We have been meditating on how God is Being and how holy being is. The Book of Acts recalls the earliest days of Christianity and cites a sermon calling God “the one in whom we live, move, and have our being.”
To call God “the Ground of Being” is to find Divinity in the depth of things, the foundation of things, the profundity of things. And in the truth of things, our own “true selves” and our efforts to pursue truth and commit to truth over falsehood.
We all have a depth, a ground, a presence and there, says Eckhart, lies Divinity, for God is the ground of being and “God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground.”
Thich Nhat Hanh agrees when he says:
All notions applied to the phenomenal worlds…are transcended. The greatest relief we can obtain is available when we touch the ultimate, Tillich’s ‘ground of being’…Life is no longer confined to time and space.
Thich Nhat Hanh did not know that Paul Tillich got his language of God as “ground of being” from Meister Eckhart. But “ground of being” was Thich Nhat Hanh’s favorite name for divinity.
Thich Nhat Hanh equates “nirvana” and “God” and “ground of being” when he says:
God as the ground of being cannot be conceived of. Nirvana also cannot be conceived of. If we are aware when we use the word ‘nirvana’ or the word ‘God’ that we are talking about the ground of being there is no danger in using these words.
For Thich Nhat Hanh, “ground of being” is the deepest expression of the reality of divinity.
Remarkably, Hildegard of Bingen employs the term “ground of being” 150 years before Meister Eckhart! And she applies it to Mary, symbol of the divine feminine and the goddess in Christianity. This makes sense since “ground” signifies down and darkness and journeying into the earth or Gaia and who in Hildegard’s words is “our mother.”
She composed prayers and songs to Mary:
Mother of all joy, ground of all being, glowing, most green, verdent sprout….Ask for us life. Ask for us radiant joy. Ask for us the sweet, delicious ecstasy that is forever yours.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 8, 95f.
And Fox, Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint For Our Times, p. 120.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: As fish swim in water, their bodies made largely of water, creation swims in and embodies the Divine. Photo by Shaun Low on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
How amazing is it to you that Hildegard of Bingen called Mary the “ground of being”? And Eckhart says that “our ground and God’s is the same” and that Thich Nhat Hanh’s favorite name for God is “ground of being”? What follows from that?
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past
Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century
Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
“This book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.