Becoming unattached

(Quotations from Meister Eckhart)

We should indeed follow our Lord, but not in all ways. Our Lord fasted for forty days, but no one should attempt to imitate him in this. Christ performed many works, whereby he intended that we should follow him in the spiritual rather than physical sense ... You should follow (his fasting) by considering what you are most inclined or ready to do, and then you should give yourself up in that, while observing yourself closely. It is often better for you to go freely without that than to deny yourself all food. And sometimes it is more difficult for you to refrain from uttering one word than it is to refrain from speaking altogether. Sometimes it is more difficult for us to endure a single word of insult, which is insignificant in itself, than a heavy blow for which we have prepared ourselves, and it is far more difficult to be solitary in a crowd than it is in a desert, and it is often more difficult to give up a small thing than a big one, or to perform a small work rather than one which we regard as major. Thus we can easily follow our Lord (even though we are weak). (p. 30)

... we should learn to see God in all gifts and works, neither resting content with anything nor becoming attached to anything. For us there can be no attachment to a particular manner of behavior in this life, nor has this ever been right, however successful we may have been. (p. 40)

In return for stripping myself of myself for his sake, God will be wholly my own possession with all that he is and can do, as much mine as his, no more and no less. He will belong to me a thousand times more than anything ever belonged to anyone which they keep in their chest, or than he was ever his own possession. Nothing was ever my own as much as God will be mine, together with all that he is and all that he can do. (p. 48)

People think that they have more when they have both things and God than when they have God without things. But this is wrong, for having all things as well as God is nothing other than having God alone. (p. 125)

Now there are certain people who turn from things out of love, but who still have great regard for what they have left. But those who understand in truth that even when they have given themselves up and have abandoned all things, this is still absolutely nothing -- those who live in this way, truly possess all things. (p. 186)

That person who has detached themselves from everything and who is detached, never glancing even for a moment at what they have given up, who remains steadfast, unmoved in themselves and immutable -- such a person alone has truly attained detachment. (pp. 170-180)

1999 by Deb Platt

* Select a new topic, or explore this topic further within Christianity or across religions. * Browse additional quotations from Meister Eckhart. * Refer to bibliography. * Go to home page.