I Am In The Father And The Father Is In Me—We Are One

When We Love God Above All Things With Our Whole Heart And Soul, Only
Then Do We Come To Love Ourselves And All Other Things Truly And Equally

Meister Eckhart Conversation Concluded
July, ‘82

“The Meister came awfully close to making the connection between
self-consciousness and God’s transcendent nature,” said Bill. “In
fact, existence, for Eckhart, was characterized by levels, levels of
ever higher divinity. According to the Meister, `mere being is life in
living being, and living being is intellect and intellectual being.’
Each of these different levels of existence—being, life, and
intelligence exists in the next highest level of itself, and, for
Eckhart, the union of the soul and the divine comes together in the
last level, the level of intelligence. Thus, he held, at least in some
of his teachings, that the essence of the divine is intelligence, or
understanding, and this became the common ground of God and soul, so
much so that the Meister was able to specifically state, `I am in the
Father, and the Father is in me; the Father and I are one.’ Jesus
taught how to do this, how to achieve union with God. According to
Eckhart, one could not know Jesus without knowing himself first.
Indeed, if my memory is correct, Eckhart’s exact words were, `to get
into the core of God at his greatest, one must first get into himself
at his least.’ If that doesn’t sound like your dialectic of freedom, I
don’t know what does. Am I right?”

“Absolutely,” I said, “the Meister just put freedom’s dialectic in
the language of his time—the only language available. But I’m still
confused about Jesus; how did he, as a historical figure, fit into
Eckhart’s mysticism?”

“Lest we forget,” said Bill, “we’re not talking about church dogma here!”

“But who was Jesus,” I responded, “a man of high degree perhaps, or
something more?”

“According to the Meister, the return of all things to God can be
described in two stages,” said Bill, “‘as the birth of the word in
soul and as the breaking through of the soul into that divine ground
that is God.’ Jesus knew this, and he lived accordingly. That made him
extraordinarily special. Jesus would say things like: `I wish the man
who follows me, who comes to me, to be where I am,’ and Eckhart would
add that `no one is where the Son is except for the one who becomes
One in the Father’s bosom and heart.’ The Meister pleaded for us to
open our eyes and to see what has always been the case, `that the soul
is nearer to God than it is to the body which makes us human;’ that is
the deepest ground, the ground where God and the soul are One. In
other words, following Jesus meant seeking union with the divine. The
Father gave birth to the Son and if the soul is one with the Father in
giving birth to the Son, then it must also be one with the spirit of
love proceeding from Father to the Son.”

“Then it all comes down to what Jesus preached, and even the church
got that right—the gospel of love,” I said.

“That’s about right,” Bill replied, “but it was even more significant
than that for Eckhart. For him, love, in the truest sense of the word,
meant loving all things equally. Indeed, he said that `when we love
God above all things with our whole heart and soul, only then do we
come to love ourselves and all other things truly and equally.'”

“Jesus, doesn’t it seem like we’ve come an awful long way just to get
back to the beginning,” I said, “back to the gospel’s original message?”

“Yeah, you could say that,” Bill said, “but don’t forget, this whole
little chat started because you thought your belief in God was unique
and that’s just not true. Eckhart expressed something very similar a
very long time ago.”

“I’ll have to give that some thought,” I replied. “I’m to tired to
think right now.”

“Me too,” Bill said.

“I do have one more thought, though,” I said. “If an identity exists
between my soul and God, and, if soul is the same thing that I call
self-consciousness, then that God-consciousness-connection must exist
for the Meister too. Is that right?”

“Indeed it is,” responded Bill. “According to Eckhart, the soul may
achieve union with God, but the `spark of soul’ is already there, in
union with God, and it is through that spark that God experiences
human consciousness, so much so in fact, that when we suffer God
suffers with us. `He truly does;” says Eckhart, `He suffers in his own
fashion, sooner and far more than the man suffers who suffers for love
of him.'”

“Okay,” I said, “one last question and I’m off to bed. How exactly
did you market Eckhart?”

“I didn’t,” replied Bill, “I wrote a short paper explaining that you
can’t sell a product that is already owned. I added that it is
unethical to fool a person into believing that they do not have a
product they already possess. I added that that kind of behavior
violates the good business code, and I got an A on the paper.”

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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 I Am In The Father And The Father Is In Me—We Are One

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    “Each of these different levels of existence—being, life, and intelligence exists in the next highest level of itself, and, for Eckhart, the union of the soul and the divine comes together in the last level, the level of intelligence…..`I am in the
    Father, and the Father is in me; the Father and I are one.’” Quote from above

    Inherent in both matter (the ~~b structure) In self- consciousness (the b~b~bb structure, i.e., self-consciousness/Sartre) we experience the “affirmative ideal”. I am not going to argue there is life after death; but, I will argue that death is a necessary structural condition of human consciousness, and hence a condition that suggests something like life after death may exist. One can ponder the spiritual significance of the affirmative ideal for a long, long, long, time, then again, love, the kind of love that preserves and seeks out the best in all things, I believe, allows one to face death without fear or regret.

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