can't come to visit me unless i am not there,
-- Angelus Silesius.
I reread the poem by the Sufi, Mansur al-Hallaj with the horrifying first line:"Kill me. my faithful friends." The explanation of this is in the final couplet:
"Between me and You, there is only me.
Take away the me, and there is only You.
The "You" is Allah and the "me" is........, well, maybe my ego, my "small self."
This morning in an Al Anon meeting, a woman said: "wherever i go, there i am."
And i thought: yeah, and i have to stop going to those places.
Al-Hallaj felt he might have to give up his life in order to experience Allah. The fictional Job had to lose everything except his life to appreciate his absolute dependence on that Mystery that many people refer to as God. So what do i need to lose or give up?
Like Silesius' and al-Hillaj's "me," the only thing standing between me and my "Original Nature" is my ego. I am standing in my own light, which blinds me. I am my own worst enemy which destroys any chance of victory. No wonder Silesius and al-Hallaj use such strong language. No worder the author of "Job" gave him such terrible burdens to bear. Suffering is no fun at all, and my attitude is the root cause of my suffering.*
In my personal prejuiced opinion; Jesus' first beatitude was "Fortunate are the poor, for their's is God's kingdom." The words "in spirit" were added by the Church, perhaps to de-politicize the saying. Mostly, in my personal opinion, people who have tried to add to Jesus' message have distorted and cheapened it. In this case the change was felicitous. Poverty of spirit does bring us nearer to the Mystery, perhaps moreso than material poverty alone.
*Buddhists hold that pain and misfortune are not the same thing as suffering. Pain and misfortune are inevitable; suffering is caused by "desire," by paying too much attention to what we like or dislike.