“God is in all things as being, as activity, as power.”—Meister Eckhart, c. 1300
“Eckhart, of course, was excommunicated: by the bull of Pope John XXII, March 27, 1329; after which his writings passed, as it were, into the underground….”—Joseph Campbell, Occidental Mythology, (italics mine)
“The mystic way… plunges within, to those nerve centers that are in all members of the human race alike, and are at once the wellsprings and ultimate receptacles of life and all experiences of life.”—Joseph Campbell, Occidental Mythology
“When Zen gives utterance to itself, it goes against the intellect so as to upset it from its very foundation; the intellect loses its way and stands completely dazed.”— D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
Try to imagine what it must have been like to be exalted with the knowledge that ‘God is in all things as being,’ and be forced to pass… into the underground, away from the light of day… a dangerous, murderously inquisitive light of day.
Thankfully it is no longer so. We are free to read and give utterance to almost anything.
However, the stifling of such luminous spirits as Meister Eckhart so long ago has left its stamp upon us and our way of thinking and looking upon the world today. Not permitted to think or say such things as ‘God is in all things as being’ a millennium ago effectively removed us from a relationship…with ourselves and the world about.
It is a relationship we are struggling to regain.
Be that as it may, the stifling contributed mightily to something else which has benefitted humankind in so many ways: science and the intellect. For if God and Life is not within but out there somewhere, in the mysterious workings of a Church, beyond the clouds, the moon and the sun in some faraway place called Heaven—or between the covers of a book—inquisitive hearts and minds will take up the challenge. In taking up that challenge we’ve succeeded in sending a man to the moon, splitting and fusing the atom, and putting these wonder communication gizmos connecting us to one another into so many hands.
Ok. One last quote.
“The intellect proves itself as a kind of nuisance in more ways than one, but it is a useful instrument in our practical life, and as long as we make judicious use of it we shall derive much benefit from it.”—D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
I like that: “as long as we make judicious use of it….” But what could “judicious use” be?
A retracing of the road we’ve traversed since being forced underground long ago?
What else would serve…?