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Grace, like love, is not a thing of the mind.
Grace, like love, is not a thing of the mind. It doesn’t act upon our demands but appears on its own, unannounced and unexpected. Grace is the benevolent loving sign that life is good again and that we have, for an instant, connected to our source. One of my favorite poems on grace, entitled “The Sun Of Grace,” is from spiritual teacher and philosopher Sri Chinmoy. It is a personal ode to grace, simple and intimate: If you have the capacity To create the clouds of trouble, Then God has the capacity To create the sun of Grace. For whom, if not for you, For you alone? But does grace only belong to people of faith? Is faith really needed for grace to appear or do we have to lose faith in our own abilities? And if so, is grace reduced to simple good fortune, random luck or a happy incident?
The word grace has a very well documented religious origin: In Christianity, while there are different concepts of grace between Catholics and Protestants, in general grace is perceived as God’s gift of eternal salvation made possible only through Jesus. Grace is a God-given, unmerited mercy. In Hinduism, it is Kripa, the ultimate factor for enlightenment which may be earned through tapas and spiritual practices. Grace in Islam is dispensed by Allah and cannot be earned on the merit of man’s deeds.
According to David Blumenthal in his book, “The Place of Faith and Grace In Judaism,” God’s grace is used in the biblical text three ways. First, in creation, second, in His covenants, and third, in forgiveness God extended mercy and grace to all who repented. All common theme: grace is out of the ego’s reach and sphere of influence. The human mind cannot commend Grace to fulfill specific desires, needs, or wants. It cannot explain it either. Even among atheists and agnostics for whom grace equals accidental good fortune or fortuitous chance, lucky symbols are popular and widely used, such as the four-leaf clover, the acorn, the horseshoe or the rabbit’s foot, testaments to our need for reassurance and our desire to attract benevolence.
Even though our cultural and religious views vary, haven’t we all, at some point or another, experienced grace’s magical qualities? Sometimes grace comes forth after we have completely tapped all of our own resources and our backs are against the wall. Grace can appear slowly, as a warm protective embrace enveloping our being and dissolving our most pressing worries. At other times, grace can strike us in an instant, swiftly uprooting us from the misery of our dire circumstances and dropping us onto the safety of familiar shores once again.
Grace appears in the form of momentous coincidences, perfectly spontaneous synchronicities, and the instant fulfillment of our deepest and most urgent needs. It is unmistakable, it doesn’t just herald good news that coincide with what we want or what we wish for. It is so much deeper than that. It is felt at the cellular level as the deepest expression of the universe’s infinite intelligence. With grace we are no longer afraid.
In my life, grace has emerged when I least expected it, as a sudden and thrilling validation that my heart’s deepest hopes were heard and answered, sometimes even before they were formulated as thoughts. Grace leaves me weak with gratitude and full of joy. I remember once waiting for a medical diagnosis on a life threatening condition that I had. The worrying had emptied me, leaving no barriers between myself and the infinite field of all possibilities, good and bad. My thought was: “Bring it on, I can’t resist anymore. Whatever will be, will be.” Immediately, the energy inside of me shifted and I felt completely at peace. I had no volition left for worrying. The prognosis turned out to be different than what we expected, it wasn’t a clean bill of health nor the end of the issue, but I sensed the touch of grace protecting me and infusing my life with a new energy and vitality. Grace had dodged my bullet.
Every now and then, grace’s entrance is more covert and not heralded by immediate life changing events. Grace delivers premature gifts such as situations or resources that, in time, are revealed as important factors and turning points affecting the direction our lives have taken. I cannot think of, or feel, a more potent, more life transforming element that can affect us the way Grace does. It ushers love into our hearts, gifts us with the innocence of a child and the wisdom of truth.
Grace can’t be judged by its rewards, but can be fully appreciated by understanding its personal spiritual values. Can Grace be evoked? I would like to think so because it feels good to hold the intention that we can open up to grace by creating the most inviting sacred altar inside of our hearts, upon which we place the delicate flowers of gratitude and humility. For me, Grace is Love’s unexpected kiss. Please share what grace is for you? How do grace’s magical qualities manifest in your life?
Toni Emerson is a writer, speaker and is currently working on her book, “The Love Dialogues.” Visit her on her website, www.TheLoveDialogues.com. Follow Toni Emerson on Twitter: twitter.com/@Toni_Emerson