Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sweetness and the Lord, part IV

Jesus reveals himself, too, in infinite sweetness and richness, welling up and overflowing and pouring in from the power of the Holy Ghost, with superabundant richness and sweetness into all receptive hearts. When Jesus reveals himself with this richness and this sweetness, and is united with the soul; the soul flows with this richness and this sweetness into herself and beyond all things, by grace and with power, without means back into her primal source. Then the outer man will be obedient to his inner man until death, and will be at all times at peace in the service of God forever. 

—Meister Eckhart, the complete Mystical Works, p. 70

So now we come to the personal matter of sweetness.

Because we store the sweetness of the Lord within, we must first receive that sweetness; what Gurdjieff called conscious labor makes that possible. 

We must be intentional, that is, we must inwardly tend towards that sweetness, we must be precise and intelligent about ingesting it, in the same way that a bee uses its delicate mouthparts to probe flowers for their nectar.

This nectar which we collect may, at the discretion and by the Grace of the Lord, be released from time to time: yet this only takes place if there is enough nectar, and if the energy is needed for our inner growth. At such times the Lord sees fit to allow the release of that sweetness; and this is strictly and always to remind us of His actual physical Presence within us, and the need for us to continually work to receive Him.

When we are visited by the sweetness of the Lord, it is like no other sweetness. 

Imagine the sweetness of honey, magnified and multiplied so many orders that honey itself is mere dross or bitterness compared to it; and then imagine all of that sweetness, concentrated into a single, infinitely small point of Being, so tiny that it has no material existence but exists only as an instant in time and location, that is, a place rather than a thing; and then imagine that that place is in fact the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This is how the Kingdom of Heaven is within us; and it can only manifest according to the Presence of the nectar of the Lord, and His arrival within us, which is what Swedenborg called the inflow, the inward flow of divine Presence. Now, either one knows this or does not know this; and one knows for certain whether or not one does know, because either there is certainty, or there is not. The aim of inner work is to develop a relationship with God and to open the kingdom of heaven within Being and within the body; and there is no other reason for it. If one has no interest in this, one might as well just stop working and indulge in food, sex, money, things, and so on. To a certain limited extent, these satisfy; unless, that is, one understands what the kingdom of heaven consists of. 

Then, there can be no rest in Being.

There is no other reason to do inner work, but on behalf of the Lord; and it is this divine inflow, this manifestation of the sweetness of the Lord, that stands as a testament to His Glory and the reason we all work towards Being. Being is, of itself, both the parent and the child of the Lord's Presence; it is the flower of the Lord's deepest heart and the expression of all His goodness. Born in sensation, which is the fundamental building block of impressions, it gives birth to all and everything.

These matters are largely lost on us unless we have a direct experience of the Presence of the Lord, of His sweetness; and until that happens we think we know what we are, that we are important and significant and that somehow, we know something. 

But when the sweetness comes; then, we know at once both everything and nothing, and we know ourselves not in ourselves nor of ourselves, but only in and of the Lord.

Now he says: "This is my commandment. " If anyone commands me to do that which is pleasant, which avails me or on which my bliss depends, that is exceedingly sweet to me. When I am thirsty, the drink commands me; when I am hungry, the food commands me. And God does the same: He commands me to such sweetness that the whole world cannot equal. And if a man has once tasted this sweetness, then indeed he can no more turn away with his love from goodness and from God, than God can turn away from His Godhead: in fact it is easier for him to divest himself of self and all bliss and to remain with love close to goodness and God. 

Meister Eckhart, page 100


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