Sunrise Behind a Tree

     The Spirit of life – the divine spark, heavenly light, or true Self – is hidden deep within and remains inaccessible to those attached to materialistic thinking or blindly driven by egoistical desires.Ultimately, awareness of the Divine is awakened by grace. Humans of and by themselves are unable to achieve spiritual enlightenment or, in biblical language, cannot “see the Kingdom of God” (see John 3:1-8). The path of illumination involves recognizing the limitations of thinking based only on observation and judgments. The language of the heart is an intuitive and non-conceptual way of knowing. In other words, the affections of the heart are separate from cognition, and the intuitive way in which the soul perceives is different from relying on external perception. By divine grace, and in personal surrender to the loving Divine, delusions of the mind and senses are discerned as the eyes of the heart are opened.       

     The great spiritual traditions understand that in profound stillness the human spirit begins to be aware of its Source. Also, according to the Eastern way of thinking, personal surrender to God can be achieved through meditation. Consequently, both the practice of meditation (prayer of the heart) and the grace of God allow one to become conscious of the Self.  

     The Katha Upanishad states: “Not by the scriptures, not by the intellect, not by much study is this Self to be known. He whom the Self chooses by him the Self is attained.” And also: “It reveals itself to the seers, those who are pure at heart, and have focused their concentration solely upon Brahman.” Similarly, Jesus says to Peter who understood his identity: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). He also states: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8; see also John 6:44, 65; 1 Corinthians 2:10 and Colossians 1:27 for the role of divine grace).  

     Nevertheless, the Holy Scriptures offer the following hope: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). And, in ancient times, the prophet Isaiah exhorted: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; . . . Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you” (Isaiah 55:1, 3). 


 Photo credit: Intellimon Ltd.



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