We may ask, “How are we to attain the unitive state of awareness?” (‘I and the Father are one.’) Until we are ‘lifted’ into the experience of unity by the grace of God, duality for us must continue to exist.

When that experience is about to happen to a person, that person’s mind becomes irresistibly withdrawn from worldly concerns, and becomes centered instead upon one all-consuming love, a singular sort of love, for the very source of love within.

And in the process of consummating this love, solitude is procured, giving the mind the opportunity to become detached from the pull of distracting thoughts and sense-impressions; and the mind is then focused with great intensity upon its aim.

Consciousness, like an unflickering flame in a windless room, becomes pure and clear. And then suddenly it sees or knows who it has always been.

It is God’s grace which manifests in us as that divine love that draws us so compellingly toward the experience of unity. This love is not the ordinary kind of love between a subject and an object, however; for in this case the subject and the object, and the love itself are one.

Nor is this love the result of a conclusion based on a rational premise; it is an inner experience. It is something quite real — breathtakingly and intoxicatingly real. It stirs from within, and centers on itself within.

It is not a rationally thought-out construction based on philosophical principles, but a sweetness that is itself the object of devotion. It is this Love that bhaktis (devotees) love. It has no location but the human heart, yet its source is the universal Being.

It is His gracious gift, and only those who have experienced it know What it is. It is of this love that Ramakrishna sang:

“How are you trying, O my mind, to know the nature of God? You are groping like a madman locked in a dark room. He is grasped through ecstatic love; How can you fathom Him without it? When that love awakes, the Lord, like a magnet, draws to Him the soul.

Such longing for God or Truth always precedes the experience of enlightenment, because it is the natural expression, the unfailing indicator, of a shift in consciousness toward the transcendent Unity.

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~ by S. Abhayananda.

The Gift of Grace

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