“…true poverty of spirit consists in keeping oneself so free of God and of all one’s works that if God wants to act in the soul, God himself becomes the place wherein he wants to act- and this God likes to do….Here, in this poverty, people attain the eternal being that they once were, now are, and will eternally remain.” Meister Eckhart Sermon Fifteen
This time Meister Eckhart describes the goal of the spiritual journey as a radical letting go of all ego entrapments so that if God wants to act in the soul, God becomes the place wherein God wants to act. This is the GodPlace where we existed before we were creatured.
The poem I share here emerged after the death of my parents, many years ago. Since then I have experienced enough “ego-deaths” to fuel a massive funeral pyre! Every time we choose Spirit over ego, we die a little and are born a little, becoming more authentically our true selves.
Leaves reign down
Leaving long limbs
Exposed like raw pain.
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord?”
As leaves to earth
We return to the
Genes of our souls
Bare, not barren,
Becoming at last
Who we always were.
Rita Hemmer Kowats
Quilt by Nadine Meeker
The soul knows what she wants, even if our ego is confused. She casts out invitations, and like stones cast on gentle water, they ripple out, and touch every aspect of our lives.
Images from the soul are spontaneous lights from the Godhead. The soul casts them out, and stepping into the light, she waits until we are conscious enough to see and respond. We can teach ourselves how to be aware of the invitations by fidelity to two spiritual practices. First, we can view synchronous events as invitations from our soul, and daily ask for the grace to pay attention to them. With practice, we can learn to focus intentionally on our surroundings and interactions with people, staying open to the possibilities they “throw out.” For example, one day I may have a dream about a one-time friend, in which he wrestles with strong emotions. The next day I stumble upon an article about grieving that touches on my recent experience of loss, and I think again of the dream and become concerned about my friend with no apparent cause; however, I resist the urge to shrug it off with, “Oh, it’s ‘just’ a coincidence.” I ask myself what images surround my friend when I think about him? What images surround me? What feelings do these experiences evoke about him and about me? I decide to inquire about his well-being from a mutual friend, and learn that his mother died at the same time as I lost a loved one. The synchronistic event becomes an invitation cast out to me, and if I respond to its light, I grow.
We can develop our imaginations by devoting time to creative expression. Time spent drawing, painting, writing, making music, dancing, etc., is liminal time…the space in between, in which the soul casts her sacred images. If we work 9-5 and surround ourselves with people and frantic activity 24-7, there is no time to create, and we will miss the light.
Writing this reflection has been a good examin for myself. May the soul’s images astound us.