Life is the opportunity to participate in organizing spirit. Our bodies escort them about in clouds, and as we move amongst each other they enter into new relationships. Some of these are wonderful experiences: “Love at first sight” is a good example. Some of them are horrifying: consider the records of the carnival atmosphere at a public lynching.
At the core of our primary personality is a set of spirits that manage our survival. Through the mechanisms of our glands, organs, muscles and nerves, they coordinate the biological functions that allow us to control the world around us, and thus to sustain life. For most of the history of life on earth, this was as far as it went. Innovation in the integration of body and spirit was controlled largely by survival. With humanity, however, the possibilities exploded – almost without check. Using the mechanism of our brain, in each life we can explore and evaluate millions if not billions of spiritual relationships. We call these ideas.
How do we know which ideas work? Well, we put them into action. We seek to describe sources of pain (weather, natural disasters, disease and predators) and to create the means to avoid pain. We attempt to deny resources to those that bring us fear, or perhaps even better to use fear to take control of their resources. We gather and offer gifts to the people we love, when before we might have shared them more widely.
In the course of taking these actions, we integrate ideas into our core personalities. This can have terrible consequences for our bodies. If we accept a destructive idea, it can turn on us. Our core personality intuitively seeks to isolate its effects, but that may then cause stroke or cancer.
The other option is to vent destructive ideas on the people around us. For destructive ideas, that can be a successful strategy. One powerful individual can infect an entire society (witness Adolf Hitler, Mao TseDong, and Josef Stalin). In doing so, however, those ideas have to fight against the enormous mass of human experience, which proves that most of us survive best when we invest in the survival of others. The common man’s experience of the power of loving dilutes and even ennobles (see prior post) destructive behaviors.
In the beatitudes, Jesus promises solace to those that suffer most from this process. Implicitly, however, he also singles out those that serve most effectively in furthering its conclusion.
The poor in spirit – To be poor is often to be weak, but most directly what it means is to be missing something that you need. The poor in spirit need to be filled, and the world all around them offers them a multitude of destructive alternatives. To remain poor is to preserve yourself for occupancy by constructive ideas. Thank-you for your steadfastness.
Those who mourn – To mourn is to affirm the value of what is lost. This is not just the body of those that are lost to destructiveness, but the relationships that they offered us. In mourning, we preserve those relationships in our mind, and thus transfer to our care the souls that once found a home with the one mourned. Thank-you for your hospitality.
The meek – When we suffer a wrong, we often wish to lash out in revenge. The meek chose to suffer patiently. They do not propagate destructiveness, but struggle against it internally. In the course of that struggle, they transform it. Thank-you for your courage.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – To establish complete control, destructive ideas need to isolate their victims, making it appear that the acceptance of destruction is the only option available. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness raise their voice in warning and offer hope to victims. They encourage them to organize in support of each other. Thank-you for your witness.
The merciful – A person raised up in love often struggles when confronted with a destructive relationship. They may make regrettable choices, such as that made by Cain. Mercy recognizes this, offers wise counsel, and supports the wrong-doer as they seek to heal themselves and their victims. Thank-you for your compassion.
The pure in heart – From the perspective of Jesus, a pure heart can only be a heart filled with unconditional love. As unconditional love seeks to enter all things, a pure heart is an infectious agent. It embraces destructive relationships and transforms them. Thank-you for your service.
Peacemakers – The peacemaker enters into a destructive relationship and offers peace to both sides. In offering respect and affirmation to both parties, s(he) creates a common experience of beneficial relation. When the warring parties finally accept that commonality, they have the opportunity to recognize that the energies that they have committed to mutual destruction can be liberated for mutual benefit. Thank-you for your persistence.
The persecuted – When a strong personality stands up for love, the forces of destruction rank against them. This is terrifying, but because the power of divine love stands with them, the persecuted person is not easy to destroy. The attentions of destructive personalities are distracted, which allows their victims to rally and heal. Thank-you for your light.
In Jesus’s name: thank-you, thank-you, a million times thank-you.