BE-ATTITUDES, PART 2
During the month of May, we are focusing on our attitude and whether it is, as Ernest Holmes once wrote: ". . . toward a real unity with Spirit."a Specifically this morning, we are going to continue our look at eight ATTITUDES OF BEING that were taught by that great Jewish Metaphysician who walked the earth a little over 2,000 years ago -- a look that we began last week.
One of Jesus' most famous teachings is found in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, which opens with the Eight Beatitudes.b Even people who don't know much Judeo-Christian scripture are most likely aware of the Beatitudes, but whether they know what they say -- or more importantly what they really mean -- is another story!
Emmet Fox in his terrific book The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living, suggests that the Beatitudes are a general summary of the whole Christian teaching and that they teach us attitudes of being.c
For the master teacher, Jesus, knew that if our ATTITUDES are right (aligned with a real Unity with Spirit), everything else must be right too.
But if our ATTITUDES are wrong (misaligned), nothing else can be right.
So, today, we are going to look at the second four "Beatitudes" - or ATTITUDES OF BEING! Looking deep into the words that are used. Going beyond the surface or obvious meaning.
Before we look at the second four, let's do two things: First, define "Blessed," as we did last week, and then do a brief, very brief, review of the first four.
Remember, that according to Webster's Dictionary, "blessed" means: To invoke Divine favor upon.
Why? Because these attitudes make God happy? Of course not! Because:
they align us with Universal Harmony;
they align us with the Creative Flow of Life;
they align us with the Innate Goodness of the Presence of Spirit.
That's why Divine favor is called forth! Remember, if our ATTITUDES are right (aligned with a real Unity with Spirit), everything else must be right too -- we will be blessed.
Now the first four:
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven meaning heavenly bliss is invoked upon us when we set aside preconceived notions that prevent us from connecting with our Source.
2. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted inviting us to allow our troubles to take us to a place where we can more deeply experience the Presence of God.
3. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth teaching us how to be manifesters in this world by:
being Open-minded, having faith in God, and knowing that the Will of God for us is always something joyous and interesting and vital and much better than anything we could think of for ourselves.
4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled meaning those who continually seeks to engage in right thinking (just as we must continually satisfy our physical hunger and thirst) shall have lives transformed.
If you weren't here last week, and want more on those - the word document and the audio are on our website www.unitycv.org
The four Beatitudes -- ATTITUDES OF BEING -- that we will explore today are:
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God; and
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And I've added one: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!
But that one needs no deeper exploration, so we'll stick to discussing just those that Jesus proclaimed!
1. BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL FOR THEY SHALL RECEIVE MERCY
About this Beatitude, Emmet Fox writes: "As it stands, this Beatitude calls for little comment, because the words employed bear the ordinary meaning which we still give them in daily life, and the statement as given is as clear and obvious in its meaning as the law in question is as simple and inflexible in its action."d
This Beatitude is about the law of Cause and Effect at it's purest. What we give out, we get back! As we sow, so shall we reap. What we are to the world, the world is to us. What goes around, comes around. We know this idea well -- whether we've studied metaphysics or not.
So is there a deeper place to go with the Be-Attitude? You betcha! The thing that really matters is that you be merciful not just in your deeds, but more importantly, in your thought.
Fox writes: "Kind actions coupled with unkind thoughts are hypocrisy. They are counterfeits and they bless neither the giver nor the recipient."e
Why? Because we CAN'T FOOL MOTHER NATURE! (Remember that old margarine commercial?) The Law is activated by our consciousness. That is: our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values and only finally our actions.
If our actions or not aligned with all the rest of those things, which do you think will be causative in our lives -- which will activate the law?
We need to keep The High Watch at all times. This means staying mindful and rooted in your heart, no matter what the world throws at you. The way out of the illusion that makes up Duality Consciousness is through Oneness consciousness and awareness. You keep the High Watch by seeing every experience that happens by asking the question "How is this happening for us?"
And because we understand the power of the Spiritual Ideal, frankly, we have a responsibility that others have not!
David Hawkin's author of Power vs. Force: "Appearance is not essence. Despite the focus of the media on the negativity of world events, the overall level of consciousness in America and the world is confirmably advancing. The collective spiritual intention (via the Heisenberg uncertainty principle) has collapsed the wave function from potentiality to actuality and raised the calibrated level of consciousness of mankind overall. . . . By our collective effort we have raised the overall level of mankind's sea of consciousness, which then, effortlessly, lifts all the human corks and ships afloat."f
As we are a blessing, we are blessed.
2. BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD
The words used in this Beatitude are used in a technical sense and cover a far wider meaning than we attach to them in everyday life.
Look at the promise -- to see God. To "see God" means to have spiritual perception, and spiritual perception means just that capacity to comprehend the true nature of being -- which most of us lack.
We live in God's world, but we do not in the least know it as it is. Heaven lies all about us - it is not a distant place afar off in the skies, but all around us now -- but because we are lacking in spiritual perception, we are unable to recognize it; that is to say, we are unable to experience it; and, therefore, so far as we're concerned, we may be said to be shut out of Heaven.
We're like the fish who asks what is water! Our task is to surmount our limited seeing, until we reach the point where we can know things as they really are - experience Heaven as it really is. That is what is meant by "seeing God." To see God is to comprehend Truth as it really is, and this is infinite freedom and perfect bliss.
In this wonderful Beatitude we are told exactly how this supreme task is to be accomplished and who they are who shall do it. They are the pure in heart.
Again, we have to understand that here the word "pure" must be taken in a very much wider sense than that which is commonly allotted to it. Pure means a very great deal more than physical purity.
In its full complete sense, purity is recognizing God alone as the only real Cause, and the only real Power in existence.
Jesus speaks of the pure of heart. The word "heart" in the Bible usually means that part of our mentality which modern psychology knows under the name "subconscious mind." This is exceedingly important because it is not sufficient for us to accept the Truth with the conscious mind only. At that stage it is still a mere opinion. It is not until it is accepted by the subconscious mind -- the heart -- and thus assimilated into the whole mentality, that it can make any difference in one's character or life.
A small child with a bad cough was taken by her parents to a hospital emergency room.
A nurse, examining the child's lungs with a stethoscope, told the child: "I have to see if Barney is in there."
"I have Jesus in my heart," the child replied. "Barney is on my underwear."
Most people have all kinds of knowledge that does not in the least affect or improve their practical lives. "Head knowledge" is not enough. We need "heart knowledge" before we can "see God."
This Beatitude could be paraphrased to read:
Blessed are they who recognize God as the only real Cause, and the only real Presence, and the only real Power; not merely in a theoretical or formal way, but practically, and specifically, and wholeheartedly, in all their thoughts, and words and actions; and not merely in some parts of their lives, but in every nook and corner of their lives and mentalities . . . for they shall overcome all limitations of time, and space and matter, and carnal mind; and realize and enjoy the Presence of God forever.
3. BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD
If we look at this Beatitude casually, we might think it is a mere religious generalization, perhaps even a platitude. But, the peacemakers spoken of in this Beatitude are those who FIRST make or bring about true peace, or serenity, in their own souls.
This condition of mind is the objective at which Jesus aims in all the instructions when he gives us in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere. "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
As long as there is fear, or resentment, or any trouble in your heart, that is to say, as long as you lack serenity, or peace, it is not possible for you to attain very much.
Fox writes: "Those who bring about true peace, or serenity in their own souls, it is they who surmount limitation and are like unto God."g
And, then, be a peacemaker in the world! Of course, to be a peacemaker in the usual sense of composing the quarrels of other people is an excellent thing; but as all practical people know, an excessively difficult role to fill. By interfering in other people's strife, it is ever so much easier to make things worse than to make then better. Personal opinion is almost certain to enter into your efforts and personal opinion is exceedingly likely to be wrong.
Instead, be a wise man/wise women -- Greg Baer's Real Love definition. "Finally, have a prayerful attitude toward peace."h
4. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Ouch! In view of what we know about the essential character of the teachings of Jesus, that the Will of God for us is harmony, peace and joy, and that these things are to be attained by cultivating right thoughts, or "righteousness," as we learned last week, this seems to be a startling statement.
Jesus tells us again and again that it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom and that the way in which we are to receive it is by cultivating serenity, or peace of the soul.
He says that the peacemakers who do this, praying in "meekness" shall obtain prosperity, shall inherit the earth, have their mourning turned into joy and that, in fact, whatever they shall ask the Father in the manner of his teaching, that will He do.
Yet, here we are told that it is blessed to be persecuted as the result of our right thinking, or "righteousness,' for that by this means we shall triumph.
All this is indeed very startling. Fox suggests that what Jesus wants us to understand is that the source of all this persecution is none other than our own selves. No outside persecutor, but only our own lower selves.
When we find righteousness or right thinking very difficult, when we are very strongly tempted to hold the wrong thoughts about some situation or some person, or about ourselves, to give way to fear, or anger, or despondence -- then we are being persecuted for righteousness' sake, and this is for us an extremely fortunate or blessed condition, for it is in such moments that we are really advancing.
Every spiritual treatment or scientific prayer involves a tussle with our own lower self, which wishes to indulge the old habit of thought, and, in fact, persecutes and reviles us.
Now, since these battles with the lower self have to be fought out sooner or later, then the sooner they are over and done with the better, and so, relatively speaking, they are great blessings!
I have had experiences in doing prayer for something, then everything unlike it comes up in my face to heal. The persecuting mind of unbelief. But as I overcome it, the kingdom of oneness is mine.
1. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.
2. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
3. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.
4. Finally -- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
I want to conclude this two-part lesson with the words of Emmet Fox because these words offer a great challenge to all of us: "If you really do wish to alter your life, if you really do wish to change yourself -- to become a different person altogether in the sight of God and man -- if you really do want health and peace of mind, and spiritual development, then Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, has clearly shown you how it is to be done.
The task is not an easy one, but we know that it can be accomplished, because there are those who have done it. But the price must be paid, and the price is the actual carrying out of these principles in every corner of your life, and in every daily transaction, whether you wish to or not, and more particularly where you would much rather not.
If you are prepared to pay that price, to break really and truly with the old, and start upon the creation of the new, then the study of the great Sermon on the Mount will indeed be to you the Mountain of Liberation."i
Let this study we have done for the past two weeks be your Mountain of Liberation as you embody each of these attitudes, each of which moves you toward a greater unity, a greater oneness, a greater and deeper connection with Spirit - the one and only Power.
aErnest Holmes Science of Mind textbook
cEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
dEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
eEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
fAGNT Conference brochure - David Hawkin's (author of Power vs. Force) session "By God, It's Actually Working"
gEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
hGreg Baer Real Love
iEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living