Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blest Are The Pure In Heart

I am indebted to Cynthia Bourgeault for a subtle but profound insight into the Beatitudes. She points out that the heart, in Jesus time, was not thought of as the seat of the emotions, but rather as the organ of spiritual knowing. It was the heart which enabled the first disciples to recognize Jesus for who he was. When they headed off into the wilderness behind their enigmatic new teacher, they followed their hearts, not in the sense of taking some irrational and emotive action, but rather in the sense of following their deepest and truest intuitions. Their hearts enabled them to perceive deep truth inaccessible to the faculties of reason or affect.

Which suddenly makes a lot more sense, to me, of Jesus' words is Matthew 5, Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. He is not speaking about us keeping our emotions or our actions or our thoughts pure in order that we might somehow earn God's favor, but rather of us gaining clarity in our intuitions and thereby perceiving the Truth from which we are never really absent.

It is this clarifying of our perceptions that is the fundamental aim of meditation. What keeps our spiritual insight clouded is the same thing that keeps our reason and our emotions clouded: the unconscious and usually unsuspected residue of a lifetime of defending ourselves from real and perceived dangers. The only way we can stop our faculties from being continually clogged by this residue is to let go of all thoughts, all emotions, all intuitions, both good and bad, and let the deepest parts of ourselves free for a short while to turn to and follow the voice of God which continually calls us home.

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1 comment:

  1. I loved that book, as well as the de Mello, which my cousin, a theolog from France, told me about, as de Mello was one of her masters. It is THE effort, to open that door, non? Always enjoy your posts.