Meister Eckhart, essence, and personality, it occurs to me this morning that the entire question of existence turns on Love.
I don't mean this way in any sense in the ordinary terms we conceive of love; that is, what we generally call love between man and woman (notwithstanding its modern variants) or, shall we say, two individuals, of whatever inclination. This kind of love is of the material world and, by and large, consists of desire; and is frequently, if not always, confused with our sexuality.
The sense and aim of existence, however, is the expression of an objective or Divine Love, which is of a transcendental nature that may occasionally be sensed by an individual, depending on the action of its force within them. Love is the foundation of the universe; upon it, all other things are built.
It's important to recognize that the action of this force is very different than anything we ordinarily experience in terms of desire. Desire always wants something for itself; real Love always wants something for the other. This is why Swedenborg went to such great lengths to explain that truly heavenly characteristics are completely unselfish; a long subject in itself. The point being that the manifestation of Divine Love is the essential reason that the universe exists in the first place. It was created in order that care could be taken for the other; as is said in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
This verse indicates that God would give anything, even the death of His own Son, so that all of creation can have the opportunity to participate in His care for it, and for them.
God cares more about all of creation than He cares, metaphorically speaking, about Himself. The esoteric secrets of transcendence in all of its unknowable aspects lie within this truth, which can never be fully penetrated.
To taste this Love is not just to understand that God loves us (and that He does so unconditionally), but that we have the capacity to love each other; not that we are loved, but that we can Love. To taste the fact that we can Love, which is a transcendental impulse, organically sensed, much greater than any desire we know from our ordinary state: this is the highest calling that a soul in any faith can come to. It eclipses our ideas of ourselves, and brings us to the humble recognition of what real Love is, which encompasses everything.
This kind of sensation — which is only bestowed by Grace and Mercy acting together, the influence of a higher energy — is a rare thing. Sometimes, when I encounter it, I think that if a man or woman experiences this once in a lifetime it is already an enormous event. It seems scarcely credible that the human organism has the capacity for this kind of feeling; yet, fundamentally, it is what we are made for — and, for the most part, we don't even know it.
In tomorrow's post, I will examine a bit of the distinction between sexuality and love.