“The earth is the basest element and lies in the middle, and is entirely surrounded by heaven and is fully exposed to the influence of heaven. Whatever heaven performs and pours forth is received in the middle, in the ground of earth. Homo in yet another sense means ‘moisture,' and signifies 'he who is watered with grace,’ meaning that the humble man receives at once the influx of grace. In this inflowing of grace the light of intellect climbs up straightway, and there God shines with unquenchable light.” —Meister Eckhart, sermon 20
One might consider thinking carefully about the essential nature of what one is up to in spiritual effort.
With a bit of effort — just a little bit, mind you — it will be noticed that almost everything that is exchanged between people in terms of conversation about matters of self remembering, sensation, and so on, is theoretical and psychological. It sounds very important, but it always misses the point, because it is of the mind.
The nature of an effort of Being is molecular, not mental. It is not about this and that higher thing. Anything “higher” comes later than the molecular effort. And that effort must be undertaken by the molecules, without our interference. The food that is involved is too fine for the intellect to manipulate, control, or selectively digest. The parts that can do that have to be allowed to do their work.
To be watered with Grace is to allow the water to penetrate. It is possible to live with this force constantly present, but one cannot want it in the way that one wants the world, or wants life, or wants milk. One has to want it as a duty and a service from within, with a wanting that is not attached to the world or its rewards. It must rather be attached to a willingness to suffer on behalf of Love and Grace, which plays a different role than the role the mind thinks it plays.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.