Grace as a Way to God
Grace offers constant support in everyday life. Grace adapts itself to each person. We make our choices, some of which are good for us, some bad, and then grace shapes the results. To express this another way, each of us does things that have unexpected consequences. Our foresight is limited; therefore our actions are always subject to blindness about what will happen next.
God is inescapable and constant. Sometimes he is felt with ecstasy, but just as often there can be pain, anguish, and confusion. This mixture of feelings reminds us that two entities are coming into conjunction. One is spirit, the other is body.
The body can perceive spirit only through the nervous system. As the intensity of God increases, the nervous system is overwhelmed by it. There is no choice but to adapt, yet adaptation can cause sensations of intense burning, tremors, blackouts, and fainting, along with fear and semipsychotic states. God’s presence overcomes the most intense conditions of pain and suffering.
There is no way to tell whether we are actually doing anything through our own will. An Indian master was once asked, ”When we strive to reach higher states of consciousness, are we really doing anything or is it just happening to us?” “It could be seen either way,” he replied. “You are doing your part, but the real motivation comes from outside you. If you wanted to be strictly accurate, it is all happening to you.”
Whether operating on the level of a saint or a criminal, grace is the ingredient that saves karma from being heartlessly mechanical. Grace is thus linked to free will.
Grace can take the form of a simple thought, or it can be an overwhelming transformation. In either case, the impulse to move toward spirit is the result of grace.
Adapted from How To Know God, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2000).