Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Love cannot lose faith
...love cannot lose faith but always trusts in the good.
—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, P. 502
Meister Eckhart uses this phrase in his Talks of Instruction; and it pertains to understanding the certainty of eternal life. Yet the critical point is universal; and what interests me this morning is the question of trust in the good.
Yesterday I had a rather exasperating discussion with a highly intelligent friend who trusts abundantly; but he trusts in the intellect. I often find the smartest people the most frustrating; excessive intelligence tends to obscure everything except itself , and engenders its own special kind of stupidity.
Now, make no mistake about it, it is essential to have a very sharp intellect; essential, that is, in terms of an intellect with a critical facility. By this I mean an intellect with right order and an internal consistency. That order must be formed by the inflow and not by my own will; a point amply made in the Talks of Instruction. Yet the intellect in us is formed by our own will; and we are loath to see the inconsistencies in it. Our ego drives intellect in almost every instance, yet intellect carefully adjusts itself to conceal this. Intellect has, in and of itself, become the chief tool of the ego in its efforts to subvert the divine inspiration of the inner order.
The intellect cannot, in a word, be trusted; and the very best way to understand that is to have the intellect extinguished by revelation. This does not need to go on for very long before one sees the intellect for what it is; it is the emperor's new clothes, an invention of the imagination. Of course it "loses" faith; it has no real faith to begin with, because its faith begins with itself, and this kind of faith does not ever rest in God.
If the intellect is extinguished, ah! Then I am in the desert; and in that emptiness love rushes in, because in the end, if I am empty of myself, the first thing that rushes in to fill that vacuum is love; love naturally seeks every corner and crevice of creation. There is no place it will not fill if room is made! And love, once it arrives, trusts—because it begins in the Lord and, having its origins in what is good, it never doubt the good. The intellect, however, has its origins in a mechanical arrangement, a structural premise, and of itself there is no good in this. Only feeling, only love, can produce the good, because it is rooted in it; and intellect cannot have such roots, because it is arranged to reveal hierarchy, structure, and relativity. It has, of itself, no evaluative ability or function; and yet I wrongly ascribe such functions to it. In this way I continually attempt to evaluate using a part that cannot perform that task.
Trust in the good ought to arise in me naturally, just as love does; yet when I begin with the mind, instead of from an inner desert, no trust appears. It is in this inner desert that I abandon my own trust; and there I find solace.