It was tempting to title this post: Grace Unfolding. But, then I realized: Grace is not something to hope for and wait to unfold – it is here – right now. In this moment, in every moment, grace is present. The question isn’t whether or not grace is occurring, but will we allow ourselves to perceive and experience it?
As I meditated and allowed myself to be present with the grace of my life, I felt gratitude for the gifts my life embodies. I was sitting in a comfortable, safe and secure space, enjoying my cat stretched out on my lap, and appreciating the abundance that my life offers. Then, I realized something else. Underneath the acceptance that grace is here now was an existential guilt. This led me to the issue of value.
I am reminded of how often we seek a sense of value externally with what we do. Maybe we strive at providing, volunteering, or simply supporting a friend, loved one, or cause. Even when we have the most altruistic intentions, most likely there is an underlying hope that if we do something perceived as having value, we will feel deserving and worthy. We hope that external value will create internal significance and worth.
I reflected on the lifestyle of many monks. I imagined how much courage and strength it would take to make alms rounds, travel with no money, and even need to be driven. This made me wonder: Given their lifestyle, does the act of relying on the community for food and other monetary needs create a similar issue of value for them? I mused: Gee, if I was a monk, I might think that I’d better make some serious headway towards enlightenment in order to justify the way that I live. Naturally, what this really represents is my own questioning of whether I am deserving of my life style; hence, the existential guilt.
All of the above helps me to realize the pressure we put on ourselves to perform. We create expectations and internalize inadequacies. Maybe we strive to “achieve” and do more, maybe we avoid with delusion, denial, and diversion. Regardless, the only thing that is really served is a lack of responsibility for our sense of value and worth. Not as an ego, personality, or self, but as part of humanity and all that is.
I discovered that when I question my value, I am denying grace. Heaviness ensues. Expectations and standards are constructed. The pressure to live up to my life clouds my behavior and constricts my awareness. Diversion ensues as I avoid being present with what is happening now.
What is happening right now is grace! I can choose to deny it due to lack of self-worth, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. Reality isn’t defined by what we block from our awareness. Cause and effect are not reliant on our limited perspectives to determine consequences. The more we attempt to force or push away emotional awareness, the less likely we are to allow grace to be present.
May you find your wings of grace and soar!
© 2012 Sallie Odenthal