Ron Rolheiser is a theologian that I enjoy reading, in books or in blogs, www.ronrolheiser.com. In one memorable blog he describes a Buddhist parable that goes something like this: As the Buddha was sitting under a tree one day, a young man walked by, looked at the Buddha, noticed his fat, and said, “You look like a pig!” The Buddha looked up and calmly said, “You look like God”. The young man was taken aback and said, “Why do you say that I look like God?” The Buddha replied, “We tend to see what’s inside of us and project it out. I sit under this tree and think about God, so when I look out, that’s what I see. You must be thinking about other things.” Rolheiser goes on in his blog to compare and contrast living out of a blessed consciousness with living out of a cursed consciousness. The way we perceive is hugely influenced by our own internal state of consciousness.
Jesus was keenly aware of his own blessed position with his Father, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Therefore he could look out and say “Blessed are the poor … Blessed are the …” regardless of circumstances. Blessedness is a state of being, a defining identity. Similarly, if we are conscious of our own blessed position in Christ, as his dearly loved children, we can live out of that blessed consciousness.
The opposite of living out of a blessed consciousness is living out of a cursed consciousness. Over and over in our lives, we have not been blessed. Instead of receiving messages like the one Jesus received from his Father, we’ve received other contradictory messages, in numerous ways. We’ve received messages that tell us we are not valued, not wanted, not good enough, not blessed. And because that’s what we’ve learned, that’s how we perceive ourselves; and then that’s how we perceive others. We live out of a cursed consciousness.
Our harsh judgments toward one another may say more about our internal state than about another person. Those who have suffered abuse often have internalized the messages they’ve received in their experience: that their voice is not to be heard, that they are not valued, that they are unloved and unlovable. How does one move from a cursed consciousness to a blessed consciousness? One way is by living in a community that values all people, by honoring them, by treating them with respect, by listening to them, by reflecting God’s love. Ultimately, I believe it is a work of the Holy Spirit, who joins with our spirit to cry out “Abba! Father!” It’s a question of core identity, blessed, loved, forgiven, beloved child of God!
Throughout biblical history, God’s design for his people, who bear his name, is for them to be blessed - blessed by God to be a blessing to the nations (see Gen.12:3). May it be so among us. May the Lord build his people into a temple where he dwells, a temple that honors him by living out of a blessed consciousness in all of our relationships.