Transform through Grace
“Once you have grace, you are free. Without it, you cannot help doing the things you know you should not do, and that you know you don't really want to do. But once you have grace, you are free.”
~ Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
In this new era of COVID-19 we have all been learning the language of immunology and infectious disease. We have all seen the microscopic images of the COVID-19 virus cells with their characteristic spikes that bind to healthy cells in the body, multiplying and accelerating and eventually infecting the lungs and other tissues and organs of the body with disease. As I was thinking about the way the virus is being transmitted invisibly by human beings across the world, I began thinking about the way the lower triangle of our spiritual operating system becomes vulnerable to the infected thinking of the collective small self thoughts that are permeating the world right now—thoughts of peril, polarization, separation, winners and losers. Perhaps the metaphor of this virus is ripe with spiritual lessons for this time.
The lower triangle is comprised of the three lower chakra centers of our spiritual operating system. These chakras are connected to our physical body and its five physical senses (first chakra), to our human emotional system (second chakra), and to our conscious and unconscious thoughts and beliefs (third chakra). As we have discussed, the small self rules the lower triangle like an isolated and oppressive despot and it sees its job as protecting this human body from all the perils and threats of the world. The small self uses its energy to actively scan the world for dangers and it develops self-protective and self-limiting behaviors, emotions and thoughts to insulate itself from the inevitable uncertainties and risks of human life. Most people operate inside the constricted world of the lower triangle, ruled by small self thinking, until they remember the spiritual power built into the design of their higher operating system. Thus, we have many small selves, bumping into other small selves, invisibly creating and passing infected thoughts, emotions and behaviors without a vaccine or antidote.
In its efforts to protect the human self system, the small self is particularly vulnerable to three viral thoughts:
1. I am all alone (leading to the belief that I am not safe).
2. No one really loves or cares about me (leading to the belief that I can’t trust others and can’t count on other people to show up for me).
3. I’m not enough (leading to the belief that I can’t handle the demands of life and will inevitably fail, be found out, be rejected or betrayed).
If I reflect on the suffering that most people describe in their lives, at the core of their experience is one of these three viral thoughts that spread like an epidemic through the thinking of the small self. And the tricky bit is that one of these thoughts quickly leads to the next and to the next until they spread like a deadly virus throughout the consciousness of the small self, accelerating and multiplying, until they result in the fatal fallacy of the small self consciousness: I am separate from others and alone in a scary and ominous world. This is not to say that the world is an easy place or that people have not experienced real trauma, loss, and suffering in life. It is to say that our thoughts matter, and if we let our thoughts be infected by these viral thoughts, we guarantee that we will be taken over by the diseases of anxiety, depression, vitriolic anger and despair that are spreading like epidemics at this time in history.
So, is there a spiritual vaccine for these viral thoughts? Yes, and we call it Grace. In the last two posts we looked at the healing formula: Turn and Face; Hold and Embrace; Transform through Grace. If separation is the fatal spike of the viral infection, then we need to move into connection through the power of grace. We need to build our connection with our Soul (which Merton called the True Self), with Spirit, and with each other. We can’t risk leaving our lower triangle cut off from our spiritual operating system and in the control of the oppressive small self. We also don’t want to cut off from the rich experiences of our lower triangle human life in some distorted spiritual asceticism where we deny ourselves the joys of human life. And we are certainly learning that most of us don’t want to live life in isolation like spiritual hermits in caves on remote mountain tops. We just need to inoculate ourselves from these viral thoughts so we can live more fully, more peacefully and more joyfully in the bodies, emotions and minds that are the vehicles of our human experience. Remember that we are spiritually designed to learn through living in these human bodies; to delight in the physical experiences of our body, to experience the full range of human emotions, and to know the creative power of our minds in the context of human life. When we connect to the power of grace, the source of who we really are, we can transform this body-emotion-mind system into a brilliant and healthy vehicle to bring our unique life purpose into being in the world. But if we give in to the fallacy that we are separate and alone, life will be the hell that is born of that thought.
Grace is a boundless stream of Divine light, love and will that flows from the very source of All That Is and into our Soul. We transform our lower triangle by opening the door of our heart center and connecting with our Soul, releasing the power of grace to flow into our lower triangle. This stream of unbounded grace from the source of All That Is, is the vaccine and the antidote for the viral thinking of the small self. Grace is just another word for Presence, Source, Spirit or God. We don’t have to earn it or deserve it; it is always available, and it will always call us to rise up. When our small self starts to spin and spiral in the viral thoughts of separation and suffering, we simply need to open the door of our heart center and step into our upper triangle Soul. When we quiet our small self mind and move to the level of our Soul, we enter this stream of grace and gain access to some higher vibration spiritual thoughts. In the grace of this Presence we come to know what great spiritual teachers have always known, and what those who have had profound spiritual experiences or near-death experiences have discovered:
1. You are never alone as you are always connected to the Source of All That Is.
2. You are loved beyond measure or comprehension.
3. You are a spark of Divine Light and are more than enough.
The truth is that as human beings we are always connected to our Souls that are always connected to Spirit, and it is the power of grace that connects and transforms the whole system by clearing the lower triangle of the viral thoughts so that it is a spectacular vehicle for the journey. Transformed through the power of grace, we can experience the joy of life with five physical senses – we can taste, touch, smell, hear and see the beauty of life in this amazing body. Transformed through the power of grace, we can live in life-giving and joyful relationships with people we love and touch the lives of others with the spirit of kindness and service. Transformed through the power of grace, we can use our minds to learn and grow into the fullness of our highest possibilities. Transformed people are connected and whole spiritual beings who are prepared, equipped and free to have a profound and powerful human experience. These are the people with the power to transform their lives and the world.
Wishing you the blessings and light of the Soul, as you create the life you imagine.