“For in being, mere being, lies all that is at all. Being is the first name. Defect means lack of being. Our whole life ought to be being. So far as our life is being so far it is in God. So far as our life is feeble but taking it as being, it excels anything life can ever boast. I have no doubt of this, that if the soul had the remotest notion of what being means she would never waver from it for an instant. The most trivial thing perceived in God, a flower for example as espied in God, would be a thing more perfect than the universe. The vilest thing present in God as being is better than angelic knowledge.
“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 than the soul and the soul could not be otherwise than the work of God. God’s nature, his being, and the Godhead all depend on his work in the soul. Blessed, 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. The love God bears himself contains his love for the whole world.” ~Meister Eckhart
Being, Just Being
Webster define being as (1) a living thing, or (2) the state of having existence. I think Eckhart means both when he talks about the importance of being.
The first being, of course, was God. God has always existed but not always as a being. At first, He was consciousness only Conscious light without being or form. Them he changed Himself, taking on form and becoming a being. The being since there were no others yet. Once God took on form and became a being, he could now start creating other beings. Not physical beings as we generally think, but spiritual ones. Those known as Angels and Light Beings. Physical being came later and was created by the Demiurge, not God.
It is hard to tell where one type of being ends, and the other begins, based on the definition. We can say that God initially had no form or being, yet He was living ad clearly existed. So from a spiritual perspective, I think we should define being differently. Definition one should be “Existing as a living Thing.” Definition two would be having a form, a body, physical or spiritual. Then we get to definition three.
Definition three of Being is like the popular saying, “some go through life having never lived”. In other words, this kind of being requires that you do more than simply exist as a life form. It requires that you function, that you accomplish things. And most would say that his type of being means that you accomplish more than being born, eating, sleeping, having offspring, and then dying. While those are accomplishments of a sort, true being requires a little more than that. We have to grow and become more than we were initially. We have to help others. We have to make the world a better place in one way or another. Then we are truly being. We might say this is more than just being, it is advanced being. And Meister Eckart who was an advanced being, wants all of us to become advanced beings.
Life of Being
When Eckhart says our whole life ought to be being, he has to mean that third definition. It takes no effort to simply exist for our whole life. So that can’t be what he means. Nor can it mean simply having a form and a body. That would not have impressed Eckhart. It shouldn’t impress any of us. We should all seek to go beyond just being to a life of being.
Just Being and Soul Being
Eckhart says that when God gave us a soul, it was the greatest thing He could do for us. The soul, being essentially a piece of God, has access to the greatest knowledge and wisdom in the universe. But that is only true if the soul is awakened. And now we come to another definition of “Being”.
To be a true human, a true spiritual human, we must awaken our soul. Many insist it is always awake, but all great spiritual masters taught otherwise. When Jesus said we had to be born again, he meant that we had to awaken our spirit and soul. Then we become more than a simple creature. With a conscious soul, we are not just being, we are Being. We might even say we have become a super Being. That is the goal of any real spiritual school.