Thursday, January 30, 2014

Intensity and intimacy

 Day before yesterday, I was contemplating the question of an inward faith and an outward one; true to form, this morning, I was reading Meister Eckhart's sermon number two, having resolved to read all of the sermons in order. It raises the same questions; and, in its own subtle language, turns me back towards the question of intimacy which I raised yesterday, then the need for the soul to turn itself inwardly in order to prepare itself for receiving the Lord.

In The Reality of Being, Jeanne de Salzmann frequently refers to an intensity that is needed in order for the energy in the body to prepare itself. While we might be tempted to interpret her remarks as being of a different nature and order, this is not in fact the case. Intimacy and intensity are not different; and intensity is not force. It is concentration. So perhaps I need to understand my question as one of concentrated intimacy, that is, an intimacy of attention, attending, being in relationship to.

This being in relationship to is both a language and a sense. It is like touching; but it is not touching itself. It is like hearing; but it isn't hearing itself. And sometimes we call it seeing; but it isn't seeing, either. This is why I use the word intimacy; one that is occasionally found in de Salzmann's own works, and which turns on this idea of inwardness which both Meister Eckhart and Swedenborg emphasized in their works.

Intimacy can't be found in my outwardness. In point of fact, anyone who attempts to understand this question I speak of by interpreting it through their outer experience already has only partial understanding. Outwardness does not contain this intimacy, nor can it; it is a quality born of the soul and not of the world, and in learning to understand quite clearly the difference between inwardness and outwardness, I must above all understand this question of intimacy, which is born of a man's or a woman's contact with his or her higher nature.

So intimacy, intensity, already brings a quality different than that of the ordinary into Being. No real Being can begin to arise without this quality; and the quality does not belong to the one who seeks it, but, rather, arrives from a level which can help me. I should wish within the urgency of all my heart and all my love first and foremost in life to come into contact with this level; and Meister Eckhart speaks of this eloquently. In particular, the urgency of this search is communicated in the four legends of Meister Eckhart at the end of the complete works; it becomes clear that a human being should put this search for intimacy, for intensity in the search for the Lord, in front of all other activities in life.

Yet I am so attached to this life that I generally can't understand this question, even when the question of intimacy and intensity is in fact always available to me.

My wish for the Lord ought to always come first.


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