Thursday, March 27, 2014

The solar influence

Anhui, China
Photograph by the author

There is a star above the sun, that is the highest star: it is nobler than the sun and illumines the sun, and all the light that the sun has, it has from this star... This star does not only shine into the sun, it flows through the sun and through all the stars and flows into the earth and makes it fruitful.
-Meister Eckhart, sermon 50

Lest readers think that my own conception of the sun as an aperture through which divine influence flows into our universe is sheer invention, I offer the above passage from Meister Eckhart. This is not just an 'idea', but an esoteric truth which can be organically known through the connections that develop between a man’s physical body and the inward flow of God into the body, which takes place through the soul. These processes are not only analogous, but indeed directly related to one another; Eckhart understood this quite well, and compared them in sermon 50:

And it is just the same with a truly humble person who has subjected all creatures to himself and subjects himself to God: God in His goodness does not hold back, but pours Himself out fully into that man: He is compelled to do this and must do it.

I categorically dismiss any interpretation that renders this understanding of the sun as some form of obscure, medieval allegory. Eckhart was not, as some may think, citing earlier authorities, or espousing preexisting cosmologies; he was speaking from inner experience. Man receives God through the inward flow in the same way that the solar system receives God through the sun.  A man or woman, in other words, needs to allow a sun to form in themselves so that the light of God flows inward into them. These impressions of life are the inner 'cloud of dust' which, given a sufficient center of gravity, will coalesce and ignite the soul so that the radiance of the Lord can arrive.

We can know from this sermon something specific as regards just how far Eckhart’s inner development had come, because this truth arrives only as a direct consequence of a personal inner connection to this higher solar influence. One can, of course, read about it and parrot it, but Eckhart speaks not only with a great conviction about such matters, he does so correctly, and with authority- which illustrates the inner influences that formed his understanding.  This inward flow of God and its comparison to the solar influence is the source of much of his understanding, which is, it must be said, utterly reliable insofar as it derives from that place.

I urge readership to make inner efforts to understand this from a practical point of view, since little of value can be inwardly received unless a reliable and ever-present opening to this level of influence takes place. Otherwise, inner work remains mired in the realm of theory and doesn't confer the organic changes which are necessary in order to understand the esoteric, or inner, meaning of many of Mr. Gurdjieff’s principles, notably, intentional suffering and remorse of conscience.

Regarding the inner (and, once again, we can rely on his words) Eckhart furthermore says, again in sermon 50,

This means God is brought down, not absolutely but inwardly, that we may be raised up. What was above has become inward. You must be internalized, from your­ self and within yourself, so that He is in you.

This is actually a concise statement about the entire aim of Jeanne de Salzmann’s teaching in The Reality of Being, distilled into a brief and encapsulated in Christian doctrine- which does not, by the way, in the least diminish its value or accuracy.

Being well versed in the sciences cannot possibly confer this particular understanding, because the literalism of science, accurate though it is to the extent that it is, is limited in its ability to sense the spiritual scope of the matter. Its limits begin and end within the rigidity of ordinary matter, a phenomenon which exists only at this level, and dissolves quite readily at the levels both above and below it. This is a portion of what Gurdjieff was getting at when he described things in the cosmos as “crystallizations;” each one is removed from the essential fluidity of the Lord.



  1. Thank u Lee!....'organic change'...the only thing I have had trouble with was a certain kind of arrogance or disdain...that was in the air...the problem with any institution...particularly churches of any kind....Banks are much less judgemental :)


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