Now this one really gives me pause as I am sure it does many of you. Blessed are the meek? For they shall inherit the earth? No way that can be true! In this world you have to give it all you have got; you have to go out and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You only get what you work for. You only get what you deserve.
As you know if you have surrendered to God, however you conceive that power, what you thought was the right way of being in the world is not. “Our old ideas were nil until we let go absolutely”.
Being meek does not mean not speaking up for ourselves or not taking action on our own behalf. Some synonyms for meek include: humble, down-to-earth, unassuming, unpretentious. When we are meek, or humble, we do not pretend to be what we are not. We do not pretend to be God. Alcoholics and members of Al-anon often hear in meetings about the real meaning of the word “humble”. It means knowing who you really are, and knowing this in relation to God, to the supreme power that is in the universe. We claim who who we really are. We come to know ourselves as creatures; we did not create ourselves. A power greater than ourselves is responsible for our being here. Through the 4th and 5th steps we can claim who we really are and confides (confesses) that awareness to himself, to God, and to another human being. This is a great leveler of human beings. It is the only thing that will bring an ego-driven human being down to size, to proper, right-size.
This sort of meekness is about letting go of the ego. In 12 Step circles, EGO stands for Edging God Out. We are not meek when we are trying to run the show, and so it is suggested in the Big Book that an alcoholic ask many times a day “thy will be done”. This is meekness; this is humbleness of heart.
No one gets to this point purely by themselves. That is a spiritual truth. We were made for relationship, for community. We can know ourselves fully only in relationship to each other and to God. We must let go of ego and become humble, sharing our secrets and shameful, sinful behaviors with others.
The Beatitude says that in doing this we “shall inherit the earth”. How can we relate this to our experiences as fallen people?
The “inheritance” is the spiritual experience and much of it is described in the Promises of AA. Those who are rightly disposed toward a higher power, toward God, knowing that God is in charge and not they, can get comfortable with the world and all that is in it. What alcoholics inherit, when they are at their “right-size”, meek in relation to God, are: a new freedom and happiness; they will not regret the past; they will know peace. They will see how their experiences can benefit others. They will lose the feeling of self-pity. This sense that we get when we work the steps, that we can go anywhere and look anyone in the eye, and have deep peace — perhaps this is a bit of what Jesus meant when He said these words. Isn’t this in a way “inheriting the earth”? The feeling that we are a part of this world and humanity, neither above it nor below it, but fully a part of it. We can go anywhere, as if “we owned the place”. We inherit the world when we see ourselves in true relation to God and our fellows.