About The Art of Grace

Cathy

The Art of Grace is about creating spritual freedom to flourish with effortless generosity.

Creating grace begins with awakening to the gifts of life.

Grace feels like blissful communion with one's deepest self, with others and with the Power that Creates the Universe, what some call Nature, others call God, Source, or The Way. Most people experience occasional and accidental moments of grace when they see a sunset, look into the eyes of a loved one, or experience a moment of victory. The purpose of the Art of Grace is to learn the art of creating Spiritual Freedom so that these moments of grace are more frequent and do not depend upon circumstance.

Why this site?

The original purpose of this web site was to explore grace. I had some accidental moments of grace and was amazed and astonished by this experience. The more I explore this concept, the more convinced I become of the wonderful healing power of grace. Eager to experience more grace in my life, I began to learn about other people's grace experiences. I have gradually learned that I do not have to wait around for grace to accidentally find me, that instead, I can create grace. Wow! I learned that grace did not depend on any external events or circumstances. This is the ultimate liberation.Like a kid who has discovered a really cool toy, I want to share what I have learned with others so that we may play together.

Now, my goal is to be an artist of grace and to create more wisdom, gratitude and love in my life.

It is my hope that this site might help others tap into the power of grace to thrive with abundance, love and nurturing relationships.

Harnessing the Power of Grace

Like electricity, grace has power in it. Unlike electricity, grace remains a mystery. The better we understand electricity the better we are able to harness its powers. Until recently, grace was a poorly understood power, and we could not always reliably tap into it.  Now, humans now have the tools, such as MRIs and biofeedback, to investigate the physiological effects of meditation, of friendship and of grace, just as in the past century we explored electricity. Now, we better understand the power of grace so that we may harness its power to transform hearts, communities and the world in unimaginable ways.

"We cannot save our planet unless humankind undergoes
a widespread spiritual and religious awakening."
~ Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest

Today, humanity faces many threats to survival. Like Paul Hawken, I share the belief that most of the problems facing humanity are, at their core, spiritual problems, and the way to solve them is for people to awaken spiritually and religiously, in other words, to experience grace. The way to save the world for sentient life is for individuals to save their souls. It is for each person to know that they are loved, that they are among the many victors of billions of years of evolution, and that they are One of the Whole.

Love

Love is the alpha and omega. An attractive power, what some might call love, is the power that creates the universe. Grace is gratitude for the creative power of the universe.

Innovative Leadership Through Grace

In the past, people who have experienced grace have led great advances in human culture. Experiencing grace, Moses led his people to freedom from the Egyptians. Experiencing grace, Buddha encouraged his students to seek enlightenment. Experiencing grace, Jesus gave his desciples unconditional love. Experiencing grace, Martin Luther led the reformation and led people to directly experience the divine. Experiencing grace, Gandhi led his people to non-violent independence. Experiencing grace, Dr. Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights movement. Today, experiencing grace, millions of people are transforming society yet again, in millions of ways. Some, like Paul Hawken, lead people in the transformation of business, government, and other institutions into forces for social justice, environmental sustainability and spiritual growth.

Sustainability Through Grace

Today, the limits to growth and consumption are becoming more and more apparent. Most people, whether conservative or liberal, agree that there are not enough resources for everyone to live as the top five percent of the world's consumers live. By seeking happiness where it can only fleetingly be found, in the pursuit of ever greater material wealth, people paradoxically create a greater sense of isolation and need for more stuff, creating a spiral of material wants and never ending desire for more stuff.

Instead of finding happiness in material wealth, we now have the opportunity to seek happiness where it can ALWAYS be found, in our spiritual freedom. True wealth is not in having more stuff, but rather in freedom to enjoy that which you already have.

 

About the Webweaver

The web weaver for this site is Cathy, a mother, wife, scientist, teacher and web designer. Trained as a scientist (Ph.D. in microbiology), I learned to be skeptical of everything. Like so many religious concepts, grace (God's unearned favor) seemed irrelevant.

Then, I had some experiences that were so intense and filled with ecstatic gratitude for existence, for life, and for the awareness to appreciate it ALL. I heard no satisfactory secular explanation for this state of being. The only reports of this state of being came from people reporting religious experiences. Being a sceptical evolutionary microbiologist, I began my quest to try to understand this grace experience from the view of hormones, DNA, neurotransmitters, brain structure, along with trying to understand the evolution of the entire universe. I also began experimenting on myself.

Now, I discover that grace fascinates me more than ever. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for it. My life feels so much more joyous. Now, in the light of grace, even the rough patches don't seem so rough.

Many years ago, while hiking in the mountains of southern Colorado, I experienced a profound and magical sense of oneness and bliss. For a long time, I thought that this event was nothing more than some weird, although pleasant, brain glitch. Years later, while nursing my baby, I felt an exquisite sense of gratitude, bliss and deep connection to my baby and to the entire cosmos. This profound sense of ecstasy happened again years later while I danced alone in a church sanctuary in preparation for a dance class I was about to give.

The overwhelming intensity of ecstasy I felt during these experiences led me to question my sanity. To discover if these feelings of ecstasy were normal, I began to pay attention to the extraordinary experiences of other people.

I found I was not alone.

Now, after what I have learned, I look back at my experiences and know that they were not brain glitches, but rather, moments of grace where I experienced a deep connection to myself, to others and to the creative process of the cosmos.

Later, I realized that people of all faiths and philosophies have reported similar experiences. For example, Buddhists refer to it as "Enlightenment," athletes as being in the "Zone," artists as being in "Flow", Hindus as feeling "Oneness" or Samadhi. Others call it "attunement" or "integration." I realized that my experiences were what some people call the state of grace. I like this term because it is related to the term "gratitude," which, to me, is integral to this experience. I began to read about this phenomenon and to listen to other people's stories of grace. Soon after the dancing experience, similar episodes of feeling deep connection and bliss became more frequent. Some have been as intense, although none as startling because I have now become familiar with the experience of profound bliss.

The feelings of grace include a sensation of unconditional love, as if the power that creates the universe loves me and everyone else. This used to be an odd sensation for me, given that my old understanding of science had made the concept of God and Divine Love seem improbable. Today, many of my old ideas of God have disappeared and in it's place is something much more awe-inspiring.

It has become more apparent to me that the feeling of grace is not a delusion, (i.e. a perception that is not based on reality.) The only delusion is thinking that I am separate or that the power that creates the universe does not support me.

For me, doubt has been the doorway to discovery and my skepticism has led me to realize the power of grace. The more I learn about it, the more wonderfully grace transforms my life. Grace is a truth that goes beyond any single religion or philosophy. What I call grace (and what is known to others by various other names) is universal to all cultures and spiritual traditions, whether they practice religion or not. My goal is to continue exploring grace and to share what I learn with others.

As I create this site, I am sharply aware of the limitations of language. I know that some of the words I use will alienate some people. I know that if I try to be more precise in meaning, my language will become cumbersome. Alas. I also know that I cannot convey the experience of grace to anyone. It must be a personal experience. If you have not experienced grace, all my words about grace probably sound like the ramblings of a mad woman. If you've experienced it, YEAH!

While I was having these grace experiences, I was exploring another seemingly unrelated idea, that of evolution. At first, the science of evolution seemed to suggest that grace was a delusional state of mind since evolution "proved" that there is no God and that everything is the result of a random accident. However, the more I explored the science of evolution, the more apparent it became to me of what I now call the "Divine Direction" and "Survival of the Most Harmonious." I don't know if it's "chance" or "purpose", but growing mountains of evidence show that the universe, (at least in our galaxy) has a direction toward greater cooperation, greater consciousness and greater compassion. It's also apparent that evolution is about survival of those entities that harmonize best with the laws of the universe. These revelations are awesome to me! I cannot convey the sense of serenity it gives me to know that the power that creates the universe conspires on our behalf. Whenever I feel glum, if I can manage to remember the Divine Direction, I immediately realize that "This too will pass." More than this, I realize that "This particular obstacle may be an opportunity" and "if I align with the divine I'll feel fine."

I have heard many, many stories of people who "had it all" including wealth, friends and health, yet they still felt unhappy, unconnected and spiritually impoverished. Then, through an accident they "lost it all": health, friends, and/or wealth. Those who sought answers, for the first time in their lives, found what truly made them happy. It was grace, the experience of harmony with the WHOLE and a profound gratitude that inspires generousity.

The more stories I hear about grace, the more enthusiastic I become to learn about this magical state of awareness. If you have a story you would like to share with me, I would love to hear from you. My email address is cathy@lightheartmedia.com.