Wednesday, November 14, 2012

About Disinterest (Meister Eckhart)

I have read much of what has been written, both by heathen philosophers and the sages in the Old and New Testaments.  I have sought earnestly and with great diligence that good and high virtue by which man may draw closest to God and through which one may best approximate the idea God had of him before he was created, when there was no separation between man and God ; and having delved into all this writing, as far as my intelligence would permit, I find that [high virtue] to be pure disinterest ; that is, detachment from creatures.  Our Lord said to Martha : "Unum est necessarium," which is to say : to be untroubled and pure, one thing is necessary and that is disinterest.

The teachers praise love, and highly too, as St. Paul did when he said :  "No matter what I do, if I have not love, I am nothing.  Nevertheless, I put disinterest higher than love. My first reason is as follows.  The best thing about love is that it makes me love God.  Now, it is much more advantageous for me to move God toward myself than for me to move toward him, for my blessing in eternity depends on my being identified with God.  He is more able to deal with me and join me than I am to join him.  Disinterest brings God to me and I can demonstrate it this way :  Everything likes its own habitat best ;  God's habitat is purity and unity, which are due to disinterest.  Therefore God necessarily gives himself to the disinterested heart.

Photographs :  Ann Yoklavich

Text :  Meister Eckhart, Sermon 1 (excerpt).

From :  Meister Eckhart, A Modern Translation by Raymond B. Blackney, New York, Harper & Row, 1941.