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.”
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.
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
…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
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
Session 2: Saturday, August 14 at 9am-12pm PT
Session 3: Saturday, August 14 at 12:30pm-2:30pm PT