“Eckhart quotes John, 19:12, ‘A certain nobleman went out into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.’ ‘The nobleman’ means, according to Eckhart, ‘a person who submits completely to God, giving up all he is and has’; ‘to go out’ means that he ‘has nothing more to do with vanity … to the extent that he is now pure being, goodness, and truth’; and then he has ‘daybreak knowledge in which creatures are perceived without distinctions.’ But, according to Eckhart, this knowledge is not enough, the nobleman is to be completely free of all forms of knowledge. And then Eckhart continues, ‘There will be no blessings except a man be conscious of his vision and knowledge of God …’.
“Eckhart is here deeply involved in contradiction, He praises knowledge, then repudiates it, and finally takes it up again as the thing desired. … The soul must ‘look at God without anything between’ and ‘receive its being and life and draw its essence from the core of God.’ … Eckhart seems to be using knowledge in two different senses, one is the relative and the other is the absolute. Hence this apparent confusion.” ~Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (inner quotes by Meister Eckhart)
The spiritual master known as Meister Eckhart says that the nobleman referred to in John 19 is actually the spiritual adept, the one who submits completely to God. This doesn’t mean a loss of self or the destruction of the individual ego as some claim. It simply means putting God’s Law and God’s Divine Plan above personal desires and wishes. Today, this idea is laughed at by many. We pay homage to one who is willing to give his life for his country, but laugh at the person who dedicates their life to God.
Into a Far Country
The far country reached by the spiritual nobleman is the spiritual dimension. Close or far in the physical sense has no meaning here. Physically, they are located right here, everywhere, so there is no physical distance at all. Yet they are distant places to us because we have sunk so far into matter that many cannot even accept the existence of the spiritual anymore. On a mental and vibration level, we have moved far away from such places. We moved, they didn’t. To get back to the far country, we need to become open-minded again, especially about spiritual matters, and we need to raise our frequencies. We raise our frequencies by taking in energy and the best energy to take in flows from the spiritual sun.
Receive a Kingdom
The “Kingdom” received by the spiritual nobleman is wisdom and knowledge. Not the knowledge obtained from books and not the knowledge of earthly things, but knowledge of spirit and truth. This is the Gnosis of the Gnostics. It is the greatest kingdom, the greatest treasure. Nothing can be greater than knowledge of God and the universe. True knowledge, not just opinions. And wisdom comes from knowing how to use that knowledge. Such wisdom comes as part of knowing the truth, all of the truth, without any doubts. It is the wisdom of being one with God and the universe of spirit.
Not Enough Knowledge
I think Suzuki has it correct. Eckhart is using knowledge in two different ways without making it clear which is which. I wouldn’t call it relative and absolute, however. I would say physical knowledge and spiritual Knowledge. I capitalize spiritual Knowledge to make the distinction clearer.
Common knowledge, or physical knowledge I the kind that we get from books, from the opinions of others, or from studying the physical world ourselves. Such knowledge is always limited and incomplete because the physical is only a small part of reality. To look at just that small portion causes false conclusions. Yet, such knowledge is useful as long as we are living in the physical world and dealing with people who consider the world of matter important.
Spiritual Knowledge is different. Not only is it Knowledge of the spiritual worlds, but it is true Knowledge. While knowledge of the physical is often partial, spiritual Knowledge is true and complete. But it is only true and complete when we obtain it through personal experience, and not by reading books or watching videos. Spiritual Knowledge must be obtained directly through our own awakened spiritual faculties. Only when we experience it ourselves can we possibly comprehend this great Knowledge. This is the Knowledge gained by the Spiritual Nobleman who dedicates many years seeking it. There is no instant spirituality. The Spiritual Nobleman knows that and knows that we have to work to get what we want and need. Enlightenment doesn’t come to those who sit around waiting for it.
The Spiritual Nobleman looks to the Spiritual Sun and gains that Knowledge and enlightenment.