Sermon on the Mount (SOM)
Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).
SOM opens with eight Beatitudes, representing a prose poem in eight verses that summarizes Christian teaching, characteristic of the old Oriental writing style to a religious or philosophical teaching as seen in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism and the Ten Commandments of Moses.
God is Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24)
The Beatitudes reflect general principles related to our mental states. For Jesus knew that if one’s mental states are right, everything else is right too.
I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Beatitude 1: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
To be poor in spirit means to be empty of all desire to exercise personal self-will and to renounce all preconceived opinions in the whole-hearted search for God. It means to be willing to set aside your present thought habits, views, prejudices, and even your way of life, if necessary. It means to let go of anything and everything that stands in the way of you finding God.
The saddest OT passage is the story of the Rich Young Man who missed his opportunity to follow Jesus and… “Went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22). Like mankind in general, he rejects the salvation, the chance of being with God, that Jesus offers, because he is attached to his possessions (forms, effects, and conditions) (i.e. preconceived ideas, pride, sentimentality, attachments to people and organizations, fears, bad habits, etc.). All these possessions keep us chained to the rock of suffering that is our exile from God. The poor in spirit suffer from none of these attachments because they never had them or have risen above them through spiritual understanding.
Beatitude 2: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)
People mourn due to trouble, suffering and loss. But this is not bad as trouble and suffering drive people to learn Truth when they are reluctantly to learn it otherwise. Thus, sorrow or mourning is a useful tool. Man has to learn Truth in order to set himself free from three-dimensional limitations and their concomitants – sin, sickness, and death.
If man seeks God first, he will have no trouble. Man has the choice of learning by spiritual unfoldment or by painful experience (school of hard knocks). Family troubles, quarrels, estrangements, sin, and remorse do not come to those who seek the Kingdom of God and Right Understanding. Otherwise, mourning is a blessing in disguise, for through it, man is comforted. By comfort, the Bible means the experience of the Presence of God by which all mourning ends.
Beatitude 3: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)
This passage holds two polar opposites – meek and earth. In the Bible, earth means the whole of our outer experience; to inherit the earth means to have dominion over outer experience. When the Bible talks about possessing or governing the earth or making the earth glorious, it is referring to the conditions of our lives and its affairs, from our physical health, relationships, finances, etc. Thus, we may be masters of our lives and environment by “meekness”.
The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works…I am in the Father, and the Father in me (John 14:10-11).
In the Bible, the work meek connotes a mental attitude that is a combination of open-mindedness, faith in God, and realization that the will of God for us is always something joyous, interesting and vital. This state of mind includes a perfect willingness to allow God’s will to come about in whatever way divine Wisdom considers best rather than imposing our own will. Thus, this is a mental attitude of teachableness, of a willingness to be led, is the key to dominion or success in demonstration. If we desire to inherit the earth, we must acquire this “meekness”. An old oriental saying states “Meekness compels God himself.” Similarly, this meekness is witnessed in Moses.
Beatitude 4: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6)
In the Bible, “righteousness” means not merely right conduct, but right thinking. In the SOM, every clause reiterates the truth that outer things are but consequences of inner things. As within, so without! Habits of thinking, however, are the most subtle and difficult to break.
Beatitude 5: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7)
Let us be merciful in our mental judgments of others, for we are all one, each of us are component parts of the living garment of God. . For those who err, by helping them with right thought, we make it easier for them to get free. The treatment that you mete out to others, you will receive. You will receive the same merciful help when in need from those who are farther along the spiritual path than you. You will receive a hand up!
Beatitude 6: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8)
This Beatitude holds the promise of seeing God. To “see” refers to spiritual perception. Though we live in God’s world, many fail to recognize and experience the Heaven that lies all about us. Consequently, they are shut out, like a color-blind man in a beautiful, flowering garden. Our task is to rapidly surmount these limitations until we reach the point where we know things are they really are and experience Heaven as it really is. To see God is to apprehend Truth as it really is. When this happens, there is infinite freedom and perfect bliss.
Who shall see God? The pure in heart! Purity in its full and complete sense, is recognizing God alone as the only real Cause and Power in existence. The SOM refers to this as “the single eye”.
In the Bible, the word “heart” refers to man’s subconscious mind, his soul. We must accept Truth subconsciously, not just consciously. Until Truth is accepted subconsciously, it is not assimilated into the whole mind and therefore won’t make a difference in our character or life.
As man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7)
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23)
We have much knowledge that doesn’t affect or improve our lives. We still continue to do foolish or stupid things. Head knowledge must become heart knowledge; it has to be incorporated into the subconscious mind before it changes us in some significant way. Single minded-prayer or practicing the Presence of God allows us to internalize knowledge into our subconscious minds.
Beatitude 7: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9)
This Beatitude gives an invaluable lesson on the art of prayer; prayer is our only means of communing with God and is the only real thing that changes our character, making us a different person, acting in a different way. When you get a strong realization of the Presence of God, in a twinkling of an eye, your outlook, habits, and life dramatically change. Because the change is radical, it is often referred to a “born again”. To obtain the Presence of God, we need to have some true peace of mind.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you, not as the world gives you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
Serenity is a prerequisite to true spiritual progress. This fundamental soul-tranquility is referred to by Jesus using the word “peace – the peace that passes all human understanding”.
Peacemakers are those who bring about this type of peace into their own souls; they become children of God by overcoming limitation. The power of prayer heals any quarrels in a true way, even silent prayer. The silent thought of the All-Power of Love and Wisdom causes trouble to melt away imperceptibly and immediately. Become a peacemaker…Pray!
Beatitude 8: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven – for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12)
God’s will for us is harmony, peace, and joy. These things are attainable now by cultivating right thoughts or “righteousness”. Jesus repeatedly tells us that is God’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom and they we receive the Kingdom is by cultivating serenity or peace of the soul. Peacemakers, who do this, praying in “meekness”, shall inherit the earth. Their mourning will be turned into joy and whatever they ask God for in this manner, God will do.
We are told by this passage that we are blessed when persecuted as the result of our righteousness. This means we shall be triumphant; it means that it is cause for rejoicing and gladness in the face of being reviled or accused. Both the prophets and Illumined Ones suffered persecution for their righteousness.
Persecution becomes an occasion for rejoicing when we are deeply aware of our real nature, our true immortality, and know that suffering of our bodies can be transcend and even transmuted by our state of consciousness. Persecution can be a blessed condition when we realize that in such moments we are really advancing.
Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life (Revelation 2:10.
This is a promise that can become a reality now, right here on earth!