I don’t know about you, but it seems the older I get, the less I KNOW. I used to be quite certain about lots of things, and while it’s still easy for me to cling to the safety of being SURE, I’m finding freedom in holding things more loosely. I say that as a backdrop for a Truth from Jesus 2,000 years ago: “How blessed (or ‘happy’) are the POOR in spirit;” he said, “the kingdom of Heaven IS theirs.”
Richard Rohr notes: “‘Poor in spirit’ means an inner emptiness and humility, a beginner’s mind, and to live without the need for personal righteousness or reputation.” It turns out the Greek word translated “poor” literally means “the very empty ones.” Jesus, then, is saying when we aren’t self-preoccupied or full of ourselves in any way, when the world considers us a nobody: “Happy are you, you’re the freest of all.” The Greek word we translate “blessed” or “happy” more fully means the Universe is on our side or we have Divine favor. So, while society tells us life is a game to win via status, certainty, and possessions, what this is inviting us to is leading our lives less with our egos and more with our hearts. As we live in love we’ll develop minds that compete less, know less, and acquire less, which frees us from society’s demands to live in heaven NOW.
The secret I wish everyone could know is: You are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings, you are not your doings, you are not what society or others tell you, YOU are all together something else, beautiful, precious, and AMAZING. It seems to me to be poor in spirit means: Think less and you will BE more. Eknath Easwaran writes: “the joy we experience in these moments of self-forgetting is our true nature, our native state. To regain it, we have simply to empty ourselves of what hides this joy; that is, to stop dwelling on ourselves.” So, today I invite us to think less to BE MORE by taking deep, purposeful breaths, gazing deeply at things, listening well to people, feeling the sensations in our bodies, and any other mindfulness practices that bring us here and now.
Grace and peace,