Suffering and Grace

Sri Sri Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari

Many people come to see me. They pour their suffering and troubles out to me in an endless stream. So many people are suffering today. While there is nothing new in that, when we human beings suffer, we tend to lose perspective. We get caught up in the suffering. We identify with it, which only creates more mental rut, and generates an endless cycle of suffering. The suffering seems so real, it can begin to dominate our lives. Naturally, with the mind so absorbed in its suffering, we lose our peace of mind. We find it difficult to maintain the steady, deep spiritual practice that can lead us out of suffering.

I always try to remind those who come to me that our soul development is a process that takes patience and perseverance, and that life is nothing but a river of Grace. Every life experience we have brings its own stream of Grace with it, if we could only train our awareness to see and receive it. If we cultivate awareness of Grace that is always with us,the life of the spirit is simpler than we imagine.

Evolution is a Process

Our soul’s evolution is a process. We may feel lost at times, but that is an illusion. We have never lost anything. Whatever we feel we have lost was always, is always, with us. Every bit of what we are going through has to be lived. There is no avoiding it, not any of it. It is leading us somewhere. The mind can only go through its very personal process of evolving consciousness through the experience of karma. So patience – enduring patience with oneself and perseverance are essential.

Karma is Your Friend

Karma is so beautiful. People mistakenly think of karma as punishment, a kind of cosmic system of justice that ensures retribution for wrongdoing. But karma is our friend. It is a driving force, a primary mechanism, for the evolution of consciousness. Our karma is bringing us to clarity.

Whenever suffering arises, we go through it to connect us, to build a bridge to new levels of consciousness. When the connection is made, when the bridge to new consciousness has been established, the suffering disappears. Our mistakes are part of the process. They are not mistakes. They are something we have to live through to grow in consciousness.

Be Kind to Yourself

So be kind to yourself. Remember that the soul process is like that of purifying gold. Gold has to be melted in the fire. It takes heat and more heat to burn away all of the impurities. The fire is essential. It leaves only the gold. Your karma has been heating things up, and burning away, revealing all that isn’t real. It is preparing you, bringing yo to  point of urgency, to find what is enduring and eternal.

No one gets through life without suffering. Suffering is all preparation. All of our suffering is transient. We merely pass through it. And we pass through it more easily if we do not identify with it. It is bringing us to a level of seriousness, to clarity, and eventually to resolute practice, which is the path to liberation from suffering.

Sit In the Divine Presence

Everything irrelevant eventually melts away in the presence of the Divine if you just sit in the presence. Sit with an open heart. Be receptive. That is all you need to do. It is a natural process. There is no need to force anything. You cannot force yourself to be anywhere other than where you are. You cannot force the consciousness you long for.

Do what you can do for God, for your soul, for others. Sit, simply sit, and receive. Eventually it will all bring you home. Trust will happen eventually, in its time. Trust in life will happen. Trust in yourself will happen. Trust in the Divine unfolding will happen. It is a given. It is inevitable. It is your birthright. If it does not happen in this life, it will in another life. So relax, and sit in the presence. Sit in the presence of Grace that flows all around you.

Celebrate Grace in Your Life

In good times and hard times, you can celebrate Grace in your life. You can offer yourself into the service of Grace and the good, into the service of your soul’s intention for your life. And when good comes to you, when joy and success come to you, you can begin to recognize that it never comes purely from your own effort. Success always comes through forces that are far beyond your personal control.

Everything that comes to you comes as a gift. Opening your heart to the magnitude of the gift, you can offer yourself more deeply still, into the service of the soul, so that the good on this Earth can be multiplied exponentially.

Grace is an Eternal River

Grace is an eternal river that is always flowing out to us. It always surrounds us. All of creation arises in the river of Grace. Grace is absolutely impartial. It is always available to everyone. No one gets a bigger allotment than anyone else. The issue is not whether Grace comes to you. The issue is whether you come to Grace. Do you come to the Grace that is there? Do you come to the river to drink?

How often do you come to sit by the river and take Grace into your heart? How open are you to Grace? What is your readiness to receive it, to see it, to acknowledge it? What is your awareness of Grace that has already come to you, of Grace that is coming to you at this moment?

The Nature of Grace

Grace is expansive by its very nature. But its expansiveness depends on awareness. We need to ask ourselves 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 .

On Prana

If you take prana (the essential, life-sustaining force and vital energy that comes into the body through the breath) as an analogy to Grace, prana is everywhere. It is all around us at every moment. It has always 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, mind and spirit is always there, always available. No one is left out from the gifts that prana has to offer.

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, does constriction of any kind, keep one from taking a full breath? Is the person relaxed? Is he 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 subtle. It has a dimension of consciousness. It takes awareness for the subtle benefits of prana to be fully realized.

Come to the River

Isn’t that beautiful? All we have to do is come to the river of 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 Grace that is there.

Come sit by the river. Come often. Linger a while. Come with an open heart. Let the mind go, as you lose yourself in its swirling currents. Absorb its energies. Step into the river of Grace already flowing through your life. Let it bathe and refresh your consciousness.

Let your heart wash in its interlacing currents and in its mysteries. Let Grace that is already in your life, 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 your suffering away, like a leaf floating on its surface, to peace.

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