Kathleen Dowling Singh has become one of the premier spiritual teachers of grace. We recommend to you the wisdom of her books The Grace in Dying and The Grace in Aging. Now, she has created The Grace in Living, a rich resource encouraging us "to recognize grace, to trust it, and to embrace grace as our own true nature in every moment of our lives."
Singh encourages the use of spiritual biography as a means to record our journey through awakening and to identify and remember the transformative experiences that have enriched our lives. Here grace is a spur to faith and confidence. The author suggests that her explanation of this process in the first part of this paperback — titled "Life as Pilgrimage " — be read contemplatively.
The second section of the book contains stories of awakening through four stages of the spiritual journey: from tasting to hunger, from seeking to the end of seeking, healing into maturity, and ripening. She illustrates the work in each stage by inviting practitioners from different traditions to share their own experiences, witness, and wisdom. We hear from:
- Rodney Smith, a Buddhist teacher
- Cynthia Bourgeault, a Christian contemplative
- Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi writer and teacher
- Sherry Ruth Anderson, a teacher within the Diamond Approach
- Prakash Mackay, another teacher within the Diamond Approach
- Ellen Kympton, a quiet practitioner of grace
The closing section of the book delves into the art of recognizing grace in your life. It includes instructions for the process of spiritual biography; questions to bring to the surface your transformative experiences, and directions for making a timeline representing your spiritual journey.
Here is Singh's definition of grace:
"Grace is a simple, ecumenical word. By grace, I mean the sacred, replete with all its noble qualities, the beatitudes. Grace, itself formless, gives rise to form and is inseparable from form. It is Spirit, the alpha and omega of all that arises. Many call it the Godhead, the Ground of Being, The Great Mystery, the Tao. In Christianity, it is often called Christ consciousness. In Buddhism, it is called dharmakaya. Grace has a thousand names and is rich with a sense of beauty and goodness and love freely given. We benefit from grace as we align our actions and intentions with it."
We are quite impressed with the following topics that are covered with relish and succinctness: the significance of the eye of the spirit and the eye of contemplation; ways to allow grace "to have its ways with us"; love as the greatest fruit of spiritual ripening; making the most of what Cynthia Bourgeault calls "watering holes" (resources to fuel and refresh our path); surrendering as the process of handing yourself over to the Ground of All Being; and growing the soul as "working in the wonders" (a phrase from the seventeenth century Christian mystic Jacob Boehme).