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“… unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

July 28, 2011
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Originally posted Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One of my yoga teachers discussed Grace in a class last week. She liked a particular definition that she found: Grace is enabling power sufficient for progression.

I like that definition as well. I think of Grace as unconditional love. It is something that is bestowed upon us irrespective of our deeds or actions, simply for being derived from the divine. The same way our parents love us even when we back our car into a tree or do things we’re not proud of, or make mistakes with horrible consequences. While these things may affect our parent’s blood pressure or insurance premium, it should not affect their love for us.

Grace is a hard concept to wrap one’s brain around. It has been for me, anyway, and I think that the lack of unconditional love in this world has a lot to do with it. We all need parables of the divine in our human life to understand the “higher things”. Whatever “higher things” means to you.

It’s interesting how the majority of an entire generation of us seems to have been raised doubting the unconditional love of our parents. How did that happen? I know very few people my age who know that their parents love is pure and true. Of course, we also have the luxury of being only the second generation to have time, energy, and resources to “explore our feelings”, “deal with our issues”, and “talk it out”. Our parents were really the first, and they hadn’t perfected it like we have. I often wonder if my parents were so busy analyzing their parent’s failures, that they never had the time to wonder if they were repeating the same mistakes? And if that’s the case, will I do the same thing?

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word that is translated into Grace has the meaning of refusal to abandon a person (or group of people) for breaking their commitments or promises. God’s unconditional love for the Israelites, a perfect example. The Catholic idea of Grace is a bit different. It comes from God, is undeserved, and works something out in us, namely our reconciliation to God. The Orthodox churches see Grace simply as God’s spirit which carries out his will.

Probably needless to say, the Hebrew idea is more appealing to me. Fact is, none of us asked to be born. Most of us are here due to the desires of someone else. To bring us here and then tell us we have to earn unconditional loves seems unfair. It seems we shouldn’t be brought here if unconditional love isn’t already on the table, waiting for our arrival.

But I digress.

The reason I so like the definition for Grace that my yoga teacher gave –enabling power sufficient for progression – is because progress, for ourselves and others, is really what love is all about. When we love someone purely and truly, our desire is to see them grow and change and to become the best possible version of themselves.

If we’re on a search for Grace or The Divine, why not start by committing to be a force in people’s lives which challenges them to be open to change, to develop, to expand as beings? I’ve been on a search for The Divine my entire life, and for the first time, I feel like I have a hold on what it means to me: to choose love over fear.

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