Grace and Gratitude
Grace and gratitude are both subjects I studied as I embarked on my vision quest. Interestingly, these two concepts have some fascinating linkages.
First, let’s take a look at the concept of grace.
Living in grace is not just for monks and those living an ascetic life.
Your life is full of grace even if you don’t live a life in secluded devotion. All you need to do is allow your true self to shine forth.
Wikipedia says that in Western Christian theology, grace is the help given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it.
And this concept of grace not only exists in the Christian faith but across a multitude of wisdom traditions as well.
Tsafi Lev, in a Rabbis without Borders article says: “grace is inherently divine and is a gift of God’s love. By extension, gracefulness is the act of embracing God’s love of our imperfect selves. Grace is something granted to us, not as a reward for our right actions, but whenever we are able to receive God’s love – even when we fear we don’t quite deserve it.”
This shared belief is that grace is an attribute of divine love.
In other words, God (or whatever name we apply to a higher power) bestows grace upon us even if we have done nothing to deserve it.
As I was embarking on my vision quest, I had a difficult time with the notion that grace is bestowed even for the undeserving. Because it seemed unreasonable to me that ‘bad’ people also had access to grace.
My study of grace helped me understand that God; (or whatever name we apply to a higher power) seems to love everyone. This is a central tenet in understanding grace.
I once heard Deepak Chopra explain that grace is not a choice.
Grace exists in the infinite field of consciousness. It is the supporting principle behind everything in nature. This includes the fact that you are here in this life having a human experience.
Next, let’s explore the concept of gratitude.
Gratitude is a catalyst for grace. In addition, we can attract even more abundance in our lives when we fully appreciate what we already have.
In the first place, simply living in gratitude enlivens a spirit of generosity. Then, this gateway of gratitude and generosity allows you to become a more complete person. Living an amplified life of grace comes from gratitude.
Similarly, living in gratitude and grace allows success to flow to you.
One of the more surprising things I learned on my spiritual journey is that achieving success in life does not have to be difficult.
I was raised to believe that success comes from sacrifice. Yet, I now understand from many of my teachers that the universe is standing by ready to fill life with blessings. Oprah says when you feel your life is blessed, the blessings multiply.
The law of attraction tells us that you — as a spiritual being having a human experience — are a beneficiary of all the riches life has to offer.
There are two essential components to achieving success. The first is gratitude and the second is the belief that you are worthy.
When you are grateful and when you believe you are worthy, you will attract even more abundance into your life.
As you recognize your worth, you begin to radiate even more gratitude. When this begins to happen in your life, you can see how quickly success begins to show up for you.
Success can be linked to both grace and gratitude.
However, as many of my teachers have explained, the definition of success tends to change for those of us on a spiritual path. Success is not defined by external factors. In fact, many find that more money, status, and possessions illuminate what is still missing in life.
True success comes from inner fulfillment. As you become more and more fulfilled, your desires also continue to shift.
Grace is infinitely abundant. When you are in a wholesome state of gratitude, you ask for more and it is given.
Deepak Chopra explains that the desire for more is natural in life. Our life constantly grows and evolves. From the viewpoint of grace, which can give infinitely, your life should be a rising arc of abundance.
Welcoming the abundance into your life with humility and gratitude is the most beneficial outlook. This staves away the ego responses of greed and selfishness.
I gained another important insight on my spiritual vision quest.
Contrary to what many believe, it is not spiritual to shun external rewards.
Putting aside material possessions isn’t necessary. You don’t need to prove that you are more pure and holy than the next person. In fact, external rewards can be a sign that you are connected to your source which wants the best possible life for you.
However, what you do want to avoid is allowing your ego to step in and claim the credit. Likewise, recognizing that grace is the giver of abundance is the key to cultivating the right mindset.
When good things come to you, cultivate a feeling of gratitude and warmth of the heart. That feeling is grace.
This allows you to experience life as a rising arc year after year. When your success is driven by gratitude and grace in your heart, then you are connected to your true self and your success feels complete and fulfilling.
In the SoulArt series of classes, we learn that the more you make gratitude part of your day-to-day life, the more likely you are to find positivity and daily joy and generosity coming from and to you.
Some of our soul artists include photos or images or names of people and things they are grateful for.
This enlivens a virtuous cycle; the more you are grateful for, the more will be given to you in life to be grateful for.
Some create beautiful gratitude mandalas or collages or assemblage pages. Many collage favorite quotes about gratitude into their journals. When you express gratitude in this way, you are led to the experience of your own generosity and wonder.
You can think of your art journal as your container or repository for blessings. This awakens your heart to new things and increases your sense of abundance.
In addition, you are making your gratitude visible and that helps you affirm what is good in your life. You are bringing to consciousness what nourishes and supports you.
The foundational gratitude work in SoulArt Meditation sets in motion a process of transformation. This allows us to spend even more time at our best.
Gratitude and grace awaken the dormant gifts of your unlimited self. These become powerful forces for positive change in your life. As your self expands through gratitude, your concerns, anxieties, and insecurities become less significant. Your experience of joy, freedom, beauty, and compassion continues to grow.
If you would like to cultivate gratitude and grace in your life, I recommend taking the SoulArt Meditation course. Soul Artists find greater meaning, purpose, joy, and self-expression in life.