Being “poor in spirit” is about being empty, without preconceived ideas. Our minds are so often “rich,” but in the wrong way. We think we know all the answers. Our knowledge, however, is often rooted in bad intel lodged deep in our souls. Our images are examples of such fixed, faulty ideas tinged with emotional associations.
If we can make ourselves empty, becoming “poor in spirit” or open in our minds, true riches can flow into us from the outside as well as from within. Regarding Jesus Christ, many people “know” that he was not the Messiah, or that he caused the Jews’ suffering. They may think he was a fairy tale or perhaps that he never even existed, or that he is a stern, forbidding master who demands we deprive ourselves and who deprives us of happiness.
The atheist is one who “knows” there is no God. The scientist “knows” what they have discovered themselves, but other truths are ridiculed. All these are examples of a full mind, a “rich spirit” that prevents the true treasure from coming in.
Now don’t start thinking one should give up all common sense, genuine learning or knowledge to become “poor in spirit.” But the Bible is saying to us that we should learn to discriminate where our knowledge is limited—where we don’t know what we don’t know—or distorted, and we would do well to adopt a cleaner slate, to be receptive to real wisdom.
Material wealth is not the problem. It can certainly be used to block our spiritual gains, but so can other kinds of power. Whenever we use knowledge to keep out the Holy Spirit, we are creating just as much obstruction as if we let money become our god and get in our way.
The language used in the Bible seems to encourage moralizing, perfectionism, and other distortions that humanity has been trapped in, especially with regards to sexuality and the non-acceptance of it. For example: “Do not fornicate,” in the Old Testament, or the passage on adultery that Christ preached on the Mount: “But I say unto you. That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Can you help us to understand this?
There are several factors to consider here. In the first place, the translation of the word “fornication” really morphed its meaning. Originally, it meant sexual contact in which there are no feelings of warmth, caring or tenderness. Instead, sex is based on feelings of hate, contempt, domination and even cruelty. This kind of sexuality is indeed a wrong twist on a right theme, expressing immaturity, separateness and distortions that must end up creating frustration and unhappiness. An extreme example of this today would be called rape.
Back in the days of Christ, people were much less developed than today. Even these words could never have been comprehended. Parsing the differences in the types of sexual encounter one might experience—rough or gentle, for example—would have been like splitting hairs. So that boiled things down to a simpler list of do’s and don’ts.
The options at that time were to act out, which created negative chain reactions all over the place, or to refrain, which had the possibility of leading to thoughtfulness and seeing things in a deeper, truer light. What to do, what to do. So this advice to not fornicate at least prevented the destructive actions.
That in no way implies that in current times we should deny all sexual impulses because they aren’t yet fully merged with our hearts. If that was the deal, no one would ever have any merging happening at all, on any level. But we can recognize that there is a downside to sexual impulses where an intense driving force is not paired with positive feelings. That kind of activity leads to displacement of our real needs and makes it impossible to ever feel truly fulfilled.
The word “lusting” has similarly drifted from its original meaning. Back then, it didn’t only refer to desire. It contained a whole host of other less-than-virtuous attributes including stealing and slyly envying, as in, “Why do you get to have what I want? I’m entitled to it, not you.” It hides a deep rebellion against God and a doubt about there being justice in the world. It ignores the fairness of spiritual laws that give everyone exactly what they’ve earned—not a dime more and not a dime less.
We need to read the Bible with a willingness to understand these words in a deeper context. Instead, we tend to interpret them in a very literal, primitive way, using this to justify our resistance against this document. So even though Jesus didn’t use this punitive approach, many of his sayings were interpreted that way because that’s what was in the consciousness of the people writing the words. Things weren’t helped any by later church authorities who used Christ’s teachings to boost their own power drives. They did this by thwarting the development of autonomy—not conveying that that was a possibility—long before that was even in the cards for people.
People were so primitive in those days that there was a genuine misunderstanding regarding cause and effect. Today, it seems obvious that there are definite consequences to acting out or being destructive. We can even see the consequences of our attitudes. We know there are logical laws involved, such as the law of gravity. Then, though, everything was seen as an act of an externalized, angry, punishing deity. So at that time, God couldn’t be anything other than an external authority figure, even though Jesus kept saying “the Kingdom of God is in you.”
Can you shed some light on the symbolism in the passage: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” How can we read and interpret this in the spirit of love?
Obviously it’s not about body parts. The true meaning here is that we should cast out or deny anything that keeps us from our ultimate fulfillment, in any respect and on any level. We’re talking about attitudes, thoughts, opinions and acts. A physical organ could never, in itself, have such a dramatic effect on a personality.
The symbolism of the eye refers to giving basically everything—life, God, creation, the ways things really are—the stink eye. The strong language underscores the severity of consequences for turning away from the truth of God’s laws. We do this by cranking up our self-will, stubbornness and pride while at the same time lacking faith and fearing that God’s laws won’t do right by us.
The enormous damage we do to ourselves in this way outweighs by far even the pain of having an eye plucked out. Using this symbolism drives home this point, stressing how people have such blurred vision about how all of this works.
In the Bible it says: “In the beginning there was the word and the word was God.” I have also heard the word is “Om.” Could you explain?
In all of the many languages on Earth, there are many different words that can be used to reference God or the creator. One of these words is Om. It doesn’t matter in the least which language or word we use, provided our mind is connecting with the source of all that is.
What did Jesus mean in John 15:26 when he said, “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” Also in John 16:13-15 he speaks of the Counselor or the Spirit of Truth who will “answer you into all the truth.” Who or what is the Counselor, or the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit?
These are all one and the same, refering to the ever-present God available to us 24/7 if we are open to hearing this voice. It comes from both within us and from outside us, possibly reaching us through another person.
The Holy Spirit is there in all voices that utter the truth of God. It’s there in the form of angels and highly developed spirits who come to us and help us, telling us what we need to hear. It arises from our own conscience. The Counselor always follows the deepest and highest truths in advising us. The Holy Spirit is also the Comforter who brings us hope, peace and light, ushering bright new visions into places that previously were hopeless.
In Chapter 24, Verse 52 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus says to one of his disciples who defended him against the servant of the high priest as he was captured: “Put up again thy sword into its place, for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Is this to be our response in the struggle against evil?
This is a common human mistake we make, taking a statement or spiritual law that applies in one particular area and broad brushing it across every situation in life. Over and over we do this. We can’t get it into our noggins that different laws exist for different situations; that unity is made up of opposites; that one way of behaving cannot possibly apply to all situations.
The blinking word is: “appropriate.” What’s appropriate over here may be utterly wrong over there. There is a time to yield peacefully and a time to go to war. The forces of evil have a heyday with this kind of thing, confusing us so easily. Then we apply a yielding attitude where we ought to fight, and a fighting spirit when yielding would be the better option. Oy vey.
Duality does this to us, where apparent opposites show up and we go cross-eyed. It really would be super-wonderful if we could stop doing this. We need to become more aware of the temptation to use one attitude when another would be more appropriate. This is one of finest weapons used by Lucifer’s team, and they use it on us all the time, creating thick clouds of confusion that lead us into fear and pain.
Can you explain what is being said in the book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, John’s vision: the beast with ten horns and seven heads, ten crowns and a blasphemous name on each head; the mark of the beast, 666, which is man’s number; the 144,000 sealed on the forehead with God’s name who are untouched by the doom at the end of the world; the pregnant woman, the dragon and the woman’s fleeing to the desert for 1260 days; the thousand years of Satan’s imprisonment.
For starters, it’s bonkers to think that a loving God could punish people with some kind of sick, vicious vengeance as these threats would imply. No, the expression of such terrors stems from humanity’s own existential fears. The source for the creation of painful situations and events is our own Lower Selves. This is what creates a climate of terror and senseless violence that can kill the physical body. It is precisely because of our belief in such darkness that it exists.
But if we look around at all of creation, we will see unchanging goodness, mercy, kindness, beauty and grace. What’s senseless is for us to fear that we are victims of an overall fate that will befall us regardless of our own state of consciousness. Such fear is both general in humankind and unique to each of us. It totally belies our lack of faith.
Fear is what induces religious leaders to propagate a philosophy of fear, hoping to expunge—in their flock as well as in themselves—this ultimate threat of a crazy, cruel universe run by a psycho God. Even Jesus’ apostles and disciples, regardless of how enlightened they may have been, lived in those times and were oblivious that this is what swam in the deepest levels of their unconscious.
People at that time were in no condition to see or own their projections as they out-pictured everything and recognized nothing as a self-creation. Jesus’ supporters were just as influenced as anyone by the manifestations of their inner fears and the splits inside themselves, which separated cause from effect. They lost sight of their own regard for Jesus’ glory and the courage they displayed in standing up for him.
So think of the authors of these testimonies with the understanding of the time period in which they lived. They could only operate within the framework of their era, the culture they lived in and their own personal level of development. So for example, when an enlightened spiritual leader of that time had visions of horrors, they were usually interpreted as being factual occurrences.
Rather, they should be viewed as expressions of an inner terror that simmered in the visionary’s soul—that part still isolated from the truth of God and still doubting God’s reality. A split off, fragmented aspect of a person. Today, we have enough perspective to know that a nightmare does not herald a real-world event, but conveys a person’s private inner landscape and conditions.
Jesus talked about this until he was blue in the face, but scribe’s of the Bible either missed his point or deleted his teaching altogether. He often tried to show how our inner fears have the power to show up in our lives, creating our outer reality. But people just couldn’t wrap their heads around that. Deal is, it’s not possible to draw people into such creations if they themselves have not created them too.
So all this type of reference in the Bible are describing inner states of consciousness, whether or not the narrator knew this. And too, the Bible has been translated numerous times and rewritten just as many. So we need to take these kinds of subjects with a grain of salt, and not turn them into soul-sucking foolishness that hinders our growth.
In those days, even garden-variety dreams were interpreted to be accounts of factual events. The language of the greater cosmos is always symbolic, and therefore it cannot easily be squeezed into our human words. And let’s not kid ourselves, even some of what is being shared here by the Guide is symbolic. Seek and we shall find.
Just as human consciousness changes, symbolic language changes with the times. What seems real to us now can only be a fumbling symbolic description of cosmic events, which is the same as was happening back then. As we grow and expand our consciousness, our ability to think abstractly grows and the symbolism must continue to keep up. Similarly, myths change for each unfolding era.
The exact nature of the fearful images mentioned in this passage can be analyzed in the same way a dream would be interpreted or cosmic symbols understood. For example, “the beast with ten horns and seven heads” refers to the ability of the dark forces to confuse people with contradictions that aren’t really contradictions. Evil is able to speak with many minds—seven heads—always splitting off aspects of consciousness from the truth and the simplicity of divinity. The horns are their weapons and there are many of them, just as there can be many contradictory messages.
There is a particular symbolic significance to numbers. They hold some miracle keys that can be unlocked by studying old mysteries and myths, allowing our deeper minds to inspire our interpretations. But fair warning, it is a common mistake made by numerologists to interpret all numbers uniformly for all situations. We will never be able to understand all that is held in these numerical keys linking cosmic and personal forces, but we can at least become aware that these mysteries exist. In this way, we will encourage ourselves to open our minds to greater inspiration and ever-deeper enlightenment.
In Matthew 5:32, it says, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 6:25 goes on to say, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?” What’s up here?
Both fornication and adultery in the Bible are referring to loveless sex, sexual activity that uses one’s partner without regard for who they are as a person. As for divorce, comments in the Bible have to be considered within the context of that time. What was right and important then is no longer valid in the world today.
People living at that time were more split than now, making it much more difficult to combine heartfelt feelings with sexuality—to be in a committed relationship and painstakingly work on it. People tended toward promiscuity, which seemed natural and instinctual on the outer level. In order for these instinctual levels to mature, outer rules were needed so that people would at least make an attempt to stay together and work out their difficulties.
But then those rules became overpowering and stifling, and people’s spirits were more thwarted by them than served. Plus, over time, development proceeded sufficiently for people to comprehend on their own that they needed to develop partnerships with their own free will. As such, new social mores could come into existence.
The Bible brings together eternal truths—veiled as they were—with sayings that were appropriate only for that specific period of time. It takes a lot of spiritual growth and some good detective work to sort out which is which.
The second passage calls us to see that Jesus was saying something for the people of that time period, when we were inclined toward being superficial. Because of this, all religions of that time needed to stress the inner life. But as happens, the pendulum swung over to the other side on its way to finding the middle. This too served a purpose and had its meaning.
Now things can be righted and people can hold a truthful position. Spirituality doesn’t need to totally negate the outer life of beauty, the body and nature in our surroundings. We can now rectify and unify this duality. Our inner life can now be expressed in our outer life. But before we could land here, we had to cultivate some appreciation for the inner life by temporarily removing any focus on the outer life.
People, we really need to get this: Jesus spoke to the people of his time, but he also spoke for all eternity. If we could hear him speak today, he’d say many of the exact same things, only put in a different way. And instead of some things, he would add some new material. Literal, lightweight interpretations would still sound a bit absurd. We are ready to go deeper. We can learn to read what he had to say with open minds, clean hearts and a willingness to know more about Jesus, and about ourselves.
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