Blessed are those whose hearts are pure; they shall see God. (Matthew 8: the Sermon on the Mount).
In all traditions, we see some form of finding purity. But what does purity mean? Cleaning our houses? Our desk? Our car? The spaces where we do our work? The spaces where we eat and play? Our gardens? As dull as it may seem, I would argue that yes, a less cluttered space is an element to cultivating purity. A scary thought: I read recently that the state of your desk reflects the state of your mind.
By simplifying our spaces, perhaps we simplify and purify ourselves.
What is purity? What are we talking about when we talk about purity of heart? We’re talking clarity. The ability to see clearly. Taking the desk metaphor, we can’t see to find what we’re looking for when the desk is piled with papers and books and pens. Or, if you can, it’s more difficult to do so.
Purity. The ability to see things through a clear lens. We can actually think of it as a clouded lens. Let’s take a strong emotion. Anger. Are you seeing clearly when you are seeing red? Are you seeing clearly when you listen to another’s story and layer on your own experience of something similar? Are you seeing clearly when you hold tightly to a grudge or to fear?
We also put on layers of masks and skins to protect ourselves. Particularly our hearts. To open our hearts is to be vulnerable. To have an open and pure heart takes courage and is rare.
A clear heart helps us to see our own masks and stories and emotions. The places where we are unable or unwilling to open our hearts to another. When our hearts are clear, we can see others more clearly. We see the unity of ourselves with others instead of the disconnect of us vs. them (on big and small levels). We see that we are all one. And one with God and Grace.
I think a good way to discern if we are pure in heart is to ask ourselves: can we look at every single other person with…Love? Are we entangled in a web of negative emotions and thoughts? We can not have a clear and pure heart in turmoil.
Grace is work. It’s prayer and work. Gandhi said: “Prayer is an unfailing means of cleansing the heart.”
Practice. Walking with God takes daily practice. We can start with prayer. Prayer is like a talisman that dispels negative thoughts so that the divine can shine through. We can begin with stillness. Stillness is a way of decluttering and allowing the divine to shine through.
Slowing down allows us to see the divine in everything around us. Spring reminds us that God leaves us “love notes”. Little miracles. Blooming flowers. Pretty mushrooms. A shining sun. An unexpected snowfall. A glowing moon. Sparkling stars. Little miracles. We spend so much time looking to the cool stuff. The big thing that we fail to notice the little gifts of every day. But we have to slow down in order to notice.
Be Still and Know God.
Cultivate purity of heart through prayer, stillness, and responding to everything with love and peace. There is no place for anger and fear in purity. Only that pure Goodness from within.
Carry God with you in stillness to connect to your heart, your inner truth, you inner grace. Carry God with you to in slowing down, taking time to really listen and ramble, so that you are not distracted by your own words and stories when in company or solitude.
Carry God with you in prayer. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. To allow yourself to arrive and rest in each moment is to respond to life with purity and love. That purity and love allows you to look at your life and those who touch your life through the lens of Grace.