“It is the unaccepted self that stands in our way.” – Thomas Merton
This is a bit of fairly radical grace. I understand Merton to say here that all spiritual growth and development ultimately comes down to failing to accept ourselves. At first this may sound self-help-ish or “New Agey,” but from my experience as a Christian, much of my own spiritual work has led me back to seeing myself from God’s perspective, as unconditionally accepted and loved. From the point of acceptance, the feeling I get is that I can then relax the guards of my ego, which keep me from being less than entirely open to the world and actively engaged in the lives of others.
Understanding this angle, with grace as the focal point of all spiritual development, has been something of a focus of mine for several years. As much study and spiritual work has gone into understanding grace, I am most certainly only at the very outskirts of understanding the vast expanse of unconditional acceptance.