Christmas Feature Unspeakable Grace
GRACE. What is it? How do we define in words that which eludes us yet makes its presence so felt when it flows through us.
Is it that swelling and ache we feel in the heart when our loved ones express their love; or when they leave us? Is it the longing we feel there too, when hauntingly beautiful music “moves” us and renders us lighter?
Could it be the stirring in our soul when a dancer of extraordinary loveliness moves with sheer luminous fluidity and the dance is imbued with mindful devotion becoming a moving prayer?
Or is it that sense of deep stillness and peace we feel when finally we slip into deep silence in meditation? Is it what happens when the little promptings of the inner voice in the stillness of our soul are listened to and followed?
Perhaps it is the indefinable lightness that nature’s uncorrupted magnificence instils in us when we feast our senses on her splendour.
It seems Nature doesn’t have to try; it ebbs and flows with a natural grace we often attempt to emulate.
Maybe Grace is that which answers our most sincere prayers and the moment of gratitude and humility that sweeps over us when we notice how we are not in control.
It could be described as the connection and power we get from providing a channel for something bigger than ourselves. Often Grace comes spontaneously, so we attribute it to some force or entity outside of ourselves, usually the Divine form to which we are most devoted or allied with.
Even if we don’t know what it is exactly, we recognise it when we perceive it. We all know someone who just seems to demonstrate an effortless Grace and it is no tangible thing that we can quite put our finger on.
This gracious person appears to ooze a beauty that truly comes from the authentic inner being; it is neither shallow nor contrived and is expressed not only in their deep sense of calm, but their flowing movements, innate alignment and the refined way that they act. Grace denotes a concept of inner grace, a capacity to tolerate and forgive people; a great poise that comes by smiling through the storm and keeping it together.
No matter who we are, we each inherently possess everything that we need to have great poise inside of us. Grace is not such a high virtue that it cannot be cultivated through self-enquiry, meditation and breathing practices.
The growth of grace is like the polishing of metals. There is first an opque surface; by and by you see a spark darting out, then a strong light; till at length it sends back a perfect image of the sun that shines upon it.
- Edward Payson (1783-1827)
However; it is devotion and surrender that most makes room for grace to enter into our
lives. When we truly wish to receive it, by opening our hearts and breathing in deeply and consciously, we inhale the greater power of grace. Grace flows through us when we become fully present as witness and a consciously guided participant in life’s unfolding creation.
It often takes the form of fortuitous occurrences which we recognise as blessings, but it may manifest as blessings in disguise, cloaked in suffering as a result of some loss.
It may also be experienced as spiritual experiences, such as Divine Light, visions, ecstasies or the descent of a great peace.
An ancient Sufi word, Baraka, elegantly encapsulates the meaning of grace, as a blessing from a saint or a sacred place; it refers to a sense of divine presence, wisdom and the breath. In Aramaic, the street language in Jerusalem that Jesus himself spoke, Baraka meant divine blessings and interestingly it also meant “breath” or “wind”. Maybe the breath is indeed a gateway to Grace.
Grace is a term which one finds in many spiritual traditions, and it refers to all that we receive which helps us to evolve and to come closer to the Divine, ultimately experiencing our Oneness. The form, which the Godhead takes, is particular to the individual.
No matter how we identify ourselves and with whatever “category” that we prescribe to; no matter if we are Christian, Pagan, Muslin, Hindu or atheist; Grace remains the same, affecting us all in its wake and leaving us knowing there is so much more to know. It also seems as though the benevolent unseen force reaches us less in spoken language and more by means of our unconscious; through dreams, epiphanies, or feelings of sudden knowing.
Conceivably, Grace is divine communication for the primary purpose of healing the human heart and the greater good derived from any act.
Essential Oil of the Month
Tuberose Mesmerising Tuberose worth its weight in gold Mistress of the night a priceless perfume
TUBEROSE absolute is most highly esteemed amongst knowing perfumers for its rich, intense and long-lasting floral fragrance.
The scent is reminiscent of honeysuckle, ylang ylang and stephanotis flowers.
So intoxicating is this fragrance that in France there is a legend warning young girls to not breathe in the scent of tuberose after dark for fear that it would make them romantically vulnerable.
In India, tuberose is called ‘Mistress of the Night’ or ‘Raat ki Raani’, as it known in Hindi. It has been traditionally used in Indian weddings since ancient times and believed to be a sacred aphrodisiac for newly weds.
At native Hawaiian wedding ceremonies, tuberose flowers are worn as a wreath around the head of the bride.
Tuberose oil is frequently combined with jasmine and orange blossom in perfumery to produce a tuberose perfume.
The tiniest amount has profound effect and dramatically transforms any blend or the space where is allowed to diffuse.
Tuberose is extracted with solvents as well as through enfleurage. This is one of the most expensive oils available as very little is produced in the world annually.
Tuberose oil, as with lily, jasmine and a few others, cannot be distilled like most essential oils due to the delicate nature of the flowers, which won't stand up to the high temperature of water/steam distillation.
Either method (enfleurage or solvent extraction) is time consuming and oil yields are very small for the amount of materials used. This is why tuberose is one of the most expensive oils on earth, even more than most rose attars.
The Aztecs prized tuberose for its medicinal properties and called it “omixochitl”(bone-flower), due to the waxy, luminous white flowers.
Tuberose Absolute stimulates and increases blood circulation in the body thereby inducing a lovely warming effect.
The respiratory system enjoys its warmth keeping breathing open and easy.
As a powerful anti-spasmodic, tuberose settles coughs, convulsions, cramps, and diarrhoea. In very small amounts (well diluted), tuberose absolute is good in sedating inflammations, particularly pertaining to the nervous system and the respiratory system. The distinctive, narcotic-like fragrance and some components of this oil have relaxing effects on the brain, nerves and the muscles. Mind/Psyche
The unique aroma of tuberose can rejuvenate the mind and body, relaxing and relieving tension.
It calms the mind and gives relief from stress, anxiety, depression, anger and other nervous afflictions.
In stressful situations, where one needs to be strong and attentive to other’s needs, tuberose protects your energy and personal boundaries.
This tenacious scent embraces the person who wears it, enhancing and enlivening their character by amplifying artistic inspiration as it stimulates the creative right side of the brain.
Tuberose increases one’s capacity for emotional depth and by opening the crown chakra it awakens psychic powers, bringing serenity to the mind and heart.
Tuberose dispels negative attitudes and instills a positive resolve. Aphrodisiac
When this intoxicating floral fragrance fills the air it creates an atmosphere of love.
Tuberose's magical fragrance is understood to have aphrodisiac powers. Specific components of this essential oil stimulate those parts of the brain that are responsible for arousal, sexual feelings and libido.
Its warming effect on the organs increases circulation of blood to vital parts, which in turn helps heal sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction, frigidity and impotency.
Tuberose Latin name:
Polianthes tuberosa Other names:
Night Queen, Mistress of the Night Scent:
Tuberose has a sweet and heady floral scent with rich, honeyed middle tones and ever so slightly spicy - even earthy - undertones. It is a profoundly sensual smell. This distinct absolute is a dark orange to brown viscous liquid; actually quite thick in consistency. Origins:
Tuberose is native to Central America. Tuberose flowers are cultivated all over the world for their beauty and fragrance, especially in India, China, France, and Morocco. The plant appears as a rosette of thin leaves up to 45cm long and puts out a spike of fragrant tubular white flowers in summer. Its flower blooms at night, when its beautiful fragrance is the most active. The common name is the source of some confusion; it derives from Latin tuberosa, meaning swollen or tuberous in reference to its root system, but it has come to be thought of as derived from ‘tube + rose’. Properties:
Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, nervine, relaxant, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, circulatory stimulant, perfume, tonic. Precautions: Tuberose is non-toxic but it should be well diluted for use on the body.