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Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart

“ONENESS” — With What?

Hi Friends —

Here is the audio and a transcript of a talk by Eric Butterworth where he credits Meister Eckhart as being his “great teacher” who taught him that the root or base on which New Thought is built is oneness. It’s obvious that Eric wants us to be clear about what we mean by oneness.

Let me share a little trick for where to begin. If you do a Google search for “oneness” you will get back thousands of links from all over the Internet. But if you do a search for “ oneness” you will get back only links found on TruthUnity. Try it. What do you see? Nearly all the links are about “Oneness with God.” TruthUnity isn’t the Gospel, but neither is some of the stuff we’re being fed today as authoritative.

Let me share another little trick. Open the PDF files for the tan version of Metaphysics and search in the PDF for “oneness.” Oneness is found on seven pages and nearly all these pages refer to “oneness with God.” Do the same search in the blue version of Metaphysics. Oneness is found on seventeen pages in the blue version, and, again, nearly all occurrences are “Oneness with God.”

Then open a PDF of the current Metaphysics book being used by Unity in the SEE program. Search there for “oneness.” The current version has 144 pages with the word oneness. The only places where we see the prepositional phrase “oneness with God” in the current version is in the Fillmore quotes. Everywhere else the term oneness is used as a noun, and the noun is defined throughout the book as a synonym of “being.”

So what’s going on here? In the opening chapter of the current version we have an explanation that a conscious decision was made to change the text away from the way language is “conventionally used” to something the author calls “The Language of Oneness.” That change, we are told, is warranted because “the language in the classic Unity texts was rooted in the late 19th century and early 20th century and was ‘traditional Christian’ in nature.”

Updating gender specific pronouns for God is one thing, but there is no justification for redefining the God of our being as our being God. That is a shift from theism to non-theism and it needs to be repudiated.

The talk by Eric Butterworth I am presenting on this page can explain how that mistake might have happened. When you listen to the audio and read the transcript, note how Eric quotes Meister Eckhart saying the following: “The eternal is forever begetting the only-begotten.” That sentence, according to Butterworth, defines oneness. We are one with God because God is eternally begetting us.

Quoting Eckhart, Butterworth goes on to say “Nothing is as close to me as God. He is nearer to me than I am to myself.” And Butterworth’s quote of Eckhart concludes with this crucial statement: “His presence is my being.” So Eric agrees that we have being, but our being extends from our oneness with God.

My sense is we are confusing oneness with wholeness. That we are one with God is, as Eric says in this talk, “unity, monism, oneness.” But when speaking of our being—our existence as Spirit, soul and body—Edna Carter and Charles Fillmore called for “Preserving the Unity of Soul and Body”, not preserving our oneness with God. Our oneness with God cannot be lost and does not need to be preserved. Unity, in this sense is wholeness. “To be made whole” is the term used by healers to describe healing of the body and used by lawyers to describe restitution of injury. To summarize, wholeness is our unity of being. Our oneness is with God.

Is this important? Does it matter? Yes, it does. Jesus said in the Gospel of John “I and the Father are one” and he said in the Gospel of Matthew “With God all things are possible.” Oneness with God is bondedness with God. And our bondedness with God makes us whole in Spirit, soul and body. When we are made whole by a consciousness of oneness with God we have spiritual power. Paraphrasing Matthew, “Without God, not much is possible.”

Mark Hicks
Sunday, July 14, 2024


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01 Introduction

The following is the first in a series of lessons by Eric Butterworth on Great Teachers and Their Relation To Unity. In this lesson, Eric will take up Meister Eckhart and Unity.

I’m simply sharing with you some feelings that have come to me as a result of my exposure to certain influential people in literature and in religion and in philosophy, that have had a great influence upon me, and basically those which I feel obviously have had an influence upon the evolution of what we sometimes call Modern New Thought.

For many of us, certainly it has been true with me, New Thought is closely related to the Christian teaching. We find ways of integrating it very easily and we see in Jesus’ concepts, certain fundamental absolute truths, which are not simply an evolution of theological dogma, but evidence say, an insight into what in philosophy would be called monism or unity or oneness.

Now obviously there are those who study truth or New Thought who do not do so in the Christian context. Perhaps it’s a person who is Jewish or a person who is irreligious and who may study it in terms of what is called mental science, but the point that is normally missed, I believe in this general field of New Thought, missed probably because the emphasis is so often upon what the teaching can do for us rather than what the teaching essentially is, is the root or the base on which this whole idealism is built, and it is in a small letter sense, unity or monism, oneness.

This is a point which probably normally would be more stressed in philosophy, but it’s absolutely imperative that we understand this unless we want to simply lapse back into the old idea of a duality that deals with God and man and God and the Devil and good and evil and so forth, you see.

02 Unity and Monism

Now when we think of New Thought on this basis, we find some other interesting things. We find that this concept of monism antedates Jesus’ teachings that Jesus built on them and was influenced by them. And we see strands going back into the East in the eastern thought of Vedantism and so forth, and also we see a great influence of Greek philosophy and Greek thought even long before Socrates.

For instance, just in passing though we’re not dealing with this today, it might be interesting to point out that 500 years before the time of Jesus, Heraclitus held that the universal substance is an ethereal spiritual essence and that instead of being, it should be thought that everything is becoming. And he held that nothing is stable except instability, nothing constant but change. We see many thoughts in Greek philosophy that have actually become basic truths so-called in our Modern New Thought.

03 Classical origins of Monism

So it is likely that Jesus was strongly influenced by Greek thought as well as by some of the Eastern thought, especially from the Greek point of view, the work of Plato. Plato’s influence over the thought of his time was tremendous and has continued down through the years. It had a great deal to do with the concepts of early Christianity, the evolution of Christian thought, and it was through the channel of what later has been referred to in philosophy as Neoplatonism that Ralph Waldo Emerson was inspired, you see. And you’ll remember two weeks ago we emphasized that from my point of view, Emerson in the more modern sense is probably the Father of American New Thought despite the fact that normally Quimby is considered to be such.

Plato was an idealist. This is a term meaning any theory that holds that the universe as a whole is an embodiment of mind. Again, we find Plato seeming to steal all the Modern New Thought ideas, you see. He says that, “Reality is to be found only in mind and that the only reality in the external world consists in its perceptibility.” That things seem real because you see them that way and Plato held that reality adhered in the general idea of a thing and not in the individual, that there’s no reality in the individual tree or stone or man, which exists on the ideal plane alone. But he felt that the reality was to be found in the idea of the tree, in the idea of the stone, in the idea of the man. Plato’s ideal world was a realm of pure mind possessing substance and power.

In the early times leading up to what is called the Dark Ages and through to medieval times, there was a reawakening of what has been called Neoplatonism, a reawakening of the influence of Plato and it had a tremendous infusion and interrelationship with Christianity and with much of the religious thought that passed for Christianity at that time. As we said, this was probably the source of what is called the Transcendentalist School, which was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s concept.

Now, this Neoplatonist school held at the basis of nature was the one, an abstract principle of unity, and from this unity, the source of all things emanated the principle of pure intelligence. Again, abstract modern metaphysics. Plotinus was one of the most brilliant of neoplatonists. He was a Greek mystic, added to the popularity of the idea of a mystic union with God, a mystic sense of oneness. You see, this actually came outside of the Christian teaching and was an influence that directed much of the Christian concept.

And all of this emphasizes that the New Thought of our day is really the oldest thought of the race, and that’s a very important thing. As I’ve said so often there’s nothing new in New Thought. It’s the oldest thought of the race. It goes back into the Vedanta School of India and goes way back into the ancient concepts of Egypt and into the Greek philosophical concepts as far back as there’s any recorded thought.

04 Who was Meister Eckhart?

Now, occasionally all down through the years there is a kind of bubbling forth of an underground stream and sometimes in the most unlikely of places, it’s like being out in the West and an underground stream just suddenly bursts up and then suddenly you find a nice little brook coming out of nowhere. So obviously there’s water there somewhere under the ground, and so it has been all down through the ages and one of the most unlikely of sources of the releasement of this underground stream was the person we want to think a little bit about today: Meister Eckhart.

Meister Eckhart was a good priest of the Roman Church, kind of a simple parish priest. He was intuitive and so when he was in the pulpit, he spoke through the promptings of an inner voice and his immediate concept of God was so startling that it was a little bit too radical for the church. And so he was eventually charged with heresy in 1327.

But he was such a popular figure, he was such a loving man and such a wonderful parish priest that there was a tremendous wave of support from all quarters, not only from his own congregation but from some of the hierarchy of the church itself, which tells a little something about the man.

Johannes Eckhart was born in 1260. This is a good long time ago, and as I’ve said, often we get probably the clearest perception of the absolute concept of God from Meister Eckhart than anybody else all down through the years.

In a sense, he came into this world when the so-called Dark Ages were drawing to a close. His was a life that was totally given over to the religious quest and experience. He attained his degree in the master of theology at Paris, and so the word meister actually comes from master, much in the way in which today we say doctor so-and-so, he was Meister Eckhart and he entered the Dominican order.

And during his life, he was an outstanding German preacher. Though it’s rather interesting that all the records we have, his audience was probably very unscholarly, totally ignorant of Latin and all the theological shades and variations written in it. So it’s hard to understand how they really knew anything about what Eckhart was talking about and the chances are very likely that they didn’t. He was such a loving man that as Emerson said, “What you are thunders so loud, I can’t understand what you say.” And they loved him and it was probably far over their heads, but they somehow responded to the man.

Eckhart has been called the Father of German Theology. Sometimes he’s even called the Father of German Philosophy, but he certainly has a tremendous position in the unfolding philosophical stream and the theological stream, especially the person who’s interested in what we call New Thought.

Now though he was never convicted of the heresy as charged simply because of his great popularity. After his death, a papal bull of the Holy See condemned a great deal of his doctrine and the full 28 of his thesis were banned and destroyed. And so it is probably true that the majority of the works of Meister Eckhart have been lost to the world forever.

The consciousness, the medieval consciousness into which Eckhart came and inserted his inspiration was unbelievable perhaps to many of us except our exposure through films and through fiction and so forth. We’ve had somewhat of an indication of what it was, superstition that is beyond anything we know today, centered chiefly on the powers of the world to come, on God and the Devil as a very great reality and force, angels and demons that were as real to people as individuals they could see with their eyes and far more powerful. And so it was this kind of a world that Eckhart came into and began preaching his absolute metaphysical concept.

05 Eckhart’s tremendous idea of oneness

The starting point of Meister Eckhart’s teaching was the axiom that God is being, and he stated that “If God is all existence, it is impossible that anything should exist apart from him.” Because this thing would be outside of being. Now we say this in truth, there is only one presence and one power: God, the good omnipotent. Many good students of truth have affirmed something like this all through their truth studying years, and yet somehow we say this thing and still find room for the reality of problems and people and situations and carry over this old concept you see of good and evil and of God and of forces of the Devil and so forth.

But in the clear absolute thinking of Eckhart, there was only one God was being. So if God is all existence, then it’s impossible that anything can exist apart from Him. So all things in their substance are themselves, God, an aspect of God, part of the creation of God. Whatever else they possess in space and time is only an appearance. And of course that again is a concept that in an absolute point of view we hear all the time in truth.

Now philosophically, this is what would be called pantheism and this is why so often Unity and New Thought is accused of being pantheistic because from a philosophical point of view, pantheism normally means that the universe is God. So everything in it you see is a part of God. Obviously there is a pantheistic aspect of New Thought, but New Thought is not pantheism in the same sense as New Thought is not Transcendentalism. All of these are terms that are used in pigeonholes, which the philosophical mind tries to insert it, but it doesn’t all fit. But Eckhart, you see, had this tremendous idea of oneness. He said, “Nothing is as close to me as God. He is nearer to me than I am to myself. His presence is my being.”

06 How we confuse oneness with duality

See, now this is a beautiful concept and one on which I think we need to meditate much because many of us have used the idea and especially in prayer and meditation of the presence of God, and we talk about feeling God’s presence. “Oh, I just feel so close to the presence today.” You see, and yet even in that concept there is the intimation of duality. I feel close to the presence. You see, I’ve come into the presence, and I come to this place and I sense the presence.

But we’re implying all along the way that the presence is something separate from us that we can come into and get out of, you see, that’s the old dualistic concept all over again. But it’s one which many of us have carried over and sort of bring along with us like an old out worn suit of clothes that we’re dragging behind us on the ground, this idea of the dualism of God and man, of the presence of God and of me. This is why I have so often used the term that the presence of God is a dimension of me or I’m a dimension of it, but Eckhart puts it clear. He says, “His presence is my being. I am the presence.”

07 Let God be God in you

Creation, he insisted, was a continuous activity of God and the creation is so essential that God becomes God only by outpouring himself into individual existence, into his divine multiplication. So he says, and this is a tremendous thought, he says, “God expects, but one thing of you.” One can pick up his ears at this. There’s just one thing God expects of me. That’s great. I thought there were so many things expected of me.

“God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself insofar as your created being and let God be God in you.”

Come out of yourself. In other words, stop thinking of yourself as being created by God. God is the Creator. I’m the creation because here He is up there and I’m down here, you see. He’s my creator, He’s my Father, He’s the presence that comes and goes, He’s the Holy Spirit that breathes through me and moves right on out the other side and leaves me sitting helpless,” you see. Forget about all this and let God be God in you.

Now, that’s something to meditate on. That’s oneness, that’s monism, that’s wholeness. It’s a very hard realization by the way. You’ll find if you really meditate on Meister Eckhart that he’s far ahead of most of us in terms of really getting what we think of as the metaphysical concept in Modern New Thought.

He says, “The very best and utmost of attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in thee.” That’s what we said in the beginning. The most creative act is to let go and let it happen. “Every creature is on its way to the highest perfection. In each, there is movement from mortality toward being.”

08 The soul as the living Father within

He talked about the soul as the Father dwelling within or the living Christ within. He said, “God made man’s soul so like Himself that nothing else in heaven or earth so resembles Him”. You see, this is the constantly recurring theme in Eckhart, this idea of oneness, wholeness, unity, monism, and it’s a very difficult concept again, probably the hardest thing. It’s so simple.

That’s why so often people ask me, “What’s Unity all about?” I say, “I could give you a lecture series that would go on for five years, or I could give you one word. And the one word is unity, small letter unity. That’s what it’s all about. Anything else is commentary on it.” But so often we get so involved in the commentary that we forget that little word, unity, oneness, wholeness.

He said, “Between God and man alone is there no difference, no separation, but oneness.” That puts it pretty simply, doesn’t it? “The soul which has attained the higher knowledge then sees itself in its reality as an element of the divine nature. It obtains a clear perception of its own uncreated form, which is in reality its life. Therefore, it becomes one with God and henceforth the will of the individual is identical with the will of God.”

And that’s a hard one too, isn’t it? Because we’ve always thought, “Oh, if I could only change God’s will so that he would want to do something for me.” But the will of the individual is identical with the will of God simply because I am the “isness” or the “beingness” of God. And so as I change my will, I change the degree to which the allness of that will manifests in me, but that will is manifesting anyway.

Like [Kahlil] Gibran says, “It is thy desire in us that desireth,” you see. Or as one of the Christian mystics puts it, “God has no other hands through which to express, but my hands. No other voice through which to speak but my voice.” In terms of where I am because I am the isness of God, you see. So this is that beautiful concept of wholeness.

09 God can not do without us anymore than we can do without him

And I have a feeling that maybe this is why I like Meister Eckhart so much because I think that maybe I have captured from him or at least have found in him something of the desire to shock people that I’m sure was one of the keynotes of Eckhart. I’m sure he said some things that just set people on their ears. In other words, he says, and just imagine at a time when people had God up there on that lofty throne out there somewhere, the unknowable, the untouchable, the ineffable, this holy presence and he says, “God can no more do without us than we can do without Him.” And that was pretty shocking.

It would be shocking to a lot of people today, God can’t get along without you. We’ve always said, “Oh, I can’t get along without God.” But as long as I think of that in the dualistic sense, then I become subservient, I become a slave. I am simply sitting here waiting for the whim and the caprice of God in His good time whose reasons are inscrutable. And when it’s His good pleasure it’ll happen. But until I just simply wait meekly, you see.

But He takes the thing in a well-rounded whole point of view that certainly I can’t get along without God, but God can’t get along without me. This is Browning’s thought when he expresses the idea that God could not create Antonio Stradivari’s violins without Antonio and God could not do the work that you do without you to do it, you see. And that’s a very vital point, one which certainly can build up our ego, but in a positive sense, help us to feel a sense of self-worth.

10 It is my humility that gives God his divinity

And then he says, and this is shocking too, he says, “It’s my humility that gives God His divinity.” Then he goes on to explain this in a rather interesting soliloquy. He says, “God’s peculiar property is giving, but God cannot give if He has nothing to receive His gifts. I by my humility, do make God give. And since giving is God’s own peculiar property, I by my humility give God His property. The would be giver needs find a taker. Without a taker, he cannot be a giver because it is the taker by his taking that makes the man a giver.

So God, to be the giver must discover a receiver. Now none, but the humble can receive the gift of God so God to be, to use His God-like power of giving will need my humility. Without humility, He can’t give me ought for I without my humility cannot accept His gift. Thus, it is true that I by my humility give God His divinity.” Obviously this is a play on words and I’m sure this was tongue in cheek, you see. But yet there’s a great truth involved there, this idea of allness again, wholeness.

11 Life is for living

He says, “With all His giving, He’s only trying to prepare us for the gift that He Himself is. And all His works, all that He ever did on earth or in heaven, He did for the sake of this one more to perfect our happiness. Therefore, I say that we must learn to look through every gift with every event to God and never be content with the thing itself. There’s no stopping place in this life. No, nor was there ever one for any man, no matter how far along his way he’d gone. This above all then be ready at all times for the gifts of God and always for new ones.”

And this is sort of the basis of my thought that life is for living. Not for existing, not for just getting along. Life is for living, for growing, for unfolding, and as the scriptures say, “It’s not yet manifest what man shall be. Matters not what you are today, what counts is what you can be and where you’re going.” And so it’s a continuing process of unfolding, unfolding what you are and unfolding the awareness of the isness of God, which is the reality of you.

12 What you have sought before seeks you

And he says, “Hold fast to God and He will add every good thing. Seek God and you will find Him and all good with Him. To the man who cleaves to God, God cleaves and adds virtue, that what you have sought before now seeks you. What once you pursued now pursues you. What once you fled now flees you. Everything comes to him who truly comes to God bringing all divinity with him while all that is strange and alien flies away.”

It’s a very beautiful truth, isn’t it? Because it indicates that as we say so often at New Thought that that which I seek is seeking me. When I have a need for employment for instance, this in the wholeness of the allness of God and in the allness of infinite mind indicates that while I have a need for employment, there is someone somewhere who has a need for me as an employee. So that while I’m seeking God, God is seeking me. While I’m seeking my good, my good is seeking me. And if I’m trying desperately to run away from a problem, then the problem runs toward me because the problem is simply an extension of my own consciousness.

13 God is not a problem solver but your very being

And he seemed quite concerned about the idea that probably too was prophetic because it would seem far ahead of his time though possibly people in all levels of theological application make this mistake: the tendency to think of God as a kind of a slot machine.

He said, “Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love him as they love their cow. They love their cow for the milk and cheese and profit that it makes them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God when they love Him for their own advantage. Indeed, I tell you the truth, any object you have on your mind, however good will be a barrier between you and the inmost truth.”

That’s a pretty challenging thought because it means that even though I’m sure most of us have come into this study of truth because we have a particular need and we spend much of our time in applying truth principles towards specific problems, which is right and good, but all of that is preparatory to the real involvement.

In other words, if you need a job and you work to demonstrate the job when you’ve got your job, the problem isn’t solved. Now it’s just started. You’ve cleared the decks for action. You see now you’ve got something standing in your way and the thing that’s standing in your way is the idea that you’ve simply been looking to God or the activity of God as a means to solve your problem.

But the real need is to start from there and to recognize the allness of God, not as just a problem solver, but as your very being. And to the degree that you get that consciousness of oneness, do you really overcome the tendency to bring about continued problems? You haven’t really solved a problem, you see, when you’ve dissolved a particular situation, any more than if you have a headache and you take an aspirin and the aspirin dulls the pain, you’ve really solved the problem. You simply dulled the pain, you see, and there’s so many physical things and so many environmental things which we think we’ve solved if we get away.

If you’re having problem with people in your job or in your home or in your neighborhood and you leave and go somewhere else, you may think I’ve solved the problem. You haven’t solved the problem at all. You’ve simply insulated yourself temporarily from something which actually must be by the basis of metaphysical thought, which otherwise we subscribe to, must be within yourself.

Not so much why do people bother me, but why am I bothered and if I’m bothered, it must be because I am botherable and I’m botherable because somehow I’ve lost my base. And until I rebuild that awareness at the base, the awareness of that the presence of God is me, not something that goes and comes, but it is me and I am the activity of God and expression. Until I get that awareness built up within me again, I’m going to be bothered and I will constantly have things that bother me because I’m botherable. And that’s the thing that Meister Eckhart is talking about.

14 Life is a being experience

He says, “People should think less about what they ought to do and have and more about what they ought to be.” Again, the idea that life is a “being” experience, not just a matter of acquiring things. So many of us, and we’re all guilty of this if we’re honest with ourselves, spend most of our time in metaphysical study wetting our acquisitive instincts. That’s the one danger you see of the emphasis on demonstrating prosperity. And I don’t mean to poo-poo this because it works. It’s a very beautiful thing. To use the principle to demonstrate a job and to become successful and so forth, and all this is a part of the process. But it’s so easy in doing this to gradually create greater and greater barriers between ourselves and the reality of ourself because we become involved in and enslaved to life at the circumference rather than life at the root.

Eckhart I think had a great insight into the importance of right attitudes. Maybe he had the idea of positive thinking long before Norman Vincent Peale or a lot of people that proceeded Peale. He said,

“People fly from this to seek that. These places, these people, these manners, those purposes, that activity, but they should not blame ways or things for thwarting them. When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that’s out of order. If you do not first get away from self, then whatever else you get away from, you will still find obstacles and restlessness. People look in vain for peace, who seek it in the world outside in places, people, ways, activities for there is no peace this way. They’re looking in the wrong direction. Let everyone begin by denying self and in so doing, he will have denied all else.” Of course, that goes way back into the teachings of Vedanta you see, but so very fundamental to truth.

15 Eckhart: the idea of the Christ

And Meister Eckhart had the great idea of the Christ, the unity relationship of God and men, I never could have or could have never whichever, who’s the grammarian here? I mean I’m not sure at the moment, could have written my book, Discover the Power Within you without this concept. It was probably the one single thought that suddenly opened the whole awareness of the reality of the Christ relating it to this figure and this tremendous consciousness of Jesus. He said,

“God never begot but one son, but the eternal is forever begetting the only-begotten.”

If you are involved with discussions with fundamentalists, maybe you’re a fundamentalist yourself. If you are, then this may be a revelation to you, though it may be disturbing. But if you have fundamentalist friends or young people or family who are always trying to quote scripture to you, the one scripture that they will quote that will always throw you unless you have this key of Eckhart is John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not die but shall have everlasting life.” That’s fundamental.

And any good fundamentalist will throw this at you right away, you see. His only-begotten Son. So don’t talk to me about the Christ in you, you see. Jesus was God’s only-begotten Son who died for us, and you got to believe on Him. It’s only by believing on Him that you have any place at all in the whole process. That’s the fundamentalist position.

16 The Eternal is forever begetting the only begotten

Meister Eckhart, way back in the 13th century, this little parish priest who probably was saying things that few people understood and probably had no idea that there would be this reverberation of his concepts down through the ages, made a statement which gives a whole new key to this. As they say on television today, it’s a whole other thing. Because he says, “God never begot but one son.”

All right, so John 3:16 says, “Gave his only-begotten Son.” “God never begot but one son, but the eternal is forever begetting the only-begotten.”

The one son, you see, deals with wholeness, monism, unity, and in this we have to forget about all the people in the world and all the people that ever lived and begin where you are with what you are as your relationship to God. So the divinity of you is God’s only-begotten. This means the divinity of you, the Christ of you is that of God, which is begotten only of Him.

Now, there’s that of each of us that’s begotten from a lot of other sources. We talked last Sunday about the mystic chords of memory when we talked about the various influences, heredity and environment, race, consciousness, all these things. And today we’d have to add such things as the pressures of Madison Avenue and the advertisers. There’s a lot that we do and are today that is begotten by “How To Win Friends And Influence People” courses to develop your personality. And all these are sources that have kind of made us what we are.

So there is that of us that’s begotten of many different sources, but there is that of us which is begotten only of God. And God so loved the world. God so loved the world of you, of your consciousness, of this bubbling forth of the infinite as you, you see. God so loves you that He has given you that which is begotten only of Him. He has given you this relationship that can never be broken, this oneness, this wholeness that can never be changed.

Call it the Christ in you, the divine in you, call it the God potential in you, call it what you will, but it is that of you, which is the reality of you. All else is simply the degrees of appearance that people see and that you see in yourself. But there’s a reality and, “The eternal is forever begetting the only-begotten.”

17 You are God’s perfect child

Which means then that on this basic principle, it can be said that no matter who the person may be, no matter what the color of his skin, no matter what his philosophy, his background, his ideals, even his level of morality, whether he is a saint or a sinner, whether he is a gambler or a crook or a thief or a murderer, there is that of him which is begotten only of God. And all of his problems are the result of the frustration of the awareness of that, not the absence of it.

It is impossible, you see, if we go back to Eckhart’s first thought of God as being where all is God and nothing is inconceivable that anything can be created outside of God, therefore there can be no person who is not of God and who is not the very expression of God. And of course we say this all the time, that every person is a child of God.

We don’t always believe it. We say it conveniently. We say it quite often when it’s some loved one, we want to help him and pray with him. We say, “You’re God’s perfect child, so God loves you and God heals you.” It’s very hard to say that for a criminal, to look at him and say, “You’re God’s perfect child.” And yet until we can do that, and unless we can do that, our whole philosophy breaks down.

18 The key that opened to Butterworth

That’s the thing that Eckhart says. And as I say, this was the one key that opened the whole thing for me. I’d always had this awareness, you see of the Christ in man, but could never quite relate it to the fundamentalist concept until Eckhart came along. And of course he came along a long time ago.

He said, “When God made man, he put into the soul his equal, his active everlasting masterpiece. It was so great a work that it could not be otherwise and the soul could not be otherwise, and the work of God. God’s nature, His being all depend on His work in the soul. Blessed be God that He does work in the soul and that He loves His work. That work is love and love is God. God loves Himself and His own nature, being and Godhead, and in the love he has for Himself, He loves all creatures, not as creatures but as God. He loves Himself in the creatures and as the creatures. The love God bears Himself contains His love for the whole world,”

Which is more simply stated when he says, “The ultimate end or purpose of creation is God confessing Himself, God loving Himself, God using Himself.” And you’ll see that paraphrased or repeated in probably every profound metaphysical teacher today. “The ultimate end or purpose of creation is God confessing Himself, God loving Himself and God using Himself.”

19 God can’t help but love you

But then you can see what he had in mind when he says, and this is another one of those shocking statements that have such profound truth in them. “I never give God thanks for loving me because He can’t help Himself. Whether He would or no, it is His nature to.” And that’s a very important thought, you see, because so much of the effort in prayer and in confession and all the things that religious people do is based upon this idea, “Oh, I just wish God would love me. I wish God would forgive me. I wish I knew that God loved me in spite of all the things that I’ve been.” This need for forgiveness, this need for love. We need to be loved by people, but basically we all have this inner need to feel that God loves us, that we’re worthy. This sense of unworthiness is one of the greatest problems of man.

But all of that comes because we are not building our awareness of truth on the fundamental. Again, the fundamental is God is being. Nothing can conceivably create it outside of God. So you’re created in and of God. God cannot then hold any thoughts about you except love because God is love. There’s no possibility. If you want to think about the things God can’t do, there are a lot of them. God cannot hold anything but love toward you because God is love and you’re created in and of love.

That’s fundamental. It’s very absolute. But take that thought and think about it and meditate on it because you’ll find that much of the time, our effort is somehow trying to get into the presence, to get the feeling of God’s love so that God will forgive us, so that we will be worthy, so that then we can feel confident and secure because we know that God is with us. That’s been man’s eternal cry, you see.

But Eckhart takes you right back to the principle. All this effort is misdirected. You don’t have to try to get God to love you. He says, “I don’t even have to thank God for loving me because He can’t help Himself.” That’s putting it in a shocking way. He can’t hold anything but love toward me because God is love and I am the expression of God as me, and therefore I’m created in and of love.

So anything less than love is in my consciousness, in the frustration of my thought in the degree to which I am limiting this awareness of the wholeness. So if there’s any need for forgiveness, there’s no point in copping out and expecting God to forgive you. And this is actually what happens. You see, many times the person has such a tremendous feeling of self-reproach that he hopes that God will surmount his own self reproach and will sort of anoint him and say, “Look, don’t feel so bad. I love you. So stop hating yourself,” you see.

God already loves you and can never hold anything else but love for you. And so if you are stuck with feelings of self-reproach, the only way that can be changed is if you change your thought about yourself. Don’t expect God to do it. Don’t expect God ever to forgive you or ever to suddenly say out of a feeling of darkness, “I’ve changed my mind. You really are pretty good after all” because it can’t be done, you see. Not in his absolute concept of God, which is this basic idea of unity and wholeness, which is implicit in the whole New Thought concept at which we lose sight of. He says, “I say no creature is so vile, but it can boast of being. In proportion to its being is its power of being God for whatever is being is God.” That’s the God potential in every person you see.

20 Be still and know our oneness

And Eckhart had a concept that seems to explain Jesus thought of, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To Him meekness meant emptiness. In other words, we must empty ourselves of ourself, of all the concerns and the fears and the inflated ego and everything else which comes because we do not really know ourselves. To empty ourselves of all this garbage as it were of human consciousness so that we’re no longer a person seeking God, giving something to God or seeking something from God, but we’re one, we’re in spiritual unity with God.

So he says, “Paul gave up all that he might get from God as well as all he might give together with the idea of God. In parting with these, he parted with God for God’s sake, and yet God remained to him as God in His own nature, not as He is conceived by anyone to be or yet as something yet to be achieved, but more as an “isness” as God really is. Then he neither gave to God nor received anything from him, for he and God were a unit that is a pure unity.”

Be still and know that I’m God. Not, “Oh God, help me. Oh God, guide me. Oh God, change this, but be still and no.” And as he says, “Let God be God.” As we say, so often God is the answer. Before they call, I will answer, God is the answer. Wholeness is the answer, and the wholeness is always the reality of us. And our problem is not that we need somehow to reach God to solve our problem, but to pull away from our involvement at the circumference where we’ve lost our sense of relationship with our base and be still and know our oneness.

And then in our oneness we are involved in the whole process of being, which then has no other purpose but to unfold itself. And a part of that unfoldment is not just to solve our problems, but to perfect that which concerns us as the scriptures put it, you see. Because we are that beingness in its process of unfoldment. He says, “There is between God and the soul, neither strangeness nor remoteness. Therefore, the soul is not only equal with God, but it is the same that God is.”

21 The timeliness of time

And finally, Eckhart had the universal cosmic concept of the timelessness of time. He says, “That man has erred in trying to understand the world created in 7 days because he cannot even comprehend it made in 7 million years.” He says, “All time is contained in the present now moment.” He says, “To talk about the world as being made by God tomorrow or yesterday is talking nonsense. God makes the world and all things in this present now. Time gone 1,000 years ago is as present and as near to God as this very instant.” So God’s creativity is not historical, it’s not accidental, it’s not measurable.

You see, Christianity has so often emphasized the idea of when God walked the earth 2,000 years ago in the days of the prophets, when God spoke to man with clearness of vision and all this sort of thing, and this has been the whole emphasis of so much traditional religion, it’s religion in retrospect, looking back to the old days. Those of you who have a Jewish background, you know the emphasis of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, always back to the old times when God revealed Himself through certain specific people.

As Emerson says, “If God ever spoke to man, He speaks to man today.” And he says, “We need a firsthand and immediate experience of God, not just the belief that somebody at some time had an experience. All that is irrelevant unless our insight into the way in which their experience came enables us to achieve the same experience. But the now moment is what counts” as Eckhart says.

So this creativity of God goes on continuously without cessation, with no beginning and no ending. It’s not an event of yesterday or today or tomorrow. It comes out of timelessness, of infinity, of nothingness. God’s work is always done in an absolute present, in a timeless now, which is time and place in itself.

22 How to enter into timeliness

And man can enter into this timelessness through his consciousness of being, his consciousness of God, and thus in a sense, as I’ve so often pointed out, he can step from time into eternity, he can get out of the limitations of time by touching the consciousness of oneness. In the realization of oneness, all time ceases. This is why many people who have had a great experience in meditation, have also had an experience of timelessness when it seemed that maybe it was a miracle healing that took place just like that, when the doctor would’ve said from his prognosis that this will take at least six months to correct itself and like that it took place. Why?

Not because of some miracle of God, but because man has suddenly touched the reality of being in which there’s no time. And when there’s no time, then of course we realized that great absolute thing that Jesus had in mind, obviously when he said, “You say it is six months to the harvest, but I say unto you, lift up your eyes for behold the fields are now white onto harvest.” That’s a beautiful concept because most of us today are enslaved to time. One of our greatest problems is this thing, and some of us are looking at it already because it’s almost time to stop, you see. That’s one of our great problems. It really is.

We get so caught up and so trapped in time. Hurry, hurry, rush, rush. “It’s late. It’s late. We can’t get it all done. We have too much to do in too little time.” Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. We sing the same old song over and over and over again. Like the White Rabbit remember in Alice Wonderland, “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” It’s a theme song of many of us.

But how great it is to get this idea of the now moment and to know that in the depth of ourselves to the degree that we can become immersed in the awareness of isness, that’s the reality of God, isness not wasness or notwillbeness, but isness. Not God can do this thing or God has done this thing, but God is and because God is I am. Not will be, can be, hope to be, oh God, help me to be, but I am. To the degree that we get into that awareness, then we really touch the hem, but the hem of this absolute truth you see in which allness is a reality of today. That’s a very fundamental truth, very absolute truth. It may be an absolute truth that possibly has left you reeling.

23 More about Meister Eckhart

But just remember now that we think that New Thought began a few years ago. We don’t really know when it began except as I say, it’s probably the oldest thing in the race of man, but at least here we have a graphic evidence of one little parish priest, otherwise a Roman Catholic who had a concept of absolute truth that probably exceeds the realization that most of us, including myself have gained today, some 600 years later. This is Meister Eckhart

And just a kind of brief introduction to Meister Eckhart, people always want to know where can you read more of Meister Eckhart? There’s not too much available. There is an excellent translation, the Blakney translation, which is published by Harper & Row, the Torchbook series in paperback. We may have copies of it, I’m not sure we had them on order. If not, you’ll find them at Brentano’s [bookstore] or one of the places around.

And it would be interesting for you to kind of be aware of some of the thoughts of Eckhart. Probably with this kind of introduction to Eckhart, you’ll suddenly discover, interestingly enough, in modern philosophy and in modern science, much more than in religion, you’ll find Eckhart is one of the most quoted people, by scientists like Einstein and Sir James Jeans and all of these very profound scientists. And by all the great philosophers in modern times as well as down through the more recent years, you’ll find that Eckhart is one of the most quoted people.

Strangely strange, because he was a theologian, he wasn’t a scientist. He was simply dealing with this absolute awareness. But that’s the great thing. When we come to the awareness of unity or oneness, we not only come to a concept that gives us tremendous stability as people. But if we go far enough with it, we come to the same route that the physicists comes to when he gets to the heart of the atomic structure of matter. We come to the same thing as relativity of Einstein.

It’s all implicit in this idea of oneness. Rather interesting, and maybe not very many of us are interested in getting into that kind of involvement, but check me out on this. Read the works of [Pierre] Teilhard de Chardin or the works of any of the great scientists and paleontologists and people in philosophy and so forth in recent times, and even if you can’t understand what they say, just leaf through the book and see how many times they quote Meister Eckhart. You’d be amazed.

And yet, strangely enough, though his concept was basically theological because it was monistic and not dualistic, it has been almost totally ignored by theologians, which is strange. But should not be ignored by Modern New Thought because I think he played one of the great parts in the evolution of New Thought in the Western World.