Thursday, January 17, 2008

Meister Eckhart

Dominican preacher, theologian and mystic, born about 1260 at Hochheim, near Gotha; died in 1327 at Cologne. He made his philosophical and theological studies in the Dominican Order. Although a profound mystic he was also an able man of affairs, admirably manifesting the spirit of his order by uniting throughout his career great activity with contemplation.

"For if things are to go well with a man, one of two things must always happen to him. Either he must find and learn to possess God in works, or he must abandon all works. But since a man cannot in this life be without works, which are proper to humans and are of so many kinds, therefore he must learn to possess his God in all things and to remain unimpeded, whatever he may be doing, wherever he may be. And therefore if a man who is beginning must do something with other people, he ought first to make a powerful petition to God for His help, and put Him immovably in his heart, and unite all his intentions, thoughts, will and power to God, so that nothing else than God can take shape in that man."

"A man cannot learn this by running away, by shunning things and shutting himself up in an external solitude; but he must practice a solitude of the spirit, wherever or with whomever he is. He must learn to break through things and to grasp his God in them and to form Him in himself powerfully in an essential manner. This is like someone who wants to learn to write. If he is to acquire the art, he must certainly practice it hard and long, however disagreeable and difficult this may be for him and however impossible it may seem. If he will practice it industriously and assiduously, he learns it and masters the art."

"On what does this true possession of God depend, so that we may truly have Him? This true possession of God depends on ... an inward directing of the reason and intention toward God, not on a constant contemplation in an unchanging manner, for it would be impossible to nature to preserve such an intention, and very laborious, and not the best thing either."

"In the same way, no one can hinder this man, for he intends and seeks and takes delight in nothing but God, for God has become one with the man in all his intention. And so, just as no multiplicity can disturb God, nothing can disturb or fragment this man, for he is one in that One where all multiplicity is one and is one multiplicity."

"In that breaking-through, when I come to be free of my own will and of God's will and of all His works and of God Himself, then I am above all created things, and I am neither God nor creature, but I am what I was and what I shall remain, now and eternally. ... When I stood in my first cause, I 'then had no 'God,' and then I was my own cause. I wanted nothing, I longed for nothing, for I was empty Being and the only truth in which I rejoiced was in the knowledge of my Self. Then it was my Self I wanted and nothing else. What I wanted I was, and what I was I wanted and so I stood empty of God and every thing."

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