Friday, May 27, 2016

A call to inward prayer

Doll's Eye

“...when God finds you ready, He has to act, to overflow into you, just as when the air is clear and pure the sun has to burst forth and cannot refrain. It would surely be a grave defect in God if He performed no great works in you and did not pour great goodness into you whenever He found you thus empty and bare.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, Sermon 4 (p. 58)

I see that I live between two currents.

These currents are very real things that live within me, not conceptual, theoretical, or philosophical conditions. They manifest in the energy that moves through me — and they are present in each and every movement of life. They are here now as I write this.

 The currents come from two different directions, although directionality is difficult to assign in this case. I am tempted to say that they come from "above" and “below", but this isn't actually the case, because each one flows "from" a different source of intentions. 

There's a mechanical or automatic flow of intention, which is not mindful. It is uninformed. It has a passive nature that paradoxically expresses itself as a form of aggression. It's aggressive towards everything, like a defensive animal. But these materialistic analogies aren't that helpful, because it is above all a tendency. 

This tendency, this influence, flows through me like a powerful current of electricity that recruits many different parts to its purposes. It especially recruits destructive impulses like anger, resentment, jealousy, and so on, to help it achieve things by force. It's perpetually active in bringing these various negative elements into being within me. 

I'm able to observe this if I watch how I operate inside.

I’m familiar with this particular inflow, this current, because it comes from what I usually call “myself” and my personality. It has parts I may not really be that familiar with… it’s quite surprising how destructive some of my parts can be, after all… but all in all I know this current, insofar as I can see it.

 There is a second intention, a second current, that flows from a different place in me. It’s a place I’m not so familiar with; and that current provides a kind of food that changes me, especially from an emotional point of view. It’s true that it provides a different, much deeper, connection with sensation of the body, something the other current not only cannot do, but actively suppresses. Yet above all it brings a different inner emotional attitude. 

What I would call it is a call to inward prayer.

These two currents exist alongside each other. It’s tempting to characterize them as oppositional; yet they simply intersect here, in a conjunction occupied by my awareness.

What strikes me here is in the nature of the two forces. The one force has negative, earthly  characteristics: once one peels off all the layers of self-justification, it is bound up in petty hatreds and a perpetual kind of paranoid inner conflict.

The other is divine; that is, it is of the Lord, of a higher nature. By higher nature I mean better intention; it bears within itself, of itself, an intention towards goodness that can’t be resident in the other current.  

This highlights what both Meister Eckhart and Swedenborg said of goodness: that all goodness is of God. 

The interesting thing about dwelling between these two currents is that I am able to see this; to see, not with the eyes, but to see with the sense of the soul.


Links to some previous pieces on the movements, which may be of current interest to some.

What are the movements?

On the theoretical structure of the movements

The functional form of movements


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that you refer to the movements. I wonder why?
    And to read my old comment. I remember making pumpkin soup in the paris centre during rehearsals for the main film in the early 80's. I saw the sound stage where it was shot. Took Pauline there in a v. old dented vw beatle to the shock of some of her minders. :)
    I would be interested to see it again...I don't think it has truly been pirated yet, has it????


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