Listening to Grace
Unlearning Insights and Poems
By Sandy Wilder
(Hardback: 316 pages)
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Each of us feels an innate yearning to be free. There is something within us and beyond us, calling us to awaken to live from our deepest truth. Now.
Listening to Grace contains 359 selections from unlearning insights and poems Sandy Wilder posted daily over a recent two-year period. Each is based on a single idea and is meant to reinforce, challenge and support you on your path to living from an authentic space.
Each selection may leave you startled, hugged, smiling and uplifted: all at once! Somehow they find a part of you that you thought was private, and then gently pull in beside you to let you know you are not alone.
The selections are in fresh languaging that appeal across denominations. They reflect Wilder’s fundamental conviction in the Oneness of all being. They elucidate how we each have free access to the clarity and ability to find our authentic voice, through acting from the space of Grace.
At a time when we may feel isolated and are questioning the nature of existence, this book invites you to pause and listen to Grace. It shows you not only how to do that, but illustrates the unifying impact this has on your life, and on those with whom you interact.
Table of Contents
1. Authenticity Reveals Freedom
2. Listening to Grace
3. Exploring the Unknown
4. Effortless Takes Effort
5. The Gift of Non-Judgment
6. Unlearning the Conditioned Mind
7. Relationships Grounded in Grace
8. Communicating from Oneness
9. Living From Stillness
10. Embracing the Darkness
11. You Are Now
12. Deep Yearning
13. Showing Up Open
By Pierre Pradervand
Author, “The Gentle Art of Blessing”
This is one of the most profound, precious, peace-instilling books I have ever read. It is also challenging, but in a gentle and at the same time quietly insistent way, prodding the reader to ease or work out of her or his comfort zones.
Some years ago, my life which had moved forward for so many years in an apparently smooth and successful manner, in a space of a few months, suddenly came crashing down: marriage, work, finances, health and especially what I believed was the ultimate spiritual path, fell to pieces.
In the midst of all this turmoil, a friend sent me a quotation from a center I had never heard of called the Educare Unlearning Institute, in Grafton, Illinois. I decided to subscribe to the free Unlearning Insights sent daily, 365 days a year, by its founder, Sandy Wilder.
I started awaiting them impatiently. They were so special, so utterly different from anything I had ever read before, both in style, tone and content. They rapidly became a real lifeline for me – and still are a major reference point in my life.
Then, a year later, I had the unique privilege of taking a workshop at the Institute. This turned out to be the most remarkable training I ever had in an existence of constant learning (not to mention running my own workshops for 20 years). In the first half day, Sandy created a space of unconditional love and complete non-judgment, which lasted the whole six-day workshop.
This book, written in the author’s unique style, will open unto you broad new vistas you never dreamed existed. It reflects all the qualities present in his workshops. Sandy writes with a unique combination of immense kindness and complete trust in the reader’s fundamental goodness and ability to understand.
He also constantly prods us to let go of the comfortable past and venture trustingly into the unknown – a challenging assignment for all those who are control freaks (and there are many in our culture!) His unrelenting call to live authentically and listen deeply to our heart, is the foundation of any meaningful life.
He dared me to look at my shadow side, something I had vigorously denied existed during my former spiritual path, claiming that it was “unreal”. But brushing the dust under the carpet is not the best way of eliminating it! Sandy is still helping me “uncover and unlearn some of the beliefs and corresponding behaviors” that were keeping me “locked in unprogressive habits, cycles and patterns.”
At the same time, he constantly reminds us that, in the vaster plan of things, all is well, and that we all have a personal G.P.S (God Positioning System – if I may dare the expression) that will ultimately guide us all home.
One of the richest insights you may well gain from this book is the vital understanding that because we are all linked through the infinite Love that holds us all together, every step we take toward awakening ourselves is an awakening step for all mankind.
This is a book to read daily, and, especially because of its universal, non-denominational nature, a book to offer to anyone and everyone.
Byron Katie, a leader in the field of personal development, has stated that the world’s number one problem is confusion. I am convinced that this book’s divine simplicity and clarity will appeal to all.
As much as my name is under the title as author of this book, that feels like a misnomer. I merely listen each day for the message I’m being asked to share, and then take the dictation.
Listening to Grace is synonymous to me with listening to the Inner Teacher, the “still, small voice,” the divine influence within the heart, that which speaks to each of us and takes form as our authentic voices.
These are selections from daily unlearning insights and poems over the past three years that I send to anyone interested. A few poems are also included that were written earlier. They are arranged thematically, but I’m sure you will find lots of overlap across chapters. The book can be read straight through, beginning with any chapter, or just opened randomly to an unlearning insight or poem.
The word “unlearning” is used because I am starting from the premise that each of us has within us a hidden wholeness. We are the full consciousness of the Divine, but for various reasons have forgotten our sacred heritage and infinite potential.
We have been conditioned and instructed away from Oneness into a delusion of separateness and isolation. So, we get to unlearn (i.e. recognize and release), that which we are not, so that which we are shines forth with radiant brightness, clarity, freedom and love.
Everything in this book rings true in my heart and experience. Abstract metaphysical concepts, were not revealed by Grace, and therefore are not included.
I offer these as simple moments of clarity during this period in my journey. I hope they may resonate with you, so that together we may see the impersonal nature of the aberration of separation, and the universal oneness of Life. As we allow our limited sense of self to diminish, we experience the inside-out embrace of transformation, and suffering begins to recede.
I have no interest in telling people what to believe. I am committed to helping those interested find what they believe in their hearts, and dance this out with authenticity and passion, while surrendering everything to Grace!
As you are reading, resist the temptation to ask yourself, “What did he mean by this?” Rather ask Grace, “What do I need to see right now?”
Thank you for being open to awakening to your authentic Self: the gift waiting within, for each of us.
Sample Unlearning Insights and Poems
There is no more time for anything but living from your deepest truth every moment! This is authenticity. Why consciously do otherwise?
When someone verbally attacks you, it does not mean they don’t love you. It just means they are a little confused right now. If they were self-aware and trying to state it accurately, it might sound something like:
“Given the untrue thoughts I am believing about you and me right now, I am feeling insecure, and am finding it hard to face these feelings and question these beliefs. That’s why I am pretending that you are the source of my pain.
“By taking out my stress on you, I don’t have to address my beliefs, and I can continue to live under the delusion that I am OK, and just a helpless victim.
“I am treating you in this bizarre way to motivate you to stop what you are doing. If you act exactly as I would like you to act, I will have the momentary feeling of being in control. This will protect my fragile self-image, and thus I will feel better about myself.
“Please forgive me, but this is the best I can do right now.”
You are now
Are you working toward
demonstrating eternal life?
It’s too late.
This is it.
How could it be any other?
You are living the now of eternal Life.
It will never not be now.
So, whatever it is
you are worried about
will not last.
Or, put another way:
you will outlast
whatever it is
you are worried about.
The only thing eternal
is your Life.
is in the process
Ever notice how everything in your world seems to revolve around you?
What if it didn’t?
Do you ever have trouble finding the discipline to do that to which you have committed, e.g. an important project, or spiritual practices? If you try to muster more effort, more focus, more concentration, these may give you a short-term spike, but they are not sustainable. They are derived from the head-space. This kind of exertion can leave you feeling exhausted and drained.
When you are on your game, in your zone, and living from your purpose, being disciplined is not a chore. It is practically effortless. And any extra effort you put in is in service to what you love, so it does not feel forced or strained.
If you find the desired discipline waning, the need may be to reconnect with your heart-space. Remember what you most want in life, your deepest yearning, your authentic desires, your calling, what brings you the most fulfillment.
When those are clear and you let them impel you, any activity you are involved with can either feed this yearning, or be a radiant expression of it in service to mankind and Grace. This kind of effort often leaves you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and humbly grateful.
(If it was a physical activity like dance, you may feel like you left it all on the dance floor, but you are not depleted. You are peacefully pooped.)
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