Grace is a perennial, eternal river that is always flowing. Grace is always flowing out to all of us, surrounding us. Grace is always available to everyone. Grace is absolutely impartial; no one gets a bigger allotment than anyone else.
If we take prana [the essential, life-sustaining force and vital energy that enters the body through the breath] as an analogy to grace, prana is everywhere. It is all around us at every moment. It always has been there. It charges every molecule of air, and every breath we take. It is absolutely universally available. It isn't reserved, given as a special blessing, or parceled out to any one person or to a chosen few. It belongs to everyone. Its purity, its power to regenerate and integrate body and mind and spirit is always there, always available. No one is left out.
The difference, the key, lies in the individual. What is the readiness, the ability of a person to take in prana? How healthy is a person's body? Can the lungs expand fully? Do toxins or constrictions of any kind keep one from taking a full breath? Is the person relaxed? Is she breathing abdominally? Is the person breathing deeply? How consciously is the person breathing? What attention does a person give to the breath, to the prana that is being received in the breath?
Prana is very, very subtle. It has a dimension of consciousness. It takes awareness for the subtle benefits of prana to be fully realized.
So it is with grace.
How often do we come to sit by the river and take grace into our heart? How open are we to grace? What is our readiness to receive it? ...to see it? ...to acknowledge it? What is our awareness of the grace that has already come to us, of the grace that is coming to us at this moment?
Grace is expansive by its very nature. But its expansiveness depends on awareness. How often do we let grace saturate our awareness?
Grace is magnetic by its very nature. Do we allow our awareness of grace to fill our life, our mind and heart, so the magnetism of its positive energies can draw more grace to us?
There is never a question of whether or not we deserve grace. We may not be as virtuous as someone else. We may not be as dedicated, or as disciplined. We may not be as spiritual. We may not do all the good works that others do. We may even have done some horrible things in our life.
None of that matters. Grace is given. It is given regardless. It is given eternally and universally.
It is not whether grace comes to us. It is whether we come to grace. Do you come to the grace that is there? Do you come to the river to drink?
How do you come to the river of grace? Right now try this little practice. First take a pause. Bring your mind to your breath. Breathe a few deep mindful breaths. Flow with the natural breath for a while. Yoke the mind with your breaths. Visualize a river of light that is prana filling you. The prana is grace. The perennial river of grace! Feel you are breathing grace into every cell and molecule and atom of your body, you are being healed! Breathe out grace into the world so that all beings on earth are free from afflictions and pains. Witness a flood of grace within and without.
Isn't that beautiful? All we have to do is come to the river of the grace in our lives. That river has been carrying us along every day. All we have to do is sit by the river. All we have to do is drink from the river of the grace that is there.
Come sit by the river. Come often. Linger awhile. Come with an open heart. See its swirling currents. Absorb its energies.
Step into the river of the grace already flowing through your life. Let it bathe and refresh your consciousness. Let your heart wash in its interlacing currents, in its mysteries, in its dancing light. Let the grace that is already in your life, the grace that has always been in your life, be seen with new eyes. Let it bring you back to joy and carry you away from all that is dead and gone. Let it dissolve the past as the transient apparition that it was. Let it effortlessly carry you away, like a leaf floating on its surface, to peace.
Always keep your heart open to the showers of divine grace that is perennial. Just bask and bathe in it. You are the grace, your life is grace! You are inseparable from divine grace. Affirm with utmost joy that “I am blessed and filled with grace!”
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Kolkata, India): Globally acclaimed motivational teacher (mindfulness meditation, stress reduction) author, peacemaker (Man of Peace Award 2012) Visionary social advocate; founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission, 1985. Serves thousands of poverty-stricken individuals in India. (Lifetime Achievement Award, House of Lords, UK, 2015)