Grace is an important element of the spiritual journey. Around the world, we see grace in one of two ways.
The first type of grace is unexpected gifts or unmerited favour of the Divine. Peter Wehner described it as “unconditional love given to the undeserving.”
For example, there is no manifest “cause” of awakening. It happens when the Divine gifts it. It is not personally earned but rather is given to move things along in the whole. In that sense, grace isn’t personal.
Bono, the lead singer of U2, said “Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions.”
“There’s a radical equality at the core of grace. None of us are deserving of God’s grace, so it’s not dependent on social status, wealth or intelligence. There is equality between kings and peasants, the prominent and the unheralded, rule followers and rule breakers.”
– Philip Yancey
In this scenario, there are definite actions a person can take that will lead to a certain result. Many old texts describe them. Some are quite arduous, others like Samyama only require correct intention.
However, I would classify these as boons, garnering the favour of the gods. We can earn results from the managers of the field of action. But only in their arena.
For gains beyond the field of action such as for spiritual awakening, we need the help of the Divine itself. We need what I’d call true grace, the first type.
Not that there is no point in spiritual practices and similar. It is very useful to do actions that prepare the ground. Otherwise, when grace comes, it may just flow away. If we’re not ready to integrate and embody the gift, grace won’t be able to live in us. Plus, spiritual practices will improve our quality of life in the meantime.
“The grace of God is a wind which is always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails.”
– Sri Ramakrishna
There is another perspective that suggests preparing the ground makes us more prone to grace. Grace flows in the context of the whole. When the need arises, a vessel is chosen. If we’re a ready vessel, grace is more likely to arise.
We also have to consider the topic in the larger context of our own journey. Each of us picks up where we left off on our prior spiritual journey so we’re all at different points. On the surface of life, karma is more prominent so we often have only a general idea of how we’re doing spiritually. But that’s a good thing. Otherwise, ego would try to manage it. 🙂
It is also very valuable to understand the laws of action so we can get good results from our efforts.
While grace can have energetic effects, it is far more subtle than energy. Even flow and Shakti are effects of grace. However, grace may be experienced as a liquid. There is a vast ocean of Divine white light up at the top of creation. When a small amount of this ocean is filtered through a physiology, it produces soma, the nectar of the gods. When a small drop is given, we experience it as grace. We can experience Makara, for example, as a drop of white light that switches on the 6th chakra.
If we’re producing soma, we’re bring grace into the world. That would certainly make us more ready to receive grace in other ways. 🙂