Since today is about passing on blessings; I thought we should start with the blessings that were given to us.
Specifically, this morning, we are going to look at ATTITUDES OF BEING that were taught by that great Jewish Metaphysician who walked the earth a little over 2,000 years ago.
One of his most famous teachings is found in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount and it opens with the Eight Beatitudes. Even people who don't know much Judeo-Christian scripture are most likely aware of the Beatitudes.
Before delving into these eight, let's look for just a moment at the two words that begin each statement: "Blessed are." 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!
So, let's look at these eight blessings this morning.
1. . BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Right away, in this first Beatitude, we come to a point of needing to realize that terms and expressions, and sometimes actual words, are used in the Bible in a sense that is distinctly different from that of everyday usage or from the meaning that the words have today.
What does poor in spirit mean? Emmet Fox says:
"To be poor in spirit does not . . . mean the thing we call "poor spirited" nowadays. To be poor in spirit means . . . . to have renounced all preconceived opinions in the wholehearted search for God. It means to be willing to set aside your present habits of thought, your present views and prejudices, your present way of life if necessary; it means to jettison, in fact, anything and everything that can stand in the way of your finding God."a
So -- Divine favor is invoked upon those who are willing to let go of the old - old thought patterns, old assumptions, old prejudices - in order to find God.
According to Emmet Fox, this first Beatitude is telling us that in order to "find" God or the Kingdom of Heaven -- or perhaps we want to rephrase that and say to "rediscover" God -- we may well need to let go of some things. Let go of old perceptions of God. In other words, have an open and receptive heart.
When we come into this teaching, many of us found that we needed to "dump" a bunch of mental and emotional baggage as well as some negative thought habits and patterns.
Emmet Fox writes:
"The poor in spirit . . . have come to see that their most cherished beliefs may have been and probably were mistaken, and that all their ideas and views of life may be false in need of recasting. They are ready to start again at the very beginning and learn life anew, and in that process, they truly are blessed."b
So, the first ATTITUDE OF BEING says: Divine favor is poured upon those who are willing to let go of old, limiting beliefs so they shall know heavenly bliss.
2. BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED
2. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
On the surface, this says that when we are sad, God shall comfort us. OK, I understand that. But what I never understood was the blessing part. Why would those who mourn be blessed?
Remember, being blessed means to have "Divine favor" invoked upon us. Why would those who mourn receive such Divine favor?
Most of us do not undertake the search for God wholeheartedly until we are driven there by trouble of some kind -- health challenges, relationship challenges, money challenges, we have suffered a loss, addictions, on and on and on. We don't seek God until we are desperate!
Think for a moment what caused you turn to God. My guess is it wasn't because life was going great for you and all was rosy! Chances are it was because things looked pretty black and you didn't know where else to turn.
In this Beatitude, Jesus told us that Divine favor is invoked upon those who allow their troubles to take them to a place where they can experience the Presence of God.
This ATTITUDE OF BEING says those who allow their troubles to deepen their relationship with this AWESOME power that is God are blessed.
3. BLESSED ARE THE MEEK FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
3. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
According to Fox:
"This Beatitude is among the half-dozen most important verses in the Bible. When you possess the spiritual meaning of this text, you have the Secret of Dominion - the secret of overcoming every kind of difficulty. It is the Jesus Christ Message reduced to a single sentence."c
Pretty powerful proclamation!!! Well, we know right off the bat with this one, that we can't take it literally -- no one is going to inherit the earth. So, obviously, there must be some deeper meaning behind at least that term in this Beatitude.
Your "earth" means the whole of your outer experiences, and to "inherit the earth" means to have power to bring your conditions of life into harmony and truth.
So we see that when the Bible talks about earth, it is referring to the conditions of our lives from our bodily health outward to the farthest point in our affairs. This text undertakes to tell us how we may possess, or govern, to be masters of our own lives and destinies.
How then does Jesus suggest this is done? In a certain way. In a certain way that may seem quite unexpected -- through meekness. The fact is that the word meekness also is used in a special and technical sense. Its true significance has nothing in common with the meaning it now bears in modern English. (Showing patience and humility; gentle; easily imposed on; submissive.)
Emmet Fox says:
"The true significance of the word "meek" in the Bible is a mental attitude for which there is no other single word available, and it is this mental attitude which is the secret of "prosperity" . . .. It is a combination of open-mindedness, faith in God, and the realization 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. . . . This mental attitude . . . . is the key to success in demonstration."d
4. BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED
4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.
"Righteousness" is another of the great Key words of the Bible, one of those keys that the reader must have in his possession if he is to get at the true meaning of the book.
Righteousness means, in the Bible, not merely right or ethical conduct, but right thinking on all subjects, in every department of life. As we study the Sermon on the Mount, we shall find every clause in it reiterating the great truth that outside things are but the expression or the outpicturing of our inner thoughts and beliefs; that we have dominion or power over our thoughts to think as we will; and thus indirectly, we make or mar our lives by the way in which we do think.
The great law of the Universe is just this -- that which you think in your mind you will produce in your experience. As within, so without.
You cannot think one thing and produce another. If you want to bring into your circumstances harmony and happiness, you must first control your thoughts for harmony and happiness, and then the outer things will follow.
If you want health, you must first think health; and remember thinking health does not mean merely thinking a healthy body, important as that is, but it also includes thinking peace and contentment and goodwill to all, for destructive emotion is one of the primary causes of disease.
If you want spiritual unfoldment and growth in the knowledge of God, you must think spiritual thoughts -- God thoughts -- and give your attention, which is your life, to God rather than to limitation.
If you wish to be loved, you must first think thoughts of love and goodwill.
If you want material prosperity, you must first think prosperity thoughts, and then make a habit of doing so, for the thing that keeps most people poor is the sheer habit of poverty thinking.
The principle involved is perfectly simple, but unfortunately the doing of it is anything but easy. Now, why should this be so? The answer lies in the extraordinary potency of HABIT; and habits of thinking can be most subtle in character and most difficult to break. They happen so fast. They flow across the state of consciousness in an unbroken stream, and so rapidly that only unceasing vigilance can deal with them.
And so we might become discouraged with ourselves and indulge in a great deal of self-condemnation because we do not very speedily change our whole current of thought over the whole area of our lives. This of course is a grave mistake, since self-condemnation being essentially negative is an unrighteous thought and tends to produce still more trouble, and the vicious circle continues.
If you are not progressing as fast as you wish to, then remember this -- to be still more careful to hold only harmonious thoughts. Do not dwell upon your mistakes or upon the slowness of your progress, but claim the Presence of God within you, all the more, in the presence of discouraging circumstances.
Claim wisdom, claim power, or prosperity in prayer. Have a mental stocktaking or a review of your life, and see if you are not still thinking "unrighteously" in some section or other of your mind.
In this Beatitude, Jesus tells us not to be discouraged because we do not overcome everything at once, because our progress seems to be slow. If we are not making any progress at all, then it is for us to find out why, by examining our lives, and by praying for wisdom and guidance. But if we are moving, if things are improving, although not very quickly it may be, we have no need to be discouraged.
We need only to work on steadily and provided we are truly wholeheartedly in our efforts, provided that is to say, that we really are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, then, at last we shall surely be filled. It could not happen that a wholehearted search for truth and righteousness, if persevered in, should not be crowned with success.
Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind:
"If daily, we are realizing more of Truth and applying it in our actions, then we are on the right path."e
5. BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL FOR THEY SHALL RECEIVE MERCY
5. 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."f
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.
"Kind actions coupled with unkind thoughts are hypocrisy. They are counterfeits and they bless neither the giver nor the recipient."g
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... 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."h
As we are a blessing, we are blessed.
6. BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD
6. 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.
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.
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.
7. BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD
7. 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.
"Those who bring about true peace, or serenity in their own souls, it is they who surmount limitation and are like unto God."i
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 them better. Personal opinion is almost certain to enter into your efforts and personal opinion is exceedingly likely to be wrong.
8. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
8. Finally -- 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," 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!
BLESS THE BEARS
So, as you hold your stuffed animal, or picture of your pet, let's just close our eyes and relax. We want to invoke Divine favor upon the stuffed animal and through it we invoke Divine favor upon the child receiving it.
Right in the midst of this child's trauma we align them with Universal Harmony; the Creative Flow of Life; and the Innate Goodness of the Presence of Spirit.
We infuse this stuffed animal with all the love that it can hold, to be a comfort to a child in the midst of trauma.
We ask that God bless this stuffed animal and the pets that we hold dear. And that God bless and keep safe the children receiving these stuffed animals.
We give thanks that this is so; and so it is; Amen
aEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
bEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
cEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
dEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
eErnest Holmes Science of Mind, p. 271
fEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
gEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living
hAGNT Conference brochure - David Hawkin's (author of Power vs. Force) session "By God, It's Actually Working"
iEmmet Fox The Sermon on the Mount: Keys for Successful Living