I just read a phenomenal book that I wanted to share with you all. I finished reading Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources written by Eknath Easwaran just a day or two ago. I’ve mentioned a few quotes from the book here and there, but I wanted to do a complete review. There are some things from the book that I want to do entirely separate posts for, but that’s a different conversation for another day. This book covers a lot of material, so I’m just going to talk about the highlights. It’s a great book, so I recommend buying it and reading it for yourself!
So, what is this book all about? Throughout the entire book, Easwaran takes the eight Beatitudes and talks about how we can implement those qualities into our own life, and how meditation makes the process easier. He calls each of these qualities a “spiritual law” which will help us to peel off the layers upon layers we’ve created in our lives, so that we can seriously uncover the “uncreated light” within us.
What are these qualities he speaks of?
Purity: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Humility: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Simplicity: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Patience: Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Love: Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mercy: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Peacemaking: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Desire: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Easwaran starts the book off by talking about original goodness, and uses this idea as the basis for the rest of the book. What is original goodness? Original goodness is this idea that our core, as humans, is good. That we are inherently good, not bad. Because of this, we don’t have to figure out how to make ourselves good, because we are. All we have to do is get rid of the layers we’ve piled on ourselves that is covering that inner, pure layer of goodness. He says, “…before original sin was original innocence. That is our real nature.” He goes on to say that that we all have the capacity to reach God. But, it takes a lot of effort to meet that end. We are all seeds of God. However, we need to put that goal in our life. Having that goal makes us work hard to attain it. We have to realize that God is our home, and that is where we ultimately belong. Home is where the heart is, and the heart is the seat of love. He quotes Mechtild of Magdeburg, “The soul is made of love, just as the body is made of flesh–and must ever strive to return to love. Therefore, it can never find rest nor happiness in other things. It must love itself in love. By its very nature it must seek God, who is love.” I thought that this was just really beautiful.
How do we know when someone has reached this state? When he/she has “an unbroken awareness of the presence of God in all creatures.” They exemplify the qualities of “unfailing compassion, fearlessness, equanimity, and the unshakable knowledge, based on direct, personal experience, that all the treasures and pleasures of this world together are worth nothing if one has not found the uncreated light at the center of the soul.” I don’t know about you guys, but that state, the state in which you can seriously see God in every single soul and every single living thing on this planet, is really hard to get to. I mean, unfailing compassion. I still have mean thoughts going through my head when someone says something bad to me. But to still love that individual and see the God in them, despite that person being mean to you…that is such a Godly state if you ask me. I’d like to think that I know nothing I own and want and “need” has no worth, but honestly at this point in my life, I would have a hard time parting with my nail polish collection. I need some serious progress folks. But, in the end, this task isn’t easy. It’s daunting, scary, unpredictable. But, I don’t think God would have made it easy in the first place. We have to be aggressive on our spiritual path to find the Ultimate Truth, or else we’ll just do everything at slow, unfinished pace, and that’s not development to me.
Meditation: Easwaran talks about how meditation is a great and powerful tool we can use to start that introspection process, and really begin to see our true selves. (Y’all, I’m beginning to see a pattern here in my life. Meditation is the key to everything. Seriously. I’m hearing it everywhere).
Ok, what I’m going to do now, is write a synopsis of each of the Beatitudes in another post. There are a few that I want to go into in-depth detail in subsequent posts, because there was just a lot of good material in them. For now, however, I’ll try and talk about the crux of each spiritual law.