I woke up on Sunday morning all ready to play tennis. I got in my car and tried to drive to the courts to meet my friend and because of the Delhi marathon every single route from Golf Links to Chanakyapuri (that I am capable of navigating) was blocked. So much for that…I went home and crawled back into bed after 30 minutes of driving in circles in a 2 mile radius. I woke up an hour later with a fever and ended up staying in bed and reading a beautiful book cover to cover, Ken Wilber’s “Grace and Grit.” I’d been meaning to read this book for the past few months and I finally had my chance. It is definitely one of the best reads I’ve come across in awhile and it moved my heart and soul. It took me all day to finish it but finally at 11:30pm I read the last page and by midnight I dried the last tears from my eyes. Below are some of my favorite excerpts:

Grace and Grit by Ken Wilber


We came to refer to her search for her “work” as a search for he “daemon”—the Greek word that in classical mythology refers to a “a god within,” one’s inner deity or guiding spirit…When honored and acted upon, it is indeed one’s guiding spirit; those who bear a god within bring genius to their work. P. 58

I want a full-blown plant right away and have been too impatient to nourish the small shots enough to see which one I choose or chooses me. P. 59

Whole and part are not mutually exclusive. Mystics still feel pain, and hunger, and laughter, and joy. To be part of a larger whole doesn’t mean that the part evaporates, just that the part finds its ground or its meaning. You are an individual, yet you also feel that you are a part of the larger unit of a family, which is part of the larger unit of a society. You already feel that, you already feel that you are a part of several larger wholes, and those wholes give your life much value and meaning. Mysticism is just the even larger identity of also feeling part of the cosmos at large and thus finding even greater meaning and value. Nothing contradictory about that. It’s a direct experience of a larger identity, it doesn’t mean your arms fall off. P. 70-71

The perennial philosophy is the world view that has been embraced by the vast majority of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, philosophers, thinkers, and even scientists. It’s called “perennial” or “universal” because it shows up in virtually all cultures across the globe and across the ages. P. 77

“I’m curious how they could both, “ Treya said. “They feel so different. In vipassana you strive so hard, at least at first, but in self-surrender there’s no effort at all.”

“Well, I’m no guru, I can only give you my beginner’s understanding. But it seems to me that what they both have in common—well, actually, what virtually all forms of meditation have in common—is that they break the ego by strengthening the Witness, strengthening your innate capacity to witness phenomenon.”

“But how is that different from my ego? I ten to think that the go can witness, or can be aware.” Treya screwed up her nose, sipped her tea.

“But that’s the point. The ego is not a real subject; the ego is just another object. In other words, you can be aware of your ego, you can see your ego. Even if parts of the ego are unconscious, all the parts can at least theoretically become objects of awareness. The ego, in other words, can be seen, it can be known. And therefore it is not the Seer, not the Knower, not the Witness. The ego is just a bunch of mental objects, mental ideas and symbols and images and concepts, that we have identified with. We identify with these objects and then use those objects as something with which we look at and thus distort the world.”

“In other words,” she said, “we identify with those objects here, mental objects in our head, and that keeps us separated from the world out there. So it’s self versus the other, subject versus object. I remember Krishnamurti saying once, “In the gap between the subject and the object lies the whole misery of mankind.” P. 99

“Will is necessary to cultivate awareness, but it often gets in the way of that kind of subtle, profound inner change. That kind of change moves us in a direction of a way that’s beyond our understanding and certainly beyond our capacity to consciously will. It’s more of an allowing, an opening.”

“A little like grace,” she said. “I know exactly what you mean.”

“Yes, that’s it. Like grace. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.”

And I thought of the Course in Miracles lesson that’s been sitting on my counter the last few days. The last lines are: By grace I live. By grace I am released. By grace I give. By grace I will release.

These lines never got to me before. Too much echo of the benevolent grace of a paternalistic father-figure god, forgiving his erring, sinning children. But now they made more sense. I could see grace as one way of describing what I call that mysterious something that seems to heal, to keep us heading in the right direction, to repair faults. P. 163