“The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith” by Gabrielle Bernstein Book Review by Wendy Wollenberg
Gabby Bernstein is just like us.
Sure, she’s a New York Times best-selling author, was named one of the “20 Best Branded Women” by Forbes and co-hosted the world’s largest group meditation with Deepak Chopra. But she also experiences debilitating anxiety when dealing with deadlines, quarrels with her husband over mundane matters, and dreams about getting a snack when she should be in a state of transcendental bliss. She’s real, she’s relatable and she’s millennial America’s poster child for enlightenment. Call her a New(er) Age guru.
Bernstein’s latest book, “The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith,” builds upon her already-impressive slate of self-help titles, including the mega-popular “May Cause Miracles,” “Add More ~ing to Your Life” and “Spirit Junkie.” The peppy thirty-something has made a name for herself by stripping away the veil from murky, sometimes even hokey New Age spiritual quests, moving spirituality firmly into the mainstream.
In “The Universe Has Your Back,” Bernstein extols the virtues of non-denominational prayer, meditation and, most of all, choosing love over fear every second of every day. If that sounds daunting, it is. But she arms her readers with such user-friendly lessons and tools that empower even the most novice practitioner to incorporate meditation and other high vibe-inducing moves throughout their day.
In the first chapter, Bernstein offers the first of many simple mini-meditations to call upon when negativity seeps in: “Whenever you notice yourself disconnect from the presence of love, simply say this prayer to come back to peace, ‘I witness that I’m out of alignment with my power. I choose to see peace instead of this.’”
Bernstein lays out her objective early and clearly: We resist being happy; that is human nature. Fear takes over when we’re not trusting in the Universe (or God or the Divine or a Higher Power, whatever your word choice). “The Universe Has Your Back” assures us that we are always supported. Can you think of anything more liberating?
So how do we access this 24/7 Zen state of love and security? Bernstein tells us that meditation and prayer reconnect us to the Universe. Through personal anecdotes – both her own and friends’ – as well as quotes from her spiritual guides, Bernstein makes these most ancient spiritual practices as easy and available as ordering your favorite Starbucks drink.
Each chapter gives universal lessons and steps, meditation exercises and intention-setting practices to reunite with the Universe, creating a toolkit of ways to better trust in our intuition and surrender to the support all around us. By doing so, we can realize miracles are natural. We should expect them, like we expect the Chicago Avenue bus. The only difference is that we’re looking for one and not the other.
“The Universe Has Your Back” explains that thoughts and words affect us physically, emotionally and energetically, teaching that the stories we tell ourselves are the movies we play repeatedly on our internal movie screen. What if we were to change the projection reel?
What if, when placed in an uncomfortable situation, we just chose for it to be fun? Bernstein calls this the Holy Instant (from “A Course in Miracles” by Dr. Helen Schucman). “The Holy Instant is the moment that you surrender your fear to the care of the Universe and accept the perspective of love,” Bernstein writes. “The shift in perception enables us to understand that the world outside is a projection of the world we created in our mind; that the problem is not outside, but within. We’re reminded that there’s a loving spiritual presence that can restore us to sanity.”
Unlike many spiritual leaders, Bernstein doesn’t shy away from current events and the tumultuous times we live in. She’s not one to bury her head in the sand – and suggests we don’t, either. This is why her books are best-sellers: because she’s saving the world by helping people like you and me vote for love, be love and spread love.
“We change the world when we shift spiritually – when our attitudes become more loving, when we forgive, when we heal our wounds from the past and when we embrace the present moment,” writes Bernstein. “One person’s shift toward love shines light onto all.”
Gabby Bernstein is here to show us that it all comes down to this: Choose love over fear.