Composer Ludwig van Beethoven expressed this reason for firing an otherwise good housekeeper: “Whoever tells a lie is not pure of heart, and such a person can not cook a clean soup.” Beethoven said in a letter to a friend, that the housekeeper told a lie to avoid hurting the composer’s feelings.
Although the concept of being pure of heart is commonly associated with religion, it is frequently found elsewhere. Everyone has the capacity to experience it. The pure of heart is closely related to innocence, honesty, and truthfulness. There is a child-like simplicity in one’s approach to life that might be mistaken for naïveté but, in actuality, is not.
Naïveté is akin to ignorance while a person who is pure of heart is aware of the underpinnings of society and human behavior. People who are pure of heart harbor high ethical standards without being sanctimonious and priggish. They may experience unwholesome thoughts but never follow through to commit unwholesome acts. There is a particular transparency of character that accompanies the personality of such people. This is not a self-conscious, vain display of supposed virtue; it can be thought of, instead, as a manifestation of a virtuous subconscious.
“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”–Oglala Lakota medicine man and elder, Black Elk
There’s a certain way that a person who is pure of heart talks to you and pays impromptu, sincere compliments without any thought of flattery. Such off the cuff remarks reveal a glimmer of encouragement that you can take to heart. This tells the observer a lot about such a companion.
A person who is pure of heart might find her or himself near a position of high power. While such a person is near or actually possesses executive privilege and options, she or he is not affected by it at all. Although they may understand the nature of manipulation, they do not plot and contrive. The temptation to abuse power is ever-present in such situations, but the very rare leader who is pure of heart does not succumb.
The pure of heart has a sharpened sense of peaceful clarity and enlightenment about it.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a teaching from the Thai monk, Ajahn Chah. “Know and watch your heart. It’s pure, but emotions come to colour it.”