Since the few days, I have been thinking about ‘grace’, being ‘gracious’ and being ‘graceful’. It is quality which is not talked about much, except in reference to movement or dancing. I am talking about grace as a way of life. Grace is about being polite, about being accepting of others and of being kind. I have been thinking about how to bring grace into my life and these are the things I thought of-
1. Time and space– one needs to have time and space, gaps in schedule, peace and reflection to have grace. People who are always rushing, bustling off or are abrupt are not graceful. Therefore always keep a little space in your life in order to be graceful.
2. Be expansive– Think big, even magnanimously of others, even if they have done you wrong. Do not go into their level, forgive and let go. Imagine yourself as a big hearted person, not grasping, not wanting approval from anyone but yourself.
3. Be generous– Take time to listen to someone without telling them all about yourself at the same time. Give generously, even if that person may have been mean to you. Imagine the universe as a benevolent entity, always kind, always giving. Even if you give and do not receive back from that person, you will get a gift from someone else. If you can’t give or buy presents, give your precious gift of time or your creativity, draw or write something for someone.
4. Do not boast– Your qualities and achievements will come to light without your needing to shout about it. It is much more effective and powerful when another person comes to know of them through other means than you- it is very powerful! No one likes boasters.
5. Finally, always be polite, even if you are provoked- I find this quite difficult sometimes. Just the other day, someone wrote a very rude email to me and my first reaction was to answer them back rudely. I am glad I didn’t and I continued to be expansive and generous in my thoughts about them. I have just received very good news about a piece of writing I did some years ago. This news was totally unexpected. I have risen above this person’s demeaning email through the good recommendation I have had about my work.
How often do we think we are at the butt of something unfair done to us by someone? I used to be like that until I realised the ‘law of cause and effect’ works in life as well as physics. I realised how cunningly this ‘life law’ operates. I realised one can fool society, fool the legal system but not this universal law.
My big lesson came when I was dropping off my son to school enroute to work. I was using a taxi for this as I needed to get to work quickly after that. I got out at the school and took my son inside. Upon return, I found an argument going on. It appeared that my taxi had been reversing and while doing so, had come very close to a school child cycling on the pavement. The mother was shouting angrily while the driver kept saying that she should not have let her son be so close to the road. I apologised profusely to the mother and then went on my way. Later on, I complained about the driver to the taxi company and told them that this driver was not good.
Four weeks later, I was walking home with my son when I nearly got knocked over by a child, rushing around in his bike. I recognised the boy immediately. The mother was on the mobile phone while the boy was cycling in the school grounds where one is not allowed to do so. My son laughed when he saw my shocked face and said, ‘Mummy, did not you not know that he is always rushing around, hitting other people?’ At that moment, I also felt guilty for having complained about the taxi driver. While the mother was quick to blame the taxi driver, she saw nothing wrong in what her son was doing. She failed to take responsibility for her own actions. Heaven forbid that in the earlier incident, nothing had happened to the boy. Yet, it struck me how the mother had failed to see ’cause and effect’ and learn from the earlier incident.
After this, I started noticing more and more, the causal law at work. People dropping cigarette stubs on the pavement, then getting splashed by a car; someone bring rude to others and then someone else being unreasonably rude back to them; cheating on the benefits system and then losing their jobs or money, etc. All these people without fail would complain, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ I also saw the reverse of this: people smiling at each other, being polite to someone and then getting an unexpected gift or something else that made them happy. It was so easy and direct- the lesson being that if you are good and do good, then goodness comes back to you in one way or the other.
This has made me less liable to complain and has given me more contentment. I have stopped ‘expecting’ from people too. Sometimes the law of cause and effect is not direct. So I may give something to someone but I may find an unexpected gift coming from someone else. When we accept the law of causality, we stop becoming victims- we know we can change so easily. In our web of life, we are all interconnected and what ever we do, has a reaction. So let us always do good.