Saturday, May 21, 2005

fragments from Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart said: We should contrive not to need to pray to God, asking for his grace and divine goodness . . . but take it without asking . . .

Meister Eckhart said: I shall never pray that God give me himself. I shall pray that he make me pure, for if I am pure, God must give himself and dwell in me, because it is his peculiar nature to do so.

What is truth? Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep to the truth and let God go.

Speaking of knowledge and love: knowledge is better than love but the two together are better than one of them, for knowledge really contains love. Love may be fooled by goodness, depending on it, so that when I love I hang on to the gate, blind to the truth about my acquaintance. Even a stone has love - for the ground! if I depend on goodness, which is God's first proffer, and accept God only as he is good to me, I am content with the gate but I do not get to God. Thus knowledge is better, for it leads love. Love has to do with desire and purpose, whereas knowledge is no particular thought, but rather, it peels off all [coverings] and is disinterested and runs naked to God, until it touches him and grasps him.

In limpid souls God beholds his own image; he rests in them and they in him.
As I have often said, I like best those things in which I see most clearly the likeness of God. Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.


Meister Eckhart's good friends bade him, "since you are going to leave us, give us one last word."

"I will give you," he replied, "a rule which is the stronghold of all I have ever said, in which are lodged all the truths to be discussed or put into practice."

It often happens that what seems trivial to us is more important to God than what we think important. Therefore, we ought to take everything God puts on us evenly, not comparing and wondering which is more important, or higher, or best. We ought simply to follow where God leads, that is, to do what we are most inclined to do, to go where we are repeatedly admonished to go - to where we feel most drawn. If we do that, God gives us his greatest in our least and never fails.

Now, some people despise the little things of life. It is their mistake, for they thus prevent themselves from getting God's greatness out of these little things. God is every way, evenly in all ways, to him who has the eyes to see. But sometimes it is hard to know whether one's inclinations come from God or not, but that can be decided this way: if you find yourself possesed of a knowledge or intimation of God's will, which you obey before everything else, because you feel urged to obey it and the urge is frequent, then you may know that it is from God.

Some people want to recognize God in some pleasant enlightenment -- and then they get pleasure and enlightenment but not God. Somewhere it is written that God shines in the darkness where every now and then we get a glimpse of him. More often, God is where his light is least apparent. Therefore we ought to expect God in all manners and all things evenly.

Someone may now say: I should be glad to look for God evenly in all shapes and things, but my mind does not always work the same way -- and then, not as well with this as with that. To which I reply: That is too bad! All paths lead to God and he is on them all evenly, to him who knows. I am well aware that a person may get more out of one technique than another but it is not best so. God responds to all techniques evenly to a knowing man. Such and such may be the way, but it is not God.

But even if God is in all ways and all things evenly, do I not still need a special way to get to him? Let us see. Whatever the way that leads you most frequently to awareness of God, follow that way; and if another way appears, different from the first, and you quit the first and take the second, and the second works, it is all right. It would be nobler and better, however, to achieve rest and security through evenness, by which one might take God and enjoy him in any manner, in any thing, and not have to delay and hunt around for your special way: that has been my joy! To this end all kinds of activities may contribute and any work may be a help; but if it does not, let it go!

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