Meister Eckhart, who was born in the year 1,260, was a thirteenth to the fourteenth century philosopher, theologian, and mystic who lived and worked in the Dominican order.
Meister Eckhart is referenced in many spiritual books, and rightfully so! Eckhart’s teachings to this day are still making a large impact on the earth. Eckhart died in the year 1,328.
This is a piece which takes some of Eckhart’s greatest spiritual writings and breaks them down even further to get to the meat and potatoes of what he was trying to convey.
Breaking Free from Your Identity
“As long as I am this or that, I am not all things.”
Growing up from the time we were young, we have developed the mind to choose who we want to be amongst the society.
The self-image, or the way that you see yourself, is an identity that you have developed so you can fit nicely and neatly within society.
This is called “role-playing” or the part amongst society that your self-image plays its part in.
Of course, when society is up to it, they will develop the youth, tell you do’s and don’ts, will give you rules, will ask you “what you want to be when you grow up?” and, in translation, what piece of the puzzle do you want to fill?
What Eckhart is saying here is that we are everything already; we are unlimited beings, When we try to define ourselves with a role, a particular image, then we have bottled up our unlimitedness, boxed up the universe trying to express itself through us to the max.
The unlimited nature of “you” is not an image, not an identity, mind made idea, but the spontaneous effortless universe experiencing itself through you.
What Is God?
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
With the many different religions and religious principles, belief systems, the term God has been thrown around, analyzed, interpreted, filtered through senses and ultimately has been corrupted from an individual’s insight into what God actually is.
In many spiritual traditions the term oneness, which means one with all is the best way to describe what God is.
And within that oneness you and I exist and are not apart from it.
“There is no need to look for God here or there. He is no farther away than the door of your own heart.”
Eckhart is simply saying that although your senses perceive a separate reality, which can also distort your views that God is a separate reality, when in reality you are one with, all that is and one with God.
When the essence of oneness turns from belief into absolute knowing from within this is enlightenment and it is, when a wave (You) realizes it’s the ocean metaphorically speaking, the one timeless reality and the one timeless existence.
But because we cannot interpret what the entire universe actually is, we can feel Nowness through the body.
In this Nowness, we can feel the essence of God without needing to comprehend the whole or what God actually is.
God is and forever will be mysterious, unknown and a question mark the human mind.
How Do You Feel God?
Knowing that we are the one reality, and the one God, how do you directly feel this?
“Where there is Isness, there God is. Creation is the giving of isness from God. And that is why God becomes where any creature expresses God.”
“Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.”
Essentially isness and stillness are two different words that mean the same thing.
Isness is that you are completely empty, and through this emptiness, are aware of your own existence in this moment, as this moment.
The mind is still, the mind is nowhere, no thinking, no past, no future just feeling your inner energy in the moment fully with nowhere to go, no identity to live up to, no image to think about and absolutely nothing to do.
“To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.”
When the mind is still or quiet, no-mind, the moment is awareness, and the awareness of the moment is isness.
In many eastern religions the silence, the pure emptiness when absolutely zero thinking happens, is the direct feeling of consciousness, the direct feeling of God.
The realization is that you believe you’re existing by thinking about the past and thinking about the future; after all we need these to survive, there is only one absolute existence and that is in the moment.
The current state of unconsciousness is that you are aware of your existence by thinking either about the past or the future because you are “surviving” and surviving is equated with existing, but there is only existence, and it has nothing to do with the survival of your mind and everything to do with the internal awareness, the inner body awareness that feels you are here without the mind grasping it.
This doesn’t merely mean to live in the moment; it’s to be “aware” of life.
Living in the moment has this feeling of you need to “do” something, to live. But you are not separate from life; you and life are one.
Realizing who you are, which is life, means to be aware of the moment which can only happen through no-mind, no thinking.
So it is this, this conscious presence in which you directly know existence and so therefore know God.
“I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth.”
“Object in your mind” means any thought, no matter how necessary it seems to be, is not the truth. The truth can only be felt beyond the limitations of thought.
Gratitude & Contentment
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
Consider what is asked of most humans from the time of a child through to an adult. Go to school, get good grades, acquire a career and then retire. Very few people question this way of living because it is just regarded as the “I have to do this” type of culture that we humans have built.
Once we get grades, then we can be accepted by society, once we get a career, then we can be accepted, make a lot money, have nice things; this conditioning, absorbed through energy, goes through us through our life cycles of age, but when is it ever enough?
When is it is just OK, be here, be OK here, dead stop?
You know what truly is enough: the breath that you feel right now. It means you have had enough food, enough water, enough shelter up to this point, and that you are simply and MOST SIGNIFICANTLY living as you read.
If your prayers turned into “Thank You” simply because I’m alive, you would live a truly rich and abundant life. But NO! That’s enough society says. And if you’re always placing your contentment on what you acquire or experience, then it will never be sustainable because when does the future end?
It ends in the death of the mind this very instant.
On What True Love Is Towards Someone
Aside from the fact that Love, as with existence and as with God, is incomprehensible because it means all that is.
There are compassionate ways to express what we can understand about love.
“If I had a friend and loved him because of the benefits which this brought me and because of getting my own way, then it would not be my friend that I loved but myself. I should love my friend on account of his own goodness and virtues and account of all that he is in himself. Only if I love my friend in this way do I love him properly.”
Remember the role-playing I spoke about?
Well it is in this very way that we tend to see people.
When you see yourself a role player in the society, then you will reflect that outwards towards your friends, family and society.
“What role can this person play for my benefit?” In order so I may love him is not true love, but what a person can do for us. It’s false love, it’s mere trade. Give and take is not love, it’s a bargain.
To love someone means that you love them for the sake of who they are in the given present moment, not according to what your “beliefs” are of who they should or should not be, of how they should act, behave and live up to your standards.
Your standards of how people should or should not be according to the mind are usually are given to you as perceived through the eyes of the collective.
I know love by what I am (which is God) and I know by what you truly are (which is God) and that is also synonymous with existence and with love.
Allowing The World to Be as It Is.
Part of being the moment, means allowing whatever shape the world takes circumstantially or situationally, to be as it is.
Often times the present moment situation or circumstance makes us uncomfortable or gives us emotional pain but only because we resist what already is.
“For the person who has learned to let go and let be, nothing can ever get in the way again.”
Letting go and letting be means no matter what presents itself in our life situation regardless of work, home and everything in between, we allow it to be as it is without resistance.
Even if we are not taught to resist life as it comes, we are not taught to accept life as it comes, and sometimes conditioning comes through our simple perception of how others go through life, and, more often than not, it doesn’t occur to awareness that “what is” already is, so it cannot be undone, so it might as well be accepted.
Observing life often means seeing life situations as the mental chatter itself, but not what exists underneath it, the neutral reality or presence.
This will require silence, and it is silence itself that is the non-resistance to “what is.”
Seeing Life as Fresh and New
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
The mind itself is the conditioning, as the only way it can perceive the present moment, which is your situation, is through the lens of the past.
What Eckhart means here is to start over every morning to see life from a fresh perspective, but, generally, this means being fully alive in the moment without an anticipation of how the day is going to unfold simply because of what has happened.
We anticipate the days on end because not much seems to change in terms of routine, habits, patterns, and this often leaves us numb to life.
The days just seem like a lifeless passing cloud in which we can’t WAIT to get to the next moment.
The energizing fresh new life that comes from fully feeling the moment means not only are you starting over every morning but every moment.
Awakening to Higher Realms of Consciousness and Work Life.
Often times we don’t know which direction we need to go in with our work life. There are an infinite number of directions to go in to mold our future life situation, and this sometimes leaves us clueless, causing us a great deal of harm within society.
“What if this work I do is meaningless or not worth it?” the mind tends to ask.
“The outward work will never be puny if the inward work is great.” – Meister Eckhart
When you begin from within (emptiness), and make the focal point of your life this conscious silence, then even the randomness of life actions will be significant.
When you become empty inside, or let the silent mind happen, that is looking within, as its consciousness (the inner reality) observing outwardly, in pure neutrality.
When the conscious empty presence or the inner reality becomes the foundation, that is life; so when life, when existence, when God becomes the focal point then all outer work will manifest out of that, and it will be immeasurably greater than the thinking-mind can achieve or comprehend.
What We Really Want
What you truly want is not what the mind wants.
What the mind wants is what it has been told it wants from outer conditioning.
What the mind wants is security, it wants money, fame and fortune (a course not for everyone), but turn on the radio and you will generally know what most human minds want which is to be known, to be understood, to be desired and to be loved.
But beyond the mind, what you really want is consciousness, love itself, existence, God, all the same oneness to become aware of itself so that it may be able to express itself in the outer world.
What you are is the present moment, is the emptiness, is love, existence, all the same language for the same existence.
“I am what I wanted and I want what I am.”
What you want is what you are, and what you are is what you want, it has never not been you, and it will never escape.
What/who you are can be blocked off by the mind, by the thought, by the past, by the future, by the memory, by the anticipation by the desire for more than breathe, then by the desire for more to your false identity.
But you are already complete and you want to see this completion in its totality.
With this being said, I cannot say for sure what Eckhart was trying to express fully, but what I can say is that I have used his words to guide me within my own inward reality, and the best you can hope from a perceived someone outside you is for him to guide you into reality, into existence, into your own God realized consciousness.