Meister Eckhart on Creativity – Cont.

Eckhart describes the difference between via negativa meditation and via creativa meditation this way.  In an amazing sermon, on “How letting go and letting be are to bear fruit,” he says that learning introvert meditation or to empty oneself of all forms, is good—but it is not enough.  He calls that practice of meditation “being a virgin.”   

Mother and child covered in glitter. Photo by ketan rajput on Unsplash.

He insists that it is better to be a wife or a mother than a virgin.  Now pay attention and examine what I say carefully!  If this person were always a virgin, no fruit would come from him or her.  If this person is to become fruitful, then it is necessary for him or her to become a wife.  The word wife is the noblest term that we can attribute to the soul; It is far nobler than virgin. 

Why is that?  It is good for a person to receive God into himself or herself, and in this receptivity he or she is a virgin.  But it is better for God to become fruitful within the person.  This is because becoming fruitful as a result of the gift is the only gratitude for the gift.  Notice the important role gratitude plays in creativity–our work is a Thank You.

Short film on gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg. Video originally posted to Mindfulness 360 – Center for Mindfulness. Narration written and spoken by Br. David Steindl-Rast.

A virgin who is a wife, and who is free and liberated and without ego attachment, is always equally close to God and herself.  She bears much fruit, and the fruit is of good size.  It is no less nor more than God himself.  This virgin who is a wife bears this fruit and this birth.  Everyday she bears fruit a hundred times or a thousand time or countless times, giving birth and becoming fruitful out of the most noble foundation of all. 

Eckhart has the Gospel of John in mind where Christ says “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.”  And again, “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty…I commission you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last.”  (Jn 15: 1-3, 5,16)

Vine of grapes found at Lasseter Family Winery, Vintage Lane, Glen Ellen, CA, USA. Photo by Lasseter Winery on Unsplash.

Eckhart often talks about bearing “much fruit” and “fruit that will last.”  He asks: “What fruit lasts?”  And his answer is: “What is inborn within me lasts.” 

He is saying that what comes from our inner selves, our depths, lasts.  Our children.  Our work.  Our best selves giving birth daily in response to real needs and in real relationships.  This lasts.  And it is big fruit.  Nothing less than the Godself.  We give birth to God in our work and in our creativity. 

In creativity we tap into our depths, our truth, and we give birth to it.  Our work derives “from the same foundation as the Father,” he says.  We are co-creators when we birth our work in the world.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 274, 275, 280f.

Banner Image: Original work, entitled Magical, Mystical Managerie, by Tom Stang, brother of Sr. Dorothy Stang.

Queries for Contemplation

Meditations: Do you see your creativity as a big Thank You for being here?  Do you feel it comes from “the same foundation as the Father”?  Do you sense your role in co-creation?

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1 thought on “Meister Eckhart on Creativity – Cont.”

  1. Avatar
    Linda (GraMA of "Seven")

    Over the past seven-eight years, I have learned (through Holy Spirit) to pray, “The Hail Mary,” is a new way, with new understanding – and insight. This ‘newness’ within myself includes, “Blessed is the fruit of your [contemplative] womb, JESUS ……” Yes, I find this prayer to be rich with NEW LIFE ……… Thank you for sharing Meister Eckhart with us.

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