Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Reality of Being, per Meister Eckhart

The noblest thing that God works in all creatures is Being. My father can give me my nature, but he does not give me my Being: God alone does that. That is why all things that exist take a rational delight in their Being. See, that is why, as I once said before and was not properly understood, Judas in hell would not want to be another in heaven. Why? Because if he were to become another, he would have to become nothing in his own Being. But that cannot be, for Being does not deny itself. The Being of the soul is receptive to the influence of the divine light, though not as limpid and pure as God can send it, but rather obscured.

Here I've taken the liberty of capitalizing the letter B in "Being," as I so often do, to indicate that we are speaking about that form of Being which is inwardly formed by a higher principle.

Being, which is inwardly formed by the emanation of the divine into the material, includes the Being of both the soul and the body, which are in close relationship. These two touch; one might say that the highest part of the body touches the lowest part of the soul, and the highest part of the soul touches the lowest part of heaven. This is why the path to the self which leads through sensation is the path towards the spiritual; yet this is rather poorly understood, because the form of sensation that we speak of here is not the conventional form, but the living form. It is like the difference between a lily plant and a sheet of cardboard; both have abundant cellulose which gives them shape and form, but oh! how the shape and form differ—and how very much sweeter the scent of the lily than the damp odor of cardboard.

We say the conventional form, not ordinary form, because both forms of sensation are ordinary; that is, ordinal, of an order. (and let us not devalue the ordinary!) But the path of sensation that leads to the spiritual senses is of a higher nature; and indeed, it is informed by that same sensation of God that allows Him to enter the little finger... which would be, by the way, an excellent place to meet God from time to time for conversation, should He deign to appear there.

In any event, this quality of Being is so essential to our nature—and so closely connected to what God has specifically given us that makes us ourselves, and not another (essence)—that even Judas in hell would rather be himself than anyone else. 

This is remarkable indeed; yet in order to understand it, one must seek within for that part of one's life which one would never, ever give up—even if another should offer one billions of dollars, or all the power in the world. (Let us remember, this is the very same temptation Christ was offered by the devil, but He chose His Being over all riches.)

If one knows this part then one is quite close to that part which seeks God and knows God is real; and each of us has that part in us, no matter how thoroughly it may be obscured by our desire. 

When Jeanne de Salzmann speaks of Being in The Reality of Being, she calls us into question to discover this part within ourselves: this connection to the miracle of Being, which is directly emanated by God. We've been created, you see, by the most extraordinarily loving force; and yet we've forgotten that. 

If there is any self-remembering whatsoever to be had in this life, the truest form of it consists of remembering this sacred self, which is the only real self; and that mystery is well protected, though we are, through Grace and Mercy, allowed to touch it from time to time.


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