Once Meister Eckhart was asked: What should we do and where should we go to seek peace and God? Are there any practices? It seems there are a lot. His answer, however, was “No!”
I was once asked: ‘Some people like to withdraw from company and prefer always to be alone. That is where they find peace, when they enter a church. Is this the best thing?’ My answer was ‘No!’Meister Eckhart
If we seek God outside, our very efforts for doing so would be in vain. We should find Him inside.
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.Luke 17:20-21
And we should seek Him in being, not doing.
People should not worry so much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works. However holy our works may be, they do not in any way make us holy in so far as they are works, but it is we, in so far as we are holy and possess fulness of being, who sanctify all our works, whether these be eating, sleeping, waking, or anything at all.Meister Eckhart
If we are in the right state, we would no longer seek Him outside. We are with Him directly; hence, everything becomes God.
This is the case because they possess God alone, intend God alone, and all things become God for them. Such a person bears God with them in all that they do and wherever they go, and it is God who acts through them. For a deed belongs more truly to whoever is its cause than to whoever carries it out.Meister Eckhart
God is everything – the alpha and omega. In this realization, we would no longer pursue anything outside. Whether they could be sacred or profane, everything is unique; therefore, nothing is special.
Meister Eckhart calls it true obedience.
True and perfect obedience is a virtue above all virtues, and there is no work, however great it may be, that can take place or be performed without this virtue, and even the very least of works, whether it be saying or listening to Mass, praying, meditating, or whatever you can think of, is more usefully done when it is performed in true obedience.Meister Eckhart
It is this true faithful obedience because being with God in everything; we would not find any reasons to resist anything that happened to us in this world. We don’t have to seek anything special. We don’t attach anything special.
It is God’s love. God loves us through His infinite love. Since true faithful obedience is nearly impossible from us, it is only possible from Him.
Meister Eckhart calls it the Oneness. Our true faithful obedience implies that everything is unique; therefore, nothing is special. It is the state of absolute non-discrimination, which could be similar to the quantum realm. It is even the realm of no God.
God could be touched by time, he would not be God. If the soul could be touched by time, then God could never be born in her, and she could never be born in God. All time must fall away from that place where God is to be born in the soul, or she must have fallen away from time through her intentions or desires.Meister Eckhart
The more you have of God, the more you desire him. If you could ever have enough of God, so that you were contented with him, then God would not be God.Meister Eckhart
For this reason, people thought he was a heretic during his days. It sounded so radical.
On the other hand, modern day scholars see the elements of the Easter philosophies in his statement, such as Emptiness. We can never see God in time by our intentions or desires. It also reminds us of this famous koan of Zen Buddhism:
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.Zen Buddism Koan
Still, other scholars point out the influence of Neoplatonism, especially Plotinus (204/5 – 270).
In Plotinus’ three principles (the One, the Intellect, and the Soul), the One is the state of non-boundary and non-duality. It is the sate of a non-difference or merge between seer and seen.
In these three principles, our perceptual duality could exist only in the Intellect. The One is absolute unsayable. Interestingly. it’s also similar to Lao Tzu’s Tao and the Heart Sutra’s Emptiness.
Meister Eckhart said as follows:
And so, just as no multiplicity can divide God, in the same way nothing can scatter this person or divide them, for they are one in the One in whom all multiplicity is one and is non-multiplicity. We should grasp God in all things and should train ourselves to keep God always present in our mind, in our striving and in our love.Meister Eckhart
God’s love is a complete one way from Him. His love is the One Way. It is only God who can love us with His perfect sacrifice. Only through His real sacrifice, we could sense a glimpse of His love in our flesh eyes. And in the eyes of the contemplation, we could see it as the fullness of His love.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.1 John 2:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16
In the fullness of His love, the world would be nothing but God alone; His love alone, which can never separate us from anything, even though they look pains and sufferings in our flesh eyes.
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?Romans 8:32,35
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39
Image by pixel2013; Image by Gerd Altmann
3 thoughts on “True Obedience”
Very interesting you really brought two world views together here. Most Christians want to separate and divide from other views, your wisdom shines through here. Thank you,
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You’re welcome! And thank you for your kind words. Yes, that’s the point I wanted to share. 😊
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