Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3)
What is perhaps most striking about the Beatitudes is that Yeshua is, first and foremost, addressing the outcast, downtrodden, and oppressed— those who do not have a place in the unenlightened society and world, hence, those who are more likely to recognize that there is "something wrong here," and to know the sorrow and suffering inherent in the unenlightened condition. It is this recognition, along with a sense of the greater mystery of the Spirit, that represents the call to the spiritual quest and compels a seeker to look within her- or himself for the source of her or his satisfaction and happiness. Those who are outcast and oppressed or who are experiencing more severe challenges in life, are the most likely to recognize that lasting satisfaction and happiness is not going to come from anything outside of themselves and are more likely to turn to the Spirit or divine being.
Yet, there is something more behind what Yeshua blesses in the Beatitudes, for he is proposing that the challenges of life themselves contain blessings, and that challenges are necessary to the development and evolution of the soul. In truth, it is a dynamic balance between ease and challenge that produces the ideal conditions necessary for spiritual progress. As we have seen, some resistance, tension, stress, and pressure are necessary in any form of the evolutionary process, whether material, psychic, or spiritual. At the same time, Yeshua is offering a vision of spiritual hope amidst the great struggle of life, and he is pointing towards the compassion that can dawn when we use our own suffering to link us with the suffering of others. There is really nothing worse than suffering that seems purposeless. Thus Yeshua teaches us how to make our suffering purposeful and how, through our own natural suffering, we might uplift both ourselves and others. According to Sophian teachings, all of these ideas play into the Beatitudes.
Challenges are a natural part of life, whether one is wealthy or poor. When faced with challenges, nothing good is accomplished if we fall in on ourselves, allowing self-pity, depression, or any other form of negativity to enter in. Likewise, it does no good to point outward and east anger and blame onto others. Such attitudes will net change anything, and they certainly won't resolve the problem or lead to our ultimate success, prosperity, health, and happiness, let aione a Spirit-connection. In this regard, one cannot help but remember the wisdom of St. James when he writes, "My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials and tribulations of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."4
Essentially, Yeshua is encouraging the same thing—that we meet lire with a completely positive attitude and view,- that we keep our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions luminous and positive in both good times and bad times. As we shall see later in this book, this is the real secret to prosperity, success, health, and happiness, whether material, psychic, or spiritual, and it is the foundation of our communion with the light-presence and light-continuum. Basically, rather than living in reaction, we must learn to be proactive and consciously resnond and rise to all challenges we might face, trusting in the life-power to guide us from within and to see us through. Outwardly, challenges in life might knock us down, but we must learn how to stand up on the inside!
Before we can say anything concerning the "poor" or "poverty" in the spiritual sense, we must say this: to allow poverty in the modern world is the most pervasive form of vir'ence we enact upon one another. A.s long as we allow peoples to live in poverty, there will be no real or lasting peace—no end to violence, terrorism, and war. Selfish-• ?s's, greed, and hatred produce poverty, a great adversary to our hu-¡uiinity. If our divinity is to be found in our humanity, then poverty is also an adversary of the divine kingdom. Poverty and all of the suffering that goes with it remains so prevalent in the modern world, and is
the greatest indication to Gnostic Christian; that the world remains under the dominion of the demiurgos and archons.
That said, we can say something about the surface meaning of tins Beatitude and the natural blessing ot poverty that we find commonly in so-called 'Third World'' countries. There, the poor are often more faithful and aware of their dependence upon the divine or One life-power and may be more likely to seek enlightenment and God than people in more prospea • and wealthy countries. This is not to suggest that there is anything inherently divine in poverty, nor anything inherently evil in wealth, but rather to point to an awareness that poverty often produces, which just does not occur as often among the wealthy. It is easy to be humble in poverty, and even easier to be arrogant amidst wealth. More than anything, it is a comment on human psychology. Observing this, Yeshua clearly suggests in his teachings that the poor are more likely to discover the kingdom of heaven within themselves than the wealthy are. This has not really changed in modern times.
In piritual terms, however, the issue is not poverty or wealth, according to Sopnian teachings,- rather, it is the internai state of one's mind, heart, and life. On a spiritual levei, a "poor person is one who is empty of him- or herself so that Ior she might be Spirit-rilled. A person experiencing outward poverty or outward wealth could equally be poor in this way, just as, poor or wealthy, one can be quite full of him-or herself. Yet, to recognize the light-presence within us, we must learn to go within and live within, and we must become empty or transparent, to let the soul of light shine through us. Basically, while we live only in the surface consciousness, completely identified with name, form, and personal history, we are filled with all kinds of preconceptions, preconditions, and expectations. So long as we remain in this state, we canr.ot really recognize who and what we truly are, or look and see reality as it is, or God as God is. Thus, to look and see, we must become empty of ourselves. This state of emptiness or transparency is the state of the "poor in spirit" that Yeshua blesses.
This state of emptiness comes through prayer, meditation, and the spiritual life. The word "spirit" directly suggests mystical prayer and
Ten meditation, for in Hebrew and Aramaic the word for spirit also means -"air," "wind, ' and "breath," and breath is significant to methods of prayer and meditation taught by mystics around the world. Later we will consider some basic methods of meditation connected to this state of emptiness, which we can only mention in passing at this point in our exploration. Yet, here we can say that this state of emptiness, or this state of openness and sensitivity, is the key to all spiritual practices in Gnostic Christianity and is often called a state of inner silence or the silence of the heart. Apart from this, any actual or enlightenment is impossible, according to the masters of the tradition.
In Sophian teachings, the kingdom of heaven is understood to be within oneself and represents higher states of consciousness, from higher mental and vital consciousness to supernal consciousness. Thus, in speaking of the kingdom of heaven. Master Yeshua is speaking of the various degrees of self-realization and, specifically, of the state of our own mind, heart, and life. Anyone who seeks to can experience the kingdom of heaven here and now in this life, and by embodying something of the divine kingdom in this life, will experience it in the afterlife states.
If one considers what was said above regarding a completely positive attitude and view, even in the face of great challenges, one will understand that it is an encouragement to invoke and live from a higher state of consciousness— to manifest the "kingdom of heaven'" in one's experience of this life. In truth, many wonders, or what some might call "miracles." have occurred in this way. This is the basic practice of Gnostic Christianity.
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This work on 2012 will attempt to note them allfrom the concepts andinvolvement by the authors of the Bible and its interpreters and theprophecies depicted in both the Hopi petroglyphs and the Mayan calendarto the prophetic uttering of such psychics, mediums, and prophets asNostradamus, Madame Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, and Jean Dixon.