There was a moment a few years ago when I stopped defending from the world. When I understood my aim was not to look for a more appropriate place, different from this one, but to fuse myself with this world to which I belong. To be one with it, accepting life as a permanently changing sea of everything. A primordial chaos to which I belong. I understood that I am not to be on that side, fearing change, watching from the outside, but on this side. The only side… Here.
As soon as she gave up her will, she immediately became a true mother of the Eternal Word and conceived God straight away; he became her natural son.Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings
Reading some sermons by Meister Eckhart made me think about what Mary symbolises psychologically. She, human and female, acts as the vessel and developer of the seed of God, giving rise to Christ, who is the unifier of opposites, the Centre (god and human, crucified between good and evil, dead and resuscitated), as explained at length by Jung.
There is a point of complete surrender by Mary when the angel announces her future. She fully accepts to be filled by God, with no personal will interfering. An act of surrender that shuts down (or leaves aside) the ego and its fears, and allows the true Self to come forward, giving rise to the unification of human and divine. Precisely by this act of complete surrender, of humility, of courage.
By surrendering our ego rational mind, we allow our true self to come forward. It is not a suppression; it is an integration. We can be the vessel for this unification, in our own small and humble manner. Meister Eckhart saw this symbolic meaning, which he explained in several of his writings. In another sermon about a woman who is both a wife and a virgin, he goes further to explain the concept of ‘virgin’ as not having preconceived knowledge, as being fully open.
‘Virgin’ means someone who is free of all alien images, as free in fact as that person was before he or she existed. We might ask how it is possible for someone who has been born and who has reached the age of reason to be as free of images as they were before they existed, even though they know many things, all of which are necessarily images: how then can such a person be free of them? Now take note of the following point. If I possessed such great intelligence that all the images that anyone had ever conceived, together with all those which are in God himself, existed in my mind, but in such a way that I was free of an ego-attachment to them in what I did or in what I refrained from doing, neither with a ‘before’ or an ‘after’, but rather I remained free and empty in this present moment for the most precious will of God, constantly ready to fulfil it, then I would be a virgin unburdened by any images, just as certainly as I was before I existed.
Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings
I can see that my role is not to be the gardener, but the soil. To let the seed grow, to let it invade me. Not to tell it what to become, not to trim it to my taste, not to imprison it in a glass cage, out of fear, so that it will not outgrow and break the ego’s polyhedron with its projections and reflections.
Of course, the ego sees this process with mistrust, thinking it might be a threat to its mere existence. The symbolic death of the ego is a major psychological step. One the ego is never ready to take, as it fights for sheer survival. Saying yes to our innermost, truest Self – or to God, if you prefer – involves absolute surrender, openness, and humility. Acceptance, Love.