Godlight to Soulight And Back Again


Meister Eckhart’s Refectory

I relished some time with my old friend Meister Eckhart this morning.  I invite you into this meandering, while acknowledging that it is a bit out there (maybe more than a bit!)



Being Light

light in eye


Recently I introduced the newly published book of spiritual poetry, Rose Petals Floating Downstream by Anita Neilson (  https://anitaneilson.com/ )

I picked up the book in an in-between time today and opened to the poem below, “If Thine Eye be Single.”  Here it is, accompanied by what it evoked from me.

If Thine Eye be Single

“The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Matthew 6:22


Eyes twinkling
like headlamps dipping
o’er the brow of a hill;
silent messengers
through the mists of time.

Windows on the world
but also to the soul
if we look deeper.

Codeless truths blink
to those who seek
meaning en route.

An eternal clignoter
Clic, clic, clic.

If thine eye be single
a million stars
Will diffuse into one
and every twist and turn
a delight will be
on this path to eternity.

Anita Neilson



The eye with which god
sees me is the same eye
with which I see god.

One seeing

My eye and god’s eye
are one.

Meister Eckhart

∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞

The light with which god
sees me is the same light
with which I see god.

One seeing
One  Light.

God’s light and my light
are one light.

rita h kowats






“Know the Raw Silk, Hold the Uncut Wood”

raw silk on uncut wood

I have friends who are dealing with the worst of cancers and the death of a loved one.  Earthquakes, flooding, wars and hurricanes displace thousands of people. Yet, many of them endure. Not just endure. They endure creatively. How do they do it?

They learn these truths:




Photo Credits:  Raw silk- http://www.wormspit.com/degumming.htm; -wood_uncut_by_borysses.jpg



Liberation through Seeings by Alex Grey on Pinterest 2

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one loving.”  Meister Eckhart


Some of you are aware of my love for this quote which has graced my posts more than once in an ongoing attempt to understand and live it.This is what it says to me today.  It’s a bit cryptic.  Plunge right in!

eye of god 2

Photo Credit: Liberation Through Seeings – Alex Grey – www.alexgrey.com / Sacred Geometry ♥











































Sacred Cycles Once Again

An invitation from years past to meditate on brooding-baring-bearing in the now of these troubled times.

“The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God.” Meister Eckhart

Sacred Cycles

While resting beside Echo Lake,
A thriving refuge tucked aside from concrete carvings,
I am summoned to attention by two red-winged black birds.
He perches atop a winter-withered reed.
She plunges deep into the safe bosom of branches and she stays.
The primordial rhythm endures
Echoing the sacred cycle
Set in motion by bits of star dust
Burst from the verdant void before time.

Bird eggs into birds
Pear seeds into pear trees
Nut seeds into nut trees
Human seeds into humans
God seed into God.

In humans
God-gene generates godliness.
Like red-winged black birds
Hatching eggs,
Human souls echo the same cycle:
Return, return, return
Return to the God seed
To brood and bare.

© rita h kowats 2014

Humble Remnant in Soul Land

donkey at the Capitol

Some thoughts for this American season of Independence

Humble Remnant in Soul Land
Texts: Zech 9:8-10; Heb 11:8-16; Jn 8:31-36

In our reading from Zechariah we meet the remnant of God’s people who have come out of exile in Babylon to make a home for themselves back in the land they believe God gave them.  They are lost in transition and the prophet calls them to build a soul city with humility and nonviolence as its foundation.  Yahweh is powerfully present, standing guard against prowlers who would lure them back.  This new home is ruled by a humble man on a donkey who banishes the trappings of war.  It is a soul land, not a homeland.

Many Christians in America have been in spiritual exile for 239 years, asleep while a national lifestyle of violence and greed has come to so define us that we throw up our arms and cry, “What could I possibly do?” We celebrated Independence Day yesterday.  As Christians we seek to re-appropriate that goal by living in interdependence.  It is time to emerge from spiritual exile in the homeland of violence, hate and greed and enter the Soul Land we have inherited as God’s people.  The words of an old hymn recently moved me deeply, “The Word of God Is Solid Ground.”  It asks, “What powers can our faith constrain?  What iron-clad restrictions?  No self-deceiving rule can chain our conscience and convictions.  Our God alone is on the throne,” it goes on to say.  “For freedom’s sake we bend, we break, a sign to ev’ry nation that we have found a solid ground; God’s word our sure foundation.”  Let us not forget that our God’s throne is on the back of a donkey.

When we give countercultural witness from an ego place we are stuck in exile; however, if the authority to witness comes from the God we meet in prayer and self-reflection, we are a humble remnant ruled by the donkey-king. Sooner or later each of us is called to speak and to name injustice clearly and unequivocally.  Take a moment to recall such a time.  Where did your strength come from?  It is a soul-strength that breaks out in goose bumps and evokes a resounding, “Yes.”  People listen when we are able to say, “For I have been to the Mountain top!”

Let’s step out of lofty metaphors now and examine how we can practically address our society’s exile.  John’s Jesus tells his disciples that if they live according to his teaching they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.  More lofty words, but notice the call to practical hard work implied between the lines.  Living according to Jesus’ teaching means that we take gospel values seriously.  We find the truth by paying attention and changing behaviors and attitudes in variance with gospel values.  Getting into Soul Land is much harder work than staying in homeland.  It’s no easy thing to prophesy from the back of a donkey.

Meister Eckhart provides rich material for meditation on this theme.  As a brilliant theologian and gifted preacher he chose to preach with a mind like a razor but from his perch on the metaphorical donkey.  He chose to preach in the market place and in German rather than Latin so that all the peasants under the thumb of the corrupted guild system and bishops of the church could understand his message that all people are aristocrats, divine by grace and noble by nature.  He condemned what he called the “Merchant Mentality.” His message was considered seditious to church officials and rulers who profited by the guild system, so they silenced him.  But that silence resounded clearly and boldly because his countercultural lifestyle was an invitation to emerge from exile.  His choice to preach an empowering message to humble peasants is a powerful example to us in our own century.  Out of his mysticism came a word which expresses exile poignantly:  ICHGEBUNDENHEIT, bound up in the I, the ego.  When we have loosed those bonds, says Eckhart, we give birth to the Son of God and that love spills out to the marketplace in acts of justice.

Finally, a personal example of my being stuck in exile and being given the grace to emerge.  As a member of the Ground Zero Community in Poulsbo, WA I passed out leaflets to workers entering Subase Bangor every Monday morning at 6:00 A.M.  As you can imagine my mind often wandered to that cup of hot coffee waiting at the end of my shift.  I struggled to remain nonviolent amidst weekly encounters with angry sailors and marines, and it was often difficult to fend off despair. For a year a man came in every week in a pick-up truck with a rifle rack on the back; sometimes he had two passengers along.  I stood there in my self-righteous indignation relating to him as a “red neck war monger.”  One Monday I was able to be more centered as I prayed that I and the workers would be open to hearing one another.  This man came in alone, looking depressed.  I felt moved to say, “How are you today?”  He blurted out, “How am I?  I’m terrible.  How else could I be, having to go in there and do what I do every day?”  I began to learn that we must prophesy truth with intelligence and clarity, but we must do it from the back of a donkey.

This poem, inspired by Psalm 137, came out of my meditation and I close with it:

On the shores of the Potomac
We sit and weep-
Outlanders in Homeland
Looking for our godvoice.
From deep in Soul Land
We feel its vibrations

Erupting into a Hope Song
Sung true and strong
In a foreign land.

Photo Credit Donkey:  photo credit: N06/14358934769″>Tourism Office – Mijas – donkey taxi sculpture via photopin (license)

Redeem Beauty

Skagit Valley Tulips Washington State  USA

Skagit Valley Tulips
Washington State USA

This morning I am reflecting on beauty.  In his book Meister Eckhart:  A Mystic-Warrior For Our Times, Matthew Fox describes a “Mystic- Warrior” as “one possessed by beauty, one alive with radical amazement.”   In spring we seem to pay more attention to beauty, perhaps since we tend not to see it in the starkness of winter;  but it is there as well.

The Romantic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about beauty in “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo:  Maidens’ Song from Saint Winefred’s Well.”  It has long been a favorite of mine.  The Leaden Echo describes a young girl gazing at her image in a well, musing on what will become of her as she ages.  Hopkins dwells on poignant images of diminishment in age, striking a somber note:

So be beginning, be beginning to despair.

In the second half of the poem, The Golden Echo, the poet delves into the well of mysticism and seems to say that in God there is no diminishment.  In God we ARE  beauty, “beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.”

The flower of beauty…

Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth
To its own best being…

Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God
Beauty’s self and beauty’s giver.

….The thing we freely forfeit is kept with fonder a care
-Where kept?  Do but tell us where kept, where-
Yonder.-What high as that!  We follow, now we follow,-
Yonder, yes yonder, yonder, yonder.

A good spiritual practice for spring would be beauty-mindfulness.  We could actually take a lunch break, sit outside and let our senses drink in beauty.  We could sit alone with our sandwich in a cafe sans technology, paying attention to the beauty we see in the appearance and actions of people. In God there is no diminishment.  In God there is only beauty.

Photo Credit:  Sarah Levinson used with permission

“The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo:  Maidens’ Song from Saint Winefred’s Well” 

 https://m.youtube.com/?reload=2&rdm=1hu3wd4y1#/watch?v=JsosOoSdMv8Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Time



The Space in God’s Eye

the space in god's eye



There is a space where two disparate souls can meet and dwell in peace, even if only for a few minutes here and a few minutes there.  Those few minutes can keep a relationship alive and thriving for a long time if we learn how to get out of the way of our judgments.  If we can believe that we are connected in that space even world peace is possible.

Last week I posted Thich Naht Hahn’s poem, “Call Me by My True Names.”  In it he reminds us of our call to compassion with, the lines

“I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.”

I am still struggling to get out of the way of the pirate’s evil deed in order to enter into the sacred space where we are one.  I believe in the space and I know that in order to enter it I have to leave dualistic thinking behind.  Thinking like, “Pirate evil.  Me good.”  Meister Eckhart tells us

The eye with which I see god
is the same eye with which god sees me.
My eye and God’s eye are one.
One seeing, one knowing, one loving.

the space in god's eye

If the eye with which the pirate sees god is the same eye with which god sees the pirate, why is it so hard to believe that the space where the pirate is seen by god is the same space where I am seen by god, and it is holy.  If we can live in that space long enough we are home.  We arrive with all our faults and we are loved anyway…both of us.

I have found that I cannot believe this with my mind.  The only way I can begin to  feel compassion for the pirate is to go into the eye of god.  I rediscovered a mantra given to me by Spirit in another blog.  It has been helpful:

Breathing in I welcome the other.
Breathing out I release judgment.
Breathing in I am at one with the other
Breathing out I release duality.



Photo Credits for the eyes in god’s eye:

a href=httpswww.flickr.comphotosmaniya968334809~FreeBirD®~a via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc-nd2.0cca (2)

a href=httpswww.flickr.comphotosmaniya968334809~FreeBirD®~a via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc-nd2.0cca

a href=httpswww.flickr.comphotosadamcohn2515866014AdamCohna via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc-nd2.0cca

a href=httpswww.flickr.comphotos69er463302758Mohammed Alnasera via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc-nd2.0cca

Sacred Cycles

Spring has arrived today in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.  73 degrees and sunshine lured me out to the lake to ponder the message it might have for me.  It’s astounding that such a small, seemingly inconsequential event can awaken us to the essence of life.

Connections poem

 “The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God. ”       § Meister Eckhart