There has been so much hate on display in the world so far in the 21st century that it’s easy to fall into despair. Not only are there wars in the Middle East, beginning with the Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq, passing through the general failure of the Arab Spring, and continuing into the work of sociopathic terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, but we have also seen a multitude of murders in the U.S. I’m almost afraid to turn on the news! We have insane, mostly young, men who buy guns and ammunition and invade movie theaters, churches, hair salons, regional centers, and schools. We have murders of black men by (usually) white police, then the murder of police by an angry black man, and then more murders. As some protesters are now saying, “All lives matter.” Right on!
Let’s turn off the news for a little while. Let’s set aside our devices and all those pesky social media. Instead, let’s consider one of the best known (and, alas, probably most ignored) teachings of Jesus—the Sermon on the Mount as given in the Gospel of Matthew. I especially like the Beatitudes (verses 3-12):
Blessed are the poor in pride, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be well satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for to them shall be mercy.
Blessed are those who are pure in their hearts, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you, when they reproach you and persecute you, and speak against you every kind of bad word, falsely, for my sake,
Then be glad and rejoice, for your reward is increased in heaven; for in this very manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Note: This is from the translation by George M. Lamsa of the Aramaic Peshitta, possibly the earliest biblical manuscript written in the language Jesus actually spoke. Until I was called (quite firmly) by the Goddess, I studied with Lamsa’s protégé, Rocco Errico, for several years. I also attended his church. I’m certainly not a biblical scholar, but I learned quite a lot from Lamsa’s books, particularly about the Aramaic idioms (like, if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out) used in the Bible that were possibly mistranslated and/or taken literally by other translators and those who wrote commentaries. I still own both an Authorized Version (the translation of earlier translations authorized by James I of England and published in 1611) and a Lamsa translation (first published in 1933). I’ve read both of them. All the way through.
I propose a project to the wise people who write for this site and to our readers: let’s find the heart chakra of the planet. Actually, that’s quite easy. It manifests in all of us! In the chakra system, the heart is the fourth chakra. It’s the midpoint between survival (root chakra) and enlightenment (crown chakra), between pleasure (second chakra) and perception (third eye), between will (solar plexus) and self-expression (throat). It’s in our hearts that we we find—or create—harmony and balance. And while it’s possible in theory to intellectually transmute our soul from lead to gold, it’s only in our heart (think of it as own private alchemical athanor or oven) that true transmutation can take place. After all, as the old saying tells us, it’s when we take a new idea “to heart” (not “to head”) that we accept it.
So let’s take this idea to heart. Most of us spend some time each day in meditation or some other contemplative state. Let’s bring the Beatitudes into our minds and then into our hearts. Then, let’s project the Beatitudes out into the world. We can, say, put them in bubbles and puff out a whole stream of bubbles. When those bubbles pop, they’ll spray some Beatitudeness down on whoever’s there. Our little Beatitude bubbles can also nest in the consciousness of the planet and enrich it with tiny but significant blessings. And if enough of us do it, the blessings will grow. They may even sprinkle down on men with guns. Ready, set, GO!
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the Neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.