Reflections on the Nine Beatitudes using the Gospel of St John

August 2006

1.4 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We can look at each of the nine beatitudes in terms of the Christ-ening of the nine parts of our being; physical, etheric, astral and then the three soul and three spiritual regions. If we apply the first beatitude to our physical body we will find clues about how our I AM is enlivened in our body.

Our physical body is the most fully developed part of us. The physiology of the human being is a marvel. The way our skeleton, muscles and skin hold and protect our organs in a life giving way is truly wondrous.

For the most part we think that the physical body is all there is of us. Even if we have studied otherwise, it is still very difficult for us to think of our body merely as a vehicle for our soul and spirit. Everyday we do things that benefit our body at the expense of our soul and spirit. This is natural because we live in the age of the “poor in spirit”. Our bodily consciousness blocks out our soul and spirit.

Even when we study the spiritual teachings it is very easy to interpret them materialistically. In fact, very often we don’t understand spiritual teachings because we mistakenly place them in a physical context. Or we even expect to see spiritual things in a material form. Thomas reveals how this can happen.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jn 20:27-29

What is this telling us? How it is possible for us to believe that which we haven’t seen? We use the underlying force of our physical body, our will, and we make ourselves believe. When we do this a fundamental change happens in our soul. It awakens and becomes conscious of spirit giving us first hand knowledge.

Until then, we accept that we are blind and begging, and we say, “I know that I have an I AM. I know that it has planned my incarnation, set up all the opportunities and the obstacles, and even though I am not fully conscious of these, I will believe that there is a plan.” How hard is it to let go and allow this plan to be carried out? Don’t we always want to interfere? We want to take control, to feel powerful and ward off any feeling of powerlessness?

The poor are the ones who beg, they are the ones who can swallow their pride and experience powerlessness. Then, the I AM will come and we will see through its eyes. This is the story of the healing of the blind man in John 9 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am [the man].” Jn 9:8-9

If we faithfully examine ourselves we will discover that the wellbeing of our body is a selfish thing, we are so inclined to put ourselves first. Observe children; it is unusual if they don’t want to be first, to have the largest glass of juice or the bag with the most lollies. Our natural, unawakened soul is inclined to do the same, instincts outweigh reason. Our spirit, especially our I AM, is never interested in being first or taking advantage of others, it always experiences what the other person experiences. In the kingdom of heaven competition is replaced by a kind of spiritual strategy which works from the common good.

Our greatest challenge, while we work to spiritualise our consciousness, is to balance the physical with the spiritual. Usually we are either too physical or too spiritual. So, balanced are the poor in spirit. Those who are balanced, who have one foot in the physical world and one in the spiritual world, have the consciousness of the kingdom of heaven.

This is what St Matthew means when he says, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mt 19:24 When we over-value money and influence we are magnetised to the earth and what it has to offer. We lose that balance, the blessedness, which gives us access to the kingdom of heaven where we are truly rich.

This balance means that we experience great compassion for those who cannot achieve the same balance as we do. We don’t criticise or judge when others do not live in the kingdom of heavenly consciousness. We simply love them because we know that the spirit of Christ is within them and always has the potential to shine.