Thursday, March 20, 2014

A power in the soul

There is a power in the soul, which is the intellect. From the moment that it becomes aware of God and tastes Him, it has five properties. The first is that it becomes detached from here and now. The second is that it is like nothing. The third is that it is pure and uncompounded. The fourth is that it is active and seeking in itself. The fifth is that it is an image. —Meister Eckhart, Sermon 42

This power in the soul is an intelligence

This intelligence is distinct from our ordinary mind; it's what Gurdjieff would call a conscious intelligence, because—unlike our ordinary intelligence—it can become aware of God

I think we can all agree that to become aware of God is to cross an invisible line, from belief (which is where we think from) to understanding— which consists of certainty. 

So until we are certain of God— to taste is to have actual experience, not a set of theories— we do not have this intellect, this intelligence, of which Eckhart speaks. And as we are, we cannot and do not become aware of God. (Not too many of us bop around from moment to moment in our lives, saying to ourselves, "Oh, yeah. I'm so aware of God now.")


Once this certainty, this Presence, of God is known, Eckhart says, five things ensue:

First, it becomes detached from here and now. This is confusing, because we have heard that to be present is to be in the here and now. Yet to be detached from the here and now is to know it, yet not be, as Gurdjieff would say, identified with it. We know thus that we are in the here and now, but not of it.

Second, that it is like nothing. And this description is quite exact; only knowing the state can we understand what this means; and if you know what like nothing means, then understanding exists. Otherwise, for all of the mind that is like this or like that, there is no understanding. So as long as we live within this moment where mind has a comparable quality, relativity, it is not like nothing. 

To be pure and uncompounded is like nothing. Nothing is pure because it has no qualities that can be adulterated; it is, equally, uncompounded because it empties itself of all foreign things, that is, it remains essential within itself.

This quality is active and seeking itself because this quality is within its very nature. And this can be explained when we understand the fifth thing, that it is an image. That image is the reflection of God, which explains all the qualities together at one time.

Within this certainty of God's presence is the absolute arousal of love; for that's all God is.

Eckhart goes on to say:

...nature secretly and in her inmost parts seeks and aims at God. No man was ever so thirsty that, when offered a drink, he would not refuse it unless there were something of God in it. Nature seeks neither eating nor drinking, nor clothes nor comfort, nor anything whatsoever, unless God were in it; she seeks privily, struggling and striving ever more to find God in it.

I'll say more on this later.


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