When I was the stream,
when I was the forest,
when I was still the field,
when I was every hoof, foot, fin and wing,
when I was the sky itself,
no one ever asked me did I have a purpose,
no one ever wondered was there anything I might need,
for there was nothing
I could not love.
These are the first two stanzas from the poem “When I was the Forest” by Meister Eckhart (Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West translated by Daniel Ladinsky, p.91). Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) was a Christian mystic. However, he sounds like a Zen poet or an early Celtic Christian. Eckhart exquisitely portrays the soul’s original connection with God through nature . . . the Zen poet’s original mind.
This original state of oneness is paradoxical. On one hand, it is bliss. On the other hand, it could be construed as participation mystique. Jung used this French term to mean a subject identifying completely with an object—a mystical participation. For example, a primitive believes he is a specific tree. Eckhart’s experience of oneness with nature is different than the primitive’s experience. Eckhart consciously lets go of a differentiated mind to commune with nature . . . with God.
Not only is Eckhart’s poem a beautiful expression of mystical communion, it is an outpouring of love for all things. His embodiment in nature allows his soul’s love to explode into life . . . encompassing the world. “There was nothing I could not love.”
Photo Credit: Photo by mtsvancouver at Flickr Creative Commons.
Linked with Thought-Provoking Thursday.