Thursday, April 10, 2014

The inward nature

I say further: the inner and the outer man are as different as heaven and earth. But God is loftier by many thousands of miles. God becomes and unbecomes. But to return to what I was saying: God savors Himself in all things. The sun sheds its light on all creatures, and whatever the sun shines on absorbs the sunshine, yet the sun does not lose its brightness. All creatures give up their life in favor of being. All creatures enter my understanding that they may become rational in me.  I alone prepare all creatures for their return to God. Take care, all of you, what you do! —Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical WorksSermon 56, p. 293.

We see all things through our outwardness. Yet all things exist first in their inwardness, and are created in their inwardness. So the inwardness is where creation resides.

When we judge, we think that we judge outwardness; yet judgment is always a question of inwardness. As I said to my roommate from freshman year in college yesterday, what is perceived is always in the perceiver; what is seen always summarizes who is seeing, not the object that is seen. So if I find something good or bad, this is within me, not within the object from outside which I see. In this way, when I exercise judgment, I act on behalf of a higher power. In this sense, Meister Eckhart says, take care, all of you, what you do. For the act of seeing is also an act of creation; and the creation is the creation of my inwardness.

In this sense, the universe is created. I can only understand the context of my own life and everything that is through my own inwardness; and each of us is this way. When I perceive through my own inwardness, then and only then can I perceive the inwardness of all the things; for they also have this inwardness, by degree, according to their level of creation. And if I perceive according to this inwardness, which is unusually sensitive and quite different than my outward perception, then I see all things according to their level of creation quite differently. The entire world assumes a different value and has a different weight within me.

Now I return to my inner and my outer man. I see the lilies in the field, their brightness, their color, and all their leaves. But I do not see their fragrance. Why? Because the fragrance is in me. But what I say is in me and I speak it forth from me. All creatures are savored by my outer man as creatures, like wine and bread and meat. But my inner man savors things not as creatures but as God's gift. But my inmost man savors them not as God's gift, but as eternity. (Ibid)

Inwardness is not an idea that I have in myself. It is the living quality of my own Being, which is akin to what Eckhart refers to as eternity. There is no time within Being; and Being encounters time, but Being is not within it. So they are separated; and eternity means without beginning and without end. So this word, eternity, does not mean forever; in a certain sense, it means now. Another way of seeing it is that it means there are not any boundaries to enclose what takes place.

To say it this way is dangerous, because these words already put limits on a sensation and kind of attention that is supposed to be — intentionally – limitless, that is, one should not try to define, but just be within.

This leads me to a question of presence which I contemplated yesterday while walking the famous dog Isabel, but I'll leave that for tomorrow.

 In the meantime,  it's worthwhile to contemplate this question of inwardness from an organic point of view. 

Hopefully, as I attempt to encounter this, the center of gravity always arises first in sensation.


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