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What is Grace?

Contextually, we see the word used in a number of ways: Children are told to say Grace before meals, We joke about gracing others with our presence, “For the grace of God!” we lament in chaotic moments. But what does it actually mean? According to the dictionary, ˈgrās : unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification * Grace is a small word for a deep concept, one not valued in the way we have become accustomed to meeting society’s standards. The word that stands out to me in the definition is "unmerited." It isn't based on a cost-reward system. It isn't transactional. Not some grandiose deed, monumental accomplishment, nor a grand attention-getting gesture. Grace is none of those things because it is soft and easy. It hides in everyday moments and interactions with the world around us. Small yet profound flashes of human decency that stem from love and acceptance rather than fear and control. Grace is not just something that you do—often, it is something you don't do. Avoiding the temptation to get in the last snarky word of an argument, resisting the need to control outcomes and situations. Seemingly infinitesimal events that may feel inconsequential but have a wide-reaching ripple effect. Grace is acceptance for everything exactly as it is in the present moment. And this does not sit well with the ego. The ego is the enemy of grace. It tells us that such abstractions are a bunch of baloney. That no one ever got ahead with grace. That it's just more of that spiritual woo woo mumbo jumbo. Because the ego's job is to keep a stronghold belief that the world necessitates an every-man-for-himself mentality. We have to tell the ego to get out of the way and let grace do its thing, let nature do the work without micromanaging. Go through the day with the intention to do the least amount of harm to yourself and those around you. The absence of negativity, selfishness, and skepticism grants the space for an emergence of love, empathy, and compassion for everyone and everything around you. Grace moves like waves, flowing with life instead of swimming upstream and disturbing the flow, disturbing the peace. In ancient Polynesia, the symbol for grace is a series of wavy lines. Water accepts a pebble and ripples and then becomes calm again. I learned a lot about grace in recovery. For some reason I was gifted a moment of clarity and decided to seek help for my issues with addiction. It doesn't matter where it came from; the point is I was given it freely (unmerited), and must return it to those who need it, even if I only know how to do that in small ways. Grace is forgiveness, not in the sense of a huge ceremonial offering or lofty promise, but rather an ongoing act of faith, to show gratitude for all we have been given (by the Universe, the natural world, God, your highest self, however you conceptualize this entity). I’ve heard that life is God’s gift to us and what we do with that life is our gift to God. When we embody grace, we begin to experience inexplicable miracles that we know deep down had to be inspired by something otherworldly. “If you leave a certain space within you where your thoughts, emotions, ideas, philosophies, ideologies and prejudices do not enter, then grace will be a torrential force in your life.” -Sadhguru In other words, grace is all encompassing. It is not selective. We don't choose certain moments to practice grace and then leave it in the dust when life gets hard. We don't wait for external circumstances to look a certain way before we practice grace. It comes from within. We find it by being silent. Listening. Being rather than doing. Trusting that often the best course of action is to take no action at all. Grace starts with your heart and then moves through your thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors. Grace is a symbol of love. Ask yourself if you are operating from ego or your highest self. It can’t be both. Because if it’s not love, it’s fear, and your external world will reflect that energy back to you. Wish for others what you wish for yourself—peace, happiness, health, good fortune. Give your fellow humans the benefit of the doubt. Maintain an air of unconditional positive regard toward everyone. Live with integrity and recognize the oneness and sameness that connects you to the world, rather than the differences and distorted illusions of isolation and otherness. We are all part of the same creation. Start with this affirmation: “I hold acceptance for all beings, things, ideas, and situations. Today I will give wherever I go—a smile, compliment, or my full attention. Listening is the best gift I can give to those around me. I will be patient with others as I move through the day peacefully and with compassion and empathy. I will not be guided by fear. I will let love lead the way.”


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