In a recent email, Rashmir Balasubramaniam (https://rashmir.net) wrote the following:
“I’ve been profoundly aware of the joy of being in purposeful, creative flow and also the conjunction of deep peace and playfulness that wise beings seem to embody (the Dalai Lama for example). I see it also in my wisest self when it all too fleetingly appears.”
With her characteristic grace and generosity, Rashmir has a way of touching, if not capturing, the essence of joy and peace. Part of her current work on the creative aspects of silence seems to be a continuation of her evolution and growth as one gaining wisdom from her years of exploration and discovery. From my perspective, that is part of the Joy of learning – growing and changing as we become older and wiser. We are always in the process of becoming. Therefore, what we choose to focus on and where we invest our time, energy and resources help determine the outcome.
What I said to Rashmir is that I found Joy and Grace bound together, and while they are part of the same experience, neither are they the same. I believe one gives rise to the other. The illustrations below are from organic chemistry, no surprise since chemistry and physics, especially quantum physics, are easily related to spirituality. Numerous scientists and the Dalai Lama agree that we are all stardust, created from the smallest particles of the universe, tiny little atoms and molecules brought into conscious being by a creative force we seek to understand and appreciate. When we do, the only response to that kind of Grace is Joy, unmitigated joy, and gratitude, deep, immense, irretrievable.
Resonance. One straight double-headed arrow pointing between two entities JOY and GRACE. These experiences share many of the same characteristics but elicit different experiences. Consider what many traditions, including my own, regard as “fruits of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. These come to us by means of Grace “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved” Is not Joy much the same? When that happens, what else can we do except bow or kneel in gratitude?
Joy and Grace represent different patterns (or resonance forms) for a similar experience. Therefore, A and B must contain the same atoms, and the atoms must be in the same spatial locations. The molecule’s actual pattern is neither A nor B, but a coinciding or blending of the two. I do not believe Joy and Grace are the same although they are inextricably related. Thus, there are reasons to consider the following as a model to help explain the relationship further.
Dynamic equilibrium. Two straight arrows pointing in opposite directions. The two surrounding symbols, Joy and Grace, are represented by one or more compounds (experiences) that are physically or chemically distinguishable. The atoms that appear on one side must also appear on the other so that the equilibrium is balanced (chemical reactions do not create or destroy atoms).
The equilibrium double arrow emphasizes the fact that the conditions that allow Joy to change into Grace, also allow the backward transformation of Grace into Joy. (Organic chemists tend to draw equilibrium symbols only when both the forward and backward transformations are fast.)
It is easy to confuse the double-headed resonance arrow with the equilibrium double arrow. The former connects two drawings of a single molecule, while the latter connects two different and distinguishable compounds or experiences.
I believe that Rashmir’s “joy of being in purposeful creative flow” is a result of Grace and that the traffic between Joy and Grace is complimentary. Each informs and enlightens the other. When we live in the light of Joy and Grace we are in a state of “deep peace and playfulness.” Thank you, Rashmir, for your insights and inspiration for finding our way toward more Joy and Grace.