A note on beginnings–beginnings are everything. Beginnings have the greatest impact on trajectory, tendency, direction. Think about the firing of an arrow. Where it ends is wholly determined on the beginnings-and we can travel from the hand to the eye, from the eye to the agency feeling and weighing color presented with tactile pressure in the hand, and from the agent at the moment to the agent for the past time period of practice and training that have made the moment of release of the arrow what it is. This is why family structure is so important for little ones. But I digress. Beginnings are important, and so the first step on the way to happiness (blessedness) is important.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Spirit is the essence of the rational animal. It has potentiality and actuality. In actuality it is always conscious awareness. My spirit is not mine in that I am something independent of it grasping it. It is the grasper. So, it is distinguishable from me insofar as I am anything.
And it must be recognized as poor or impoverished. Let us say the spirit must be lacking. To lack is to need, and to lack in spirit is to be aware of need. It is to note absence. It is to be aware of inadequacy. The beginning of the path to penultimate happiness is in the recognition of malformation.
To make sure we are clear: there are two men. One is full of vice, but he cares not, and in fact fills his spiritual being with thoughts of grandeur and pride. He misinterprets weakness and lack for strength and riches. He is indeed poor objectively. But he is not poor subjectively, and thus he is not poor in spirit. Another is full of vice, but he cares. He attends to the darkness that is the gaping hole of lack. He notes that he is misshaped. He is both objectively poor and subjectively his poverty fills his attention. He is poor in spirit.
Everything is in the beginning. The ancient echo of the prophet rings in the first step to happiness–repent. The first step in repentance is recognition of inadequacy. This is poor in spirit. It is everything. It is the moment of birth. But just like an infant that requires much care and tending to this poverty of spirit needs tending to. Before we move on to mourning a word on the greatest risk of the inadequacy of the rejection of inadequacy.