“A leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, offered to me in devotion, I will accept as the loving gift of a dedicated heart.”
These loving words were spoken by Lord Krishna to his devotee Arjuna in Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu Bible if you like). It was written centuries before the Christian Bible, and at a time of higher spiritual attunement to God. The sentiments are clear: if a person is sincerely seeking God, determinedly trying to be a better person each day, meditating regularly and deeply, this person need not offer gifts of material wealth to God. Rather, seekers are encouraged to offer up everything they think, do, say, eat, drink, see, touch and so on, even and especially the smallest thing, so that we realise that it is God Himself that is behind everything.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
There have been many great saints and masters (eg. Jesus, Krishna, Mahatma Gandhi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Saint Francis etc.) who have come to Earth to show us how we can be better, kinder human beings, in order for our souls to grow and become closer to God. Saints are pure in heart; pure in thoughts, words and deeds. That’s an enormous example for us to follow, but if we take one desirable spiritual quality at a time and work on nurturing that within us, before moving on to the next, we will get there! Fear not.
What is purity of heart?
Purity of heart for me conjures up the idea of thinking of and putting others above ourselves—always—with no selfish motives on our part of seeking either praise or thanks. That’s tough isn’t it? Try doing this for just one minute at a time, then for an hour, then try and incorporate it into your day. When I wake up in the morning, I ask: “Okay God, how can I be kind today?” and I actively look out for opportunities during the day to do something kind for someone else. It’s about entraining ourselves with new, positive habits and ways of thinking and being. It will eventually become automatic. It’s not easy, but that’s the point. God isn’t going to give away his gifts to a half-hearted aspirant!
Some easy ways to nurture purity of heart in your day:
don’t overthink things. If it feels right to do something for someone, do it!
do something you don’t enjoy and do it gladly!
be grateful for the simple blessings in your life (a warm, safe home; food on the table; being born into a lovely family and so on.)
be mindful of the motivations behind your ‘selfless’ acts (are you even subconsciously seeking praise, attention or thanks?)
don’t allow yourself to be swayed emotionally by events (in other words, try to be even-minded, not over-excitable nor overly upset). This is like a cleansing routine for the heart, keeping it pure.
think of God often. Put your trust in Him.
maintain positivity in your thoughts. Thoughts are sopowerful and can lead us down the shaky path of negativity and mistrust if we let them. Don’t! Keep your mind, as well as your heart, pure!