“Beyond even any teaching, though, the aspect of spiritual life that is the most profound is the element of grace. Grace is something that comes to us when we somehow find ourselves completely available, when we become openhearted and open-minded, and are willing to entertain the possibility that we may not know what we think we know. In this gap of not knowing, in the suspension of any conclusion, a whole other element of life and reality can rush in. This is what I call grace. It's that moment of "ah-ha!"—a moment of recognition when we realize something that previously we never could quite imagine.
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Falling into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering by Adyashanti
Many circumstances and experiences are capable of opening us to this grace. Whether it's a beautiful moment in nature or spending time with someone we love or just sitting quietly in stillness, for some reason, a whole new perspective opens up. We find ourselves filled with grace. At other times, grace comes with a more fierce face. Somehow the difficult situations in our lives have a way of opening our hearts and minds the most. We do everything we can to avoid such moments, but in reality, it is these challenging moments that often offer the greatest opportunities for growth and the transformation of consciousness.
You need to have the willingness to slow down, even stop, and fully digest what you hear, because ultimately, the truth of any teaching can never be found in the words. Rather, the truth is found in that which is revealed inside of our own selves. By exploring in this way, we make the teachings our own.
And by making a teaching our own, by experiencing what the teaching is pointing to within our own experience, we come to awaken to a view of life that's more whole and unified—and, in the end, one that directly addresses the deepest yearning and longing of the human heart.
Grace is all around us, if we only have the eyes to see it. The good moments are grace, the difficult moments are grace, the confusing moments are grace. When we can begin to open enough to realize that there is grace in every situation, in each person we meet, no matter how easy or difficult we perceive them to be, our hearts will flower and we'll be able to express the peace and the love that each of us has within us.
We let go into this grace. It's something we fall into, like when we fall into the arms of another, or we put our head on the pillow to go to sleep. It's a willingness to relax, even in the midst of tension. It's a willingness to stop for just a moment, to breathe, to notice that there's something else going on other than the story our mind is telling us. In this moment of grace, we see that whatever might be there in our experience, from the most difficult emotional challenges to the most causeless joy, occurs within a vast space of peace, of stillness, of ultimate well-being.
If we can let go for just a moment, if we can relax, if we can fall into the center of now, we can encounter directly the freedom that we've all been seeking. It is right here, right now. It doesn't lie in the future. It's not going to come when life changes, when the circumstances of our day-to-day reality become different. Freedom is something that's right in the midst of this moment.
When we begin to surrender our demand that life change, that life alter itself to suit our ideas, then everything opens. We begin to awaken from this dream of separateness and struggle, and we realize that the grace we were always seeking is actually right there at the center of our own existence. This is the heart of spiritual awakening: to realize that what we have always yearned for is the very thing, in our deepest source, that we have always been. Freedom is always available to us. In those very moments when we know we don't know, when we take the backward step, heart wide open, we fall into grace.
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