There was a time when grace was understood to be a special dispensation from God that was given—or not. He had his reasons, or so people believed, and we had little say in the matter. People then had very little self-responsibility, so this way of interpreting grace was acceptable.
Today, we’ve come a long way in the area of self-responsibility. We understand that, for better or for worse, we create our experiences and also our reality. So then where does grace come in? Has it been totally eliminated? Thankfully, no, it has not. Grace is as alive and well in self-creation and self-responsibility as ever; these are not mutually exclusive concepts. Let’s go deeper in our understanding of grace and see how it also ties to faith.
For starters, the grace of God simply is. It exists all the time, all around us, penetrating everything that is. It is part of the fabric of reality, which by the way is utterly gentle, caring and kind—totally benign. Grace means that everything, in the end, will work out for the best, no matter how painfully tragic things may seem at the moment. Perhaps we’ve discovered this truth in our personal self-development: whenever we fully work through a negative experience, we come full circle to seeing the light of truth, love and peace—the joy of eternal life—in all ways. Therein lies grace.
So in truth, we can’t help but live in God’s grace. The very air we breathe is permeated with it. It’s everywhere, in every substance of life, on all levels—from the crudest matter to the finest vibrations. Our entire world—the whole universe we’re part of—and the divine laws that govern it are all expressions of grace. It’s impossible to describe the tenderness and personal care of the living God who is an eternal presence in all that is. We live and move in it, and since we’re surrounded by grace, there is simply never anything to fear—no matter how things appear right now.
The problem isn’t that we need to draw God’s grace to us; it’s already there in every pore of our being. The problem is our faulty outlook, our limited view of things, our distorted perceptions. These are like walls of iron that wrap around us and prevent us from experiencing grace. In reality, these walls are made of mist that dissolves the moment we rearrange our field of vision—the moment we clear up our blocks and personal defects.
We begin this process by looking at our minor, everyday events. We only need to ask ‘how do I feel?’ That gauge is always right there at our fingertips, letting us know if we are operating in harmony with life—feeling joyous and hopeful. If so, we’re bathing in God’s grace that permeates us and we’re in truth regarding what’s happening in our world.
But when that’s not the case and we are feeling disturbed, afraid—in any kind of disharmony within ourselves, with others, or with life in general—then we’ve forgotten the all-important key. The key is to know that when we’re unhappy, fearful, discouraged or in darkness in any way, we’re not in truth. If we at least know that, we will now know a smidge of truth. And that makes all the difference.
It is our blocks and our faulty vision that separate us from the grace of God, but we think it’s the other way around. We put effect before cause and get confused, thinking grace is something that must be given to us. We also assume that faith comes to us from the outside, as if one day we might have it, while for now we lack it. Truth is, we lack neither grace nor faith; we’re swimming in both but don’t realize it. We already possess the states of consciousness we are hoping to attain.
So our work is to grow, expand and develop, and these all mean essentially one thing: to bring out the perfection that already exists inside of us. Thinking in these terms—that we need to release something that already exists, rather than become something we are not—can help everything to start falling into place.
“Becoming” implies we need to acquire something, as though we think we’re an empty vessel that needs to be filled. But in reality, we’re already all that, on another level of reality. Whatever we wish to be just needs to be brought out on this material level. The fact that we struggle to do this is why we have a Lower Self. Again, not the other way around.
So we can bring forward our intrinsic awareness of grace. We can release our faith—our existing inner knowing—that we live in a tender universe shaped from God’s care for us. There is nothing to fear; all fear is an illusion. Seeing things in this light may surprise us, filling us with wonder and joy. Gee, why wouldn’t everyone jump on this bandwagon?
The first obstacle is that we don’t know that we have faith. We have to cultivate this awareness, this knowledge. We need to engage our brains in this. If we start to realize that we live in a benign world in which we’re continually infused with God’s grace, we’ll start to challenge our fears, our doubts, our distrust. This will help give us the courage to risk giving—a vitally important lever that operates according to the laws of life. For only as we give out, from our heart, can we truly receive.
All religious scriptures of any kind teach the law of giving and receiving, but often it is slightly misunderstood so we put it aside. We think it’s a sanctimonious edict that an arbitrary authority issues forth, demanding we do something so that rewards will possibly be given in return. It’s like a form of bargaining. Of course we resist this—it offends our human dignity. We distrust a universe that treats us like we’re unruly children.
So then what is the law of giving and receiving really about? Each of us have a built-in mechanism that makes it impossible to receive when we withhold our innate capacity and desire to give. Since, in reality, giving and receiving are one and the same movement, one can’t exist without the other. This means that if we let our distrust and fear hold us back, the grace of God can’t flow out.
It’s like the riches are right there, but our hand can’t reach for them. Our senses can’t smell them or taste them or feel them; it’s as though our perceptions are so dulled that our whole outlook on life is distorted. This creates the illusion that we live in a poor and empty universe. Our brains then believe that our inner universe is equally poor and empty, that we have nothing to give from and there’s nothing to receive. Ooof.
The illusion that we live in an empty universe and are impoverished automatically creates vicious circles. This erroneous belief then makes us hoard ourselves, holding back our talents, our riches—everything we possess spiritually or materially. We hold in rather than give out. This is how we separate ourselves from the riches that surround us. It is our own inner mechanism that makes receiving downright impossible, seemingly confirming that ‘Yep, I knew it, it’s a hard-knock life.’
Alternatively, believing in truthful concepts would create harmless, happy circles. We can create these by taking the risk to give, consciously expecting that abundance will grow since fear of poverty and deprivation are illusory. If we give to God in trust and with faith, we release our inner faith and clear up our inner vision. We’ll be able to see the abundance surrounding us and flowing through us, lifting the lever that locked the mechanism.
When we risk giving out, we engage a benign circle so that we can then afford to release more of our inner and outer riches. We will know that they are forever replenished by a never-ending stream. The more we receive, the more we can give, and the more we give, the more we are capable of receiving. That’s when giving and receiving become one.
There’s an obstacle many face in establishing a happy circle of abundance that’s in harmony with divine grace and divine order. This is an important aspect to consider as it exists on every level—inner and outer, emotional and psychological, personal and collective. It’s the tendency for people to build on deficit. This is intrinsically linked to this belief in an empty, poor, ungiving world.
Whenever we stack positive beliefs on top of negative ones we are only half-aware of, we are building on deficit. So if we secretly believe we are unlovable or unacceptable, despite our surface behaviors to the contrary, we’re building on deficit. When we hold onto guilt—real or false, doesn’t matter—that stops us from giving ourselves over to God, we’re building on deficit. When we assume this world is a hostile place and set about protecting ourselves with destructive defenses—whether we know we’re doing this or not—we’re building on deficit.
The trouble with building on deficit is that it appears to work, at least for a while. It’s temporarily convincing. We could, for example, build a lovely-looking house on sandy ground. It would hold up for awhile, but when it starts to crumble, the builder won’t remember the decision to build on such a weak foundation. The cracks in the walls will later be ascribed to some other cause, with rationalizations used to maintain the illusion and encourage more building on deficit.
Walking a spiritual path of self-discovery is intended to expose all the deficits that we ignore. Painful as this may be at first, it is the way to create inner order so we can begin to build on real assets. We never want our “inner economics” to become fraudulent or unsound. The temporary pain we feel at being exposed is caused by our wrong conclusion that we are now doomed to accept the “reality” of our poverty.
We keep running on empty, giving out in a distorted way that has nothing to do with genuine giving. We don’t trust that we can create riches based on a healthy concept about life. We pretend to give whenever we face the world wearing a mask while we inwardly despair about who we really are. We give as a way to manipulate others so we will get what we don’t believe we deserve. This is how the Lower Self gives, and it amounts to building on deficit.
These false ways may work for a bit, but as the deficit piles up, we must work harder to cover up our impoverishment if we hope to avoid bankruptcy. We grab at unsound means to keep the pretense going, cherishing the illusion that we can go on this way indefinitely.
We also buy into the mistaken Lower-Self belief that the world is mean and poor. The upshot of all this is that we only believe in illusory wealth acquired by scheming, greed and trickery. We don’t believe in the real wealth of God’s creation.
With this as the foundation we are standing on, pouring our energy into our mask and our Lower Self, we don’t dare to expose our deficits—the inner bankruptcy that smolders underneath. This is why a path of spiritual purification is about bringing out all of our guilts and all of our Lower Self maneuvers. We must stand there poor, no longer covered up with a fake veneer.
We need to stop avoiding the poverty we have unwittingly created through our false beliefs and our destructive means. These only work to increase the deficit. We need to look at our fear of declaring bankruptcy which we resist and cover up, and which we can finally overcome through our faith. Then we can start building real inner wealth on sound footings.
Any personal crisis is nothing more than a bankruptcy exposed. We can wait for this to happen on its own, or we can create a controlled fall by working mindfully with a spiritual helper or counselor. By going through the shame of revealing our deficits, we stop building on them. We can then sail through the fear and pain of believing this is our final reality—the truth of who we are. This is how we must go if we want to discover the real wealth behind our frantic efforts to hide our poverty. We must stop pretending in a false wealth and building on deficit.
Of course our spiritual and emotional “finances” appear on the physical level as well. We often live above our means, coasting on debt and covering one hole with another newly created hole. This creates anxiety but we don’t attempt to create order instead, believing as we do that order and abundance don’t exist for us. Perhaps we’re not willing to give our best to our work, so we don’t make a decent living. We depend on others and accumulate debt. We run from creating a budget that could help to establish order.
These same patterns of finances and economics are also followed collectively by governments, where we could build on assets and reserves instead of debts and emptiness. Whenever a country goes through some kind of severe crisis—such as riots, revolutions, war or financial collapse—it has waited too long to establish order by making deliberate good choices. It’s the result of not wanting to expose the deficits so that true abundance could be established. It’s not so different from an individual meltdown that happens when someone refuses to expose their inner pretenses and poverty.
Governments can also create spiritual deficit when they scheme and lie to deceive people, promote injustice, and operate on drives for greed and power. Such imbalances can only go on for so long; they must surface so that a new order can be established. Going through such a crisis will often result in changes made with the best intentions. New laws and ways of operating will emerge along with possibly new forms of government.
But then the inner meaning gets lost again and the forces of darkness tempt people by distorting the truth; the same deficit rises up through different means. So the solution never lies in the form of government we adopt or the outer measures we collectively institute, even though some measures may admittedly be better than others at times.
Taking a hard and well-informed look at a government will reveal where and how their deficits get created. We can see how they coast along on debt, never believing that real wealth can be established. It’s too frightening for them to admit the imbalance and mismanagement. There’s no faith in the possibility of an honest picture so they settle for a false world picture of a poor, empty, untrustworthy universe.
Taking a step into faith is only possible by going to and with God. Risking to have faith is how we create faith—by then experiencing that faith is justified. So it’s foolish for us to think we can create an abundant, harmonious government in which peace and justice prevail without having a direct communication with the Christ that permeates all that is.
If we ignore God, we can’t perceive his presence or hear his guidance and inspiration. Then we can’t summon the courage we need to expose our temporary bankruptcy. This is as true for countries as for couples and for individuals. Then the shambles can be collected and the structure rebuilt in a better way. This is the hope for the world we live in.
Whatever we undertake without God, no matter how smart and efficient, is bound to fail in the long run. But with God, we can find the courage and honesty to have total openness. Then we can rebuild in earnest and in glory. Only in this way will any government be able to run on assets with a healthy flow of giving and receiving, never exhausting its reserves.
Nothing in this world ever happens by accident, and there is no wisdom from the creator that doesn’t have deep reasoning and meaning. So consider why God distributed our world’s resources so that some are in certain parts only and others are in other parts. It is so that countries will learn to not deny other countries their resources. Then power plays won’t corrupt this world that God created in which all can partake of everything, regardless of its origin. People will learn to share and consider all people.
This will allow people and societies to freely receive what they need and that others have to give. So countries must learn to share their resources, not hoard them or deprive people of them as a way to gain more power and riches.
As we work to restore balance in our spiritual communities and personal situations, here are some guiding principles we can follow.
- Consider whether it is more appropriate for the individual to be giving to the collective entity, or whether this process should be reversed and the whole can give more to support a part.
- We shouldn’t live beyond our means. Function from fullness instead of running on deficit. Have faith and establish priorities. Know that on the material level, it may sometimes be unavoidable to avoid debt until it is possible to function on assets. We may need to keep our budget smaller than we wish or temporarily do without something essential until we can afford it. Reconsider what really is and is not essential.
- Know that we may have to temporarily pitch in more with our giving to build something substantial. None will come to deprivation from their giving; to the contrary, more abundance will accrue. This will allow more to give individually so that individuals can then receive from a healthy collective.
Often we need to tackle a problem from both sides. We need to expose and purify what runs on deficit as we work to create a budget and live in balance and harmony. This is the way to true abundance that is well earned, honestly deserved and can therefore be guiltlessly enjoyed. Our first step is to risk giving out.
Then we must consider that the fear that causes us to hold and hoard is in error. Giving through faith—even before we’re convinced that our fear of giving is unfounded—is like pulling out poisonous weeds and planting beautiful seedlings instead. This is the way to create a fertile, rich spiritual garden—a real, tangible thing—to enjoy now and not in some faraway dream only realizable in the afterlife.
We need to recognize the divine laws and principles at work here. We also need to recognize whatever obstructs us from partaking of ever-present divine grace. Then we can release the faith that is in us, not as an act of blind belief in wishful thinking but as a new ground rule for life.
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