‘The light changes. I need more grace than I thought’ Rumi
There are many pathways to inner peace, but they all essentially lead to the same place. I have been on a bit of an expedition over the past 15 years, looking for the most enjoyable and scenic route.
I figure we might as well have fun while attaining enlightenment. The thing is, as I have learned quite awkwardly, the process isn’t always filled with joy. At times wrestling the ego can take us into some deep, dark places and leaning into the pain of life can feel like really hard work.
There is no gauruntee that living will be easy and perfect and lovely. We all have hearts and they will all become broken. We all have expectations, insecurities and wounds that make living uncomfortable. My realization of this has changed my search for fun into a quest for grace.
This doesn’t mean that my main objective has changed, my goal is still to enjoy life as fully as I can. But as Rumi said so eloquently, ‘I need more grace than I thought’. Becoming filled with grace isn’t something you just do – at least not for me.
I have been a student of Raja Yoga for many years. A philosophy course on Indian thought at the age of 18 turned me into a passionate disciple. Raja yoga focuses on the mind, its chaneability and how to quiet this aspect of ourselves. I use many tools to bring a sense of peace into my life, but this is one that has become a regular on the daily rotation.
At the beginning of my quest for grace I approached my teacher to ask her how I might utilize my practice of Raja Yoga to assist me in this. She suggested that I contemplate the word for 180 days. She believed that if I did this whole-heartedly I would begin to become literally full of grace. And so that is what I did. I wrote the word on pieces of paper – taped them to my wall, carried them in my pocket. Every action that I took, I imagined that I was doing it with grace. And in my quiet moments I reflected on the meaning of the word until I felt like I had succesfully brought it into the center of my being. After my 180 days of grace I began to fully realize what being graceful really meant.
And what has it come to mean to me? Moving through life with a quiet strength and mercy for others. Focussing on the beauty in myself and the world around me. Recognizing that there is a divinity that I have access to – seeing that in myself and allowing others the space to discover their divinity as well. That is my grace.
It isn’t always easy. It has been 7 years since I embarked on my 180 days of grace and I find that I often have to return to this practice. To remind myself that I do indeed possess grace and that life is more beautiful when I allow that part of me to dominate.
The practice of contemplation can be very powerful and has the potential to become a real adventure. You can choose any quality that you wish to make stronger and put it in the center of your life for 180 days – live it and breathe it and see what happens. Humility, joy, reverence, peace, happiness… whatever. Let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you.
With grace and love