Fire is latent in wood yet it requires that we do something, requires that we act, in order to realize the fire. The Supreme Being, the highest principle, pure consciousness exists within us, yet it requires that we act and use the right means in order to realize That. For that principle to manifest and be realized, effort is required.
We have forgotten our true nature and it is this ignorance which makes our vision unclear. Grace removes the veil of ignorance and allows us to make our vision clear, allows us to realize our true nature as God. Grace is God’s power that brings realization. Grace is in every situation but the highest and most powerful forms of grace are the Guru, experience and understanding. Experience and understanding are gained through our practices.
When we immerse ourselves in the ocean and become the ocean, what interest is there in the stream? When our practices and grace immerse us in the experience of God, in the Shakti, in the expansion of consciousness and in peace, then longing is ignited. The world loses it attraction and our attachment to it lessens. The pleasures of the outside world become mere shadows of the bliss that lies within, in the experience of the Divine. In this state, the individuality of a stream is lost in the unity of the ocean. Then individuality feels like the darkness of separation.
Grace and effort combine to unfold realization, to open us to our always existing enlightenment. We must be open to receive grace and we must create the experience of God through our practices and self-effort. Receiving requires our resistance to end. Resistance is attachment and aversion. Surrender releases us from our resistance and allows us to receive. Meditation, chanting, selfless giving, service, prayer, silence, compassion and virtues are our effort that opens us to the experience, understanding and grace.