Further Reflections on Eckhart and Our Inner Nobility

In yesterday’s DM we learned how one dimension of our nobility is our creativity—we birth God in ourselves, the Christ, the Buddha Nature, the tselem or image of God.  Eckhart elaborates on this good news, saying “the soul receives its whole being and life, and creates all that it is out of the depth of God.”  And again, “I say a royal person derives and creates his or her whole being, life, and happiness only from God, through God, and in God.”

Sacred street encounter: Howard, a veteran, lives in a shelter, and just has this air of nobility and dignity about him. “It’s a blessing to give,” he says, “I help people out when I can.”  What keeps him going and motivated is his family and God.  Profile by Steve McKenzie on Flickr

Eckhart connects the coming of the kingdom—the royal rule of God—and our own coming to birth.  And when he talks about the seed of God in each of us that we need to nurture to bring to fruition. 

If the seed had a good, wise, and industrious tiller, it would thrive all the more and grow up to God who seed it is, and the fruit would be equal to the nature of God. 

Nor does he think he is alone with this observation—“a large part of the Holy Scripture touches upon these words.”

There are tremendous political implications in our coming to grips with our nobility and royal personhood—indeed, Eckhart’s preaching on this topic played no small part in his subsequent trials and condemnation: He was challenging the reigning political structure and hierarchy by proposing, as he did, that we are all aristocrats, all noble people. 

“Jesus Revolutionary” Image of Jesus as socialist revolutionary by JesusFreaks on Wikiwand

This did not sit well with the aristocratic power people of his day including the archbishop of Cologne who called the first trial against him.  He actually won that trial, but later was called to Avignon to face papal inquisitors who condemned some of his teachings a week after he died.

Today too this teaching of our inner nobility has tremendous political consequences—and psychological ones as well.  Indeed, Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch, argues that Eckhart was a precursor to Karl Marx, and makes the point that “a subject who thought himself to be in personal union with the Lord of Lords provided, when things got serious, a very poor example indeed of serfhood.”

Eckhart insists that everyone who lives a life from his or her inner self is an aristocrat.  Our true royal and divine personhood is

“Parable of the Sower.” Detail from a window in Ely Cathedral. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP on Flickr.

hidden within us and is rightly called by Scripture a new person, a heavenly person, a young person, a friend, and a royal person. 

Such a person “unceasingly bears good fruit.”  

Luke’s parable on the kingdom of God in us forms the basis of Eckhart’s treatise (Lk 19:11f.), and what follows in the gospel is the story of the development of one’s talents.  This too Eckhart weaves into his argument. 

The inner person is the soil in which God has sown his likeness and image and in which he sows the good seed, the roots of all wisdom, all skills, all virtues, all goodness—the seed of the divine nature.

Eckhart’s rich teachings on the Via Creativa climax in his discourse on our royal personhood. 

to be continued

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 516f., 520f., 526. 521.

Banner Image: “God’s Realness and Loveliness” Image by Roland J Sims on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

I have italicized the word create in citing Eckhart here because clearly he is equating our powers of creating and birthing God in us, the Christ in us, with our being royal people.  Do you find your powers of creativity to be integral to the “nobility inside you” and inside all people?

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

Upcoming Events

Join us for a Virtual Teach-in with Isa Gucciardi and Matthew Fox, hosted by Rev. Cameron Trimble.
August 13-14, 2021 (Fri-Sat)
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Session 1: Friday, August 13 at 4pm-6pm PT
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6 thoughts on “Further Reflections on Eckhart and Our Inner Nobility”

  1. Avatar

    In today’s DM, I ponder over what artistic tools I have been given to create the birthing of God, of Christ, of the essence and presence of the Holy Spirit and the potential of this from within myself. What I discover in asking myself this question is much more than what I first saw, which was my thoughts, words, actions, and choices. Digging a little deeper, I see things like, imagination, intuition, wisdom, contemplation, meditation, solitude and silence, wonder and awe, gratitude, observation, spiritual reading and writing, painting, relationship, prayer, trust, surrender, truth, love, mercy, compassion…. and many other things… and all of these tools, if you will, are held together, carried if you will in the artists bag… which is myself. This gives me a whole new interpretation of the baggage I carry. LOL. The canvas is the journey, the story of my life, and each day is a clean slate, to begin again. The master whom teaches me how to use these tools is the greatest creator, the greatest artist of all, that being the Trinity, whom created the all and the everything of creation together, including me. In all honesty, this has awakened a new sense of joy in me, a sense of childlike playfullness that I haven’t sensed in a long time… as I tend to take everything way to seriously. Today I begin my vacation, in which I am going to Manitoulin Island, and I’ve decided I am going to surrender to this childlike playfullness and I’m going to joyfully with wonder, explore these creative tools I’ve been blessed with, and spend time with the master artist learning how to co-create in relationship with, with an awakened awareness of all of the beauty and goodness that I will be immersing myself in, God’s masterpiece, for inspiration. Perhaps I too, will like Mathew, find myself whee, wheeing all the way home to my true self. Thanks Mathew and your team for your DMs, and all that you creatively share and give of yourself with others through this, which have been a real blessing to myself and I know many others as well.

  2. Avatar

    The posture that can contaminate universal truths, “rash judgment”, was locked in for a long time against Jesus and Eckhart who interpreted Jesus. When the major premise is in error, or somewhat in error, the conclusion will be in error or somewhat in error.

  3. Avatar
    David Joseph Jackson

    Morning Musings: Today’s Daily Meditation by Matthew Fox revived an insight about Scripture that I have been pursuing for some time. He writes:
    “Luke’s parable on the kingdom of God in us forms the basis of Eckhart’s treatise (Lk 19:11f.), and what follows in the gospel is the story of the development of one’s talents. This too Eckhart weaves into his argument.”
    I returned to reread the scripture passage he mentions. What jumped out at me was verse 13: “He called ten (10) of his servants and gave them ten gold coins…” But as the parable progresses we only hear about “3” of the servants. And the other 7?
    Luke has the Parable of the Sower in Chapter 8.(Mark and Matthew also have this parable). In the Gospel writers explanation of the parable, the emphasis is so often put on the seed “that fell along the path” and “some fell on the rock” and “some fell among thorns”.
    Luke cryptically ends his explanation: “And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
    Today I’m hearing God say, “Focus on the good soil, wonder about the 7, what did they do with their 10 gold coins.” I believe I am good soil, what has grown and yielded from me?

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      David, the whole point is, if you believe you are good soil, the question of “what has grown and yielded from me?” is a question only you can answer. And just as there is time for contemplation in this meditation, contemplate you life in terms of what you have done for others and in terms of birthing God in your life. One thing I see is you seem to be a very careful student of the Bible…

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