Base of the Divine Fountain
Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch
If we do not begin our work with a relationship to the higher, to the finer energy within the body and to its influence on life, all that takes place horizontally is meaningless and useless. That is to say, it fulfills its functions — like sex — but it does not lead to the development of the soul. And, as Meister Eckhart reminds us,
No one possesses the world so truly as he who has abandoned all the world. Do you know why God is God ? He is God because He is without creature. He did not name Himself in time. In time are creatures and sin and death. These are in a certain sense akin, and inasmuch as the soul has dropped away from time, there is there no woe or pain; even distress is turned for her to joy. All that could ever be conceived of delight and joy, of happiness and pleasure, is no joy at all when set against the bliss which is in this birth. (The complete mystical works, Sermon 29, page 180)
So when we use the word useless, we measure usefulness and relationship closeness to God, not to life and its pleasures. To be sure, there is a usefulness of this world; but the current state of the planet should sufficiently illustrate where that leads without the right inwardly formed attitude and influences. And this is exactly the problem: everyone puts the earthly influences first and forgets all about the need for the heavenly ones, which must always come first.
What Hieronymus Bosch has depicted in his image of the divine fountain is what happens when creation takes place. These are Eckhart's things named in time; and although they become precious gems, they are immediately corrupted. This is the inevitable result of the divine word when it is made flesh; and, as you can see from the link to the "corrupted" nature of the earthly realm, most esoteric art reflects these understandings.
But for now, let's concentrate on the question of this divine influence within you, which has the potential to blossom into something much finer than your ordinary understanding of life. It is like a tree that can grow, like the Mayan world tree; and this growth of a divine influence through the inflow of a higher energy creates a bridge between heaven and earth.
This is why we speak of the need to open; and this is why we search for way to submit, to acquiesce, to those higher forces which can act within us. It's true, we are divorced from these forces in a certain sense; yet every human being, as Meister Eckhart points out, has the capacity and the ability to become more open to this heavenly influence.
"God be with you" - and there the birth occurs. Let no one think this is beyond him... Some people say they have not got it. I say, 'I am sorry. Do you want it?' -No! - 'Then I am sorrier still.' If you cannot have it, you should at least have a desire for it. If you can't have a desire for it, you should at least desire to desire it. (Ibid, p. 181.)
Although work within the horizontal axis, work on this level, with all of its attendant struggles, confusions, and subjective elements, is absolutely necessary, we must always begin from within ourselves first, and try to sense the presence of a higher influence which flows into the body. It may take many years of effort and struggle in quite ordinary ways before something of this nature is sensed or produced in Being; but Meister Eckhart sums it all up in the second quote: we should desire to desire it.
As it happens, "this birth" which he refers to in the first quote was also quite familiar to the Maya, and their esoteric art has some specific depictions of it, which we will examine tomorrow.