Mystical Word  |  Weekly Reflection
Mystical Word is a weekly reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading by L.J. Milone, Director of Faith Formation, Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle

Conscious Living, Essential to the Life of the Resurrection

God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.

Many things we do serve to numb awareness.  We binge-watch Netflix television shows.  We get preoccupied with our worries: finances, family, and projects.  We get caught up in our political opinions.  We pile into our SUVs, plug our ears with headphones, and turn off awareness.  Carl Jung once said, "ninety-five percent of people live ninety-five percent of their lives unconsciously."  When we live unconsciously we hurt one another.  When we live unconsciously we are miserable.  Hatred, fear, worry, and greedy desire numb our minds and make us oblivious to Reality.  They make us fall into unconsciousness.  Then, when we are unconscious, we make decisions and we react in ways that only reinforce our hatred, fear, worry, and greedy desire.  Unconsciousness can become a hamster wheel we continuously run without ever knowing we’re on it.

This insight gains validation through today’s Gospel reading.  It seems like grief kept the disciples on the road to Emmaus from seeing what was right next to them, namely, the Risen Jesus!  Only when he breaks the bread are their eyes opened, but instantly Jesus vanishes.  Meister Eckhart would have had these two disciples see rightly, be aware fully, from the start of their journey so they could recognize Jesus immediately.  Like the scriptures, Eckhart talks about awareness, or consciousness, with the metaphors of seeing and light.  Eckhart says, "The eye in which I see God is the same eye in which God sees me.  My eye and God’s eye are one eye and one seeing, one knowing and one loving."

The Meister is not talking about physical eyesight.  The eye symbolizes spiritual seeing.  “My eye” is my consciousness while “God’s eye” is God’s consciousness.  When he states that these eyes are one, and, in fact, “one seeing, one knowing and one loving,” he means our consciousness is one with the Divine Consciousness.  Now, Eckhart simply states this as what is always already true.  It may not be our experience, but Eckhart maintains that the Divine Intellect, to use another one of his phrases, is also the intellect of the human soul.  It is one transcendent intellect.  We don’t experience transcendent consciousness, though, because we’re still unconscious.  Our sight is narrow and simply narcissistic.

Just before saying, “My eye and God’s eye are one eye,” Eckhart says, "If my eye is to see color, it must be free of all color."  To see divinely, from God's perspective, our eyes need to be free.  We need eyes free of color, to stay with Eckhart's medieval metaphor, to see all the vibrant and spectacular colors of the rainbow.  Our minds will be transformed into the Divine Mind, which is the Christ Mind, only when we turn our attention away from our preoccupations.  These are the things making us less aware and more unconscious.  Then, we have to turn our attention to God.  Eckhart says, “The less we turn our aims or attention to anything other than God, and in so far as we look to nothing outward, so we are transformed in the Son.” 

Turning to God amounts to a saying we have already heard from Eckhart, namely, “God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.”  We pay attention to God or become conscious when we let go of attachments.  This is what it means to know God.  It is to know God within God, from God, and by God.  It is to see God in all things and in all people because we see the world through God’s eye.  Sometimes, though, it is our religious devotions that keep our sight limited.  In other words, we see God only in religious things.  Eckhart says, “It is when people are not aware of God’s presence everywhere that they must seek God by special methods and special practices. Such people have not attained God. To all outward appearances persons who continue properly in their pious practices are holy. Inwardly, however, they are asses. For they know about God but do not know God.”  To know God is to be conscious and to be conscious is to be one with the Divine Consciousness.

Conscious living is essential to the life of the Resurrection.  The Risen Jesus is not held back by fear or hatred.  He is utterly free of worry and greedy desire.  The Risen Jesus has no limits because he is divine.  Such is the life of those raised with Jesus after being conformed to a death like his, which, according to Meister Eckhart, means subtracting hatred, fear, worry, and greedy desire from our consciousness.  Letting these attachments go allows us to access and gradually to inhabit the Divine Consciousness.  Then, we are living the Resurrection.