Follower of Jesus (15)

Mar 05, 2017

Follower of Jesus (15)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (3)

–Matt. 5:3

“Poor in spirit”. How is one poor in spirit? And why, if one is ‘poor in spirit’, does one ‘own’ (“for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”) the kingdom of heaven? After all, in our dualistic and materialistic world, the only way that the statement ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ could be true, is if they ‘own’ that kingdom as their very own. That is, the Kingdom of Heaven is something out there, an object one can point to and own as their very own.

Problem is, if someone owned the Kingdom of Heaven, they would be rich beyond measure, and not poor in spirit, which is a requirement to have the Kingdom of Heaven. A true conundrum. But perhaps another of my favorite sayings of Jesus begins to spell it out: “Neither shall they say, ’Look, here it is’ or ‘There it is’. For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). Did Jesus just say that the Kingdom of heaven is already ours? Sure seems like it; the problem is we do not know how to view that which lies within. I believe that our sole purpose in this plane of existence is to see that which lies within; and once we see that which lies within, we will live it out as expressed in these beatitudes.

‘Poor in Spirit’: what this is saying is that we must act from our souls so that the things of this world do not own us. That is, we are not attached to this life, that we can truly “seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness; and these things will be given to us.”  (Matt. 6:33). Amazing how these various words of Jesus flow together, even coming from different sources.

We can now begin to put together the meaning of this punchline of Jesus: only be losing our attachment to the ’10,000 things’ (see the teachings of the Dao) that make up our world and our ‘possessions’, can we reach that point where our eyes are opened to see that which we already possess: the Kingdom of heaven that is ours for the taking. Viewed from this angle, we see that we cannot ‘own’ the kingdom of heaven, but we only come to understand that we live in and are immersed in the kingdom of heaven at all times, but we have blinded ourselves to that by attempting to possess that which is not ours to possess, the illusions of the world around us, which unlike the ‘kingdom of heaven’, we will lose when we transition from this life.

The problem we have is that all of us come from the viewpoint of the ego (some more strongly than others, but the ego is one of the chief features of being human.) the viewpoint of the ego states clearly that ‘I am I’, and everything else is ‘Not I’. That is ‘I’ am the subject that views ‘Not I’, the object. I have assumed that everything that buzzes through my head is part of the ‘I’, unless it isn’t. You know, sometimes these thoughts that bombard the mind sometimes just appear, as if from another person; but we also understand that even those thoughts are ‘me’, ‘mine’, so as to maintain the belief that the world is made up to two things: ‘I’ and ‘not I’, and that defines the universe.

I have just described the normal thinking process of dualism. Jesus spoke from the viewpoint of non-duality, which was based on unity, not duality. That is, he knew that he and the Father were one, and he and all else were one: see John 15. We find it extremely difficult to become separated from our dualistic outlook on life. The very first thing a baby understands is that ‘I’ am I, and out there is the other, Mommy, who supplies what ‘I’ need to survive. Eventually, at about 6-7 years of age, the child understands how alone they are: and we proudly announce that the child ‘has reached the age of reason’. Meanwhile, the child (you, me) is cringing in loneliness, and adopts, for better or worse, the personality traits that it will retain for the rest of their lives to battle that loneliness – unless they mature and begin to see the unity, or non-duality that is the truth of the world they perceive at that moment of ‘reason’ as subject-object, ‘I and Not-I’, or seeing in duality.

Thus we become ‘rich’. We clamor for things, the goal of the ’10,000 things’ that the teachings of the Dao talk about has become the goal of life. We have named that materialism. These are the riches Jesus was talking about when he proclaimed “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24, NIV) Remember where the kingdom of God resides: in and all around us. When we are lost in our make-believe world of the ego world, where we can only see the illusion of the world as an object outside of ourselves, we cannot see the kingdom of God which is right here, that is, we live in that kingdom of heaven.

Yes, we live in the kingdom of God, despite all that we see around us.


Oh Holy Wisdom, I long to see the kingdom of God. I bow down in gratitude that the kingdom of God is within and without me; I am immersed in that kingdom at all times. I saw that kingdom when I see a young child in gleeful play; I see the kingdom when the joy of a beloved smiles at me; when a golden sunrise or sunset shines; when I behold the thunder of the sea or the majesty of the mountains. In all these things I behold your glory and gratefully smile within and without. I ask that I see the way to live in those moments day after day in all that I do, so that I can be ‘poor in spirit’ while beholding that kingdom of God always.


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My God has led me on an 80 year jaunt to ever more wondrous beauty. I am led to share this journey and gifts of God that have been showered upon me, not just for me but for whoever God brings into my path.

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