30. Oct, 2014

OH HAPPY DAYS !

Meister Eckhart (1260-1329 A.D.) lays down our life task to find a stable happiness in an unstable world : 'We must learn to penetrate things and find God there. Everything praises God. Darkness, privations, defects, evil too praise God'. Eckhart is really reminding us that buried deep in blackness of our own making, the Creator is emiting a light for us to learn from or to steer our way forward. This radical statement if applied e.g.to  problems in the Ukraine, gives us the possibility of opening up a new dialogue not only with our internal selves, but also with those who are killing or maiming others there. As we are taught so often to respond by "shooting from the hip" with our thoughts, Eckhart's approach may seem like a step too far. Yet, it actually heals by uniting us with both ourselves and with others. According to circumstance, it requires a combination of reflection, contemplation, creative dialogue so as to be united with that Light.St.Thomas Aquinas said that: 'Joy is pleasure in achieving non-natural desires' (Not for shopping !) Here Aquinas highlights the real joy of aiming for the spiritual in our thinking and in or actions. Otherwise we end up fragmented and existentially adrift.The "spiritual" of course refers to Love (Caritas) which is the root of the quotations from both Eckhart and Aquinas. All this involves Hope: 'the movement of our appetite to what we perceive as a difficult, but achievable good.' Aquinas believed that we need to define "good" within a unifying context. The alternative is separation as we see in modern society with the extreme differences in income. - 'Living well is not only doing good things, but doing them well, not on impulse or emotion alone, but in concert with Reason and the Cardinal Virtues of Justice; Prudence; Fortitude and Temperance.'  It is frameworks like these, that can assist us to oppose constructively the dark evils, so as to discover the Light, which is always there, waiting for us.      

Thank you.  TOM BAXTER