A girlfriend of mine asked recently about how to move through tough times with grace when you have an inner knowing that you are working towards something bigger, even though it has not manifested yet. A delicious question on a topic I’m passionate about and as can happen contains all the answers within it.
What I’m noticing the more I’m talking with people on a daily basis is that the grass roots teachings of mysticism are where it’s at and the most helpful. They not only contain the magic and mystery of God and the universe, but they also cut straight through the spiritual crap. Spirituality is up there with nutrition; the more you look, the more you hear, the more confusing it can get. Without a clear voice and the time spent on the one practice (yes, one!) to become entrenched in spirit i.e. doing time, of sadhana, then we risk running in circles.
The above question raised three excellent spiritual points. They are:
May I mention firstly that grace is always here.
All of us are for want of a better word, ‘exposed’ to grace, in equal amounts at all times. Grace is the stuff of the universe. It is all that is formless and all that formed from the formless. There is nothing that is not Grace; it is consciousness. Grace is love; it is always being bestowed to us because it is us it is our very nature. Why I love the word grace so much then its other names like Shakti, is because it also conjures up a feeling of moving and living in a graceful manner, of elegance and beauty. A lost art in this day and age.
Another enjoyable aspect of the word grace is the implication that it can be bestowed either by someone who is steeped in the self, in Grace or by itself in our choice making capabilities and virtuous actions. In rough times, to hold Grace, we go to the beauty of our inner self and keep it so it can start to flow forth into our worlds. We bravely commit to holding our heart open while still doing what we know we have to do and take the consequences of the reactions of others with dignity and humility and dare I even say dispassion. Where possible. Compassion is a great place to start to get there.
We look to our thoughts, the nature of our language and make a concerted effort to keep it coming from God’s vantage point and not fear having to say what we need to say to ourselves and others. Then our actions. Are they congruent with where Spirit is asking me to go? What is stopping me living my dharma, consciously? The above three is a great place to start. Uncertainty i.e. fear. Faith is remembering grace and surrender is giving up controlling the situation.
Rough times are a change in action.
They are the best times to practice walking our walk. If we are here to transform in this life (ah, that’s a yes from all of you), then it’s these passages that we walk through with grace and elegance as best we can that yield the greatest results like a full and rich life. What makes them so tough? Firstly, we don’t want them and start to push them away which I like to say; we have a tantrum.
Secondly, they are asking us to step up to a new way of being which requires us to let go of a way of thinking and behaving. If we behave badly or hide under the doona while the storm rages outside, sure we could miss the storm, but the outcome is we’ve created a mess to clean up, and we have prolonged the journey home to Godhood. Choosing to stay comfortable in what we know and hiding from the change is keeping certainty. It’s in uncertainty that we are working 100% with the divine. Where we gain the intel we need, where we start to draw on our gifts and abilities and learn at an astonishing rate. To not know the how who and what and to still sit and act with grace is a recipe for happiness, healing and mastery.
This requires faith. Everyone has faith in something, even atheists. Shhhh, don’t tell them that, they’re too busy stuck in their heads thinking they’re smart and blindly following limited experience and science. Hmm, did I just have a go at atheists? I know some lovely atheists. Faith is trusting your inner knowing while living in uncertainty. Trusting you're worthy and as open to Grace and miracles as the next person. Good fortune is being someone born with naturally instilled faith. To have faith is to remember that the universe, that God, is bigger than us in ways we can’t quite comprehend in this present moment and that consciousness has no limit to what it can create; to how much we are loved. We get in a pickle when we bring in lower mind thoughts like tough stuff is punishment, or God is a kind of man figure, it’s so limited.
The third part of my ramble is surrender. Seriously, it’s better off to take the mind out of the picture entirely. Some can be in stillness; some can’t. There are ways to suit everyone. I love mantra because it’s making a noise and it’s using the mind that leads to perfect stillness. Very cunning. It also is repeating ‘mahavakyas’ which are Grace-drenched statements or names of God that get our vibration spinning with that of the cosmos. Free will is limited to choice, the rest is God’s will, it’s karma. Our choices either clear or create karma. Simple stuff. If we surrender we give up that part of us that thinks it knows better than the universe than what's gifted for us to handle. With surrender, faith and being ok with uncertainty we have created a potent Shakti filled cocktail to endure any situation.
To know we are working towards something bigger is a blessing. We may not be able to see out the other side yet, but there is a pull of destiny that if we grab with both hands, gives us momentum and purpose. Our life’s calling is involved. As our life’s calling is always evolving and unfolding, there is never an end point even though we like to try and name it. We can rest assured that a rough patch is not slowing us down, it’s, in fact, recalibrating us and propelling us further, closer to what we are here to do. Our egos are wanting to see the manifestation and have it all figured out before it’s ready to come. Some spiritual teachings have the potential to make us think there’s something wrong with us if we don’t instantly manifest. Only when we have liberated ourselves from time can this be possible. Be happy to be in communion with the Self, working with Grace and freeing your karmas and realising who you are.
If anything, this period of difficulty is providing lessons also in forbearance and patience. All of these good mystical spiritual teachings and virtues. Know that if you are sincerely doing the work, the fruit will come, in the time its meant to, and it will be greater, as always, than anything you can imagine. Peace.