THE NEED OF GRACE
A man who has sinned, erred, or been mistaken much and wakened up at last to what he has been doing, will instinctively seek first for affectionate understanding and sympathetic forgiveness. The more he has strayed, the more he needs them.- Paul Brunton
The aspirant who depends solely on his own unaided efforts at self-improvement will nevertheless one day feel the need of an outside power to bestow what he cannot get by himself. The task he has undertaken cannot be perfectly done or completely done by himself alone. He will eventually have to go down on his knees and beg for Grace. The ego cannot save itself. Why? Because secretly it does not want to do so, for that would mean its own extinction. So unless he forces it to seek for Grace, all his endeavours will bring him only a partial result, never a fully satisfactory one.
It does not lie within man’s power to gain more than a glimpse of this diviner life. If he is to be established firmly and lastingly in it, then a descent of grace is absolutely necessary. Artificial methods will never bring this about. Rites and sacrifices and magical performances, puzzling over Zen koans or poring over the newest books, will never bring it.
The ego, the personal limited self, cannot lift itself into the Higher Self, and if the student at times has felt dismally powerless to make progress by self-effort, he will have learned the priceless lesson of the need of Grace.
Ego and Grace
“When the ego is sufficiently crushed by its frustrations or failures – and sooner or later this may happen to most of us – it will turn, either openly or secretly, to the admission that it needs outside help. And what other help can it then find than Grace…”
“Grace is not a fruit which can be artificially forced. It must be left to ripen of itself. … What Grace does is to draw the man’s attention away from himself, from his ego, to the Overself.”
“The closer he comes to the Oveself, the more actively is the Grace able to operate on him. … It is always there but is prevented by the dominance of the animal nature and the ego from entering his awareness.”
“The ego … the personal limited self, cannot lift itself into the Higher Self, and if the student at times has felt dismally powerless to make progress by self-effort, he will have learned the priceless lesson of the need of Grace.”
“The aspirant who depends solely on his own unaided efforts at self-improvement will nevertheless one day feel the need … to go down on his knees and beg for Grace. The ego cannot save itself. … Those who say that the idea of Grace violates the concept of universal law do not look into it deeply enough. For then they would see that, on the contrary, it fulfills the law of the individual mind’s effort, which they believe in, by complementing it with the law of the Universal Mind’s activity inside the individual, which they ought also to believe in. God cannot be separated from man. The latter does not live in a vacuum.”
“Grace acts as a catalytic agent. Where man is unable to liberate himself from the animal and the ego, it assists him to do so. Where rule of the mechanical responses of his senses, his glands, and his unconscious complexes holds him captive to an established pattern, it sets him free.”