Thursday, August 14, 2014

Of obedience and being, part II

The most powerful prayer, one well-nigh omnipotent to gain all things, and the noblest work of all is that which proceeds from a bare mind. The more bare it is, the more powerful, worthy, useful, praiseworthy and perfect the prayer and the work. A bare mind can do all things. 

What is a bare mind ?

A bare mind is one which is worried by nothing and is tied to nothing, which has not bound its best part to any mode, does not seek its own in anything, that is fully immersed in God's dearest will and gone out of its own. A man can do no work however paltry that does not derive power and strength from this source.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, p. 487

 This instruction echoes the point of yesterday's essay, which is that I must empty myself of all things, everything that is attached to creation, in order to become truly obedient. Obedience takes place when I abandon everything except my participation; and my participation is obedience.

When I align myself inwardly through discipline, that is, the inward and self-created practice of attention, effort, and demand, then there is a true inward alignment. I can never actually align myself through outward forms; all they are just templates. To the extent that I am drawn to the outward form, and believe that the outward form provides this or that which I need for my inner discipline, to that extent, I am deluded, because my inward discipline must always begin inside me, with and from myself, and it must always begin with the demand that I work inwardly. Not that I work according to how others have taught me to work, or the way that outward forms tell me to work; my work must be formed inwardly through grace, obedience, and effort, where I abandon all concepts of outward form and attempt to open myself to a higher energy.

Those who read The Reality of Being would do well to consider how assiduously Jeanne de Salzmann attended, in her notes to herself, to this question. She well understood how much her work relied on her own effort to be not as she was.

I see that I am always attracted to outward form; and yet I never see that this should always be a mirror of inward truth, and that inward truth must come first. When inward truth is present, all form and outwardness is equal; and in this way, colors, cushions, automobiles, jobs and loved ones — all things— become equal not because they are actually equal in terms of outward form, but because all are equally and exactly a part of a whole life.

In this way, equality is understood quite differently than it is in the outward world, where we see that such equality as we presume or attempt to assign is in fact impossible and imaginary. The principle of equality of all things—an idea shared in common by a range of disciplines— can only be understood from an inward point of view, and this is only when something is understood inwardly from the point of view of the inflow, the divine principle.

So I cannot judge outwardness through mankind's intentions, but only through God's.


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