New Earth, Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Quote Jesus – "Blessed are the poor in spirit"

New Earth, Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Quote Jesus – "Blessed are the poor in spirit"

Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, reviewed chapter 2 online with Oprah, quoting Jesus who said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.”

Tolle and Oprah discussed the illusion of ownership, identification, awakening, facilitating inner change and personal transformation. All powerful truths and concepts worthy of our time and attention.

Oprah said, “You talk about the illusion of ownership on page 42. You say “The ego tends to equate ownership with being and lives by comparison. And you use a quote from the Bible that Jesus said. …What does poor in spirit mean?”

Tolle replied, “No internal baggage, no identifications.”

Oprah, thoughtfully still mulling over the matter, further asked, “I never knew it meant poor in spirit. How did you arrive at this interpretation of what poor in spirit means?’

Tolle took a break from his personal spiritual journey and explained it by saying, “There was a time after I went through this inner shift. It must have been three years later, I was visiting my mother and she had a New Testament on her shelf. I chose it. I got up and started reading. Suddenly I saw the truths that were hidden there and that in many cases the conventional interpretation was superficial to what Jesus had said. And that was one of the things that I immediately saw when He said “poor in spirit.” I realized that it had to do with not carrying things inside so that your spirit is very light. It has no weight. He was talking about awakening and living in this free state of consciousness. It’s wonderful to suddenly be able to read it and suddenly it all makes sense that didn’t make sense before.”

I agree with Tolle that we should also be spiritually “ready” at a point in our life’s journey when we are open to truth and divine revelation. Indeed, such divine intervention and encounters can happen whether we are ready or not, and then our hearts are surprisingly opened suddenly and amazingly. For Tolle, he was in a state of spiritual pursuit and hunger for divine insight, inquisitively pursuing the mysteries of life.

Certainly religious and traditional interpretations can unfortunately many times miss the mark of what Jesus intended to convey through truth and revelation. Tolle just hinted at this, calling some “conventional interpretation” “superficial.”

Jesus himself said to the Pharisees, who for many were too religious and rigid: “You make the Word of God meaningless by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many such things” (Mark 7:13). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for taking away the power of God’s Word by burdening the people with lofty traditions to adhere to, which cut them off from the joyous experience of worshiping and serving the living God.

At one point, Jesus was so angry and frustrated with the Pharisees that he sternly told them, “Your father is the devil” (John 8:44). “He that is of God heareth the words of God; therefore you do not listen to them, because you are not of God” (8:47).

The scribes and Pharisees often tried to engage Jesus in religious debates in which they tried to impose their traditions. Jesus did not hesitate to confront them, saying, “Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3) “These people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But they worship Me in vain, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men” (15:8-9).

Often, unfortunately, religious teachings are nothing more than traditions and commandments of men devoid of the love and life of God. Yet unsuspecting people who do not take the time to read the Bible for themselves are easily seduced and influenced by such smug Pharisees. Clothed in the trappings of religiosity, many teachers and revered dignitaries are absorbed in adhering to traditional ceremony, being more enamored with form than with the living God.

By identifying with their religious ideology, affiliation and tradition, they have thus prevented themselves from approaching God wholeheartedly and freely. Any form or spiritual event that fits their tradition or experience they demonize and reject. Yet in doing so they abandon their own souls as they build for themselves a monument to the deadness of their own religious tradition.

However, God wants mankind to be “established in the present truth” and to progress spiritually forever, going from glory to glory (see 2 Peter 1:12).

Most denominations, however, prefer to build a traditional monument to their founder rather than to Christ, the supreme head of the church and author of life. In so doing, they replace Christ as the head and builder of His universal church, deify themselves in exclusivity, alienate the spiritual seekers in their community, and stop looking to the “author and finisher of their faith,” preferring form to content.

However, Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23) and the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); without which our faith is shipwrecked, and the divine influence cut off, as we seek to rise religiously.

Only Christ can and will build His church (Matthew 16:18); by the pattern, protocol, and power of His Spirit, not by the leadership of a man-made denomination. Whenever a person, ministry, church or denomination seeks to rule and direct an act of God; be assured that God himself will leave them. God will never go where He is not recognized nor needed.

I have personally experienced a religion that is ice cold and not pleasant. From time to time I have thought about networking and connecting with larger religious organizations, thinking that together we can have a greater impact. On calling some of these ‘established’ organizations, however, I found their secretaries and bureaucracy to be cold and alienating.

Specifically, I called a very large global ministry based in Orlando to make an inquiry. Instead of greeting me warmly, I was asked sharply, “Who are you with?” Sensing the tone of the interrogator on the other end, I amusedly answered “JESUS,” spelling out each letter by name.

Our secretary wasn’t amused or bothered in the least and stuck strictly to her organizational hierarchy, asking the same question again, completely disinterested in me as a person who preferred to label me as an organization.

Fortunately, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are bigger and beyond religious labels and forms. Jesus walked through walls and walked on water. The Holy Spirit appeared and moved in many forms – as a gentle dove and as wind and fire. God always shocks and surpasses your theology, often disrupting it completely.

Therefore, there is always a divide when spirituality and religion collide. The “established” religion of the day always feels threatened when spirituality comes with a new awakening for humanity. Therefore, the initial response is usually to demonize and belittle the new revelation rather than investigate and investigate it further.

It is the knee-jerk or proud religiosity that is entirely self-centered and fixed in me. What’s in it for me? How does it affect “my church,” “my offerings,” “my teaching,” “my understanding,” “my interpretation,” etc. The ironic and self-righteous tendency, however, is to go beyond the “mine” and the “I” with which religion often does what it wants, interprets as it wants; but in the process puts God’s name on it in an attempt to validate and give itself credibility.

That is why when Jesus came, His greatest opposition and enemies were from the religious circles. Sinners, prostitutes, crooked businessmen, and dirty-talking fishermen all loved and liked Jesus. It was the religious crowd full of manipulation and spiritual subtlety that Jesus could not stand and suddenly opposed, immediately revealing their own insecurities.

If the religious were truly spiritual, they would sit and listen to Jesus to see if what He said was true and of spiritual benefit to them. Instead, they quantify everything in monetary and humble terms, preferring to protect what is theirs rather than accept what comes from God Himself.

Religion sells God, but is devoid of the Divine life. Religion is about subtly projecting self-righteous attitudes, instilling fear in followers, boosting one’s shallow ego through self-aggrandizement, building a denomination, protecting one’s affiliation, and propagating one’s own ideological belief.

I was completely shocked when I lived in Brooklyn Heights, where the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses are located. I often talked and discussed spiritual matters with the “witnesses” of Montague Street. When I questioned them about Jesus’ admonition to care for the poor in Matthew 25, they said, “We don’t do that. God will take care of the poor. We just preach the Word.”

I, in turn, have questioned the validity of the “Word” they preach, as it is a New World translation. Then I mentioned “he who knows how to do good, but does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “But whoever has the goods of this world, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart from him, how can the love of God dwell in him?” (1 John 3:17).

Then the “witnesses” were silenced and left in shame. Of course, I myself have often been without, and perhaps with little, but neglected the sufferers around me. However, I do not accept the creation of a religious doctrine that alienates the poor and the suffering, that forsakes the divine and greatest commandment to love and uplift hurting humanity.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).

Such man-made doctrines are often legalistic and demonic. The Apostle Paul mentions the doctrine maintained by the Vatican, which forbids priests to marry and betroth a woman. “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the last times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies and hypocrisy; their consciences will be seared with a red-hot iron; forbid to marry, and command to abstain from food, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

Jesus is about love, life and spiritual enjoyment. Religion and the devil are about enslavement, control and death. In the early church age, as seen in the book of Acts, whenever the religious council and establishment could not control the apostles, they tried to threaten, beat, imprison, and eventually kill them.

Jesus said it well: “The thief [speaking of the devil and religion] he comes to steal, kill and destroy; but I have come that you may have life, and life abundantly” (John 10:10).

Religion, deeply rooted in self and self-preservation, does not mind if its interpretation is completely useless, obsolete, or completely dead. While raising someone’s head, he will fight to the end to keep it. Because for them, forms are more important than the joyful and spiritual experience of life.

Therefore, when we shed our own inner baggage and identifications, the first place we often have to start is with religiosity and the way we often misrepresent our own loving Creator. Remember that God will not allow anyone, including a presumptuous denomination, to put Him in a box. God is bigger than your ideological, religious and mental framework.

Therefore, when you cultivate poverty of spirit to attain the riches of heaven, begin by stripping yourself of dead religion and vile, manipulative associations.

Once you discover your dependence first and foremost on God alone, you can then embrace others in the family of faith and find a spiritual home for yourself.

As for remaining poor in spirit, we do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who said that he was both “full” and yet “hungry” (Philippians 4:12). British revivalist Smith Wigglesworth, who raised several people from the dead and ministered to the healing of countless sick people, said he was content with his own discontent.

David, a man after God’s own heart, even though he was a king and possessed countless things, cried out: “As the deer longs for the streams of water, so my soul longs for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God? My tears are my food day and night” (Psalm 42:1-3).

“Even now that I am old and gray, O God, do not leave me until I have shown Your strength to this generation and Your strength to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Like Thole, move inward, connect spiritually, and live miraculously.

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