Amazing Grace

Grace

    1- unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration (to make new) or sanctification (to make holy, whole)

    2- smooth and attractive, ease of movement, being considerate or thoughtful.

The flow of traffic in India at first appears chaotic and dangerous. Automobiles, rickshaws, cows, bicycles, motorcycles, people walking, and carts fill the roadway from curb to curb. Some places have lanes marked, and they are ignored. Most, but not all, stay on the left side of the road. Everyone is constantly jostling for position. Vehicles, animals and pedestrians pass within inches of one another, traveling in the same direction and oncoming. Once in the middle of the traffic, if one lets go of fear and expectation about how traffic is supposed to work, there dawns the realization that what appears to be random and chaotic is actually a self organizing system which flows unimpeded, absorbing and incorporating a disparate mishmash of vehicles and creatures, all moving at different speeds. Obstacles merely divert the stream, but never completely stop it. 

The appearance of chaos is amplified by the ever present cacophony of horns and bells, honking, beeping, and ringing. Observation reveals that the din of horns is not a frustrated road rage reaction to the press of traffic. Instead it is a kind of echolocation system, like the one developed by nearly blind bats to find their way. The surround sound burps and squeaks let everyone know where they are in relation to one another, when one needs space to pass, which side one is passing on, if someone in front begins to move in what might be a dangerous direction. The sound, combined with a kind of sixth sense telepathy, supports the flow, and the fulfillment of purpose; things get delivered to where they need to be. The system works. Here we see evidence of order and underlying intelligence. 

So it is with our lives. With a superficial look life appears chaotic, filled with potential dangers. Deeper examination reveals that our lives are a stream of interactions, like the traffic in Delhi, horns blaring, we speak our signals of discovery, distress, joy and suffering, letting those around us know where we are and where we are going. This flow is like our life giving blood stream.  Every individual cell has a destiny and purpose, each performs some function. Taken together we see throbbing life essence expressing as a body, or a city. Even though each seemingly separate individual cell, or person, has its own agenda, desire and expectation, beyond their limited vision they cooperate to fulfill larger purposes; the maintenance and well being of a body, a family, a city, a nation, the wholeness of life on the planet, and the awakening of soul awareness.

In a sense your body does not really belong to you. You did not create it, you are not in control of its vital functions, circulating blood and fluids, assimilating and metabolizing fuel, processing input. You do have access to limited controls for mobility, directing attention and breathing (try to hold your breath until you pass out and you will see innate intelligence take over). This body is an amazing vehicle that we are entrusted to operate for the fulfillment of our life's purposes and the refinement and awakening of our immortal consciousness. It is equipped with an innate intelligence, an auto pilot which is always actively guiding us. It is only when we choose to manually override or ignore our inner guidance system that we create problems for ourselves and experience suffering.

Our innate intelligence, the auto pilot, can be thought of as what is commonly referred to as "grace." It includes all the aspects of life that we take for "granted." We are granted, given, this body, with it's ability to perceive, self-regulate, process fuel, and move. We are granted this environment, supportive of our every need. We are granted fellowship, connecting and relating to our fellow travelers here on earth. We are granted intelligence to examine, learn and evolve. We are granted an innate impulse to awaken to deeper awareness of our essential nature. All these gifts come to us unearned, unmerited. And they come to regenerate, to make us new again and again. The food we eat renews us, becomes us. The environment supports and our interaction with it results in experience which we process and metabolize, it becomes us as well. Fellowship, our relations with one another, change us, providing opportunities to contribute, give of ourselves, and to open to greater awareness of our connections. Intelligence affords the assimilation of information and experience which is also metabolized, transforming our perception and awareness of self. And we find that we are never truly, completely satisfied until we awaken to the ever presence of God. No matter how wonderful our lives are, without God there is always the subtle feeling that something is missing.

Grace is the supportive intelligence that inspires, guides and supports us at all times in every way. It is what invites us to move in harmony with the flow of life. We can ask ourselves "How did I get to where I am today? How did I come to live in this place? To have this occupation? To enjoy this relationship?" If we are honest we will acknowledge that an idea just came to us, a desire together with an opportunity for expression, a vision of a possibility. These graceful invitations did not result from the intellect rationalizing and choosing the best course, instead they come from a resonance with our essence, what is often referred to as the heart. 

When we are open and receptive to the action of Divine grace expressing through our innate intelligence, and we accept the invitation, often we find we are being called, led, guided, to make changes in what we are thinking, how we are feeling and what we are doing. This is when the intellect begins to rationalize. Here we may observe the emergence of fears, limitations, doubts, old conditioned patterns of thinking and feeling that may interfere with our ability to change and grow. This is when we need to rely upon the faith and trust we have been practicing in order to have the strength and courage to be transformed, to move more fully and more effectively with life.

Life is a flowing tapestry woven of countless threads - lives and experiences touching, intersecting, entwining, resonating. Every action we perform is the effect, the result of countless millions of connections. We awaken in the morning and glance at the clock. We are in a room that we did not build, in a bed that someone else made, under covers woven from materials we did not grow. The clock is made from metals dug, refined, processed and manufactured, combined with plastics and paints transformed from oil pumped from the planets depths. The location of this room we awaken in, our home, community, environment, all influence and support our thinking and feeling in this moment. We exist at a kind of nexus, a confluence of all that we have experienced and ever touched, of all that has ever touched us. 

In turn our actions affect and influence others, rippling out into unknown and unknowable futures. We never know the true effects of a smile, a kindness, a sharing of energy and consciousness, how someone we touch in a moment of passing may be changed and this change may be passed along again and again. The law of doubling reveals that if we bring a smile to two people, and as a result of being cheered each of them brings a smile to two, that makes six, and if this progression continues for ten connections we will have contributed to cheering 1024 people, twenty connections influences over a million! Each of us experiences hundreds of interactions every day, each an opportunity to make a positive contribution.

Seen from a distance we can observe life as this beautiful tapestry, a pattern of unfolding, awakening consciousness. Everything and everyone serves the purposes of life - to express and awaken in joy and to know itself as oneness expressing. The guiding force behind all is an intelligence, implicit in the expression of God as creation, this amazing grace. The second definition of grace is: smooth and attractive, ease of movement. It is our destiny to move easily with life, to have our essential needs easily met, to travel a path that is smooth, to enjoy the beauty and wonder, the ever supportive grace that surrounds and enfolds us.