The Overself’s Grace
Grace is a cosmic fact. If it were not, then the spiritual outlook for the human race, dependent entirely on its own efforts for the possibility of spiritual progress, would be poor and disheartening.
The Overself’s grace will be secretly active within and without him long before it shows itself openly to him.
Out of the grand mystery of the Overself, the first communication we receive telling us of and making us feel its existence, is Grace.
Grace may be defined as the Overself’s response to the personal self’s aspiration, sincerity, and faith, lifting up the man to a level beyond his ordinary one. This working in us (as contrasted with the working by us) begins in deep passive stillness and ends in mental, emotional, and even physical activity…
The Overself extends its grace to all men, but not all men are able to get it. This may be due to different reasons, some physical and others, the most numerous, emotional or mental.
Grace is here for all. It cannot be here for one special person and not for another. Only we do not know how to open our tensioned hands and receive it, how to open our ego-tight hearts and let it gently enter.
If grace had to depend solely on human merit, if it had to be fully worked for and earned, it would no longer be grace. It really depends on the mysterious will of the higher power. But this is not to say that it comes by the caprice of the higher power. If a man puts himself into a sufficiently receptive attitude, and if he applies the admonition ”Be still and know that I am God,” he is doing something to attract grace.
The fact of Grace being an unpredictable descent from above does not mean that we are entirely helpless in the matter, that there is nothing we can do about it. We can at least prepare ourselves both to attract Grace and to respond aright when it does come. We can cleanse our hearts, train our minds, discipline our bodies, and foster altruistic service even now. And then every cry we send out to invoke grace will be supported and emphasized by these preparations.
Two things are required of a man before Grace will manifest itself in him. One is the capacity to receive it. The other is the co-operation with it. For the first, he must humble the ego; for the second, he must purify it.
Grace is of two kinds. The ordinary, better known, and inferior kind is that which is found on the Long Path. It flows from the Overself in automatic response to intense faith or devotion, expressed during a time of need. It is a reaction to seeking for help. The rarer and superior kind is found on the Short Path. It arises from self-identification with the Overself or constant recollection of it. There is no ego here to seek help or to call for a Grace which is necessarily ever present in the Overself.
The Grace is always present since the Infinite Power, from which it originally comes, is always present.
He may receive grace directly from its source in the infinite love, power, and wisdom of the Overself, or indirectly through personal contact with some inspired man, or still more indirectly through such a man’s intellectual or artistic productions.
It is not by special intervention that the divine grace appears in his life. For it was there all the time, and behind all his struggles, as a constant unbroken radiation from the Overself. But those struggles were like the hoisting of sails on a ship. Once up, they are able to catch the wind and propulsion begins automatically.
… When his own personal effort subsides, a further effort begins on his behalf by a higher power. Without any move on his own part, Grace begins to do for him what he could not do for himself, and under its beneficent operation he will find his higher will strengthening, his moral attitude improving, and his spiritual aspiration increasing…
The closer he comes to the Overself, the more actively is the Grace able to operate on him. The reason for this lies in the very nature of Grace, since it is nothing other than a benign force emanating from the Overself. It is always there but is prevented by the dominance of the animal nature and the ego from entering his awareness. When this dominance is sufficiently broken down, the Grace comes into play more and more frequently, both through Glimpses and otherwise.
The real bar to the entry of grace is simply the preoccupation of his thoughts with himself. For then the Overself must leave him to his cares.
Such is the wonder of grace that the worst sinner who falls to the lowest depths may thereafter rise to the loftiest heights. Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna have plainly said so.
By this grace the past’s errors may be forgotten so that the present’s healing may be accepted. In the joy of this grace, the misery of old mistakes may be banished forever. Do not return to the past–live only in the eternal Now–in its peace, love, wisdom, and strength.
Grace works magically on the man who opens himself humbly and sensitively to receive it. His personal feelings undergo a transformation into their higher impersonal octaves. His very weaknesses provoke occasions for gaining effortlessly their opposite virtues. His selfish desires are turned by Grace’s alchemy into spiritual aspirations.
… The mysterious intrusion of Grace may change the course of events. It introduces new possibilities, a different current of destiny…
After the descent of grace, he feels lifted by a power stronger than his own above the stormy passions and unpleasant greeds, the petty egotisms and ugly hatreds which agitate the mass of mankind.
… With the descent of Grace, all the anguish and ugly memories of the seeker’s past and the frustrations of the present are miraculously sponged out by the Overself’s unseen and healing hand. He knows that a new element has entered into his field of consciousness, and he will unmistakably feel from that moment a blessed quickening of inner life…
Click HERE to come to the Library.