Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Two natures, via meister eckhart

But you might say, 'How can I believe in higher things as long as I do not feel in such a condition, but feel myself imperfect and prone to many things ?' 

Just see. You should observe two things in yourself which our Lord also had in himself. He possessed the higher and the lower powers, which had two different functions. His higher powers had possession and enjoyment of eternal bliss. But His lower powers were at the same time involved in the greatest suffering and struggle in the world, yet none of these works hindered the others in their sphere. 

That is how it should be in you, that the highest powers should be lifted entirely into God, and entirely surrendered and added to Him. Moreover, we should assign all suffering to the body, to the lower powers and the senses, but the spirit should raise itself up with all its strength and plunge unfettered into God. Rather, the suffering of the senses and the lower powers are not your concern, nor this assault of the world: for the greater and fiercer the struggle, the greater and more glorious the victory and the honor of victory.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, P. 510.

Here Eckhart brings us to the classic dilemma of the clash between our lower nature—the descending, or material, side of the enneagram—and our higher nature, the spiritual calling to which we aspire.

He begins his soliloquy on this question with the words,  just see.

Now, those of us who are familiar with The Reality of Being  might think of this as a mere coincidence; and yet it cannot be, for seeing—the action of a concise inner observation—is exactly what he calls us to in his next paragraphs. So Eckhart begins and ends his advice to us with this effort to see where we are.

His understanding of the division on man's two natures, and the need to stand between them, is a precise and unambiguous precedent; what it precedes, by nearly 700 years, is Gurdjieff's and de Salzmann's comments on the same subject. Yet there is nothing technical about Eckhart's advice: or, rather, it is supremely technical, but in a technique seemingly absent from the instructions of the Fourth Way teachers, since its technique rests entirely on a single foundation. That is, without a doubt, the foundation of Love. Eckhart's premise all along is that we must love God, must love the higher, more than anything else; and it is this emotive power alone which may lift us up into a communion with the higher power, or level, within us. Feeling, in other words, is necessary; and that feeling must be unhesitating and unconditional in its embrace of the Lord.

Eckhart poses us quite firmly between these two worlds, and insists they are not to be mixed, in his admonition the suffering of the senses and the lower powers are not your concern. He does not ask that we deny them; far from it. He reminds us, in fact, that Christ found himself faced with the same dilemma, yet invested His Being in the higher.

Hosanna.

3 comments:

  1. so r u saying 'love' is absent from mme's approach? 'the path without a heart' as the saying goes. Maybe...and in all of this let's not forget that we are always talking about 'higher' bodies and their nourishment and formation...a la 'reality of being'....none of this is 'religious' or moral' in any accepted sense...the whole thing is about constructing 'angelic/kesdjan/astral'soul bodie......
    But we hear little of this these day...rather it's about observing oneself and recognising our 'mechanicality'......

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  2. That's not quite what I said.

    I said "seemingly absent," and referred to Fourth Way teachers in general, not to any specific teacher.

    It isn't actually absent in the core of the Gurdjieff work; it just doesn't get the exposure it ought to. It is, in fact, quite central to mme's teaching ; yet not often enough discussed, IMO.

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