Fierce grace is finding golden opportunities in life’s silver linings. Fierce grace demands that we transform ourselves by seeing our setbacks as launching pads! When we greet the fierce grace in any area of our life, we are driven beyond any fear or complacency to embrace the raw beauty present to us in every moment.
Learn the power of fierce grace through these five fierce steps!
1. Be Grateful for your Grace
We begin in gratitude. Even before you begin to analyze a situation in your life, be grateful for it. For one thing, you have the ability to even be grateful. That alone is something to be grateful for! Whether we believe in a higher power or not, we have to admit that it’s by the grace of a trillion things that we are fortunate enough to be alive! The odds are literally astronomical that everything can be just right for us to thrive! This is grace: The gift of health, happiness and wholeness given to us every day.
Fierce grace is the wake up call to bring us back into grace. We just have to get our butts kicked sometimes to remember it! So when something does go “wrong,” the first step is just being grateful for it. From being cut off in traffic to losing your job, we must be grateful for whatever form fierce grace takes! It would be considered ‘normal’ to act from reaction and become angry or upset in these situations. Yet, when we replace our chaotic habitual reaction with gratitude, we stop our stress in its tracks! From the perception of our ego, this does not compute! We are distressed and we want to express it. But when we learn to live in our heart through the attitude of gratitude, we see how pointless it is to send stress through our bodies. Why not send joy instead? Sending our self joy is always better than a negative stressful response. Acting with gratitude in these situations feels strange at first because we are so conditioned to respond negatively. But when we acclimate to the gratitude, we discover a stillness that puts everything in our life in perspective. But we need to be grateful first to cease being the boat rocked by the ocean of circumstance and become the ocean that sets the course of the boat!
2. Stay in the Stillness
It’s in the stillness of gratitude that we can pause from our ‘problem’ perspective. In the stillness, we can abide in the space of ever present open awareness where lessons are learned and bliss abounds. Stillness is not ignoring our impulse of sadness or anger, it is giving space to move through them easily and peacefully. Whether our monkey mind is swinging from thought to thought or we are focused on just one though but it’s not aligned with our path, fierce grace comes in to bring stillness to any situation. The famous psychologist Ram Dass coined the term “Fierce Grace” after a stroke forced him into stillness.
He said, “There I was, driving my MG, a stick shift, playing golf and the cello, and whoosh! In one fell swoop I now need help to go to the bathroom. Sure I was depressed, for about two weeks. I was in pain, confused. I’m still in pain but this stroke opened up a new vista for me. A lot of who I thought I was is gone now, and without those illusions, I am closer to my soul, to God. And I have more compassion for myself and others. I’m grateful! I’ve been stroked!” Dass was able to stay in the stillness because he was grateful for what it brought him. He would not have had the same insights had his life continued normally. Instead of seeing stillness as restriction, he found freedom within its simplicity. When we sit in the stillness, we see the lessons we need to learn naturally reveal themselves!
3. Learn the Lesson
When you see through the eyes of fierce grace, you do not see the situation as happening to you, you see it happening for you. Making this shift is inviting the situation to teach you rather than let it control you. Confined to a wheelchair and being mentally impaired would not be most people’s idea of happy. That is why most people were astounded that Dass said the stroke made him happier! How could this be? The lesson that made Dass happier was learning to be present in his physical body. He said, “The truth is that I distanced myself from my body. I saw my body as merely a vehicle for the soul. I ignored it as much as possible and tried to spiritualize it away.
From a physical perspective, the lack of love I’d shown toward my body contributed to my stroke.” This insight led him to see suffering as a path to God. He was forced to sit with his body now more than ever! In this chapter of his life, he reached a new level of surrendering his ego. His partial paralysis required round-the-clock care and his expressive aphasia made it difficult for him to talk. His self-image was shattered. But Dass needed to have that image of himself shattered to get to the marrow of his being.
Lessons like these can be extremely painful yet life reveals our weak spots so that we can make them stronger. Releasing our suffering is an exhilarating and rewarding journey because of the trials and tribulations, not in spite of them. It’s realizing the profound truth in the journey that allows you to be truly free and liberated, even if you are paralyzed!
4. Stop Repeating the Same Lessons
We always keep learning new lessons. Personal growth comes from stopping the same lessons from repeating themselves to make room for the new ones! But we have trouble stopping lessons that we fail to learn the first time. We may ask, “How long will this take to learn this lesson,” but the answer will always be the same: “As many times as it takes to learn it.” Even after we think we learned a lesson and don’t need to experience it again, its reappearance in our life says otherwise! We can get even more frustrated and repeat the lesson again or we can embrace the infinite amount of chances to learn and grow through all the beautiful lessons life teaches us. After Dass had come to a certain peace about his stroke after two weeks, the lesson of his stroke was far from finished. In Dass’ own words, “Healing does not mean going back to the way things were before, but rather allowing what is now to move us closer to God.” Dass succeeded in learning the lesson of being in his body to some extent so he didn’t need to repeat it.
Learning that lesson opened up the space for him to tackle another lesson of his self-image. He never wanted to do public speaking again because he was self-conscious about his words coming out so slowly. When he got the courage to speak publicly, he was able to turn his disability into an opportunity. When he spoke, he created a profound experience for the audience as they insisted his new voice enabled them to concentrate on the silence between the words. Had Dass not been able to move from one lesson to the next, he would not have given his audiences the feeling of open space and possibility that touched their lives so profoundly.
5. Live Grace Now!
The last step is walking all the steps in your daily life! Ram Dass first came to be grateful of his stroke when he felt the stillness of his suffering take him closer to God. He said, “In the moment is where you see God. Not in the past, not in the future. The past and future are thoughts. Just thoughts.”
He realized that God lives right in the stillness. By relaxing into that place, he allowed fierce grace to teach him to physically embody the message of his life. That message is to Be Here Now, the name of Dass’ bestselling book that helped millions on their spiritual journey. As Dass says, “At nearly seventy, surrounded by people who care for and love me, I’m still learning to be here now.” Thank you for living your grace now! And when fierce grace does knock on your door, now you know to greet it gracefully!
Brian is a teacher and healer. He brings the mind, body, heart and soul back into balance through overtone chanting, crystal and tibetan singing bowls and tuning forks.
He has the unique ability to hear oto-acoustic emissions, the natural frequencies emitted by the body.
His spiritual name “Anahata Nada” means “unstruck sound” and echoes his ability to hear the sounds of the cosmos. Anahata also means heart and speaks to Brian’s passion to help others hear the sound of their heart to guide them on their journey. Follow on instagram @anahatanada333 www.besoundnow.com Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org