Eckhart on Contemplation or “Loving God Mindlessly”

Eckhart admonishes us to “quit flapping your gums about God.”  Rather, learn to speak from “the inner wealth of silence….Be silent and let God work and let God speak.”  The Word or true Christ is born in us through silence.  “There is no question that the proper way to hear the word is in a stillness and a silence.” 

Depths of meditation. Photo by Max Rovensky on Unsplash

Eckhart speaks to the practice of meditation and silence when he says: The Word lies hidden in the soul, unknown and unheard unless room is made for it in the ground of hearing, otherwise it is not heard.  All voices and sounds must cease and there must be pure stillness within, a still silence.  

Great things happen in this place of silence.

Floating in Divine awareness. Photo by Lachlan Dempsey on Unsplash

There God speaks in the soul and utters Himself completely in the soul.  There the Father begets His Son and has such delight in the Word and is so fond of it, that He never ceases to utter the Word all the time, that is to say beyond time.

There “one takes hold of God as in the ground of His being, where He is beyond all being.” In solitude the soul learns to “be alone as God is alone.”   There too we encounter our own ground. 

To hear this Word in the Father (where all is stillness), a person must be quite quiet and wholly free from all images and from all forms.

Divine birthing happens and we move beyond time.

Eckhart offers a profoundly Buddhist teaching (though he never met a Buddhist in his life or study):

Oneness with all that is. Image by 3333873 from Pixabay

How then should one love God?  You should love God mindlessly, that is, so that your soul is without mind and free from all mental activities, for as long as your soul is operating like a mind, so long does it have images and representations.  But as long as it has images…it has neither oneness nor simplicity.  And therefore our soul should be bare of all mind and should stay there without mind.

How do we learn to “stay there without mind?”

If you love God as God is God or mind or person or picture, all that must be dropped.  How then shall you love him?  You should love God as God is, a not-God, not-mind, not-person, not-image, even more, as God is a pure, clear One, separate from all twoness.  And we should sink eternally from something to nothing into this One.  May God help us to do this.  Amen.

Sinking into the Divine. Image by roegger from Pixabay

Notice how Eckhart talks of “sinking” into God, not climbing ladders up to God.  This is part of his feminist consciousness and his appreciation of a God who is below, that is in the lower chakras and in the Earth and not just up in the sky at the top of ladders busy escaping earth and matter and mother.  In my book, A Spirituality Named Compassion, I devote a chapter to moving from “Climbing Jacob’s ladder” to “Dancing Sara’s Circle.”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 40f.

Also see Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion, pp.  36-67. 

Banner Image: Perfect reflection. Image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay

Eckhart and Buddhism agree on “loving God mindlessly.”  Eckhart got to that deep and universal truth by way of his own Christian practice of letting go and letting be.  Are you learning the same truth from whatever tradition and practice you undergo?

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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2 thoughts on “Eckhart on Contemplation or “Loving God Mindlessly””

  1. Avatar

    I love the phrase divine birthing .!!
    Very much ties in with the pregnancy of silence and emptiness. Rebirth, after the dark night of the soul comes life after life

    Wonderful ??

  2. Avatar

    Are you learning the same truth from whatever tradition and practice you undergo?????
    Yes Matthew I think I am
    I’ll share this, The Upanishads ,it’s a Sanskrit word,upan-ni-shad,
    Comes from the verb to sit, with upa, Connected with Latin s-ub under; and ni ,found in English be-neath and ne-ther.
    The whole would mean a sitting instructions, the sitting at the feet of a master.
    When we read the gospels that Jesus’ went up into the mountain: and when he was set,
    His disciples came onto him ‘
    We can imagine them sitting at the feet of their master
    The whole sermon on the mount
    Might be considered an Upanishad
    Sitting in my meditation there are many teacher that I sit at the feet off
    Of course Matthew fox is one
    Take care

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