just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

A Matter of Grace

Published on 24/10/16
by randy

I recall a yoga instructor telling us that depth isn’t as important as the grace in which we move in and out of our postures. The Law of Least Effort advises us to move in resonance to what is from a deeper listening. From here there’s a fluid movement that gracefully takes us to the edge where we meet our balanced posture in stillness. It’s the same with any performance. When we let go and allow, trusting in that which is bigger than our concept of self (ego), the dance reveals itself in harmony and perfect alignment. The word ‘grace’ is related to ‘gratitude’ not only by the first three letters, but by a meaning that opens us to a bigger belonging. Rather than ‘trying’ to accomplish something, we surrender to a new ground that’s supported in a way we can’t describe in words. It’s where the real music is found.

We don’t have to be a well trained performer to see this. It’s naturally obvious to most of us when someone is feigning the passion in their performance. Last Saturday night Lady Gaga, a huge talent, broke with grace when she clumsily moved from hat on to hat off in her performance. The rigidity of movement was also seen in her movement to sitting on top of the piano. Her voice was impeccable, yet her capacity to blend movement with voice was hampered by the resistance to let go. So how do we get to that point of grace? With practice. Our life practice is our practice and it’s how she got to the point she’s at in performance. Rehearsal with resolve brings us to the point where we can surrender and let go to grace. Yesterday I was windsurfing with a friend who got caught in a huge gust. His sail contorted, the board went up on it’s tail, and he was close to complete loss of control. Had he not had thousands of hours of sailing experience, he would have blown up. With grace, new ground is discovered that allows us to go to our edge, just past what we had conceived as possible. When I’m performing with our blues band it’s now undeniable when I’m surrendered in grace to the moment and when I’m caught in my concept of self. The audience knows this and enters the space as well. The barrier created in my mind of ‘us vs. them’ is gracefully and humbly released to something bigger.

So how many political speeches have you heard that are filled with grace? This campaign cycle has seemed to be worse than others for it’s violence. Or maybe we’re waking up to the ineffectiveness of disgraceful campaigns. Michelle Obama seems to be the only one that has this somewhat figured out. A line she used, “When they go low, we go high”, has been frequently used in the campaign. Yet, going high means we stop complaining and move to the ground of faith, hope, and stewardship in meeting the demands of our rapidly changing world. It steps away from judgment with grace, humility and surrender to that which is bigger than all of us. It’s a turn of politics that moves from the profane to the sacred, from the secular to the spiritual, from ‘God plus fear’ to ‘God minus fear’. Our politics are defined by whether or not we feel the universe is safe or dangerous. A deeper, graceful approach recognizes that we are all interconnected, change happens, and our work is to seek understanding in finding the gift in what is. This felt sense of ‘great fullness’ comes from the sense of gift rather than from our ego’s sense of control and it’s need to ‘fix’ what’s broken. When we step into grace we have the courage to go deeper, to grow curiosity to bigger solutions, to move from monologue to dialogue, to move from argument to collaboration, to move without resistance to a ground of understanding that recognizes our need to support each other. When we step into the grace displayed by Gandhi it’s obvious to see how we need to ‘be peace’ rather than push peace. It’s obvious that when we attack others we attack ourselves. It’s why one of the great spiritual precepts is to ‘not speak ill of others’. It’s when the dominance of negative ads, complaint in politics, and argument have brought to such low levels in threatening our democracy.

Grace does not move from greed, fear or from the illusion of our separateness. It doesn’t come from that place of dissatisfaction or restlessness. It moves from our center, heart aligned with head, in balance to that bigger sense of belonging. A life practice of stilling our thinking mind, just letting thought and concept go, brings us to that place of grace. With resolve to lead a more graceful life we can practice breathing in, noticing where resistance lies, feeling the sensation, and then with awareness, letting go, stepping from our conceptualized notion of being a separated self. Some teachers have referred to this as the process of ‘self settling into Self’.

So where do you move from? From head or heart, with an open or closed mind, in curiosity or dogma, from fear or faith, from anger or love? Michelle Obama gave one of the most brilliant political speeches recently, simply by focusing on the word ‘maybe’. It stepped from the ground of absolute, dogmatic knowing to a questioning. No doubt, she’s political and she’s working within a political environment dramatically out of step with the times. Yet, she seems to be hospicing the death of these old world approaches to electing government officials. Check out her speech and see if you were moved. Was it filled with grace?

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