In this Beatitude we especially see that those without esoteric knowledge cannot translate the words of the Bible, much less comprehend and apply them in a practical sense.
What is the “heart”? We usually confuse it with our emotions or with the organ that circulates the blood in our body. Sometimes we mean our intuitional faculty and say: “I know it in my heart.” The word kardia is indeed used to indicate the physical heart, but its primary meaning is “center” or “core.” And the core of all being is Spirit. We are no exception. Thus, to be “centered” is to be established in the pure consciousness that is our essential being.
Originally we were pure consciousness–spirit–alone. Then we took on the will (the faculty of objective consciousness), intellectual, sensory, magnetic, and material bodies. But we lost our mastery of them, and from being instruments of our evolution, they have become prisons for our spirits. No longer being used for our evolutionary freedom, they have degenerated into bonds.
Blessed, then, are those who have regained the mastery and returned to the consciousness of their true nature as spirit–not in mere intellectual philosophizing, but in the power of practical demonstration.
To be pure
What is the means by which this is done? We have already been told: through being pure. This, too, is a mistranslated and misunderstood word whose primary meaning is “clear” in the sense of being “cleared out” and made free of any obstruction. So to be pure in heart means to be freed from all the veils of ignorance that cover up our spirit and dim our inner vision.
In Zen Buddhism the spirit is frequently spoken of as a mirror which can no longer reflect light because of layers of dust and debris that have collected upon it. The nature of the mirror in no way needs to be changed. Rather, the overlaying material must be cleared away and the mirror polished and returned to its original perfection. So it must be with us.
Our spirit has become hidden beneath the illusions produced by our mistaken identification with the coverings of energy that are the different vehicles or instruments by which we are enabled to experience relative, evolving existence. It is not the bodies that need to be removed, but the illusions arising from our wrong impressions of them.
This Beatitude can correctly be reworded: “Blessed are those who are clear at the center.”
Why blessed? “For they shall see God”–not as some potentate on a throne far away beyond the skies or by means of any external perception, but within the depths of their being, as their inmost being, their essential self. As long as the “eye” of the spirit looks outward it will become confused and darkened by the multiplicity of relative existence. But when it looks within and enters into the unity of transcendental Life, it will see the Light of God, which is also its own light. And having evolved the capacity to do so, it will not simply experience its individual consciousness, which is only a spark of the infinite ocean of God’s Being, it will also experience the infinity of Divine Existence. For our whole purpose for existing and evolving in the relative world is the transcendence of our limited scope of consciousness. (See Robe of Light.)
A dual meaning
The word optomai, “see,” has a dual meaning, just as does the word translated “obtain mercy.” It means both to see and to be seen. As the Bhagavad Gita says: “He who sees Me in all things and all things in Me, never loses sight of Me, nor do I lose sight of him.”
In the light of this Beatitude we have a better understanding of Saint John’s statement: “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3). That is, we divest ourselves of the ignorance that has been accumulating upon our spirits throughout the ages that we have spent within creation, and return to our primal clarity, through this divesting having attained the ability to “sit in the throne of God” (Revelation 3:21) and participate in His unlimited Life.
At present, how small is the scope of our life! The Beatitudes open up vistas incomprehensible to our limited–and limiting–egos. For “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). When we enter back into our real selves, the wonders shall be without bounds. And meditation is the process of reentry.
In silence we must turn our consciousness toward the Eternal.
Another way of expression
Another way we might express this Beatitude is: “Blessed are those who have awakened in God.” We who are striving to realize this sacred ideal can even now say with the Psalmist: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness [variant reading: form]” (Psalms 17:15). And the blessed mystery is that by seeing God we shall become god.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). Another reading is: “We, with unveiled face, are reflecting the glory of the Lord.”
Read the next article in Gnosis of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.