Sadhguru explores the role of grace, and how one can invite grace into one’s life. He explains how it is important that we first establish the logical aspects of life before opening up the mystical.
Questioner: I am a doctor. Sometimes in my clinic, when I treat a patient, I feel that some kind of grace beyond my control is helping to treat the patient. How do I explain that?
Sadhguru: Taking another person’s life into your hands is not a good thing because it sits on you in a certain way. With your own life, you could fling it around a little bit. But when someone else’s life is placed in your hands, you can’t fling it around. Whether you are a doctor (or a driver!), you are taking someone else’s life into your hands. Worse if you are a Guru! Taking too many people’s lives into your hands – especially if they are sitting in front of you in a certain way or they are lying on the surgery table totally helpless – is a big thing to carry on your head.
When someone does this constantly, and if you have sufficiently explored whichever system of medicine – Ayurveda, Siddha, Allopathy or whatever else – you know your role is not even 50%. If you have read only the textbook, you may think you are the master of it, but otherwise any sensible human being who is handling such situations clearly knows his role is not even 50%. The remaining percentage you don’t know what the hell! This is always the experience of the greatest doctors in the world, the doctors who have done wonderful work with people. It is very common for them to talk this language.
If you are a believer in god it is very easy. You look up and say “Shiva, Rama.” Even if a patient dies, after all they are going into god’s lap, so it’s okay! Believers don’t usually experience grace, they just believe. It’s convenient. But when you cannot subscribe to these belief systems but you still see that your role is so small in making things happen, that’s when you realize the presence of grace. The real question and struggle begins for someone who does not know whether to believe or not – someone whose intellect is struggling with both. For someone who is sometimes a believer and sometimes a non-believer, for someone who is struggling with the limitations of his own logic and capability, and struggling with the other dimension which doesn’t seem to be tangible, for such a person, the presence of grace becomes absolutely clear in his life. He clearly understands that when he really wants to cross a narrow bridge, nothing can happen here without the help of the other dimension.
An Invitation to the Divine
The question is, how to invite this presence? Is it just by chance or is there a way? We used to make an Isha Yoga t-shirt: “An Invitation to the Divine”! When we say we are doing sadhana, it means we are just trying to become a receptacle, an invitation to the divine. For example, Shambhavi Mahamudra doesn’t really do anything. It is just that the whole process is designed such that you are becoming an invitation to the divine. Something beyond yourself begins to function. And allowing it to function – having the sense to do what you can, and to stand by with what you cannot and still be there alert and present, is the whole essence of yoga. That is how you become a receptacle or a doorway to grace. Anytime you want it or all the time you want it, it is just there with you; it is not like an accidental happening.
Gravity is working upon you all the time. It’s not that it works on you only when you are alert. But grace is subtle. Unless you are alert, it won’t come. Grace is very sensitive to your presence. If your presence is not there, its presence also will not be there. This is the nature of the divine. This is why most people miss it, because they are mostly absent. Either your thoughts or your emotions or your activity is ruling you. Your presence is not ruling you. This is the transformation that you are trying to bring about with a spiritual practice. Your body, mind and emotion can follow you but you want your presence to be the dominant thing. Only because you are, you have a body, a thought and an emotion. But right now, you have made your thought, emotion and body far more important than yourself. In this upside down condition you cannot feel grace.
If you reverse this condition within yourself, suddenly, ordinary becomes extraordinary. Every aspect of life is transported to a completely different experience of life. But again, this doesn’t happen because you believe something. With belief systems, you can imagine; this is the problem with believers. To have a solid logical base and still be open to grace is something that one has to do. If you do not get established in your logical base, you are very susceptible to fly off into imagination and think it’s grace.
Being Open to the Mystical
The mystical and the logical, both the realms are equally important. If your logical realm is well established, the mundane aspect of your life is well conducted. If the mystical dimension of your life is open to you, your experience of life is too fantastic, it’s indescribable. Otherwise, if you just handle the logical, arrangements will be fine but your experience will not be good. If you ignore the logical, your experience may be great but your arrangements will be horrible. This process of being able to establish the logical and still be open to the mystical is something that societies have not conducted well in this world. We either miss this or that. Without the two, your life will not be beautiful.
Once you have conducted your mundane pretty well, it’s time to be open to the mystical. Here, your logic will not work, it will only limit you. “How do I fight my logic?” You just shun the produce, not the logic industry. You cannot kill the mind even if you try for 10 lifetimes, but you can ignore the produce. It generates thought, you ignore it. It generates emotion, you ignore it. It generates opinion, you ignore it. It churns up a whole ideology, ignore it.
If you do that, you will be in a natural state of devotion. Devotion does not mean adulation of someone. Devotion is that which is devoid of yourself. What you call as “myself” right now is just a bundle of thought, emotion and opinion, isn’t it? If you rest these three things, your personality will be absent. Then the life in you will be present. If this is present, you cannot miss grace.
Editor’s Note: Sadhguru explores grace, devotion and human emotion in the ebook “Emotion: The Juice of Life”.