On Grace and Gratitude
Yoga is a grace system. What does that mean?
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Of its free will, the creative Divine consciousness gifts us with life, energy, and the ability to be happy, free, fully realized beings. God is ever present. Only our own obstructions – mind, ego, poor diet, fatigue, unrefined behavior, negative thoughts – keep us from receiving Grace, and responding with the love of Gratitude. Practicing Yoga removes our obstructions to this dialogue. When we open ourselves to Grace, we are filled with the love of Gratitude; we realize we are not alone.
So begins the Great Dialogue between God and Self, between Grace and Gratitude.
Grace and gratitude and gratis all come from the same Latin root, meaning “free.” Gratis is free. Grace is the unmerited favor of God; in other words, one need not earn the favor, it’s freely given, and God is under no obligation to bestow it, either. Being receptive is all that is required to feel the grace all around us. This is where kriya, tapas, svadhyaya, and ishvara pranidhanam are essential. We must chant, purify, breathe, watch our thoughts, and practice asana to ready ourselves.
Gratitude is the force of God moving or operating through a human being. When we allow ourselves to be filled with the grace that exists all around, the state of grace produces in us an inexplicable feeling we call gratitude; we offer our gratitude back to God. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gratitude becomes our mantra.
When we experience the dialogue with God that we might call grace/gratitude, we are fulfilling our potential as free human beings – jiva mukti. The bottom line is that we have free will. God has free will. We exist because God has given us the freedom of a life to muck around in. How we come out of it and what we learn from it and how much we grow in spirit is our choice.
We are not alone.