Effort and grace

A pilgrim’s resting place

Effort readies us for grace, as grace can never be planned for or willed to appear, only entered

Stillness is illuminated by movement. I discovered that the more strenuous the movement the greater the sensation of stillness when I paused. Pausing after walking, and especially after climbing, allowed me to truly see what was before me. Because time falls away on pilgrimage, I could linger over a cup of coffee or a field of wildflowers for an hour or more. If a stained glass window in a chapel took my eye I would sit and take in every luminous detail. Before I moved on I was fully centred and connected to my self and my surroundings again.
In his recent book Drinking from the river of light: the life of expression Mark Nepo links effort and grace when he writes that “effort readies us for grace, as grace can never be planned for or willed to appear, only entered” The surfer works hard paddling out to catch the wave but once on the wave he is carried to shore. Effort and skill lead to a moment of grace and joy when he simply rides the wave. So the kilometres I walked, the mountains I climbed, the mud I waded through led to a break-through of stillness and silence of mind, an unlooked-for grace of inner peace.

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