Beginning students of spirituality are likely to replace worldly ambition with spiritual ambition. Here the hazards of entrapment are similar to those in the secular world. The passionate pursuit that assumes grace is contingent on effort often precludes the experience of surrender and awakening. The seeker who has made a commitment to effort in the pursuit of spiritual development can easily become inflated by a sense of personal achievement. Although such feelings of elation are often followed by deflation or depression, the problem is exacerbated when a person believes he or she must only try harder to attain the goal. The failure to temper spiritual ambition with ordinary existence can exacerbate the pain. Both grace and effort are necessary. Relative emphasis on one or the other depends on the circumstances and personality of each individual. The person who follows a path of effort achieves liberation; the one who follows a path of surrender receives a gift of grace. Usually those who are overly ambitious need to learn something about trust, surrender and grace, whereas those who tend to be passive can benefit from making more effort and learning about the power of intention…….Frances Vaughan
the power of intention graces our lives with a steadfast dose of equanimity…..we have so much more power than we realize….through our small acts, we leave a trail…..embodying our restlessness and fear help us to actualize our still center….
You can’t speak of a practice without the relationship of volition and grace. They all have it. In Buddhism there is the doctrine of nonattainment. In Christianity, the idea is that graces are given. Practice is like planting a vineyard. In meditation itself for example, the primary act of being present, however you do it- vipassana, zazen, prayer, or the prayer of simple regard in the Christian contemplative tradition- involves recollection. If you take this act of recollection as in a vineyard, you are planting a stake on which the vines will grow. What happens is that these vines start to grow, leaves appear, the grapes come, and then wine can be made….But you don’t make the grapes. They just happen. All you’re doing is planting the stake and making sure it stands up against the elements. Sometimes it droops over, and you put it back up, until those vines are well established. The vines blossom through your process of practice and more practice….Michael Murphy
‘One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.’…..Clarissa Pinkola Estes