He Was Describing The Mysticism Of Meister Eckhart




Double Negation—Purest Form Of Unity
Meister Eckhart Conversation Continues
July, ‘82

“Don’t forget, Meister Eckhart was put on trial for heresy!” said
Bill. “But, I think more was going on there than that.”

“How so?” I replied.

“The Son,” Bill said, “the image of God, for Eckhart, in addition to
being made flesh, was also identified with the Logos, with truth—the
truth that saves and, ultimately, sets one free. Jesus said, `I am the
truth, the life, and the way.’ He understood who he was, and dared to
speak it because he was the `truth’, and he lived his life that way.
Eckhart’s teachings were problematic. It should be pointed out,
though, that he believed he was unfairly accused, and he was probably right. They don’t call it mysticism for nothing you know.”

“But, I still don’t understand,” I replied. “How are Jesus, the Holy
Spirit, and double negation connected?”

“Well, to the best of my knowledge,” Bill responded, “the Holy Spirit
and the Son represent God’s goodness. In the Godhead, Son and the Holy Spirit are not from nothing, but are God from God, light from light. They are three in One. Priority is given to the hidden Godhead, but without the Son and Holy Spirit there would be nothing to unify,
nothing to affirm. Eckhart’s concepts for Son and Holy Spirit are, or
may be understood—as being isomorphic with your
being-what-is-not-while-not-being-what-is. In other words, the
affirmation that both you and Eckhart call the `ground of God’ is
implied in the double negation, the purest form of unity. Therefore,
the Meister was able to make statements like: `Unity exists between
God and God’s creatures,’ and `God’s existence must be my existence.’ It is God’s inherent oneness/threeness relationship that unfolds, as the transcendent-immanent relationship of God. But, of course, Eckhart’s accusers saw only a contradiction—for them, the transcendent God was separate from nature. Throughout his trial, though, Eckhart never wavered. For him, God was both absolute unity and transcendent. In the eyes of the church that contradiction constituted heresy. How could it be otherwise?”

“But that’s not heresy,” I replied, “it’s not even a contradiction.
It’s simply freedom’s dialectic working itself out in the human Logos.
Eckhart’s “image of God made flesh,” or the Son of God, is that part
of the Logos that allows you and me to seek out answers to questions
like, “why or why not.” The Holly Spirit—Goodness of God, or as
Eckhart says, the Three in One part of God that unifies and affirms,
is, on the other hand, that part of the Logos that separates, embeds
and connects—connects to the space of logical implication, connects to
the “Presence of God.” Not only does this double negative aspect of
the Holly Spirit–Goodness of God, connect everything to transcendent God, it also connects God to all life affirmations and self-conscious affirmations. Life affirmations are affirmed in the restrictive physical environment, while self-conscious affirmations are affirmed in the factual environment of physical events. Life, therefore, is not separate from its negation—the physical environment and  self-consciousness are not separate from negation—are not separate from the physical event. More specifically, built into the Logos is the conservation principle that keeps everything connected to its opposite, that keeps everything unified and affirmed in transcendent God–the Three in One God of Meister Eckhart.

“Yes, that seems to all follow,” Bill responded, “but try explaining
that to someone who doesn’t want to understand. Eckhart defended
himself by saying that `God’s intention in creation, fell first on the
whole,’ on the levels of a harmoniously working universe `designed to
reach its end in God’s absolute unity.'”

“I see what you mean,” I replied, “what else could he say, given the
spirit of his times? And even further, it doesn’t seem as though the
Meister made the connection between self-consciousness and God’s
transcendent nature. Is that right?”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to He Was Describing The Mysticism Of Meister Eckhart

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    The affirmation that both you and Eckhart call the `ground of God’ is implied in the double negation, the purest form of unity. Therefore, the Meister was able to make statements like: `Unity exists between God and God’s creatures,’ and `God’s existence must be my existence.’ quote from above

    Not Not God—therefore God! In the prophetic words of Meister Eckhart, the “I” of God/affirmative ideal and the “I” of you and me are, indeed, one in the same!

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