Eckhart on the Spark of the Soul, continued

We have been meditating on how the seventh chakra is all about community, including our relationship to light beings such as allies trying to live a life of light in service to others; ancestors or the communion of saints; and angels who are beings of light.

“Pentecost.” Modern icon by Kelly Latimore, commissioned by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Salisbury NC. Published with permission.

Meister Eckhart offers still more understandings of the spark of the soul when he says that spark connects with the “living water.” It is where spirit (human) meets Spirit (God).

Eckhart says that that the spark seeks the Godhead itself. 

In every way the spark in the soul is borne up in the light and in the Holy Spirit and carried right up into the primal source, and it becomes so fully one with God and seeks the One so fully, that it is more truly one with God than the food is with my body — indeed far more, insofar as it is far more pure and noble.

Eckhart teaches that the spark of the soul encounters God as “bare” and “naked.” In the spark of the soul there is

…hidden something like the original outbreak of all goodness, something like a brilliant light which incessantly gleams, and something like a burning fire which burns incessantly. This fire is nothing other than the Holy Spirit.  

It is a simple power that recognizes God.

“Christ in the Wilderness” by modern iconographer Kelly Latimore. Published with permission.

This spark…wants nothing but God naked, just as He is…
This light is not content with the simple changeless divine being which neither gives nor takes: rather it seeks to know where this being comes from. It wants to get into its simple ground, into the silent desert into which no distinction ever appeared, of Father, Son or Holy Spirit.

What is this ground?

This ground is a still stillness, with no motion in itself, and by this immobility all things are in motion, and all those who receive life that live of themselves, being endowed with reason.

It is clear that Eckhart is reaching deep and wide in a quest to explain the almost unexplainable mystery of how the human soul touches the divine.  But he leaves us with many images that touch our consciousness in a deep way if we allow it to—outbreak of all goodness, a brilliant light that incessantly gleams, a burning fire which burns unendingly that is—nothing other than the Holy Spirit.  

He is trying to name the ineffable.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 373f.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Union with the Glory of God.” Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Recommended Reading

Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.”  — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.  

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12 thoughts on “Eckhart on the Spark of the Soul, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, You have given us only one Query for Contemplation today, and it is: “What do you derive and feel bubbling up in you from these powerful images and teachings about the spark of our souls from Meister Eckhart today?” He says that spark connects with the “living water.” It is where the human spirit meets the Spirit God. He says that that the spark seeks the “Godhead” itself. Eckhart also teaches that the spark of the soul encounters God as “bare” and “naked.” In the spark of the soul there is hidden something like the original outbreak of all goodness (Original Blessing), something like a brilliant light which incessantly gleams, and something like a burning fire which burns incessantly. This fire is nothing other than the Holy Spirit. Thank you Matthew !!! But now I have to remind people of another one of your books on Eckhart, and that is: MEDITATIONS WITH MEISTER ECKHART. This book is put together like a book of poetry, and Matthew–shows his own creativity when he puts the quotations he selected, he lays them out in the page like they are poetry–and when you read it that way, it hits you at another level–more in the heart, while straight text speaks more to your head. So buy each one for each part of your self.

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    I just love this meditation and what you are sharing Mathew?. I feel Meister Eckhart is talking about my quest for the depth and touch point of “beingness”. Each experience of the communion with Love however minutely expands my perception of truth where there is a great falling away but somehow expanded at the same time of which I can not go back. Such expandings in Truth only serve to increase the quest for more communion, the source of sustanance for my life.

    I also have your book Matthew “Passion for Creation” and just love it. Thank you for you ?

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    Like water and air (pneuma), fire lends itself as metaphor for divinity on several counts, not the least of which is that, being elemental, it can radiate and spread, but cannot be divided, and it provides light (spiritual enlightenment) and warmth (love). There is no such thing as a Jewish fire, a Buddhist fire, or a Christian fire. Ditto other life giving elementals like water, air, and blood. When kindling a campfire, one doesn’t get to decide on whether to light a Catholic match, Protestant match, or a Hindu match, say, as one would choose their favorite flavor of ice cream. Each match or match box may differ in size, color, container, or brand (accidents), but the fire (substance) they kindle is the same flame in both appearance and consistency. So God is One, known by many names, just as the sun is one, called by different names cross-culturally. Likewise, the fiery tongues at Pentecost hovering over the crown chakra of each disciple looked the same for each, though the individuals it hovered over differed, as were the multiple languages they were inspired to speak via that fire. There is an old figure of speech that links fire with where we dwell or live, as the two sacred realities are linked —“hearth and home”— both as it once applied applied to our literal households, and in reference to the ineffable hidden spark or flame in each living soul. Inwardly, such is the single energy source of all life which animates the body (soma) soul (psyche) and spirit (pneuma) of all created things, generating the life in them from the inside out, one energy (singularity) operating in different forms; say, just as one energy (electricity) operates a diversity of appliances (apps) in a single household. So while the outward appearance of all things differ in form, it is the same life (fire or spirit) in them all. Such animating energy, dispersed, is where it all began (the Alpha), and where it all gathers to consummate in individual and collective history (the Omega). Beginning and end, first and last, are the same energy dispersed and gathered homeward to itself again, as in a circuit. As for ‘hearth and home’ linkage, poetry has it over prose, putting the best words in the best order in describing same: “Home is where the hearth is, shelter, cup, and bowl; light, warmth, and company, good things for the soul.”

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    Jeanette Metler

    Wow. I feel like I’ve just been drawn into the deep darkness of the mystery of God… like a little spark from a campfire… caught in the wind of the Holy Spirit’s essence and presence… carried into something supra essential!!!

    A memory of mystical silence, encountered… of being drawn into this deep darkness of the mystery of God… left with unuterable words… bubbles to the surface. My husband and I had portaged out into the wilderness within Temmagami. It was a dark moon night… uttererly still… black clouds hiding the starlight. I stood on the shoreline, wanting to call out the sounds of an owl.. to hear the echo resound… like a prayer cast into the void. However, when I gazed into the mystery of this deep darkness… the height, the breadth, the width, the depth of it all around me, enveloping me… suddenly I could make no sound at all… my body trembled… for I felt nakedly and vulnerably exposed, as I stood silent, motionless.

    I slowly returned to the fire, gazing into the flames… when suddenly a night owl swooped down from a tree, out of the darkness… literally, almost touching the top of my head. It was as if, in that holy instant moment… that I was somehow being blessed with the spirit of the Owl… the Divine spark of wisdom being tethered to my soul.

    Hearing the powerful images and teachings within today’s DM… creatively and imaginatively has kindled the memory of this unique and individual experience that I encountered… of the mystery of the deep darkness of God, and the unity I intuitively sensed within this… that has forever grounded me… in the spiritual reality of the living essence and presence of the Great Spirit… that unnamable, ineffable mystery of the Love of the Divine… offering me the blessed gift, of a little desire within my heart… my unspoken call for communion and union with the Holy Spirit of Lady Wisdom… through the spirit of the night owl. I pray that I will learn to more deeply trust in this gift of selfhood given me… birthing intuitively, imaginatively and creatively this wisdom of the Divine mystery within… with clarity and simplicity. Amen.

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    Thank you Matthew for reminding us of the ineffability and mystery of God’s Spirit and Presence, the Spark of the Soul, in our hearts/the Ground of our Being, in the apophatic mystical tradition. In the contemplative spiritual tradition (synonymous with the mystical), silence is called the first language of God and why silent contemplative/meditative prayer and stillness are important sacred moments on our human spiritual journeys to heal and quiet our egocentric minds on our spiritual journeys towards spiritual transformation and sacred awareness/consciousness of the Loving Presence of God’s Spirit~Spark of the Divine, in our eternal Souls — Divine Love~Loving Diverse Oneness~co-Creators with-in our Creator’s Creation/Evolution~Cosmic Christ Consciousness….

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    A very deep and important DM today that moved me! I feel a sense of excitement at the idea that the core of the soul inside is just as unnameable and mysterious as the divine essence in the universe. There is a relief in that. The self isn’t a separate thing that has to constantly fight a losing battle against gravity. The image that came to my mind is that of a lens, or the diagram of a lens where the light rays are bent and cross over in the focal point and then continue on. The self would be the lens, where infinity outside crosses over to infinity inside.
    I feel this connects to something Matthew mentioned a few weeks ago when he quoted Rabbi Heschel: “The self did not originate in the self.” When you take ego and psychology out of self, it opens up to be so much bigger and grander, as big as the whole cosmos!

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    I often feel powerful images bubbling up in me when I am writing a play or poetry. Surely Spirit is flowing through me as I create; for if we are open, we are co-creating with God. My problem comes when I submit a play for production and it is turned down. I feel certain that God is giving me gifts to be communicated with others at just the right time in history. (My ego is so sure I’m right!) So then what? That’s when I struggle. Letting go, as you say Matthew, as Eckhart says…that’s so hard because, of course, I’m always thinking I know best. Ha! Finding that still stillness when my expectations are not met, when I feel that the gifts of light Spirit gave me are “rejected,” that’s hard. Certainly you, Matthew experienced that on a massive scale when you were silenced by the Vatican. So finding my way to acceptance and stillness…ahh…that’s the trick, isn’t it.

    This past winter in your class, you introduced me to John Phillip Newell, the Celtic contemplative. I’m finding help by singing along with the meditative chants and prayers on his CD “Sounds of the Eternal.” This morning, inspired by today’s meditation, I chose the track, “I love the place your glory abides, your glory, your glory abides.” I’m finding these chants helpful as I try to find “the simple ground,” “the primal source,” as I try to experience stillness, patience, and acceptance. Thank you for today’s meditation.

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    This is a spiritual channeled message from the book I mentioned previously – “The Jeshua Channelings: Christ Consciousness in a new era,” by Pamela Kribbe:

    “ The passage from ego based consciousness to heart centered living is in many ways a death experience. The more you identify yourself with Spirit, with the God inside you, the more you release things that you used to worry about or that you used to put a lot of energy into. You realize on deeper and deeper levels that there is truly nothing ‘to do,’ except ‘to be.’ When you identify with your beingness, instead of the fleeting thoughts and emotions that pass through you, your life is affected immediately. Spirit is not something abstract. It is a reality that you can truly bring down into your life. Being in touch with this purest of sources will eventually change everything in your life. God or Source or Spirit is by its nature creative but in ways that are nearly incomprehensible to you.

    Spirit is silent and perennial and yet creative. The reality of the divine cannot really be grasped by the mind. It can only be felt. If you allow it into your life and you recognize it as the whispering of your heart, everything slowly starts to fall into place. When you are tuned into the reality of Spirit, the silent awareness that is behind all of your experiences, you stop pushing or forcing your will upon reality. You allow things to fall back into their natural state of being. You become your natural, True Self. This all occurs in a harmonious, meaningful way. You experience that things come together in a way that has a natural rhythm, a natural flow to it. All you have to do is stay tuned into the divine rhythm (Loving Spirit of Divine Oneness – DM) and let go of fears and misunderstandings that make you (mind egocentricity – DM) want to intervene.” (p. 100)

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    I hesitate to share such things as I do often with others. This “piercing the cloud” stuff can be intimidating for most. So I simply let it inform and affirm me that I may go and encourage others with its underlying truth.

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    Would it be possible to edit the texts that refer to God as “He” and substitute the word “God” and add a footnote explaining that texts have been edited for gender inclusivity? Thank you for considering this!

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