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Sight

David Karchere

Soon, at Christmastime, many will be celebrating the birth of Jesus. Of course, we were all born into this world, and except for that, we wouldn’t be here. And still, as we think of our own lives, the greater significance is what has happened after that. The same is true of Jesus, who brought a profound teaching to the world. We have some record of it. We can only imagine that there was far more that he taught for which there is no record. And still, what is extant is absolutely amazing, and often ignored by Christianity.

There is a record of his teaching that is spoken of as the Sermon on the Mount, which begins with these words:

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him…

 Following that are the Beatitudes, and among them is this simple statement, encoded with a profound depth of wisdom:

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

If we consider the whole body of Jesus’ teaching, at least the part that has come down to us, he didn’t really talk much about a grand encounter with the majesty of God somewhere else. He didn’t say things that make us think that these words from the Beatitudes, that have to do with seeing God, were about an encounter after we die, or some kind of spiritual revelation with a reality that is someplace other than right here in our life. As we look at his teachings, what might happen if we accept them as having altogether to do with the very human things that we experience every day in our life? He spoke of an immediate spiritual reality to be known and about simple, practical principles by which it could be known.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  

The kingdom of God is within you.  

Love thy neighbor as thyself.

So I suggest that the most deeply meaningful way to understand this simple saying is in that same way.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

The pure in heart see God, not just someplace else but in their own human experience, in the world around them, in the people around them, and in nature.

I have a pet peeve. Have you noticed how often people say “literally” when what they’re saying is not really literal? I would think that we should save the word “literal” for things that are truly literal! Everything else is some kind of metaphor or figure of speech of some kind. So now I’m going to do exactly what is my pet peeve.

I’ve come to the realization that, generally speaking, people suffer from literal blindness. Now why do I think I can get away with seemingly doing what bothers me when others do it? It is because the blindness that I’m speaking of isn’t physical sight. It’s not that so many suffer from physical blindness. It’s that they can’t see their own human experience.

Ask the average guy how he’s feeling and he will probably give you one of two answers: either Good or Tired. This is an indication that we as men are oftentimes known for a lack of emotional fluency, or a lack of knowledge of what’s happening for ourselves. We could be dying inside and our response is Good or Tired. But it’s not just men, it’s women too. There is a kind of blindness that people suffer from. It’s the blindness of not having eyes on what is actually happening in our own human experience.

That relates to sight, as did Jesus’s teaching.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

They shall have sight restored. What might that mean?

I’d like to reflect with you on that word God. Of course, different people have different beliefs about the word, or no belief at all. They have other names for it in other cultures, and even in this culture there are many names for what might be spoken of as God. Fairly universally, God is the Creator. God creates. God is a reality of being that’s behind what is created. And God is also a power that creates what is created.

The sun is a symbol of the Creator and the sun creates a solar system. This solar system is sustained out of the radiation of the sun, it’s held in the gravity of the sun, and it’s lit up by the light of the sun. We tend to think of the sun as that globe up in the sky. Depending on how far away your fist might be, it’s about the size of your fist. But that’s really something of a contrivance of the way our eyes work. The radiation of the sun extends, certainly, to Earth. We look outside the window and there’s light, and that light is the sun. I don’t think we could really imagine that the light of the sun is not the sun. That’s the sun. And that light and that radiation that warms us extends through the solar system. Its gravity extends to Pluto and beyond. We are living in the gravity of the sun.

My point is that the sun is not only something someplace else. It’s something that is right here. And in fact, you might even say that this world we live in is the sun. It’s a part of the sun. This Earth and us, and everything in this world, is a part of the sun. We’re living in the sun here, as the sun.

Going back to the notion of God, we tend to think of God as we think of the sun, a reality someplace else. It is the source of things that is someplace else. And if we’re going to have an encounter with God, if we are to see God, it’s a little bit like looking at the sun. We are looking at something that is eight light-minutes away.

The word God relates to the origin of things. But it also relates to the stream of creative energy that powers atoms and powers the human soul. Is that not all God at work, just as the light here and the warmth here from the sun is the sun? It’s not anything different from the sun. And if it were, where would the dividing line be? And the same is true with us. My hand is me. It’s not all of me—I’m more than my hand, but it is me.

In my book Becoming a Sun, I speak about God in three parts, a new trinity, I guess: God the Possible—that’s the source, the origin; God the Means—that’s the power, the moving power; and God the Manifest—the Creation itself. If we see God, we see the manifest work of the Creator in our own life experience. We see the power of it at work in our feeling realm. We can see it being born in our thoughts. We see not only the world around us but we see the pattern of that world; we see the unfolding design of it. We’re not just seeing inert flesh. We’re seeing beauty revealed through that flesh, and an intelligence at work. We are seeing God.

How brilliant was this man Jesus, who pointed to the fact that we see reality when there is something that is clarified in our own heart? He was pointing to the fact that the heart is an instrument of sight. We look out at the world, and we are a witness to our own human experience through our feeling realm. There is so much that could be said about the human heart and the states of the heart. He referred to the state which allows sight as simply purity; nothing getting in the way. It didn’t say you didn’t feel anything. It just said that the feelings of the heart are transparent so that the world in one’s own human experience can be seen.

I looked around to see if there’s anything in sacred scripture around the world that is similar to this, and I have yet to find something that captures this truth so succinctly. If you run across something in sacred scripture other than this one verse, please share it with me. I think it could be helpful to have different ways of naming this truth.

But here is this beautiful gem, right in the middle of Western culture, almost totally ignored. Blessed are the pure in heart—the good people—for they shall see God. When they die and go to heaven? I think that’s often as far as it gets. The profound nature of what is being said here is so largely overlooked.

There is the Creator, Himself or Herself. There is the power of the Creator, which is the power of Creation—the same thing, as far as I can tell. This is what is moving Creation, what is evolving Creation. It is Creation, if we think of Creation not only as a thing but as a process of the Creator at work. And then there is what manifests, this ever-evolving reality of life in our human experience. It is all the Creator. And just as we could say that in some essential way the Earth is the sun, you and I as human beings and all the form of the life that is all around us is not only a result of God, this is God. This is the Creator, living through his and her Creation.

We have eyes on this reality when there is purity of heart. What is purity of heart? There’s so much that could be said about it. By definition, it is that state of heart which allows you to see. I want to summarize the state of heart that allows for sight and the state of heart that stops you from seeing.

The state of heart that allows you to see is generosity. At the root of the word generosity is generation. The very nature of the Creator is generation. It is the radiance of creative power. Where a heart is open to that radiance it becomes pure. It is a pure expression of that radiance at work in the human experience. And when we are in a state of heart that is in that radiance, and all the spectrum of it in how we think and how we feel and how we’re acting, the heart becomes pure. And whatever was preventing us from seeing is cleared out of the way. It is purified, not because we did some grand penance or self-flagellated, or because we fell prey to some kind of shame. It is purified simply by that radiance which clears out the states of heart that block the ability to see.

A heart that isn’t generous is doing something else. We could think of all kinds of words for that state of heart—self-concern, self-preoccupation, greed, fear and more. Essentially, there is some kind of big sucking sound from the heart that isn’t generous. I’m not happy—feed me! That’s a heart that hasn’t aligned itself with its natural state of generosity and radiance.

This isn’t a spiritual shame session—Repent for your impure hearts and the sucking sound in your own heart. We can have compassion when we notice our heart feeling that way. And then we can act in the name of the Creator and say, Here I am. Here is the radiance. Have some of this. Be with this. And the heart purifies. There is purity when the heart allows itself to be fed from inside, from that radiance, and then expresses it on out. And behold, it is in the process of Creation now. It’s in a state of purity and now you can see what’s happening. It is a literal sight, though not a physical one. But it’s a literal sight that allows a person to know what is happening in their human experience.

In the state of generosity, we are not sitting in judgment of our feeling experience. We are showing up for our own human experience, simply seeing it. And then there is something amazing that happens. Because now we are seeing with the eyes of the Creator, with the eyes of consciousness, we are seeing Creation.

Something remarkable happens when Creation is seen by us. That begins when our own human experience is seen by us. Creation is then set in motion in miraculous ways. It comes together in miraculous ways. And where does it come together? It comes together in consciousness. Presumably it was there before we saw it. But it didn’t come together because it had no place to come together without consciousness to bring it together. That’s true for our human experience—our thoughts and our feelings and our physical body. It all comes together when it’s seen. But it can’t be seen if there’s not a pure heart. With a pure heart it’s seen and it comes together. The Creator is there through us and the Creation is activated, the creative forces are at work, and the patterns of Creation are evolving the form.

Something more happens at that point: Our whole human capacity becomes an expression of the Creator that we are. Our purity of heart extends so that we can see out. We can not only see our own thoughts and feelings and the depth of our own heart, but now we can see the field around us. We can see another person. We’re not just seeing a reflection of ourselves or of our own neediness. We are gazing deep into reality. We are seeing God. We are seeing God at work. We’re seeing the manifest part—the body and all the manifest form of the person. We are seeing the creative forces at work in that person’s experience, through thoughts, feelings and actions, and through their spirit. We can see the Being of God in that person.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Where is God? Over there someplace else, tomorrow, or way back when, or up in heaven? Anyplace but right here with these people, in this culture, in this world in which I’m living, that’s the usual conviction. That’s the impurity of heart. Cursed is a hard word, so let’s find a softer one. Unhappy. But relegated to an experience of blindness is the person with the impure heart; literal blindness though not of a physical nature. They cannot see. And when you cannot see the creative forces in your own life experience and you cannot see them in other people, Creation has no place to come together. Your world is looking to come together in your consciousness but if you can’t see, it can’t come together, and you are unhappy. And then you are deprived of the highest experience available to us as a human being, which is to see God in another—and not just the perfect ones.

We don’t see God because another person is perfect, in our view or in any other view. We’d be waiting forever for that. We see God because we can see through whatever murkiness is happening for that person. Our gaze extends through that. The cloud of an impure heart that is there for most people is not there for us.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Up to that point, we have tremendous license. It’s the license of blindness. It’s all around the planet. That is the only way to explain what people are doing, because they couldn’t do what they do unless they couldn’t see what they’re doing. If they actually saw what they were doing, they couldn’t do it. This is the license of blindness.

We are here to see the creative forces that are at work in the human experience. When we see them, those forces have a chance to come together in a beautiful dynamism. They have a chance to commune and come together synergistically. There is the dance of those creative forces. Those creative forces dance between you and me. Before we do a single thing—before we pull a weed, plant a seed, wash a dish, create a website, or do any of the other things that we do in an outer sense, those creative forces have a chance to come together in consciousness between us as human beings who see God—who see those creative forces and see the Being that is behind those creative forces, and who see the pattern of unfolding reality and the promise that it’s bringing between you and me.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

In so many ways, we can opt out with people. They’re not my political party. They’re not my faith. They’re not my color—it goes on and on—not my type, not my community, not my nationality, not my ethnicity, not my Enneagram preference. All blindness.

The God I’m interested in, is the God that is here. I’m not interested in a God that’s not here. I’m interested in the God that is present in all things and in all people. And most especially, that is present in me and through me, and in and through the people that I am with. I believe it’s some kind of cop-out to think it’s all about some God someplace else or some people someplace else. Wherever I am, it’s about those people, and it’s about me with those people in that world.

That connects to the transcendence of God that’s bigger than me and bigger than those people and bigger than all things, because that transcendent reality of the Divine is present as me and as those people. And when I’m touching it in them, I’m not touching some isolated reality. I’m touching the reality.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.


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