what really helped was when you told me I could begin the prayer any way I wanted to.
At first, all my energy was, ‘A Mack truck would smash him flat,’ and I would imagine Bruce just smashed flat with a Mack truck. Then I’d say, ‘May he be happy and do well. If a train doesn’t dismember him, may he be well and be happy.’ He said, I just kept at it. Ultimately, one day, probably two or three weeks into the process, whenever I would think about him, I would move into that.
Maybe I’d wish him harm at first, but if that can’t happen, then he can be happy and well. He said, All the sudden, something opened up right from my solar plexus to the top of my head. I realized I really did want everybody to be happy and do well. That’s really what I wanted. Maybe it wasn’t the personality part of me or some of my programming, but I did want that. Bruce has been my best friend.
I really did want him to be happy. I didn’t like the scenario, and I didn’t like the nondisclosure and the lies. I didn’t like that, but underneath, behind, above, and beyond all of that, I did want him to be happy and do well. I loved my wife. I wanted her to be happy, but not just my way. If I really loved her, I really did want her to be happy and do well. He said it absolutely shifted for him. He and his wife never did get back together, and as it turned out, Bruce and his wife didn’t stay together.
A few years later, I performed a wedding for him. He was in this amazing relationship that he had come into and developed. The connection and the depth that he had carved inside himself that made welcome and available the level of relationship he was entering into was a testament to the power of that kind of love’s practice. It isn’t unreasonable giving to give forgiveness when the circumstance doesn’t deserve it, but that’s not why we do it. We do it for ourselves.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: If you were to describe for our listeners how they might use this, and you suggested the practice. How might they apply that in their own life?
MARY MORRISSEY: We were speaking about sacred friends, Chris. For every one of us, if we look through our lives, it doesn’t take very long to find a circumstance where we feel that either we were wronged or maybe we were the cause of a person who made a mistake and wrong or disappointment occurred, something we regret. I think it’s very important for us to be able to detoxify that. Our subconscious mind is very much like a computer.
Those viruses go to work. Most of us put virus protectors on our computers, but we don’t put virus protectors on our own minds, so we have this worming away inside of our own awareness. Then we wonder why things are difficult or why we’re not as happy. I’ve had a forgiveness practice for many years. As a student of the different traditions, there is not a religion on our planet that doesn’t talk about the practice of forgiveness.
All good psychology talks about the practice of forgiveness. We are very, very careful, most of us, to brush our teeth and wash our bodies on a daily basis, but the grit and grime of daily living gets on our minds and in our hearts. We need a daily practice of forgiveness where we simply ask, Is there anything I need to forgive? We look for any place there’s any angst with any person, because all relationships are eternal.
You can’t get rid of a relationship. You can stop seeing the person or talking to the person, but even if they’re in the next dimension of life, the relationship never existed in the world anyway; it exists in us. Any time I think of that person, the relationship is now alive in me. Many of us have ongoing arguments with people we haven’t seen in years. Whenever they come to mind, we again point out how we were right or what they did, and we still have the same conversations.
To be free of that opens the door. We’ve been talking about an experience. There’s first an awareness and then an experience of a transcendent love, a love that transcends circumstances and situations, history, and that kind of experience. Again, Jesus called that the pearl of great price. There are those who have touched it-saints, sages and avatars from all traditions-and who speak about the transformation that occurs at the hem of the garment of our discovering this for ourselves.
Forgiveness, then, is a way of opening ourselves to that which is already here but not available when we’re focused on regret and resentment. The vibration of regret and resentment is like static or dissonance to the mind’s ability to see, feel and know love’s presence. That’s why forgiveness is never about another person. It’s about us freeing ourselves so that we can really experience the presence and the power of love that is right here.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Say that again, the prayer that you suggested to your friend that he use about wishing.
MARY MORRISSEY: That actually came from a Tibetan Buddhist prayer, which is called the Loving Kindness Prayer, which is, May you be happy. May you be peaceful. These are my words, but it’s a similar kind of prayer. In your mind, first you bring to mind somebody you really love easily, one of your regular friends, children, parents, or spouse. You want somebody you love easily.
You say, May you be happy. May you be well. May all things work together for good in your life. May you know the power of love’s presence this day, or whatever words you want. You feel your heart opening and your synergy [indiscernible], and you generate what the Dalai Lama and the Buddhists call the [indiscernible]. You generate this feeling of loving kindness.
Then into your mind you draw up the picture of one of your sacred friends. You’ll notice almost immediately your energy will contract, and you’ll be saying, May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May all things work better for you. Part of you is saying, Unless a Mack truck hits you first. The practice, then, is to be able to have a picture of the one you love easily and the one you have not loved so easily.
You begin to up-level your ability to think of that person and really, really wish them well. If you are sincere in the request of help with that, [indiscernible], there is nothing love cannot do, and love will open our hearts, transform our thinking, and free us if we really, sincerely ask for help.
CHRIS ATTWOOD: Thank you for that. I think all of us have challenges and issues to face. Some of our readers have written to us about some of the horrendous things that have happened in their lives and how to get through them. I wonder if you would share the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life, how you got through it, and what our listeners might be able to take from that in moving through facing the challenges that are occurring in their own lives.
For details on how you can get the complete interview, including a transcript and recording… ==>Click Here
For more information about Mary Morrissey and her work, please go to www.MaryMorrissey.com.